Searching for the elusive flattering swimsuit isn’t exactly the stuff of shopping dreams. It’s right up there with jean shopping and bra finding—which is to say discouraging and sometimes downright miserable. But it shouldn’t have to be, right? There must be a better way.
That’s why we called upon Karla Colletto. With more than 25 years of swimwear design experience under her belt, the Vienna-based designer—whose pieces are sold at such luxe retailers as Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Net-a-Porter—creates inventive, sophisticated swimsuits that pair cutouts, futuristic fabrics, and whimsical detailing with top-level technical construction. Because you can’t bring Colletto herself along on your next swimsuit shopping mission, we present the next best thing: her secrets to finding the perfect piece.
1) Look for exceptional customer service.
First things first. “Before you even get to the suit, you need to choose a store that has good customer service,” Colletto says. “If they’re knowledgable, they can really help you choose the most flattering style for your body type.”
2) Focus on finding the correct fit.
What that doesn’t mean is agonizing over the size on the tag. It’s just not accurate. “I think women have to understand that the sizing for suits isn’t always the same,” says Colletto. “Keep an open mind and try different sizes. Each brand might run differently. It’s best to not fret about the size itself but focus on how the suit fits you. And it should fit like a glove. There shouldn’t be any bagging or straining. It should feel comfortable both lengthwise and around. And think about what kind of support you want to have in that fit. If you are large-busted, maybe you want to have an underwire to keep a nice body shape.”
We’re not going to tell you to buy a white tee and a pair of perfectly fitted skinny jeans, because: duh. Why is every “essentials” list stocked with boring basics you already have? We don’t know, but we’re here to remedy that: Here are the eight style musts to mix in for the ultimate so-right-now spring wardrobe. Get one of each, and give your style an instant upgrade. You’re welcome.
1. A Sharp, Structured Jacket
This is a way chicer approach to battling overzealous AC than a ho-hum cardi. Look for a jacket with a sleek, futuristic silhouette—that means shoulder pads, some killer draping, and a slim-yet-sculpted shape.
Helmut Lang Sugar Combo jacket, $575 at Intermix.
2. A Chambray Shirt
Ok, this one isn’t so new, exactly. But still, this is an über-versatile piece every style-savvy girl should have sitting in her closet. The laid-back workhorse pairs with everything from a pleated chiffon maxi skirt to sleek leather short-shorts. It’s a must.
Perfect chambray ex-boyfriend shirt in Ferrous Wash, $69.50 at Madewell.
3. Leather Shorts
And speaking of leather shorts: Get yourself a pair. Wear them with everything, just like you would jean shorts. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Premium leather shorts, $130 at Topshop.
4. The Statement Collar Necklace
We love the dramatic punch of a major statement necklace, and the latest versions sit right at the collarbone for face-framing perfection. Mix yours with this year’s florals and stripes for a modern take.
Dannijo Zinnia necklace, $612 at Shopbop.
This is basically Pinterest with discount alerts. You “hukk” items just like you pin them, and can organize them into lists (boards). The major perk, though, is that Hukkster will send you e-mail notifications when an item you’ve hukked gets discounted. The service doesn’t work with smaller e-tailers, but it is on Target, Shopbop, Asos, Nordstrom, Macy’s, J.Crew, Zappos, Anthropologie, Bloomie’s, Gap, Banana Republic, Urban Outfitters, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Piperlime. Boom! Gone are the days of incessantly checking to see if that Rebecca Minkoff clutch you’re getting your little sis has been knocked down a few dollars.
Got a guy who likes to cook? This Portland-based shop boasts what may be the manliest kitchen supplies we’ve seen. And the options don’t end there—office supplies, personal accessories, and even home decor are all infused with a spare, no-nonsense aesthetic.
Ah, Black Friday—love it or hate it, it’s the biggest retail holiday of the year, and it’s not going anywhere. In fact, this year, it’s creeping into Thanksgiving proper, with a few local shopping outlets opening on Thursday. Here’s the skinny on what’s going to be happening in the major shopping malls and neighborhoods in the area. If you’re planning on sticking to the District, take note—many stores and small boutiques have opted to not hold special sales this year, citing out-of-town customers and the mass exodus to suburban malls. Here’s a list of the specials deals you will find happening around town. Be sure to check back—many stores don’t decide their sales until a few days before, so we’ll update accordingly.
If Forever 21 grew up, snagged an entry-level job, and got seriously edited, it’d probably look a lot like A-Thread. We keep coming back for plenty of colorful, full-coverage options that will be fun on the weekends and quirky-cool in the workplace (case in point: this metallic sweater and this watercolor skirt). Most pieces range from $25 to $70.
This Tuesday marks the fifth year of a Washington tradition: the District Sample Sale. The event brings together some of the most fashionable—and focused—Washington women to shop pop-up versions of local stores and boutiques at seriously discounted prices. While the browsing, nibbling, and socializing may last three hours, veterans of the event know that the best of the buying starts as soon as you walk in the door. To prep for the festivities before the lines begin at Mazza Gallerie tomorrow night, we asked the DSS host committee (and a few multi-year attendees) to share their tips for navigating the trenches in order to yield the best results possible for your time and money.
If you’re somehow not yet familiar, Fashion’s Night Out is essentially an Anna Wintour pet project turned global phenomenon. Tomorrow night, stores all over country will stay open late and host major shopping parties (all in the name, of course, of “boosting the economy”). But take note, shopping fanatics: A trip to New York isn’t necessary, as the Washington area celebrates the retail holiday in a big way. To help streamline your party-hopping, we sorted through dozens of event listings and press releases and compiled this handy guide to the best of the best. Happy shopping, FNOers! We hope to see you out there.
We’ve all got those pieces in our closet gathering dust—the dress that’ll fit perfectly once you lose the last three pounds, or those pants you swear you’re going to get hemmed next week. Rather than wasting valuable closet space, just sell it and move on.
You can always take your clothes to consignment shops around town, which is a good option if you are just way too busy to put any time into selling your clothing, but you will only get a fraction of what you could from selling them online.
Distance from DC: About 1 hour
If you love polished prep, all things Americana, and crabs on the waterfront, head to Maryland’s quaint capital. The shops here veer mostly classically chic (yes, there’s lots of Lilly Pulitzer) and maritime antiques, but there are some pretty darn trendy places, as well. Don’t miss: Re-Sails for sleek sailing duffels, in-business-since-forever Laurance Clothing for classic boating garb for your guy, and the handbag line Hobo’s amazing flagship store, which just opened in April.