One-piece swimsuits making a splash

One-piece swimsuits making a splash
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Hairstylist Hanan Khan, 47, has bought at least four one-piece swimsuits in the last few months.

She used to buy mainly bikinis, but recently found herself stocking up on one-pieces at Coral Secret, a swimwear store in Dempsey.

She says: "I love one-piece swimsuits because they are very flattering and they make you feel sexy, even when you're covered up."

One-piece swimsuits are having a moment. Gone are the days when the only options available were purely functional - think simple Arena and Speedo styles - or practical for women wanting to cover up flabby bits such as post- pregnancy tummies.

Designs are now a lot more fun and fashionable, featuring eye- catching prints; details such as mesh panels, frills and ruching; and styles that range from retro- inspired pieces to Bond girl glamour. Some can even be as revealing as bikinis, with cut-outs and plunging necklines or backs.

Swimwear stores here report an increase in the sale of one-piece suits, thanks to these new and trendier styles.

Australian swimwear brand Seafolly, which has outlets at Wisma Atria and Great World City and is stocked in Takashimaya department store, reports that of its top 10 best-selling items, seven are one-piece suits. One particular style, Mesh About, which has mesh details and a high neck, has been selling at about 10 pieces a week since its launch in April, says

Ms Gina Anstee, Seafolly's business development manager of Asia.

Similarly, swimwear store Ocean Paradise at Tanglin Mall has seen a 50 per cent increase in the sale of one-piece suits compared with two years ago.

Ms Nana Okada, its founder, says: "Traditionally, someone with an attractive figure would opt for a bikini, but now, with more stylish details in one-piece swimwear, such women also turn to the one-piece. It's no longer the simple, round-neck style that people associate with competitive swimwear brands such as Arena or Speedo. "

Ms Adi Shapira, vice-president of marketing for swimwear store Adisha Torre at Marina Bay Sands, says one-piece suits have always appealed to more conservative Singaporeans. "But in the last two years, we're seeing more fashionable styles that attract different types of customers and their popularity has grown. For example, there is now a higher percentage of lycra in the swimwear which helps with tummy control - great for new mothers."

A lot of these new styles incorporate fashion with functionality.

For example, mesh panels and cut-outs accentuate curves, attracting women with straight, boyish bodies. High-necked styles emphasise strong shoulders and can be sexy while allowing the wearer to remain covered up. Retro-inspired one-piece suits help create the illusion of a high waist.

Ms Anstee adds: "The new styles focus on being supportive and thus can be worn for medium-intensity watersports such as wakeboarding, unlike a bikini. People like designs that are practical and the new one-piece suits meet that demand."

Most retailers report that women who buy one-piece swimsuits range from 25 to 50 years old, although they have a few customers younger than 25.

Ms Mayva Oropeza, founder of Coral Secret, says: "The young girls who buy one-piece swimsuits are the ones looking to stand out, as their age group would usually turn to bikinis."

She has seen a 30 per cent growth in the sales of one-piece swimsuits, compared with last year.

Ms Okada says: "The one-piece swimsuit attracts women of all ages because when you wear it, you don't have to be afraid or insecure about your body. A bikini is much more revealing.

"At the same time, with the fresh, modern updates, you don't feel like an old granny at the beach either."

Cake decorator Karra Zee, 34, who likes her one-piece suits from Italian brand Missoni, agrees. "Swimwear designers are offering more modern, stylish options that are both fun and sophisticated to wear either on the beach or when lounging by the pool. I feel comfortable in a one-piece suit and it is flattering to my body type."

Ms Oropeza adds: "One-piece swimsuits are a must in every girl's wardrobe.

"It is comfortable, easy to wear and flattering for all women, as long as you choose the right one."

This article was first published on September 3, 2015.
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