Friday, March 14, 2008



It's that time of year again, lovelies. Summon your courage and your credit card and get ready to shop for this year's two-piece of choice!

As a foreword, I must explain that I am really not a fan of the maillot, the swimskirt, or the tankini. These types of suits are an insult to our intelligence. They do not “hide” anything; instead, they call attention to the fact that a woman is uncomfortable appearing nearly nude on a beach. The way a gal looks her best on the deck of a yacht is by wearing CONFIDENCE, not a matronly suit. Bikinis ARE your friend. Here’s how to wear them, even if you are not a Size 2 [and please don’t complain to me about your cellulite; that is why God invented Clarins bronzer and Alexander McQueen kimonos].

Rules of the Pool:

1) Make sure that both pieces of your fabulous ensemble fit. The best way to ensure that you won’t appear on Glamour’s Fashion Don’ts Page is to purchase ONLY ADJUSTABLE pieces. The most flattering bottoms are side tie. And it doesn’t have to be a string, ladies. Fear not! There are some lovely O-ring suits that have a cravat on one side of the bottom piece (see Rosa Cha suit at left, available at A side tie at the top of the leg is a godsend for a number of reasons. First, you are drawing attention to your curves – guys dig that. Your hip is DEAD SEXY, so why not add a little flourish? Second, and even more important: with an adjustable bottom, you will NEVER risk that unsightly bulge. Furthermore, you will never be uncomfortable! There is no sin worse on the beach than a pinching, squeezing bikini bottom that is riding up and needs to be picked at, stared at, and discussed incessantly.
Caveat: The only exception to the SIDE TIE ONLY Rule is the Boyshort. If you really feel that this style flatters your body type, go for it.

2) When it comes to bikini tops, the same wisdom involved in the search for the perfect bra applies here. Know your body. If you are well-endowed, you need something that is going to hoist those puppies sky high. And I don’t mean a push-up. Padding on the beach should be banned. Girls with a C-cup or bigger should opt for a halter style suit or a triangle top. If you are lucky enough to have small and/or perky breasts, please wear a bandeau!! [See J. Crew polka dot bikini, below right]. They are incredibly flattering! Nothing draws attention to a small chest like two tiny little triangles of fabric. Be kind to yourself and flatter your petite frame! J. Crew makes wonderful tops for the A and B set (thought they have also branched out to include a few suits for Ds)!

3) Learn how to walk. When you are strutting down the beach, pretend you are at a photo shoot. Sway your hips, stand up straight, feel like the belle of the ball, and it will add instant hotness points to your look. Likewise, when you are exiting the surf, walk on tiptoe, as if you are wearing an invisible pair of Manolos. Make it look effortless, even if you are totally self-conscious. Pride is sexy! And for Pete’s sake, don’t pick your wedgie until you are safely back at your towel. It is far more unsightly to wrestle with your suit than it is to have a tiny bit of flesh exposed on the pilgrimage back to the umbrella-shaded beach chair.

Finally, if you insist on wearing a one-piece, may I suggest a suit cut high on the thigh, to elongate the leg. Also, if you are uncomfortable with your midsection (or even if you aren't!), ruching hides a multitude of flaws. Third, if your decollete is worthy, look for something low cut in front, perhaps coming to a "V" (much more flattering than the traditional scoop neck).

For an exhaustive list of the best bikini designers and purveyors, and for more runway hits from the Spring and Resort 2008 Collections, refer to the left-hand column of CoutureCarrie!! Also, you can rely on your favorite makers of lingerie for bikinis. See, for example, the fabulous red number by Huit at the top of today's post, available at].

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