Reshaping Swimwear – Mpls.St.Paul Magazine

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When it comes to shopping for swimsuits, you likely wade in one of two streams: those who love the process, and those who find it unbearable. Thanks to pop culture, we’ve come a long way, with high-profile body-positive celebrities and social media campaigns like #NormalizeNormalBodies encouraging us to rock what our mamas gave us.

In turn, we’re seeing an influx of fashion brands offering inclusive sizing. When it comes to swimwear, local businesses are adjusting their straps to help make the process less intimidating. Take Hackwith Design House, which believes your favorite piece of clothing can, in fact, be a swimsuit. 

HeartGlass, a new line, caters to nearly all shapes, with mix-and-match styles crafted for comfort and movement—plus tummy control and comfortable compression, A–G cup sizes, and UPF 50+ to block UVA and UVB rays. “When women try on the swimwear, they fall in love with it,” says HeartGlass founder and Edina resident Demi George.

But we can’t chat about the swim category without honoring the belle of the beach ball, Jennifer Cermak, owner of Nani Nalu, a 50th & France mecca for swimwear. Now 16 years strong,  Cermak’s business has become a haven known for chic swimwear solutions even if her customers never put their toes in the water. 

The innovator was discouraged by the lack of selection locally when she knew options were readily available on the coasts. “There was nothing for women who don’t have the perfect body to wear the junior suits but who are fashion-forward and don’t want to wear the old-lady suit,” says Cermak, who was determined to offer better product and change the mental way we approach shopping.

While the wedding gown mantra “Say yes to the dress” was growing in popularity, Cermak had a light bulb moment to offer the same styling and service approach for swimwear. She realized customers couldn’t see support solutions by just looking at a suit—they needed to be guided and nudged to try it on and see it on the body. “There was an educational gap—women can’t just walk into the store and know what works for them, so we changed that,” she says.

Prior to each appointment at Nani Nalu, customers have the opportunity to fill out an extensive questionnaire addressing concerns, personal style, and lifestyle preferences to inform pre-pull options and create a more personalized try-on experience. 

On average, Minnesota customers drive an hour and a half to shop the dynamic assortment of brands from all over the globe. Some even fly in from across the country. Others opt for her Stitch Fix–like at-home shopping service, Suitcase.  

“Media is certainly doing a good job on being more inclusive when it comes to race, age, gender, and size, but we are still our toughest critics and seem to accept everyone else but ourselves,” says Cermak. “That’s where we step in—swimwear shouldn’t be dreaded, horrible, or leave you in tears or make you feel worse about your body. It should be fun, like scoring a killer dress or pair of shoes.”

Madeline Nachbar

As Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s Trend & Style editor, Madeline Nachbar draws on her passion for travel, fashion and the arts to keep a close pulse on what the next big trends are, and excels at creating visually-compelling content that inspires.

Read more by Madeline Nachbar

June 7, 2022

5:11 AM

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