Monday, June 11, 2012

Albion Makes Vintage Swimwear Smart

One of my friends recently pointed me to a survey article about swimwear for women by Marie Claire and asked me if it was true. She wanted to know if most men dislike some new swimwear designs.

Mostly, I told her. While designers try hard to keep swimwear fashionable, the standard bikini and some standard one-piece swimsuits beat out the other cuts. Not nearly as many are that excited about the monokini (a one-piece with the sides cut out) or tankini (swim shirt top with bikini bottom). String bikinis are always dependent on who wears them. And retro cuts depend completely on the designer.

There are always some exceptions. The new Stardust Inn swim collection by Albion Fit is one of them. Fit did something smart for Albion swimwear, adding retro/vintage stylings to more standard cuts.

The Stardust Inn collection swims in with great design elements. 

Not everything in the collection is perfect, but there are several designs that stand out, including the Cabana (featured above). It carries some retro pinup styling with its knotted bodice and ruffled skirt. It was designed for women with narrower hips (longer torso) and smaller bust sizes (although there is an underwire).

That is something women always want to keep in mind when they shop for any swimwear. One style does not fit all. In this case, the order one size up too. The suit was designed to be worn loose, not tight.

The Stardust Inn collection from Albion does a good job taking various body shapes into consideration. The Maraschino started as a standard red one-piece, but then Albion added a ruffle detail above the bodice. It's remarkably simple but still carries a vintage feel.

Like the Cabana, it includes cross-back straps, which help minimize them from cutting into the shoulders. Not everyone likes the look, but it does add some comfort. The Maraschino also has some modest ruching effect around the waist.

The ruching actually does two things for the suit. It helps out the waist, and also reduces the number of times that women have to tug the bottom of their swimsuit down.

The Sweet Spot, named after the dot print reminiscent of the 50s, adds a waist defining tie-sash across the middle. It's a better solution for women with fuller busts, but do be careful when considering the waistline.

The sash works two-fold. It can provide some definition to the waist, covering up a minor paunch. But if the paunch is more than minor, some women might inadvertently draw more, not less, attention to it.

All three swimsuits (the entire collection, in fact), are made with 90 percent nylon and 10 percent Spandex, which means there is some (but not a lot) of stretch. The care for each suit is minimal. Hand wash in cold and then lay flat to dry.

There are other styles and cuts, but these three provide a pretty good cross section of what to expect. If the Cabana knot doesn't strike a chord, for example, maybe Quiet Stars (with a bow in back) will. The collection also has dramatically different cuts, including several tankini-style suits and coverups.

A few helpful tips before picking out any swimwear. 

There are plenty of variations that can change how women might wear swimwear, which is why it is more difficult for women to shop for swimwear. But there are some universal ideas that seem to hold true.

One-piece swimsuits and some high-waisted retro swimsuits will generally hide the waist. This is one of the reasons most guys aren't excited about the tankini cuts. While tankinis and monokinis work for girls who want to distract from their busts or hips, it's also the place most guys are least interested in looking.

For smaller busted women, the general rule of thumb is that halter tops, tie-fronts, knots, bows, and bandeau tops all draw more attention to the bust and help fill it out. For larger busted women, the straight cut tops tend to work best. Board shorts simply help women with a larger bust and narrower hips achieve an hourglass shape.

The Stardust Collection By Albion Swims 8.6 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

Women who want men to notice their swimwear might want to know that how they wear it makes an immediate impression (more than the suit). This was one of the reasons the Marie Claire survey was stacked. At a glance, the standard bikini scored 93 percent, the one-piece 65 percent, and the monokini crashed at 22 percent. Many retro styles didn't do well either, but they weren't designed by Albion.

The Stardust Collection can be found exclusively at Shabby Apple. Styles range from $48 to $108, with the majority around $88. Again, the reason they work is because Albion has added some flair to the otherwise unexciting one-piece and I think that's cool. For alternative styles, such as a standard bikini, check for new styles coming in at Bebe.
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