How a swimwear designer shops for a cossie

Carly Brown knows swimwear. The creative genius behind the cult Aussie swim label Une Piece has spent years researching the finer points of the humble cossie and given plenty of thought to how we shop for a new pair of togs.

"When I started designing our range, I talked to so many Australian women about what they wanted in a one-piece," says Carly. "Every woman is different when it comes to styles, cuts, prints and colours, however there are a few cornerstones of a brilliant swimsuit you should keep in mind." Here she shares her wisdom for successful swimsuit shopping.

Don't rule anything out until you've tried it on

When it comes to cossies, we're often creatures of habit,  gravitating towards the same cut or style we've always chosen. But swimmers are one of those special pieces you really need to try and can often surprise you. What may look terrifying on the hanger could look a million bucks on (and vice versa). "I’m a firm believer that you should throw away the rulebook around what swimsuit to buy for your body type and wear a swimsuit that makes you feel incredible," says Carly. One pieces are definitely back in fashion and really do suit every shape, but ultimately, ask yourself, 'does this make me feel good?' "Whether it's down to the  print or a the silhouette, if you feel good in it, you’ll look good in it," says Carly.


Have a good look at the finer details

Like a good pair of jeans, a quality swimsuit that will last you longer than one summer is worth spending a little bit extra on. Check the stitching and any design details like beading, zippers and embroidery to see how sturdy they are — you definitely don't want to be losing bits in the surf! Also have a good look at the lining (is there enough?) and any support details like underwire. "We don’t compromise on any of the elements of our garment design or composition...The fabric is also piling, sun cream and ultra-chlorine resistant, and is eco-friendly," says Carly. "If you want a piece that’s going to last a few summers, classic styles in block colours and timeless prints are key." 

Don't stress about sizing

Just like buying a bra, fit and comfort are crucial when it comes to swimmers. Now is not the time to get fixated by the number on the tag. "If the swimsuit you’re trying on is high quality, it’ll fit perfectly to the contours of your body," says Carly. "Choose the size you feel comfortable in." If you're a different size on the top and bottom, look for swimmers that offer separates so you can get the perfect fit all over. "Wearing nude underwear will allow you to get a true feel for how the swimwear will look when you’re at the beach," adds Carly.

Look for sun protection

We need all the protection we can get from the sun so choose a cossie that will keep you safe. "Picking a swimsuit with high-quality fabric —chlorine-resistant and UPF50+ are the gold standard — is super important," says Carly. "All UNE PIECE swimwear is fully lined and crafted from high quality UPF50+ Italian lycra to block 98% of UV rays. Of course, that doesn't mean you can skip the sunscreen but every little bit of extra defence against the sun helps prevent long-term damage.

Bring a friend

"Swimwear shopping has long been placed into the same uncomfortable basket as ‘visiting the dentist’. If you loathe the process, invite a friend along who loves a laugh," says Carly "There’s no need for picking out a swimsuit that you’ll wear during summer’s best moments to be so serious!" Flying solo? Take a pic to get a better perspective.  "We’ve all done it. Who hasn’t tried on a swimsuit, taken a sneaky pic and texted it to their friends to be sure they’re making the right purchase?" says Carly.

Check out the full collection of Une Piece here.


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