There are very few word combos that can send a girls heart racing like the words “Bathing Suit”. The process can be from daunting to down right impossible if you’re not dressing for your body type. I recently chatted with NYC based swimwear design goddess Caitlin Kelly and she dished on perfection in two pieces, one pieces and the art of lounging.
Me: If you know you need a new suit is it ever “safe” to pick a suit on line or do you have to try on everything?
It’s always best to try a suit on. I launched my line after 8 years in the swimwear industry, nervous at first not knowing if I was ready, but my knowledge and background of fit put those nerves to rest. There are many brands out there that fit improperly even with a “size guide chart” and a “how to measure” on their website. I fit my collection on an industry size 8 fit model who has been with me for years. I can’t help but laugh because it’s so true, when the thought of summer comes around, I get so excited… but then I realize that I’ll have to show myself in a swimsuit very soon. The worst feeling in the world is to shop off the rack, grab your size and just incase, also grabbing the next size up only to find that they both don’t fit. Better yet, having a sales woman poke her head into your dressing room while your half naked, mid-meltdown to say, “You’ll be needing a bigger size, I’ll grab that for you.” I set out to make a woman feel absolutely comfortable in my collection and in her second skin! I stand behind my sizing with a 4 equating to an extra small, a 6 to a small, and 8 to a medium, a 10 to a large and a 12 to an extra large. I’ve also had great success with plus size and hope to be able to increase my sizing this season. So in my personal opinion, it’s best to go to a store and try on a suit, unless the online store offers free returns and exchanges. Even with the best size guide out there, no two women are built the same and one could easily find themselves looking at their computer screen hopelessly thinking they are a 12 on bottom and a 4 on top.
Me: Trends seem to come and go but my body stays the same, how can I update my swim wear look but still look great for MY body type?
Trends are the reason my closet is so full. Keeping up with them is almost impossible and hoping they come back in style is a lost cause. The way my collection and my designer brain works is to create timeless silhouettes with the option of convertibility. There is literally something on my line for every body type. With the quality of my suits, they will last a few good seasons given proper care. Many of my styles can be worn two to six to 100’s of different ways. In Miami I will be showing at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week with a great surprise at the end of the show. One suit, which was created after an amazingly inspirational chat I had with a dear friend, is called “Endless Possibilities”. This suit can be worn so many different ways by taking it from a bikini, to a monokini to a one piece. With the addition of the cover-up, the possibilities are endless!
Me: I love dining by the pool after a relaxing day but I still want to look elegant but sexy, any tricks to making my day wear into night wear?
I LOVE this question. I’ve always been inspired by eveningwear and its elegance. So many cover-ups are just that… a cover-up in which many women including myself try to pass off as a shirt or a dress. My collection resembles the look and feel of a great top. When paired with jeans, heels and the right accessories, you’re set for a night on the town or a poolside dinner. My cover-ups are meant to be worn day to evening. They can easily be worn over a suit , in the CDKS collection, as cocktail dresses, chic jumpsuits or glamorous gown. I’m so excited and proud of this collection and cannot wait to show all the different looks that can be achieved with just one piece. I’ve been called the “convertible queen”, which is flattering. I set out to change the world of swim in a sophisticated way.
Me: High-waist suites are everywhere right now, which body types should stay clear of this trend and what is a better option?
The high waist bottom is a trend that is timeless. Anyone who wears this is transformed back to the days of pinup girls feeling like Ava Gardner, Jane Russell or Betty Davis. This style works well with many body types and it’s difficult to say which body “type” should stay away from the high waist. What I can offer is advise on how this fits certain body types. You want to be careful of a tight, low leg line as this gives to “sausage leg” syndrome. If your waist isn’t as firm as it once was, you want to make sure the waist elastic isn’t too tight. This can cause “muffin top”. On a larger woman, a high waist is great as it does just that, defines a waistline while accentuating her beautiful curves. I have decided not to put a high waist on my line, but rather a convertible pant that can be worn as a high waist, mid waistband or a little skirt. With a piece like this, the customer is really getting the best of so many worlds depending on what look she feels like achieving on a certain day.
Me: Talk about your inspiration and how challenging it is to design with such a small amount of fabric.
This is always a tough question. I was actually talking with my family today and they mention I was eating a good breakfast. So half jokingly I told them it was the only meal I would get today and this was their response. “We have a theory about this and we understand now. We saw you in April and you had nothing but some sketches you weren’t feeling very happy with… it’s June and you have an entire 35 piece, well thought out, stunningly made collection! You must have this corner of your brain that you keep everything in and it all comes out at once, because nobody else could do what you’ve done.” I had to laugh because to me I’m inspired by anything elegant. I love gowns and eveningwear, which comes across in my designs, but for something to make my collection, I refuse to knock something off, it must solve a problem in some shape or form, the fabrications must be perfect and it all has to live up to my standards. There are so many nights where I wake up, bolt out of bed and sketch something down before I forget about it. Some inspirations come from amazing, uplifting chats with friends about life; “Endless Possibilities”. Most people wouldn’t take a comment from a friend and turn it into a collection. It started with a swimsuit that can be worn hundreds of different ways and then can transform into a full on evening gown. One day I’m worrying about the countdown to Miami to show the collection and the next I’m sketching like mad a woman until 3am, fabrics flying over my head surrounded by trim. It really does just come out and happen all at once! For me, I start with my fabrics and then work bodies into how I see the fabric working in my head. For the past eight years, I’ve been designing swimwear. I’ve designed everything from plus size to itty-bitty bikinis that has shaped my line into a collection that has something for every body type. The amount of fabric used excites me and challenges me to make my design “work” so that a woman is covered, comfortable, sexy and confident in what I’ve created. In closing, It’s so amazing to know the fabric I started with will be walking the runway on Monday, July 22, 2013, in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Miami, on stunning models in front of the world’s most elite eyes. You won’t want to miss my show closer. Thanks to my amazing marketing team Savoy Walker & Mark A. Forrest of SMEG|Savvy Marketing Entertainment Group; they’ve secured something out of this world to make the unveiling of “Endless Possibilities” even greater than I could have hoped for.
INSTAGRAM: CaitlinKellySwim (we love reposting fan pics!!!)
Made in NYC with love
Photographer credit: Tyler Mitchell