The days of the floral, pleated and oversized swimsuits are over — and thank goodness for that

India is finally making the transition from frumpy to glam when it comes to hitting the beach, or the swimming pool. Trust us — if you are shaking mothballs off your swim wear, it is time to go shopping.

How do you do it right? We go to the experts. Swimsuits are body-specific and there are plenty of choices for you to find one that fits your body type and personality.

“The retro style high-waisted bikinis paired with bralets are in trend along with slashed cut-out trikinis,” say designers Shivan and Narresh best known for making Indian swimwear chic.

Talking of chic, we know you are asking, ‘What the heck is a trikini anyway? Well, it is basically three pieces of fabric put together to create an exotic design. Remember Rihanna's over-the-top leopard print one, or Parish Hilton's jazzy pink trikini and Kim Kardashian's...alright let us not even go there!

The good-old maillot (one piece) will see a huge revival and could play saviour for the modest lot. It is also time to say hello to yellow. “For spring summer ‘14, canary yellows paired with monochromes and corals paired with aqua tones will dominate the colour palette,” say the designer duo. Malaika Arora Khan, curator for The Closet Label website, says that while retro styles are taking over the runway and beaches, cut-out backs and sides, bandeau bikinis are in as well. “Look out for monochrome and colour-blocking, black of course is timeless and flattering.”

Though a majority of designer swimwear is not exactly pocket-friendly, it has not deterred people from splurging. “Younger women are a lot more style conscious today and experiment with the swimsuit even beyond the pool to wear it like a body suit with skirts, trousers and even as blouses with saris,” says Shivan.

An example of that would be their line of delicious bikini saris that they came up with, in 2011.

When Shivan and Narresh launched their brand in the country in 2010, the Indian swimwear luxury market was almost non-existent. There were only the run-of-the-mill patterns in staid black, blue, dull red and the occasional pink. Sports brands did their bit and added a limited collection to the racks which often got repeated for years like digestive cookies in a biscuit factory. “But now, there has been a tremendous change in mindset among women. This could be attributed to the growing number of Indians constantly travelling for holidays, destination weddings and honeymoons,” says Narresh. Though there are new designs evolving each season, there is still a percentage of people who are nervous about experimenting and obstinately hang on to their decade-old ‘swimming costumes’. The knee-length and arm-length ones are definitely headed for extinction, believe the experts. “Bikinis are always a safe option as it is a classic like a pair of blue jeans,” says Amit Hansraj, who has styled actors and Miss India contestants.

Oodles of confidence and a flattering figure are both important to carry off a bold design. Though not much can be done about the confidence, here’s a cheat code for those with figure concerns. “We have bikinis with the right amount of coverage, high-waist bottoms that suck the stomach in, and tankini tops that will work well. A bit of ruching around the waist also helps tuck in the tummy,” explains Malaika.

Shivan and Narresh suggest maillots with diagonal style lines and colour blocking to make the torso look leaner. A slightly higher cut around the sides gives an impression of longer legs than heavier hips. “Additionally, the use of draping at strategic areas of the body can camouflage problem areas. Always focus on accentuating the strengths of the body than hiding the flaws," is their word of wisdom.

Amit is concerned that women often wear the wrong size. “Do not keep tugging at what you are wearing. Constantly having to do that means the fit is not right.” Finally, accessorise for a dash of glamour. Amit recommends throwing on a sarong, printed tote, sunglasses, cuffs, shell jewellery (but not a neck piece), vibrant chappals and a turban.



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