Close (x)

Suit Up!

Fashion Feature

Written by Samantha Lund

Photos Provided by Sylvia's Swimwear

Time to suit up! If you’re planning a vacation, or you’ve simply been wearing the same bikini you bought three years ago, the impending warm weather months are reason enough to give your swim style an upgrade.

“One of the hardest things is buying for the Washington audience,” Sylvia’s Swimwear owner and buyer, Sylvia Bailey, says. Since the Pacific Northwest doesn’t get sun most of the year, our beach and pool culture isn’t as forward-thinking as that of California or Florida. “We tend to see trends come here about a year after we see the pieces at shows.”

    Much like most other Washington fashion, Bailey says most customers are looking for comfort and reliability versus the trendiest two-pieces. With that in mind, Bailey and her assistant buyer, Julie Busik, took a dive into this year’s hottest trends, how to wear them and even how to avoid bikini blunders when it comes to choosing your style and print.


For the fashion-forward

For those unafraid to wear interesting shapes, sizes and pieces in the name of fashion and trendiness, this year’s swimsuits took a note from daywear styles. Just like on the runways and in most trendy stores, velvet is making an appearance in swimwear.

    “Though it might not be the most reasonable swimming option, it can make for a cute laying out and to-and-from-the-beach outfit with a pair of shorts,” Busik says.

Other runway looks this season included earth tones and pastels, romantic florals and new, innovative cuts.

    Bailey’s big takeaways from the shows this year were tall triangle tops and what she calls, “back and front interest: you know, tons of straps going in different directions.”


For curves in all the right places

Sometimes it’s the ladies with the smallest waists who run into some swimsuit issues. If your chest or rear are larger, but you have a small midsection, finding suits to cover your curves and still fit snug around the waist can be a challenge.

    Both buyers suggest back-tie or “string” bikinis. Easily adjustable, a tie suit can go up to whatever size you need for coverage, but then be adjusted to fit your waist. All bikini pieces are usually sold separately too, so if your less curvy half is a completely different size, there’s no need to stress.


For the fitness-minded

As always, black is the biggest hit when it comes to fitness suits. If you spend a lot of time in pools, you want to look for tags with “100% polyester” for chlorine resistance.

    With water fitness becoming more popular each summer, designers are branching out a bit and adding florals to their regular black or blue basic suits.

For those who want more curves

“You get to have a lot more fun with styles,” Bailey says. Whereas most other body types are trying not to add more weight, girls who want to add the appearance of curves can play with modern styles in ways no one else can.

    The buyers at Sylvia’s Swimwear suggest sweetheart necklines, twist fronts, rouging, ruffles and suits with lines that dip in toward the waist to give the illusion of curves.


For thigh and hip coverage

“We mostly see this with moms,” Bailey explains. “Chasing little ones around the pool, having to bend over to pick them up, running around, you don’t need an added worry of bending over and exposing anything.”

    Good news for those who want a little more coverage: Swim skirts are coming back, and this time they’re a little lighter and a lot cuter. New, stylish swim skirts are shorter and land right at the bottom of where a normal bathing suit would. They also look more like tennis skirts now as opposed to the old-fashioned skorts they used to be.

    Boy shorts are also making a comeback with a lot of the same: shorter, cuter and now built for style as well as comfort.


For those who want a miracle

The most popular and well known of all suits: The Miraclesuit. Originally designed for “apple-shaped” women, Miraclesuits are worn across the board. Women of all ages, sizes and shapes who come to Sylvia for styling advice, ask to try one on. On average, they can make most women look 10 pounds thinner.

    “They really are a staple,” Bailey says. “Some women come in, know exactly what they want and are just visiting to get it in another color. They won’t even look at another suit.


    “It’s all about what you’re going to be comfortable in. Whether it’s stylish or the exact look you were going for, I ask everyone the same thing: ‘Forget about everyone else, are you going to be comfortable putting on this suit and spending a day at the beach in it?’ That’s it.”

→ For more information, please visit

« BACK | PAGE: 1

Comments Closed

Bellevue North Shopping Center

Gordon James Fine Diamonds