FBP Swimsuit Issue, Part Two: Fit Tips From Rod Beattie, America's Best-Selling Swimwear Designer
While it may seem like a shameless plug to feature one of your all-time BFFs on your blog, in the case of Rod Beattie, I think it's appropriate. As America’s best-selling swimwear designer (according to NPD, the official tracking service for such matters), he's got fit tips galore for all you fashion-conscious FBP-ers.
I recently visited LA for swim legend Anne Cole’s memorial service, and stayed with Rod, who was chief designer of her line circa 1993-98, and currently helms his eponymous swimwear line Bleu | Rod Beattie. You may also recognize his name from two previous gigs at La Blanca. The guy's really prolific; you'll find his suits at virtually every top department and swimwear specialty store in Florida.
At his studio, FBP got a preview of next season’s stunning line while scoring a top secret newsflash: Rod is collaborating with one of the Sunshine State's most iconic fashion labels on its new women’s swimwear collection - Lilly Pulitzer. It's super cute and wearable.
Rod designs gorgeous suits that fit and flatter, with sizes ranging 4-14. (I'm packing the stunner above for an upcoming trip to Jamaica.) One of the most important fit factors is his model. Now ladies, when you hear 'swimsuit model,' your minds may jump to Christie, Elle, Chrissy and Adriana. But fit models are different than the gals you’ll see in the women’s magazines this May.
A fit model looks like one of us. In Rod’s studio, she’s a mother of two, with a normal tummy (no six-pack abs here) and other relatable body issues. Her expertise lies in communicating exactly how a suit fits - or doesn’t - so the pattern can be modified.
What does this mean to you? For starters, a more accurate fit at any size, because the pattern is graded up and down from her size 6 body. In addition to his sumptuous color palette and yummy feel-good Lycra-based fabrics, Rod's selection of fit model is a key reason his suits sell. You won’t pull and tug - or fall out - because your suit fits correctly.
As an added bonus, finding the right suit will make you look thinner. I suggest heading to one of Everything But Water’s 24 Florida stores, where there’s a great Bleu | Rod Beattie selection. Those ladies know how to fit suits. (Though I do think they should serve wine or cocktails during the try-on process.) But politely demure if they try to get you into a tankini. You’ve heard FBP's thoughts on this matter previously: If you’re keen on a two-piece, make it a bikini.
Fit Tips From
1. Start with your numerical dress size, not SML. If it feels a bit roomy anywhere, try one size smaller. (Extra fabric just makes you look bigger - that applies to most clothing too.) Remember, different design labels have different fit models, so don’t get stuck on a number.
2. Focus on the neckline and go low. A halter or wide V (like the suit shown here) flatters the bustline, while drawing the eye away from your tummy. It also balances the hip and thighs, elongating the body, making you look thinner.
3. Consider a scooped-out back, too. This generally makes your derriere appear smaller. If, ahem, this happens to be a concern of yours...
4. Keep the cheekiness in check. A bit of exposure is cute, but not more than one inch on each side. Try to keep it classy, ladies.
5. Ditch the padding if you don't need it. True confession: I'm really busty so I gently remove the molded cups in Rod’s suits. If you'd like to do likewise, just be careful you don't damage the lining while you're performing surgery.
And on that bountiful note, let's wrap up with this cute shot of Rod in his studio. Awww...