Ask most women what the most annoying thing to shop for is, and the majority will probably have the same answer: swimwear. That's because many women aren't represented in traditional bathing suit sizing. Yes, some fast-fashion or plus-size retailers have started to offer on-trend swimsuits in extended sizes, but for most, finding a high-quality suit that actually fits exactly how it's supposed to is like finding a needle in a haystack — nearly impossible. But finally, one brand, Phylyda, is setting out with serious plans to change that.
Phylyda is designed by Lydia Maurer, whose C.V. includes stints working under Stefano Pilati at Yves Saint Laurent, Martine Sitbon at Rue du Mail, and Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy; she also served as creative director at Paco Rabanne in 2012 — not too shabby of a résumé, eh? So, we had high expectations for the line.
It may seem ambitious to redefine fashion-forward swimwear for all (as opposed to focusing specifically on either straight-size or plus-size markets). "Often, sizing is very limited, and proportions are stylized, which instilled in me the desire to address the issue of body image for all women," Maurer told Refinery29. "In my family, I have an aunt with wider hips but with a super petite chest, and my cousin and mom have large chests and practically no hips. Hardly any woman wears one size [on bottom and top]," she said.
Thus, the brand offers mix-and-match separates to enhance and support any woman's shape, and uses some pretty high-tech touches. "All Phylyda pieces are made using exclusive Italian fabrics and feature innovative details such as our signature soft and adjustable back clasps, sculpting, fast-drying, SPF 50 fabrics, and some are even lined with a fabric made from a micro-encapsulated fiber, rich in aloe, retinol, vitamin E, and caffeine, which helps smooth the aspect of your skin while you rest," Maurer said. (Perhaps all of those thoughtful details can help justify the steeper prices, which are in the triple digits, even for separates.)
All of those added bonuses are great, but at the end of the day, women just want a suit that they'll feel amazing wearing. Maurer says, "Swimwear is intimately related to the most comforting memories of being on holiday, and yet it’s such a shame that, more often than not, we feel anguished by the mere thought of shopping for our swimsuits and facing ourselves in front of a mirror."
Phylyda is launching with a limited-edition capsule collection of four tops, four bottoms, and one swim dress, all comprised of a 3-D silicone screen print that's got a very unique texture. Sizing ranges from 6 to 18, while cups extend up to a size 42F. The rest of the pieces currently teased on Phylyda's site will be available for pre-order starting in October.
While the product options are pretty limited at the moment, we've got a hunch that this brand has the potential to make some major waves in this category. We'll be keeping our eye out for more styles and sizes to come. In the meantime, click on to shop the capsule now. And let's all keep our fingers crossed that more brands get on board with celebrating (and designing for) far more than just one type of female silhouette.