“This bikini made me a success.” —Ursula Andress
Outside of the world-famous Bond girl, who can say this? Perhaps a few local designers and bikini shops can. Like the one I’ve had a crush on since it arrived on the scene:
SRF | CTY (surforcity.com)
What’s to love: Pretty, sweet and flirty bikinis for the youthful girl — think teens and 20s. SRF | CTY owner Caroline Saunders has carried Maaji swimsuits since the day she opened her store (formerly a retail location in St. Petersburg but now online), and she says the brand has really taken off in the last year. They shine on so many levels. Check this out:
• For each suit purchased (and registered) the Colombian-based Maaji will plant a tree.
• Maaji lines its suits with fabrics left over from previous collections — making them reversible and great for mixing and matching.
“They have been mixing prints and patterns since forever,” Caroline says. “The bikinis have a novelty feel so they are ‘cutesyish,’ but the cut and uber-girly vibe make them super sexy.”
Look out for: A SRF | CTY swimwear collection coming soon and a new blog called “Heliophiles,” which will feature “bikini-laden sun-obsessed adventures in coastal towns,” Caroline says.
Something for the boys (and for the girls who dress their boys in hot swimsuits):
Urban Body Clothing (711 S. Howard Ave., Tampa)
To die for: That guy, over at left. Upon seeing his picture, I thought, “What? This article needs words, too? Doesn’t his presence on the page say it all?” In any case, I’ve asked Urban Body Clothing owner Scott Moore to deliver more Intel on men’s swimwear trends:
*Originating with the surfing community beginning in the 1970s, board shorts became the style of choice. The dominance of the boards is being encroached upon by that other seaside sport: beach volleyball. Volley shorts and swim trunks, which have elastic waistbands, have exploded onto the scene in Los Angeles. They are comfortable as well as stylish.
• If you are a board short kind of guy, you’ll be seeing shorter boards. Gone are the days of the 14-inch, below-the-knee variety. They have given way to 9-inch (just above the knee) and 7-inch mid-thigh cuts. Active guys get a greater range of motion from the higher cuts. Nylon has been replaced by lighter weight, quick dry materials like microfiber and Lycra.
• The belted swimsuit is back. These suits reflect the glamour of 1950s Hollywood when movie stars lounged around the pool at the Chateau Marmont. We think the belts look especially dapper on classic plaid swimsuits.
What else to shop for: Great fedoras, handsome shorts and jeans, cool T’s and inspired dress shirts.
• Shape your look with shape-appropriate swimwear.
• Time to cut those long locks in favor of something super cool for summer?
• Use sunscreen that actually blocks out the harmful rays. Hint: That spray-on stuff isn’t it.
• Cover up with a colorful pareo (wraparound skirt).
• If you want to editorialize your look, add some glamorous shades, chunky or layered tribal jewelry and high heels. That’ll make a splash.
Gender essentialism. Thumbs down.
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