As they venture into swimwear this season, ready-to-wear designers incorporate some tricks that help flatter your figure and make you look pounds thinner. Left to Right: Jason Wu Cruise 2011/2012; Mara Hoffman Summer 2012; and Missoni Spring/Summer 2012.
There is no need to fear the experience that many women find most horrifying–trying on a swimsuit. According to Bloomingdale’s Vice President and Fashion Director, Stephanie Solomon, designers are now making it a more comfortable experience, creating on-trend collections that not only flatter our figures, but make us look, well, a bit thinner too.
“Designers are definitely paying attention to women’s need for more figure flattering suits with greater coverage,” comments Solomon. This season designers are encouraging swimwear shoppers to step out of their comfort zone and experiment by trying on suits “exploding” with color and prints instead of playing it safe with black. Swimwear sizing and “fit” has come a long way since many swimwear designers like Marc by Marc Jacobs and Nanette Lepore are now coming from a conventional contemporary or ready-to-wear background. Tory Burch and Carmen Marc Valvo have designed their first swimwear collections for 2012 and they are expected to excel in the swim market because they, as successful apparel designers, understand fit. And for consumers the right “fit” exceeds even brand loyalty. It’s like buying a pair of “jeans or a bra” notes Solomon. If a swimsuit doesn’t fit properly, it will make one appear larger, making problem areas even more apparent.
Provided you stay true to your size, and your swimsuit fits correctly, these tricks have enabled designers to give you instant, slim-pleasing results:
- Designer Trick 1: High waisted silhouetting.
Mara Hoffman 2012 runway presentation at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Miami
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Mara Hoffman’s inventive high waisted bikini, flattens the tummy, appears to take inches off the hips and minimizes the waist. Hoffman, a graduate of London’s Central Saint Martin’s School of Design, recently signed on with store and etailer Madewell, to produce a capsule collection of hippy chic beachwear accessible to the masses at prices they can afford.
- Designer Trick 2: Color blocking.
Chanel Collection Croisiere 2011-12 presentation, France
Color block swimwear creates the illusion of curves and shape and draws attention to your best assets. Here, a well-suited example from Chanel designer and mastermind Karl Lagerfeld.
Jason Wu Cruise 2011/2012
Courtesy of Jason Wu
Jason Wu, remember the same designer that created Michelle Obama’s Inaugural Ball gown, tries color blocking on for size, with the wetsuit as his souce of inspiration. The designer played it safe, taking a dapple in the water, introducing only 6 swimwear styles for Resort 2011/2012.
- Designer Trick 3: The maillot.
Marc by Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer 2012 runway presentation, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, New York
One pieces, also known as maillots, create an overall flattering affect. As seen here Marc Jacobs, the newly appointed creative director for the House of Dior, reinvents the maillot with elegant, timeless touches. For those looking for a little coverage in the middle, but still want to appear chic on the beach, a monochromatic or solid-colored one piece with extra details, like ruching or shirring, will slim you down, provide instant coverage and make you appear more svelte.
- Designer Trick 4: Dainty prints.
Tracy Reese Spring/Summer 2012 runway presentation, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, New York
Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Dainty Prints like polka dots, florals and small scale animal patterns will camouflage figure flaws and make you stand out less than loud retro inspired large prints which will make you appear bigger. This season’s 50s’ inspired swimwear collection from Tracy Reese plays out your soft and feminine side.
- Designer Trick 5: Stripes and zigzags.
Missoni Spring/Summer 2012 runway presentation, Milan
Missoni’s signature stripes and zigzags, while bold in nature, create an optical illusion. These patterns wrap around the body, drawing attention to your curves, slimming your middle and elongating your torso.
- Designer Trick 6: Cut outs.
Red Carter 2012 runway presentation at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Miami
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Cutouts in the right places can streamline your shape. Miami based swimwear designer, Red Carter, uses a draping technique that provides extra coverage than a monokini, which makes his suits elegant, sensual and wearable.
- Designer Trick 7: White.
- Alexander Wang Spring/Summer 2012 runway presentation, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, New York
- Gary Gershoff/WireImage
White swimsuits, like this maillot from ready-to-wear designer, Alexander Wang, make us look tanner. And the tanner we appear, the thinner and more sculpted our body looks. While Wang has produced lingerie and swim inspired looks since he entered the scene in spring/summer 2008, Spring/Summer 2012 marks the first season the designer has ventured into functional swimwear. Expect a remarkable fit from this master tailor.
- Designer Trick 8: Lingerie inspiration.
Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2012 runway presentation, Milan
This incredibly ornate Dolce & Gabbana swimsuit provides for an impeccable fit. As they have learned from their most successful ready-to-wear collection, designers, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, understand how lingerie-inspired fits are both sexy as they are functional. Many of their garments, like this swimsuit, has hidden support, comprised of the same underwire and boning used in bras, so women with larger cup sizes can still indulge in the season’s trendier pieces and look great.
- Designer Trick 9: The halter.
Herve Leger by Max Azria Spring/Summer 2012 runway presentation, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, New York
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Halter neck swimsuits flatter your shape by instantly balancing out your body’s proportions while showing off your shoulders, chest and back. This V-neck halter maillot from Herve Leger designer, Max Azria, does exactly that.
- Designer Trick 10: Vintage inspiration.
Norma Kamali 2012 runway presentation at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Miami
Frazier Harrison/Getty Images
Vintage inspired suits are all the rage this season. Their additional structure will shape your figure, while the sexy details like plunging necklines, flirty push ups, feminine ruffles, and skirted bottoms will get you noticed (in a good way) like this sparkling number from Norma Kamali.
- Designer Trick 11: Adding the belt.
Michael Kors Spring/Summer 2012 runway presentation, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, New York
Belted swimsuits, like this sultry animal print number by all American designer Michael Kors, cinches in the waist and shows off a sensual hourglass shape.
- Designer Trick 12: Bare nothing.
Lenny Spring/Summer 2012 runway presentation Rio Fashion Week, Brazil
30 year swimwear design veteran and Rio based Lenny Niemeyer, has incorporated “full” coverage, long-sleeved suits into her collection, providing the fullest protection against UV Rays. Certainly a trend to watch.