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This year’s popular swimsuits are less bare, more functional |

This year’s popular swimsuits are less bare, more functional

| Saturday, May 25, 2002 12:00 a.m

So long, string bikini.

The flesh-baring days of summers past are over.

These days, even the shapeliest of women are requesting more from a bathing suit. This year the beaches will be covered with tankinis, camkinis, boy shorts and one-piece suits.

Kristina Coleman, fashion editor for Shape Magazine, said the cover-up trend in swimwear is in demand by women of all figure types, but it is especially great for women who may be a little self-conscious about their slightly less than perfect tummies and bottoms.

“There’s a lot of string bikini alternatives out there. There’s the peasant tops and tanks for people who are self-conscience about their stomach and there are still many variations of boy shorts,” Coleman said. She’s quick to point out that although the stretchy, short-short bottoms paired with a bikini top provide more coverage, they don’t always look great on every figure. For those uncomfortable about their bottoms, she suggests wearing a sarong. “The wrap or sarong is so versatile and serves such a great purpose. It looks nice with a full-piece suit and it looks great with a bikini,” she said.

Although the rest of the world is getting away with showing more and more flesh, Coleman said a return to the one-piece suit will be hot this year. Tankinis, a stretchy tank top paired with matching bottoms, camkinis, a slightly shorter version of the tankini with a sports bra-shaped top and even swim shorts made from a water-resistant material worn with a bikini top, are also popular choices among women.

Designers are offering an array of bottoms to flatter every figure: athletic briefs that hit right below the belly button and one-piece suits connected by netting in the midsection to give the illusion of a two-piece suit.

Coleman said the more-coverage approach stems from the fact that designers are finally figuring out that most women don’t look like supermodels and, in fact, need some extra coverage here and there. And those designers are finally seeing women for the active souls they are. A rise in rollerblading, beach volleyball and other activities while in the suit calls for a little more material that stays in place.

“I definitely think that people want a suit that is functional, fashionable and that they can sunbathe in,” Coleman said. “A lot of people want items that are multifunctional. Like the bandeau top with detachable halter straps. It stays in place for activities and then you can take the straps off for sunbathing. Or like the sarong. It can take you from sunbathing in a bikini to covering up during a walk.”

She said picking the right suit is extremely important to women, especially since some women spend most of the summer in them. “The bathing suit is a huge market. People need them all summer long. They need them to sunbathe in, to go on vacation and to swim.”

Coleman said expect to see a lot of prints in swimwear fashion again this year, with the palm print still the most popular.

“There will be really happy, fun, great colors in swimwear this year,” she said. “There will also be a lot of gathering details where you can cinch it up and adjust the size, adjust the shearing at the bottom to make it shorter or you can make it wider in the hips or narrower in the back. The swimsuit is just basically becoming more and more multifunctional.”

To suit you

Baltex offers the following helpful hints when selecting a swimsuit:

  • Before hitting the stores, find all the latest trends and preselect your favorite styles.

  • Go shopping on a day when you’re feeling great. It’s better to be in a good mood before facing those dreaded florescent dressing room lights.

  • Allow plenty of time. You may have to try more than 15 different swimsuits before finding the perfect suit.

  • Avoid busy shopping periods. The best time to go is in the morning when stores are less crowded.

  • Bring along a friend who can offer honest advice on how each swimsuit fits and help you make the right choice.

    Tanning time

    You’ve found the perfect suit, but now you’re dealing with that pasty white skin you’ve been covering up all winter. Get a jump on that summer tan with a self-tanner. Shape Magazine revealed in the May issue the 10 best self-tanners (more than 60 were tested). The winners are:

  • Best All Around Body: Estee Lauder Sunless SuperTan Spray ($25;

  • Face: Elizabeth Arden Daily Bronzer Self-tanning Boost for the Face ($18.50; at department stores)

  • Best For Sensitive Skin: L’Oreal Ombrelle Sunless Tanning Cream for Faces SPF 15 ($9; at drugstores)

  • Most Natural: Aveda Sun Source ($16.50;

  • Best For Fair Skin: Clinique Self-Sun Body Quick Bronze Self-Tanner ($15.50;

  • Best Bargain Tan: Banana Boat Sunless Tanning Cream With Color Indicator ($7; at drugstores)

  • Best For Beginners: Lancome Soleil Flash Bronzer for Legs ($25;

  • Best Spray: Clarins Oil-Free Self-Tanning Instant Spray ($27;

  • Offers Most Protection: Murad Age Proof Self Tanner SPF 15 for Face & Body ($25;

  • Best Tinted Tanner: Neutrogena Instant Bronze Sunless Tanner & Bronzer in One ($10; at drugstores)

    Categories: News
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