Swim Wear 101

Expert Advice from Designer Kirsti Grinna


Are you still in search of the perfect swimsuit?  Well, look no further than luxury swimwear designer Kirsti Grinna!

Wiles: What‘s the inspiration behind the 2012 collection?

KG: I am always inspired by my travels but, the 2012 collection was particularly inspired by music – specifically the 70’s music of Cher. I love the song “Gypsies Tramps and Thieves.”  Since I work alongside my mother – who has been well respected in the industry for years – we collaborated this year on our collections’ themes. Her Tara Grinna collection of separates fell under the theme of the Romani or “Gypsy.”

My signature Kirsti Grinna Collection will be based on the “Tramps” theme. Not your typical tramp though….she’s an independent , sophisticated world traveler who has no need for a “sugar daddy”! She only buys the best of everything and her swimwear reflects this style completely. Luxurious fabrics and details that do not come cheaply are found in this collection in limited edition numbers because she certainly wants to be “one of a kind!”

My 2012 KGB collection will be a play on the “Thieves” theme. You’ll see bright prints and bold color blocking alongside a real 70’s hippy boho chic feel. Place your mind in the era of the 1970s and think “Bond girls meets Marsha Marsha Marsha!”

Wiles: What designers (past or present) have influenced you?

KG: My biggest influence has been my mother. I was told that she carried me to her office in a Moses basket when I was but a few days old. My other influence was not a designer but a fashion icon: Audrey Hepburn. I love her sophisticated yet understated style, her timelessness and the gentle ladylike way she always seemed to carry herself. My limited edition Kirsti Grinna Collection label was established on this ideal and will continue to be influenced by her high level of sophistication for years to come.

Wiles: The theme for the August issue of Wiles is “heat.” How do you define “hot?”

KG: To me, “hot” is sultry, steamy and alluring with a mysterious combination of sensuality, grace and sophistication. Any woman who can achieve all of this is definitely “hot!”

Wiles: What accessories do you pair with your swimwear for a chic look?

KG: Always include a great pair of sunglasses, a nice quality wide brimmed hat, a pair of summer wedges and just a touch of bling from either a large ring, chunky bracelet or pair of large dangle earrings ( but choose just one piece of jewelry!)

Wiles: What are some common mistakes that women make when selecting swimwear?

KG: There are too many to list! Haha. I think the most common mistake women make when shopping for a suit is to grab a suit in a favorite color, without regard to fit or style. We all gravitate towards certain colors, but unless the suit supports, and flatters the body, it will never be a winner. I recommend buying your swimwear from a specialty shop where customer service is emphasized. The staff is there to help offer not only a professional opinion, but they are usually quite knowledgeable about inventory and can help a woman find the best style for her figure type. Another good option is a good website like Kirstigrinna.com that has live customer service representatives who will be be able to walk you through the often difficult buying process.

Wiles:  What are some of the season’s trends you love?

KG: I love the trend toward the old Hollywood Glam Pin-Up era! Look for very high-waisted bottoms like the suits from the early 50’s worn by stars like Marilyn Monroe. Look for lots of ruching and shirring on both bikinis and one-pieces. Bandeau tops, with formed cups for support as well as a push up effect will be big this season. More fabric can be sexier sometimes and I love this trend toward leaving more to the imagination! For the younger set, look for a trend towards a boho chic feel from the 70’s as well as a bold move towards color blocking from the 80’s. My KGB and Kirsti Grinna collection will reflect both of these trends for 2012.

Wiles: What advice can you offer for finding the most flattering swimwear for various body types?

​KG: Curvy? Men love curves! Go ahead and flaunt them with one of those retro looking suits from the 50’s! Celebrate the time when a woman’s curves were considered the ultimate goal! It’s about time we realize that model thin bodies are not what all women should strive to attain! Choose a top like my molded twist bandeau and pair it with a high waisted boy leg bottom or slim skirted bikini.

Rail-thin? Girls with thin frames need to choose a bikini that has a bit more fabric in the top as well as the bottom. The eye can play tricks and when done correctly, more fabric can make an area look larger. Choose a top with subtle padding to enhance a smaller bustline or a molded bandeau that can actually make you look at least one cup size larger. Choose a bottom that has a bit more of a horizontal lay like a skirted mini or hipster.

Top-heavy? Finding a top that lifts and supports is the primary focus of large busted women. My tops are sized to D cups for this purpose. How you put that top on is equally important. Always tie or fasten the rib band first as snuggly as possible. Then lift your breasts by fastening the top at the neck. A halter or triangle that is cup sized works great for larger cups. For extra large cups, it might be uncomfortable to wear a halter style, so my mother, Tara Grinna’s, bra-sized tops are a great alternative for very large busted women who need maximum support.

​If you carry more weight on the bottom, look for bottoms that offer adjustability and coverage without having too much fabric – ideally bottoms that have soft fold over bands with thick ties- not strings. You can adjust these so there is no “digging” into the hip area. Find a top with as much fabric as possible without being too large. Again the eye sees more fabric as being larger so trick the eye into seeing a bigger top and smaller bottom.

[learn_more caption=”About the Designer” state=”open”] Kirsti Grinna had a page in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue when she was just 14. She loves spending off time traveling, especially in Europe. When in the states she enjoys traveling with her long time boyfriend supporting him in his NASCAR racing events. She splits her time between the Charlotte, NC area her parents’ home in South Carolina. She enjoys quiet times at home in South Carolina by the pool with her family and with her Maltipoo Asher.[/learn_more]

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