the 3 worst aspects of swimsuit shopping


The Richards

Named for Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America since 2006 and daughter of former Texas governor Ann Richards.





There once was a woman sitting in a corporate meeting, looking at a Powerpoint presentation about cars, daydreaming. She noticed how the the body of the car was, really, just a body. That woman is Sarah Krasley, my new boss, mentor, student, co-worker, and friend.

Sarah likes to swim, is a feminist, is committed to diversity, loves a challenge, and believes that: 

The moment when you’re most naked in public, is not the moment to be an S, M, or L.

Because Sarah is also an engineer and designer, with a business degree, she took on one of the biggest challenges in the garment industry: the swimsuit. As we all know, one of the most challenging things about swimsuit shopping is… finding one that fits. Swimsuits are notoriously hard to engineer to fit. 

The Dornfeld

Named for Professor David Dornfeld, former head of University of California Berkeley’s Lab for Manufacturing & Sustainability, who mentored female mechanical engineering Ph.D’s at rates high above industry standards. 


Sarah figured that to have a swimsuit fit a woman well, it would have to be made specifically for her. Still, how to do it? Easier said than done. 

The Tucker

Named for Jill Tucker, fearless advocate for the people who sew our clothes. For two decades she has been shaking up the status quo in support of workers in the global apparel industry.



Because swimsuits are by their nature form-fitting, they have to be well designed and constructed to both look and feel right. There’s really no margin of error; your underwear can gape a little, not your swimsuit.

Sarah has built her own technology to be able to make precisely fitting, custom swimsuits.  

The Goswell 

Named for Rachel Goswell, front woman for the band, Slowdive. It just so happens Sarah once possessed the exact same hairstyle as Rachel. And it just so happens that we both recently met Rachel, when she came to meet the woman who named a swimsuit after her.


Another unpleasant, time consuming, and often demoralizing aspect of going swimsuit shopping is… trying them on. In order to address this issue, Sarah came up with a simple smartphone application to measure you precisely.

When you order an XSwimwear swimsuit, you get the app, which guides you through a short but thorough process. It’s actually quite fun, only takes about five minutes and entails 3 pictures and 10 measurements. 

The XSwimwear app also includes a handy sunscreen timer!     

The Kellerman

My favorite (my swimsuit), it’s named for Australian and professional swimmer, Annette Kellerman, and modeled after the one-piece she debuted way back in 1907. Thanks to her, we don’t swim in pantaloons.


What’s more confounding than facing a rack of palm-sized triangles, called a swimsuit? We all know that some of us want to cover this, others that. If I want sleeves to cover my burn-prone shoulders, why can’t I have them? If I want to show off my legs but cover my chest, why can’t I? Why can’t I have a swimsuit that really fits me? You can!

After sending your measurements via the application to XSwimwear, the magic happens.

The design software takes your measurements, builds a swimsuit, dresses an avatar mannequin in the swimsuit, analyzes the fit, adjusts if need be, and voilà, a custom swimsuit design, ready to be sewn in New York’s garment district. It is truly quite wonderful.

You receive your XSwimwear suit in the mail. The whole process takes about two weeks. Easy for you—several years of what Sarah admits has been an obsession for herself. You’re welcome!

Visit XSwimwear here.




  • Wow! This sound fabulous. I just sent a swimsuit back that I ordered online that didn’t fit right. Such a pain!

    • Anita Irlen says:

      Hi Cathy!

      Thanks for the comment, and I know what you mean. Some people don’t seem to have a problem ordering things on line and then returning them if they don’t suit, I do. I prefer to shop by seeing, feeling, and trying on. But custom made is also becoming popular. People are realizing that because everything costs a lot and fast fashion is not “good fashion” for so many reasons, they are going with some custom made and getting what really fits. Please checkout XSwimwear. I don’t think you’d be disappointed.

  • Haralee says:

    I like the Kellerman too. It relieves the inner leg shave upkeep and shoulders are protected from sun and cold,(my shoulders often get cold in a pool).
    Very cool!

    • Anita Irlen says:


      The Kellerman is mine! I’ll post a picture of me in it soon. I love it for so many reasons, not the least of which is that it’s actually comfortable. Also, the Kellerman is named after an Australian, and because I was born in Australia, that makes me happy. xx

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