By Amy Tara Koch
Moms detest bathing suit season. And, for good reason! Twenty-something, size two women have no problem wriggling into a teeny, weeny bikini. But for real women - those with lumps, bumps and other unsightly bulges - there is an inimitable sense of dread attached to swimsuit hunting. Some good news? The right swimsuit and thoughtful styling can make you look thinner, taller and glamorous.
CONCERN: Not looking like a beached whale.
TIP: For a pregnant woman, a darker color suit absorbs light and is the most slimming.
As most pregnant women will tell you, covering stretch marks and not being mistaken for a beached whale are chief concerns. A good maternity swimsuit is hard to find. They are often itchy and frumpifying. The Isabella Oliver tankini is super stylish, comfortable and created with non-dulling luxe fabric that allows maximum stretch in all of the right places. The neckline elongates her neck and the ruching along the sides flatters her curves and compresses muffin top. The bust is triple layered with a built in "shelf bra" for maximum support.
Colorful candy colored enamel bangles are a fun foil to the neutral suit. A giant wide brim hat is the glammifying Piece de resistance.
ISABELLA OLIVER, Maternity Tankini, $109, www.isabellaoliver.com
ZINGARA, Marie Paulle Hat, $39
DR. SCHOLL'S from PIPERLIME, Wood Sandal, $49
TINLEY ROAD from PIPERLIME, Coral Ring, $22
KENNETH JAY LANE, 3 enamel studded bracelets, $60 each
SEQUIN NEW YORK, Starfish earrings, $28
MICHAEL STARS, from PIPERLIME Calypso tote, $85
PIN UP MOM
CONCERN: Camouflaging the baby blubber
TIP: Don't be afraid to mix patterns and colors!
Great news for moms! Retro 50s style swimsuits are the rage. Old school style Rita Hayworth style suit flatters curves and emphasizes the decolletage. A strategically placed thigh-length cover up makes all of the difference in a mom's confidence level. Don't be afraid to mix patterns and colors with an oversized printed beach bag. Heels - like an espadrille - always make a woman look longer and leaner. The whimsical wayfarer type sunglasses by Target are the perfect add on to this look.
BODEN, Retro Swimsuit, $68, www.bodenusa.com/
ZINGARA, Bahia Blouse, $69
CALYPSO ST.BARTH FOR TARGET, Linen wedges, $29.99
SEQUIN NYC, Enamel Bangles $42, $34, $28
BODEN, Big Beach Bag, $68
TARGET, cat-eyed sunglasses, $12.99
CALYPSO ST.BARTH FOR TARGET, Tear drop hoops earrings, $14.99
CLASSIC WITH A TWIST
CONCERNS: Covering flabby "new mom" arms and belly
TIP: Create a long, lean silhouette with a minimal palette, neck grazing earrings and a heel.
For the new mom who is not having a love affair with her arms, stomach or thighs, it is all about channeling old Hollywood with an all black look; a dramatic one shoulder suit and diaphanous black blouson cover-up. Spanx has parlayed their compression technology into swimwear that is stunning and slimming. Expensive? Yes ... here's why. It is engineered with two-way premium jersey fabric with maximum compression that sucks in and flattens the gut, hips and rump into a flattering silhouette. Again, the cover up is key. This Spanx diaphanous cover up is dramatic and sexy, designed to strategically flounce over the lumps and bumps of a recent pregnancy.
Accessories look great. But, they are also powerful styling tools. Heels get women out of the dumps. Literally. Espadrilles work for the beach and for a night out on the town. And, to really capture that Jane Russell verve, she has a jangle of stacked bangles and some dramatic sunglasses. Look-at me hoops w/ coral drops with add a pop of color and bring the focal point to her face and away from her thighs.
SPANX, Basix one shoulder, $152, www.spanx.com
SPANX, Sheer Cover Up, $148 spanx.com
JESSICA SIMPSON from PIPERLIME, Jungle wedge, $69
TARGET, Coral bangle set, $29.99
CALYPSO ST BARTH FOR TARGET, Sequin Straw tote, $24.99
KENNETH JAY LANE, coin bracelet, $75
KENNETH JAY LANE, Coral hoop earrings, $25.99
MAMA WITH MOXIE
CONCERN: Stretch Marks
TIP: Think about your scarves as sarongs.
Graphic prints are a huge trend for spring and summer. Uruguayan company Zingara offers a selection of swim suits are sexy and utilitarian. The best part? The tops and bottoms are sold separately so women with chests that do not "match" the corresponding bottom size can select what works best for their body type. For the woman who loves a bikini but has the unfortunate badge of pregnancy - stretchmarks - dancing across her belly, confidence can be had in the form of a strategically placed sarong. Drape an oversized scarf or sarong around the midriff and you've got a splendid headed-to-St. Barts look.
Again, the accessories are what elevate the look. Island fab gold disc earrings add light to the face .Effortlessly stacked bangles on both wrists are absolutely on trend.
ZINGARA's Medusa Bikini: Asymmetric one-shoulder top: $119, Seamless bottom: $79, www.zingaraswimwear.com
SIR ALLISTAIR RAI, Mantra Yellow Scarf (used as sarong), $98
KENNETH JAY LANE, Gold Coin Earrings, $39
TARGET, Xhilaration Turquoise watch, $12.99
TARGET, Merona Emeline Braided Barefoot sandals, $15
SEQUIN NEW YORK, enamel bangle, $38 sequin-nyc.com
HOUSE OF HARLOW from PIPERLIME, Plated wrap ring, $30LAID BACK LUXE
CONCERN: Hiding a big butt
TIP: Look 10 pounds lighter in 10 seconds with compression swimwear.
Many moms struggle losing the last 10 pounds of baby weight. To address this frustration, Miraclesuit took the slimming technology from their hit clothing line and applied it to bathing suits. Their tag line, "Look 10 pounds lighter in 10 seconds," is no joke. The suits whittle the waist and firm the entire midsection giving a flattering hourglass figure. The ruffles draw the eye down emphasizing the nipped in waistline. The cover up looks effortlessly tossed. But, in fact, it plays crucial role camouflaging what we lovingly refer to as baby blubber. Long earrings emphasize the neck and decolletage. A dramatic SPF-infused sunhat offers protection and brings the focal point to the face, not the rump. Her other baubles are equally bold, stacked gold bangles, a gemstone ring and colorful fabric tote.
MIRACLESUIT, Flamenco in red, $146, miraclesuit.com
CALYPSO ST.BARTH FOR TARGET, Scarf (scarf as sarong), $19.99
SIR ALLISTAIR RAI, Peacock Bag, $48
COOLIBAR, Shapeable Poolside Sun Hat in black, $44
NINE WEST from PIPERLIME, Eyeful Heel, $85
LIA SOPHIA, Illusion bracelet, $56
Looking great and feeling confident in a swimsuit is all about the three C's: Construction, compression, cover-ups
Use neck-grazing earrings to elongate the neck and make your face a focal point.
Create an island chic vibe with a gold cuff or stacked bangles.
A cover-up is the style tool that masks a thousand flaws.
A subtle heel elongates the silhouette.
Amy Tara Koch is a style expert and author of "Bump it Up: Transform Your Pregnancy into the Ultimate Style Statement." She is known for her "five minute fixes," easy style solutions for busy women.
(c) 2011, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.