a bathing suit for us

anita 3I’ve been thinking about a “bathing suit for us” for two or three years now. In my mind I would design all kinds of possible variations—but I’m not a designer and my designs would just be filed away in the won’t happen file. Then I met Germaine DeNigris of Arkins, a young designer with talent, a collaborative spirit, and an open mind.

 

Who, I thought, would want to design for women over fifty? Who would want to design edgy, slow and ethical fashion for us?

 

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Germaine did! I was afraid maybe I’d overwhelmed her with my “enthusiasm” and detailed accounts of what was filed away in my won’t happen file, but we settled on that quintessential example of the kind of thing women our age want re-designed for us, the bathing suit. 

 

Germaine took the challenge on and told me it could happen.

 

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When I went for my first fitting I became almost silly with emotion. What Germaine had created was elegant and flattering. I went away feeling elated not just by the suit but also by the opportunity to work with Germaine. “Inter-generational collaboration” is a cold-sounding term, but that’s what Germaine and I engaged in, and it was a heart-warming experience!

 

I feel good, really good, about the possibilities for other young designers and women our age working together.

 

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I love the beach and being semi-clothed, but I’ve never particularly liked wearing bathing suits. Even when I was young, I found them to be uncomfortable. Bathing suits seem to dig into soft and tender parts; they scratch and ride up, or they get wet and slip down. And don’t let’s talk about sitting on the sand, or recreating that famous scene in From Here to Eternity.

This suit is extremely comfortable. Germaine has built a formfitting under-suit to the suit, made of the same soft, Jersey material as the top layer.

 

It doesn’t bind, it hugs and supports, gently. (It’s not like wearing wet Spanks.)

 

After pulling the outdoor shower chain and getting wet for the wet test (cold water, you’re welcome), I found that nothing stretched out terribly and the suit dried very quickly. In minutes, I was able to slip on the skirt you see in the second picture above, and it didn’t get wet.

I don’t need to tell you that not having to take off a wet, scratchy bathing suit that’s scrunching you in all the wrong places, just to get lunch on the boardwalk, is a big plus. If I wore white pants, I could imagine the suit under white jeans. I think the laced top is sexy without being too revealing. 

Ladies, we’ve covered your arms, belly, and thighs. You no longer have to settle for an improvised “suit” made up of shorts and sports bras or tank tops!

Just two other things about this suit that I love. First, it really can be worn by women of any age, absolutely. (To see how it looks on a younger woman go to the Arkins site.) Secondly, and most importantly, the suit is of recycled Italian-made fabric, sold through an Australian manufacturer: 100% regenerated nylon and polyester from post-consumer materials. 

 

Germaine has made you a sexy, functional, and customizable bathing suit.

 

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Please tell us what you think…  

Anita

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32 Comments

  • Laurie Oien says:

    Ooo la la! Love the style and it looks great on you. Funny, I just posted on my blog my experience of shopping for a swimsuit and how difficult it is for us midlife women. Pretty awesome that you found a designer to collaborate with you on your ideas.

    • Anita Irlen says:

      Laurie,

      I know, I read your post, it was funny and true. The reason I'm doing what I'm doing today: this blog, advocating for slow fashion, quality vs. quantity, and the needs and desires of women older than 40, 50 etc. is because of experiences like yours. There is good stuff out there to be bought. Yes, it often costs more but I've found that it’s always worth it. Also, and importantly, if we don't take care of the environment there will be no beach to go to. I suppose then we won't have to worry about bathing suits… But what about our kids and grandkids? What's cool is that there are people out there right now making clothes out of plastic bottles retrieved from the ocean. Yep, slow fashion is worth it. Thanks for the post and the comment.

  • Mari says:

    I think it’s brilliant! You look sexy and comfy in it. I like that there are different variations of it (Arkins site). I am having a hard time picturing this suit’s legs tucked into jeans and wonder about the weight. But all-in-all, brilliant!

