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Solids And Patterns And Size, Oh My!

Navigating the perils of swimsuit shopping

Having survived the polar vortex that recently swept across our region, shopping for a swimsuit may not be at the top of our priority list. It is, however, a necessary evil that we all face from year to year. Whether you’re planning a warm-weather escape within the next couple of weeks or are counting down the days until summer, we’ve consulted local experts to bring you tips for purchasing the perfect swimsuit.

“Trend wise, we’re seeing a lot of earth tones [this year]. Vix is doing a whole tribal collection,” said Nicole Catanzano, manager of Manhasset boutique Inside the Armoire. “A lot of the one-pieces are doing classic silhouettes but with modern takes, so they have rosettes, they have hardware on them, they have V-necks. They’re just really flattering,” she added.

Cover-ups will also be big this season, according to Catanzano. Unlike traditional cover-ups, this year’s collection will have more transitional pieces. Not only will they complement swimsuits, they will also take women straight from the beach, to lunch or out shopping.  On-the-go women will appreciate the built-in shelf bras and lining that many new cover-ups sport.

To avoid a fashion faux pas and help you feel more comfortable, Inside the Armoire owner Karen Papadopoulos suggests the following tips:

1. Know Your Body Type - Be realistic about it. Younger girls have much firmer tissue, so they don’t necessarily need an underwire. Older women may not have that firm tissue, so they should consider underwire or a foam cup within the swimsuit to give them the support they need.

2. Curvy Vs. Athletic Bottom - Women who are petite and lack curves on the bottom should opt for a string bikini. They’re more flattering and can even make you look more curvaceous.  Conversely, women who have more of a pear shape should try a “fold-over” style.

3. Patterns Vs. Solids - If you’re a confident girl or are on the leaner side, go for a pattern. Fuller-figured women should stick to solid colors. While the suit may be monochromatic, seek designs that have draping fabric down the front or rouching on the front panel. Textured fabrics, V-necks, rosettes and ruffles are also flattering details.

4. Make Cover-Ups A Staple - Women of all shapes and sizes should select a cover-up that complements their swimsuit and can also double as a run-around-town dress. Caftans are huge this year and can be paired with a pair of jeans. Make cover-ups and caftans a bigger part of your wardrobe than just the beach.

5. Bandeaus Are Big - Literally - Bandeaus are not just for women with smaller tops anymore. Manufacturers like Vix offer bandeaus with built-in cups. Bandeaus are great for tanning, as women can avoid tan lines. Many bandeaus also come with straps, and when not tanning, women can simply put the straps back on.

Now onto men’s swimsuits. We consulted a representative from Vilebrequin, a Manhasset boutique that sells St. Tropez-inspired swimwear and beachwear for men and boys. While the store carries a beautiful and vast array of colors and patterns, men are limited to style and seem to be fine with that.

“We have different collections that come out twice a year with different patterns,” a store rep said. “We have two different styles — longer and shorter.” The shorter style represents the boutique’s classic cut, which most men opt for, regardless of age or size. “We show them what’s out, the newest prints, and people usually know what they like, whether it’s a more conservative print or a solid or something more colorful, and then we point them in that direction.”

Whether you choose a one-piece or a two-piece, a print or a solid, short or long trunks, they key is to feel comfortable in your own skin when you suit up.