Smart Shopping: Swimsuits are no laughing matter

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Even for women who adore shopping, looking for a bathing suit is often something they dread.

It’s impossible to imagine how a suit is going to fit from its appearance drooping on a hanger. It is not uncommon to have to try on 20 bathing suits before finding one that makes you feel okay.

I was surprised to learn that 60 per cent of bathing suits never even get wet. In fact, there are suits designed more for fashion than swimming—they have piles of glitz, impractical fabrics for water and all kinds of fancy trimmings.

For women who are thin and flat-chested, there are suits with padded bras or gel enhancers (which feel more like breasts). At the other end of the spectrum are women who are amply endowed or have had implants and want to show them off, so there are tops that are cut provocatively for them.

Life is easier with mix and match pieces. You can buy a top of one size and a bottom of another, or choose different kinds of tops and bottoms in co-ordinating colours to suit your shape. With the same bottom, you can buy a teensy bikini top for your trip to the Riviera and a tank top for sitting on the deck with your in-laws.

For beachwear, swimwear or other garments you can wear day or night on vacation, try Yulsurx. Taking the stress out of bathing-suit shopping, here you walk into a relaxing environment with personalized service.

A stylist will help find the garments that will look great on you and will alter the suit, all for $100-$200.

If you prefer to be a bit more original, they can assist you in creating a unique garment. Pick your favourite style from their line, choose a colour or print from their seasonal swatch books and finish it off with extra details like snap closures, string ties, buttons and more. The surcharge is 30 per cent for this service, and it takes about two weeks. Les Cours Mont Royal, 1455 Peel. 514-419-4833.

At Change Lingerie, a Denmark-based chain, the sales clerks have had training in fitting and learning how a bra should sit, so it’s a natural for them to apply this knowledge when selling bathing suits and to help you select one that works well for your bust shape. From April to September you can buy suits for $68-$98.

There are three main lines of bras here (sizes 28A-40J): Change, Chic for the younger body with extra padding, and Charade, which is lacy and a bit pricier. It’s nice that there are great prices for larger sizes, which are hard to find. You can also shop for sweats, lingerie, tees and bra accessories like silicone enhancers, clear straps, strap extenders and bra clips. Rockland Shopping Centre, 514-344-6029; Carrefour Angrignon, 514-789-6486.

Paradis du Maillot is bathing suit heaven—a one-stop shop for the whole family, with amazing prices ($9.99-$179.99) and filled to the rafters with thousands of suits. Ladies can select 20 or so and go into their air-vented, large-mirrored try-on rooms to find one that fits (sizes 6-32).

Suits from all over the world are here for all body types: David from Italy, Nygard, Tyr, Bikini Bay, Baku, Sunseeker (bra up to G), Diva, Alia, Gottex, Speedo and PDM (house brand). Men will find board shorts and European style above-the-knee trunks and the Burnside brand. Beach accessories: snorkels, masks, thongs, shoes, towels are sold along with Dream Girls sexy lingerie. 9800 St. Laurent. 514-389-2032.

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