Many Fish in the Sea

This season is going to show an array of swimsuits along our shores, which is good news for the many different bodies types gracing lounge chairs. Best of all, since “matchy-matchy” is a distant memory, it’s easier than ever to accessorize with coordinating beach bags, sandals and hats.

In terms of leading stars, bandeau tops for both one and two pieces are very now as are the monokini and retro-styled one piece suits. Fringe is a big surprise to swimwear, but a favorite. L*Space by Monica Wise is a design house that is doing the latter particularly well. One of their more unique designs, the knotted fringe bandeau, offers the best of both worlds. The shape of the top is sporty and straight, but the embellishment of fringe is connected with a knotting pattern. The line of the bottom of the fringe is slightly longer toward the middle, which adds just a touch more drama and flatters the body.

Like clothing, fashion in swimwear is cyclical. In addition to the monokini and fringe, lace and neon have been with us in previous seasons—both were popular in the late 90s—and are back again. Also, the peplum look is big right now. This billowy wave of fabric is being added to both tops, as Maaji is doing, and bottoms, like Badgley Mischka’s one-piece. Some designers, like Marc Jacobs, are adding this to the hips to create a more innocent pinup look that recalls the 40s and 50s. Depending on the body type, this accent can either slim or augment features to the wearer’s benefit. Across all these styles, the big colors this year are mint green, orange/coral and cobalt blue. Paisley florals and conversational prints are also big.

The key is really to stick with styles that compliment your body type. Trends come and go and are not always good for everyone. And forget stereotypes like age. If you are in great shape and comfortable with your body go with a bikini. I advise women to give themselves time when shopping for a swimsuit. It’s worth being relaxed and trying on many suits to find the right one (or two or three). Moreso than clothing, suits look quite different on the body than they do on a hanger. It’s always a good idea to ask for help and to be open to suggestions.

And, whenever possible, always have two options on hand: One for just lounging by the pool and another for actual swimming. Sometimes, what looks good doesn’t “work” well. For example the bandeau top is striking but is not the best for ocean swimming because it only ties in back and would be lost in the first wave. Those who love working on their tans should stick with strapless suits or suits with removable straps to keep the tan lines away. A cut-out suit, however sexy it looks, will obviously leave funky patterns where you may not want them to be. No matter what, never leave the store with a suit you are not comfortable in. If you don’t feel comfortable stepping out of the fitting room in the suit, how are you going to walk the beach or hang poolside in public?

Clockwise: Pily Q monokini, Trina Turk cut-out, L*space fringe monokini

Whether selecting pieces by top new designers like 1Sol, Vince Camuto and Micheal Kors or classics like Gottex and Badgley Mischka, there are tried and true methods for choosing the perfect suit:

Body Type – Suit Type
Generous bust – Molded cups with underwire and adjustable straps
High waist – V-front or low waist on the bikini bottom to elongate the torso
Wide shoulders – Sweetheart neckline and thin straps
Thick waist – Shirring or ruffles to camouflage the middle
Athletic legs – Tie-side bottoms with a smaller cut
Short legs – High cut bottoms or one piece to elongate the legs
New mommy – Tankini with tummy control or a blouson top

Cherie Alleyne is owner of Blum’s of Patchogue. She has not been with the swimwear and intimate apparel giant since it started as a “corset shop” 86 years ago, but she can’t imagine being anywhere else. Blum’s takes pride in having the largest swimwear collection in Suffolk County, providing good old-fashioned customer service and stocking harder to fit cup sizes. And Cherie is happy to be a part of this great family business.