Three working moms walk into a pool party…and come out ready to revolutionize the way we wear swimwear. The backstory behind The most stylish is as organic and authentic as it gets, stemming from a casual conversation around shared body struggles that led to a eureka moment. The business thought bubble that appeared was so clear and helpful that women knew it was meant to be and felt a burning desire to bring it to life themselves. So they changed careers, got together and took the title of entrepreneur.
The mission: to solve the many problems that plague women every time they dress (or rather undress) for the beach or the pool. Truth: Women deserve to feel comfortable and confident in their suits; they want support and coverage in some places, and a sexy reveal in others; they need the freedom to move around without doing an accidental peep show; and to top it off, women love to work on a modern look.
Stylest was created to meet all of these needs by creating a whole new category of aquatic clothing called Aqualingerie (more on that in a bit!), as well as a smarter system for finding a swimsuit wardrobe that suits you. Here, we chat with co-founder Joyann King Michael about how she set out to revolutionize the swimwear industry.
More from Oprah Daily
From a pool party to sudden swimwear designers! Tell us the story.
My family moved to Millbrook, New Jersey during the pandemic. I said to my husband, “I really need to meet more women. I’m going to throw a pool party and invite a bunch of ladies and tell them to bring all their friends, so it’ll be a one-stop-shop for making friends. It was a beautiful day, we’re all in the pool, and someone turns to a woman I barely knew, Chrissy, and says, “Honey, your bra is sticking out of your bathing suit. I’m like, wait a minute, are you wearing a bra with your bathing suit? I had never heard of such a thing. My mind was blown. And my friend Alia agreed that was the most unique thing. And it’s like, Duh; I mean, I don’t even run to the grocery store without a bra on. We all had evolving bodies and obstacles. I had recently had a child and was carrying a monstrosity. So Chrissy, Alia and I decided to create the swim bra.
You all come from the fashion world, you were an editor at Harper’s Bazaar, Alia worked as a style director at Loft and She, and Chrissy was a buyer at Ralph Lauren. How did this guide your thinking?
Between all of our experiences, we had never heard of a swim bra before, so we knew it didn’t exist. And we recognized that there’s a disconnect between what’s happening in fashion and what’s happening in the real world for women with changing lifestyles and bodies – which can come from being mother or aging – and need extra support but still care a lot about style. Personally, the way I imagined the things I wanted to wear didn’t match the things I needed to do, like sit by the kiddie pool or chase after my kid. We’re all busy, fashion-addicted moms with different bodies, so we get it.
You have created a brand new category called Aqualingerie. What is it exactly ?
It all started with the swim bra specially designed for water. We have two versions: a wire-free scoop and an underwire with convertible straps that you can wear six different ways, including strapless. They really lift your chest, like an instant breast job. Both are designed to give women the freedom to wear any one-piece suit they want by adapting to all the most popular styles, whether it’s a suit from Target or a a high-end designer.
We also have swim briefs, which give you some tummy control and size and smoothness under your costume. The panty was designed to bring back to life some of your favorite swimsuits that maybe felt a little dull with their loose elastic or just never had the support you wanted.
We then created a bodysuit because we knew women would want this all-in-one solution. It has a lower neckline and a higher leg, so it fits under most costumes. It’s great for anyone who’s had a C-section or has PMS bloat, or just wants that extra confidence.
You have also extended to swimwear. How is yours different?
We have four styles in our body shaping swimsuit, including one shoulder and one suit with sleeves. I call them modern Miraclesuits. They’re made with our boost fabric, which comes from France, has a cooling lotion feel and is simply delicious. The fabric has three times the compression of most traditional swimwear, yet it’s totally comfortable. It’s not the straitjacket of swimwear, which wouldn’t be functional for a mom or to wear for eight hours at the beach. The woman who works for us [fabric] Mill said it best in his beautiful French accent: “It gives you compression without the sausage.”
Stylest has what you call a swimming system. How can we change our way of thinking about equipping ourselves for a day at the water’s edge?
We call it a body-boosting swim system, and that’s exactly what it does: it amplifies your curves and minimizes what you don’t like. The idea is to have pieces that work with each other to create a complete wardrobe so you feel great together and stylish. The first step is the Aqualingerie. The second step is the costume. And the third step is to add an outfit finisher. We created a swim cardigan, which people love because it’s a more feminine and cute take on SPF protection. It can get wet – you can surf, snorkel, swim in it, but you can also wear it to lunch.
Our other finish is the kiddie pool skirt. I was sitting in a kiddie pool one day and had a towel around me because I needed a little decency, a little butt covering as I chased after my kid. But I was not reassured. I felt sloppy and thought, We can do better. So we made a sarong from our swimwear fabric which is really cute, with a little French flair. It is not precious, can get wet and can be worn in different ways, such as a classic side tie or a miniskirt. You can slip it on and run to the snack bar or go for cocktails.
What is the general philosophy behind Stylest?
We thought very deeply, Who are we as a brand? And it came to us quite simply: Stylest will always meet at the corner of solution and style. Everything we do will be a solution for the life of a woman with an eye for style. And we will never do anything that does not answer these two questions.
Our solution could be body amplification. There’s the lifestyle solution, making costumes for real, active lives, because no one wants to tug on and fit. There is also the clothing solution: creating a complete bathing wardrobe that does not require thinking. And we solve the need for greater SPF coverage. At the same time, we select looks from a fashion point of view because at the end of the day, we all want compliments, we all want to look good and sexy. We serve women in size zero and A cup, and women in size 20, F cup.
We’re coming out with instant dry lace, which I’m really excited about because I love beautiful crochet lace and that gorgeous bohemian vibe you see in a lot of camos. But with my daughter, I can’t really wear that – she shoots at me, she eats her Popsicle. This delicate material no longer fits my lifestyle. So we offer fabrications that give you that look, but durable and not precious at all. You can be beautiful and live a real life.
This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, on their website.