Suits Buying, Sizing & Fit, Styles and Fabrics
Buying Swim Suits:
It is important that swimwear buyers know their own body
type, so that they make suitable choices. If they want
to add weight all over or just in certain areas, warm
colors such as red, oranges, yellows, plus white will do
the trick. On the other hand cool colors - blue, green,
turquoise, plus black - will reduce weight.
Understanding line is also important. Lines, whether
they are stripes in the print, seams or zippers, can add
width or length to the garment. Vertical lines add
dignity and make the body look longer. Horizontal lines
are relaxing and add width. Diagonal lines add motion
and action. Proper use of the diagonal line can cover a
lot of figure flaws by creating exciting optical
illusions. Lines can make the bosom appear more
seductive and fuller, the waist smaller, a torso longer,
flatter a tummy, widen shoulders, and slim hips, when
needed. The size of the print is very important. Large
prints will add weight. This may be desirable when
trying to create an illusion of a fuller bosom or hips.
Fit & Sizing:
Users need to spend time when selecting a bathing suit
so they get good fits. Usually, it is recommended that a
suit be one size larger than street apparel for ultimate
comfort and flexibility. There are advantages in buying
a two-piece suit, because you can usually purchase the
pieces separately to create a customized (mix & matched)
suit complete with choices of continuous under-wires,
push up pads or thin molded cups. If you find one that
really fits and looks well, buy two or three of them in
different colors. Misses is a size range from 6 to 18
and sometimes including 20-22 for women approximately 5
feet 5 inches to 5 feet 7 inches. The look is defined by
a figure that is fully developed and well proportioned
in all areas of the body. The hips are approximately two
inches larger than the bust. A typical size 8 would have
a 32-1/2 - 33" bosom, 23-1/2" waist and 34-1/2 - 35"
Juniors encompass a size range from 3 to 15 for women
approximately 5 feet 2 to 5 feet 5" tall. This form is
characterized by a well developed figure with narrow
shoulders, a smaller, more defined waistline and a
higher and smaller bust line than misses. An average
size 7 would have a 32-32-1/2" bust, 23-23 1/2" waist
and 34-34-1/2" hips.
There are many styles to choose from as well as numerous
varieties of those styles. Each silhouette creates a
desired illusion for the customer:
The "blouson", which does not define the waist and puts
focus on the hips, is good for the short waisted or
thicker waisted woman. The "Maillot" is a knitted,
one-piece woman's swimsuit that's close fitting and
often scooping in the back. It is the best suit for
molding the body and is universally appealing because it
produces the best look for most women. It is considered
a classic and comes in many varieties - such as the
famous tank suit - named for the old indoor pools of the
The "dressmaker" is an excellent choice for women who
wish to cover the upper part of their legs. It features
a little peplum or skirt. This additional fabric needs
to be long enough to cover the widest part of the leg.
The "sarong" can produce an interesting illusion because
of the diagonal folds in the wrapped skirt.
The "tunic" minimizes most perceived figure flaws. It' s
cut like an unfitted dress with open side seams and worn
over bathing pants. If the side openings are rounded,
that will create an illusion of longer legs.
"Bikinis", "monokinis", and "thongs", are for the very
young, the very fit and the very brave.
The best overall fabric choice for all body types and
swimming activity would be nylon and nylon combined with
spandex. Knitted garments are the preferred fabrication
for the meshes, shears, laces and opaque fabrics.
Today, the choices of fabric colors are diverse and
range from very warm pastels to very hot color palettes.
Bright whiter whites combined with tropical floral
prints, color splashes - some with overprints of silver
or gold foil - that will catch the sun's rays and make
the wearer sparkle like the water. Sueded look animals
prints will provide a very sensual look at the pool
side. There will be solid neutrals with gold and silver
details to make a glamorous resort statement.
Beginning with the arrest of Australian swimmer Annette
Kellermen for appearing in her one piece bathing suit in
1907, the androgynous swimsuits styles of the
suffragette era, the cross promotion tactics of swimsuit
companies and Hollywood studios which resulted in the
popular "pin-up", the 1950's swimsuit which accentuated
the more "motherly" feminine form, the bikini's
introduction at the forefront of the sexual revolution,
and the public outcry over the topless bathing suit -
all point to the role swimwear has played in society.
Now the question is, what to do with the swimsuit of the
future and the ever-present challenge of having to do
more with even less.
Creating a line of bathing suits is the ultimate fashion
challenge for any designer. Just a minimum amount of
fabric is expected to make the customer appear to have a
curvaceous bosom, small waist, hips in proportion, a
long torso supported with long legs. To achieve this,
the components of design - silhouette, line, texture,
and details - are manipulated and juggled until a
pleasing and desired effect is achieved. Then fiber,
fabric, and color selections have to be made.
(©1999 Article & Copyright: Gerald Laing and Used by
Permission of Benchmark Communications.)
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