Swimsuit Issues


by James Tuttle

Gentle reader,

You know how you can’t seem to walk away from some bad relationships no matter how painful they are?  Even though you know you’ll ultimately be disappointed, you go back for more again and again.  History is replete with examples of these tragic obsessions:  Antony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, Frank and Ava.  Now you can add HGTV and me to that list because, goddammit, they just sucked me back in with dreamy Carter Oosterhouse.

Oosterhouse is hosting a new show called Million Dollar Rooms.  Really expensive stuff plus a hot carpenter seems like an incredible combination, right?  This episode focused on over-the-top kitchens and baths and there were some stunning spaces, but I can only deal with so many $5,000 showerheads in a half hour and, to top it off, Carter kept his damn shirt on the whole time.  I mean, it’s a show about showers, Carter!  Get with the fucking program!

When I turned on the TV the next day, it was still tuned to HGTV instead of Little House on the Prairie, which it nearly always is when I turn it on lately—and, yes, that’s freaking me out a little—but there was another show that seemed right up my alley despite having one of the worst titles in the history of television.   I Brake For Yard Sales features Good Morning America host Lara Spencer on a quest to help her friends decorate their homes with treasures gleaned from thrift stores, auctions and yard sales on both coasts.

Lara Spencer at home.

I definitely know my thrift stores and yard sales, but the first thing I noticed is that Lara’s client/best friend Dana’s arms have seen better days.  I have clients who complain about their arms and insist on wearing sleeves all the time when they really don’t need to but Dana, bless her sleeveless frock-wearing, flabby-armed self, is not one of them.

After hitting a couple of yard sales, the duo heads to an estate sale as Lara explains to Dana that yard sales, garage sales, tag sales and estate sales are all basically the same, except that estate sales might be in a nicer house or run by an estate sale company.  She doesn’t mention that it usually involves the “estate” of a recently deceased person and may involve rummaging through their shit while their family members are weeping silently in the next room.  You’re buying a bunch of dead person’s stuff, Dana!  How do you feel about it now?

Lara with Justin.

The show then moves to the Jewish charity thrift stores on Fairfax, where they must have planted some nice pieces for the cameras because there’s just been junk the last few times I’ve been there, although I am still kicking myself over a brilliantly colored old hand-knotted Persian rug I saw for under a grand there last year and didn’t buy.  When Lara later hits a Connecticut flea market and scores an old Tabriz for $250, my palms start to sweat.  It was only about four-by-five but for that price I would have found a place for it.

The last half of the show involves Lara and her hottie model/contractor Justin dealing with the installation of all the stuff into Dana’s house.  Pouring rain drives the team to the absolute nail-biting brink because they couldn’t possibly tell Dana that the extreme weather conditions delayed the reveal a few hours even though she’s Lara’s best, best friend ever.  They manage to pull it off in time and show the family into a bold yet tasteful home that exhibits bright colors, midcentury and 70s touches with an overall Hollywood Regency feel.  As well done as it is, it’s still Kelly Wearstler-on-a-budget, but I can’t really throw shade because I copy that bitch, too.

Speaking of rain, it’s turned cold and damp in L.A. again this week even though we hit 90 degrees last Friday.  I’m glad I haven’t put my warm jackets to the back of the closet yet but it would still be a good idea for you ladies to start thinking about this year’s swimwear trends.  Although bikini shopping is about as much fun as a root canal, you never know when the sun’s going to come out and you’ll be stuck by the Chateau Marmont pool in last year’s one-piece.

Marilyn Monroe in a classic bikini.

Vintage 1950s:  Just as Prada and Dolce and Gabbana made a big splash with their 50s-inspired ready-to-wear this season, classic pin-up girl looks are all the rage in swimwear.  Look for high-waisted bikini bottoms, bandeaus and padded bra-tops for the shapes.  Retro ruffles are a big swimwear trend on there own and there’s a resurgence of polka dots and stripes that can add to a 50s feel, too.

