Interview with Suzanne Bryant of Lands' End

Crystal Schwanke
Women's Polka Dot Floral Enhancing V-Neck SwimShape Separates
Women's Polka Dot Floral Enhancing V-Neck SwimShape Separates

If you've ever gotten worn out and frustrated while looking for a swimsuit that plays up your assets and minimizes your trouble zones, you'll love Lands' End's way of shopping. LoveToKnow Swimsuits had the opportunity to speak with Suzanne Bryant, Vice President of Design for Lands' End, about how to choose the right swimsuit for your body type. Their system makes it easy to shop quickly and effortlessly weed out the suits that won't be right for you.

Disguise Your Flaws, Emphasize Your Assets

LTK: Is there a one-style-fits-all type of swimsuit that almost any woman can somewhat comfortably purchase online?

SB: If there was one suit I would suggest, it would be a tankini silhouette, since it provides the opportunity to mix and match the bottom and the top. Most women appreciate the freedom on a two-piece swimsuit with the coverage of a one-piece suit.

LTK: A lot of times, swimsuit shopping comes with a huge case of anxiety about the "problem areas". Which suits can really play up a woman's favorite features?

SB: When it comes to enhancing a neck and bust area, the strategy is to look for flattering styles like a halter or V-neck silhouette. A halter neckline is very flattering and narrows wide shoulders; [it] also frames the face. A V-neckline is also flattering and creates the illusion of vertical lines to also frame the shoulders and face. Some swimsuits to consider include the Lands' End Capri Coral Reef Gathered Swim Top, SwimShape Enhancing V-neck Swimsuit or TrimLine Flounce Tank Swimsuit.

The strategy for creating a great looking bottom with the appearance of longer legs is to choose a suit with a #2 leg opening that will instantly lengthen legs. Side-tie bottoms are also great for adjusting the leg openings to a desired height. Some options to consider include the Lands' End Beach Living Adjustable Side-tie Bottoms, Isabela Bikini or the AquaTerra Stripe Bikini.

Finding the Perfect Fit

LTK: Do you have any other tips for getting the perfect style and fit for your body type?

SB: Take swimwear measurements. Women are still trying to translate jean, bra and underwear sizes into swimwear sizing, but here's how to take proper measurements before searching out perfect swimsuits.

Measurements

  • Torso: For the crucial torso measurement, run a tape measure diagonally across your body starting at the top of your shoulder, down your body between your legs and back around to meet the tape at your shoulder.
  • Bust: With arms relaxed at your sides, measure the fullest part of your bust while keeping the tape measure parallel to the floor.
  • Waist: Measure around your waist, while in your underwear, at the narrowest point. Add a half inch for comfort.
  • Hips: Stand with your heels together and measure around the fullest part of your hips while keeping the tape parallel to the floor.

Know Your Body Shape

One of the most proven swimwear shopping tools has been the shape icons. Women should select the swimsuit that best fits and flatters, and they can shop by shape.

Rectangle: This shape has a balanced hip and shoulders measurement, yet no defined waistline.

  • Pay attention to special detailing and patterns that define the waist such as shirring or a flattering pattern.
  • Look for a slenderizing suit with tummy control to shape the midsection.
  • Princess seams help define middles.
  • The key is to create a feminine shape.

Triangle: With this shape, the hips are wider than shoulders and/or bust.

  • Remember that darker shades on the bottom help visually minimize, while lighter shades on top will draw the eye upward.
  • Create a fuller look for a small bust with a halter-style swim top.
  • Look for suits with padding or additional support on top.
  • Shop for suits with attention-getting details at the neckline such as embellishments, trims and hardware.
  • Try a swimsuit with wider straps that broaden the shoulders and help hips look narrower.

Inverted Triangle: The shoulders and/or bust are wider than hips.

  • Try a swimsuit with a skirt to add more shape to your lower half.
  • Look for a swimsuit that offers great support and coverage. Suits that offer bra options will prove a better fit.
  • Choose a swimsuit with a wide, square neckline to create the illusion of narrower shoulders.
  • The back of a swimsuit is just as important. Shop for swimsuits that offer straps in the back for support; u-neck and crisscross straps work well.

Star: This is a proportioned body with balanced shoulders and hips. Lands' End designates swimsuits with a star that are designed to flatter all shapes.

  • Look for suit separates that offer mix-and-match options for a flattering fit and the freedom to put different styles together.
  • Consider a one piece tank style that provides coverage and comfort in a fun all-over print.
  • Look for suits that have a built-in bra for added bust support and comfort.
  • Suits with adjustable leg heights and necklines are perfect for a just-right fit.

Shopping for a Lands' End Swimsuit

LTK: Tell us about Lands' End's Swim Resource Guide (formerly known as the Mix & Match Viewer).

SB: What's great about this tool is that women can see multiple combinations of different tops and bottoms in alternating styles and colors while viewing them all on one screen versus the old method of either clicking back and forth or opening multiple screens.

LTK: How were the regular sizes altered to better fit petites, tall and plus size women?

SB: Lands' End takes a favorite swim style and actually changes the pattern to better fit the proportions of a plus size or even a mastectomy style. A great fitting swimsuit needs to be proportioned correctly, and special details are also considered to provide a better fit, a more flattering look and address fit challenges.

Mastectomy styles are outfitted with a special soft cup bra with prosthesis pockets. We also raise the arm holes and necklines to provide more coverage to conceal possible scars and provide a more secure fit.

Plus size swimsuits are often altered with more supportive necklines and straps to offer more bust support and coverage.

When it's time to shop, get help by:

The right style and the proper fit can help you have a flattering swimsuit to keep you looking great all season long.

Interview with Suzanne Bryant of Lands' End