Tuesday 24 April 2018

The right fit - swimwear from lingerie brands


Silk cover-up, €182, Gottex. Bikini top, €63; bikini brief, €47, both Calvin Klein
Silk cover-up, €182, Gottex. Bikini top, €63; bikini brief, €47, both Calvin Klein
Swimsuit, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, €119

'For us, it's always about fit. So we favour the lingerie brands, as they have the whole fit experience," explains Arnotts' Lingerie and Swimwear Buyer Rachelle Hanley. It makes sense that when you go out in public with the least amount of clothes, what you wear offers the most inbuilt support possible.

Arnotts now stocks 14 swimwear brands, with a focus on lines that come from lingerie brands. "You know when you go for one of these brands that it's based on some of their best-fitting lingerie pieces. So it's going to have that support." Rachelle says.

So far this season, the average swimwear customer in Arnotts has been a 34G. They offer a cup size of up to double H, and backs on bikinis from 30-42. Swim brands from a lingerie label - such as Maison Lejaby, which launched in store last month; Chantelle, new for this season; and Pitusa - will also be strong on hidden supportive details. These include control features in the stomach area; subtle elastane panels at the bust; and ruching across the tummy.

Functionality and fit are of paramount importance, but increasingly, says Rachelle, people also prioritise a definite separate holiday wardrobe, and will invest in good non-swim pieces, such as kaftans, to wear when they are not actually on the beach.

"When it comes to kaftans, our customers are looking for something that is day to evening," Rachelle explains. "Natural fabrics, lightweight cottons and linens are preferred. Something that is easy to wear, that you can throw on a necklace or a belt with, and suddenly you can wear it to the bar."

While white is a favourite shade for kaftans, colour is huge. "The real difference between our customer who buys lingerie versus swim, is that in swimwear she loves bright colours," says Rachelle. "The brighter, and the bolder the print, the better. It's almost like looking at the product makes you feel like you're on holiday."

Traditionally the bikini would have been favoured by a younger customer and the swimsuit a somewhat older one, but that divide is disappearing, as younger customers prioritise stand-out pieces. "I'm finding the younger customer is not as keen about tanning; they're not that bothered," explains Rachelle. "They're going for more statement pieces rather than worrying about tan lines."

Photography by Alex Hutchinson

Styling by Courtney Smith

Words by Liadan Hynes

Fashion edited by Constance Harris

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