Dolce & Gabbana

This reminds me of a story that my late friend Shelley Winters used to tell about a striped bikini that she shared with her best friend Marilyn Monroe, which they would pull out for what she called their “cheesecake pictures.”  Maybe the 1960s will come back next year with the iconic topless suits that Peggy Moffit modeled for by Rudi Gernreich but, for now, curvy and covered is where it’s at.

1990s:  Since we’re looking back about twenty years, I guess we could call this “vintage” too, but it’s a less literal interpretation of the decade that combines athletic wear and color blocking.  I don’t know if the popular stripper look with all the cutouts and straps is really a 90s thing or if it’s simply bad taste that transcends time, but avoid these unless you’re working for cash tips.

Prints:  Floral prints and animal prints are also huge trends this season and they’re interpreted in a wide range of colors and silhouettes.  Michael Kors has some standout reptile and leopard prints and check out Colombian label Caffé for some sexy, stunning florals.

Florals from Caffé.

Colors:  As elsewhere on the fashion horizon this season, orange is the color family to beat, from pale peach to neon.  Other neon brights like pink, yellow, turquoise and green are also very big and you might consider mixing them with each other or with black or white.  Of course, the all-white look is always a winner, reeking of chic sophistication, and black will never, ever go out of style.

Body types:  You probably already have an idea what basic styles suit you but there are some other interesting things to think about this season.  Petites and curvier women should probably be careful of ruffles and horizontal stripes.  Slimmer body types can wear lighter colors more easily and the curvy ladies look good in darker.  The much larger lasses can make use of sarongs or the cover-ups that have become fashionable again.

Even with all these hints and guidelines, I know that swimwear is still a tricky proposition.  Whatever you end up choosing, just make sure you feel comfortable and confident because that’s when you’re going to be your absolute best.

Much love,


Comments: 13

  • Pure Film Creative April 25, 20125:14 pm

    The very first line of this post hit so close to home I’m wondering if my insurance will be renewed.

    No bikinis for me, yet, as long as I can keep the pecs reasonably firm, but thanks for the reminder that I do need to get those black trunks from Target. Now, if I can just find a lover with a great pool…

    — James K.

    • James Tuttle April 25, 20129:47 pm

      Please don’t get black trunks from Target. And please find a boyfriend with a pool, preferably a beautiful infinity pool attached to a large house in the Hills. I’d really appreciate it if you could take care of that by early June, thanks.

  • ericjbaker April 25, 20127:01 pm

    I was already laughing when I saw the title. The rest of it was good too.

    Having spent a lot of time at the beach, I wholeheartedly endorse your comments about sarongs. You know what I’m saying?

  • James Tuttle April 25, 20129:49 pm

    I’m glad you liked the title. That’s sometimes the hardest part, I think. And I do know what you’re saying. I’m endorsing sarongs for many people, male and female, this summer. If you got it, flaunt it. If you ain’t, get a damn sarong!

  • Laura April 26, 20127:27 am

    I really love this title!.. I would love to have a high wasted number.. I think they are amazing but I am way too top heavy to pull that off. I got to Spain next month so I bought a Freya bikini
    which i’m excited to wear… Bust support on the beach… At last!

    • Pure Film Creative April 26, 201211:50 am

      Thanks, Laura. This almost sounds like a plug to imbed a link to Freya–I don’t think our readers have a clue how to link in comments, and you are in the same IP region as the company–but even so it’s pretty clear you did read the article. Next time, please be aware we charge per link. If I’m mistaken, then I apologize and wish I could buy you a round of drinks in Spain. Have fun!

      — James K.

    • James Tuttle April 26, 20128:36 pm

      Thanks Laura! I haven’t heard of Freya but I’ll check it out. The high-waisted bikini bottoms are not for everyone and I forgot to mention that it would amount to some strange tan lines if you wore it a lot.
      Have fun in Spain!

  • Dana January 15, 201510:04 pm

    I cant believe i am just seeing this…. You must be beautiful and perfect in every way… Maybe the “flabby arms” are carrying quite the load that you will never know…. I hope i never have the pleasure of meeting you!

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