    • Anita Irlen says:

      Mari,

      Total blogger mishap, very embarrassing, I meant to say the suit would look nice with a white skirt, not jeans. I’ve been thinking about white jeans a lot lately. I was delirious. But It would look great under a white skirt, right? 🙂 Going to edit now…

  • Delia says:

    Anita, I think it looks great on you, but would like to see it on other body types to see how it lays on the body. Also is there another color, perhaps a periwinkle blue or yellow for the fabric.

    Well done, and looking forward to seeing more collaboration.

    • Anita Irlen says:

      Delia,

      I do believe that it will lay nicely on most body types. The underlining, although incredibly comfortable, supports in a way that most linings in one pieces just don’t. Thanks for the feedback on colors. Who knows what happens next year? I would love to see a chocolate brown suit…

  • Haralee says:

    I love it! It looks great, sexy and functional for a real swim or a dash from a wave or bending forward with confidence.

  • Barbara Irlen says:

    Very glamorous and chic. And a great look with the hat and skirt! Great looking model, too!

  • penpen says:

    What a great looking suit–so practical but not in the least bit dumpy, as most of the suits for “us” are. thanks for making the effort. i hope it becomes available commercially.

    • Anita Irlen says:

      Penpen,

      It is available on line and also customizable! Just go here: https://shop-arkins.com. And if you purchase a suit, let me know how you like it. This was a labor of love, and I’m telling you honestly that it is the most comfortable bathing suit I have ever worn.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Do you know if the Australian manufacturer is releasing this swimsuit at home? I would love to try it!

    • Anita Irlen says:

      Elizabeth,

      The designer and actual maker of the suit is American and lives here in New York. It’s the fabric that is sold through an Australian company. If you go to this address https://shop-arkins.com and inquire, Germaine just might be able to send a suit to Australia… A little costly perhaps but worth it. Thanks for your interest! Cheers

  • Kate says:

    Love! Beautiful collaboration!

  • The bathing suit looks perfect on you. This is not a frumpy old lady suit.

    Great job:-)))

  • Juli says:

    I love that! How intriguing that covering up looks so…edgy and fashion forward!

  • Robyn says:

    It looks amazing! What a wonderful collaboration, ladies, big congratulations.
    How soon to the shops?

  • Esther Zimmer says:

    I was so excited to send this to a friend, that I forgot to leave a comment!

    Anita, the suit is amazing! I don’t know how you and Germaine did it, but together you’ve created a ‘cover-up’ suit that is also sexy. I love it!

    Esther xx

    PS It would also be perfect for active ladies who may not usually mind wearing bikinis or briefer suits, but need something with a bit more coverage for surfing and other water sports. Just a thought!

    • Anita Irlen says:

      Esther,

      It’s funny, the suit is retro in that it covers more in ways similar to the old fashioned one piece, but it’s also new in that it’s like the modern wetsuit looking swimsuits. And in the end, it’s also just a “romper.” I went swimming in it, for the first, time in the ocean yesterday. It’s as comfortable wet as it is dry. I hope your friend likes it. As always, thanks for your support. Anita xx

  • Barbara says:

    What a brilliant idea! It looks great on you but I’m not sure it would on my body type. I haven’t worn a bathing suit in years, and I live at the beach.
    b

    • Anita Irlen says:

      Barbara,

      I know you do, and I love the beach and this is why I had to do this. The suit can be customized: no sleeves, longer shorts etc. I’m pretty sure some variation will look good on most bodies. Germaine and I really wanted to make this for “everybody.” (Cape May, right?) Cheers

  • Jennifer says:

    I love this suit!! What a brilliant design.I need one!

  • This is awesome and I love your hat with it too!

  • Melanie says:

    I LOVE this suit! This is absolutely one of my favourite suits ever! I can’t stand suits that ride up on the bum or pinch and force me to slather sun block all over my shoulders, which are prone to burning, especially when I’m active in water. And the material looks lightweight.

    Thanks for showing this to us.

    • Anita Irlen says:

      Melanie,

      I’m so glad you do, and I hope you get yourself one, you will not be disappointed. BTW, I love your blog bagandberet.blogspot.com. Your style, exuberance, and sense of humor is contagious. Thanks for the comment. xx

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