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By now, most swimwear brands are smart enough to sell their two-pieces as separates. If you’re an A cup on top but a medium on the bottom, it’s not impossible to walk out of a store with a bathing suit that fits. But what if you’re a medium on top but an XXL on the bottom, or vice-versa? Considering most brands only make either straight sizes or plus sizes, you’re shit out of luck if you fall somewhere in the middle.
Major retailers like Everything But Water do stock a wide range of sizes, but if the brand themselves don’t offer the same breadth of sizing, you’re forced to move on to something else if you fall outside of its range. Not only is that frustrating as a shopper, but it just seems like bad business.
Phylyda, a swimwear brand that launched this year and whose first collection is now shoppable online, is available in sizes 0 through 18. Though that doesn’t hit the entire span of plus size (which traditionally includes up to size 24), it’s still far more inclusive than most labels.
Founder Lydia Maurer, who was most recently the creative director at Paco Rabanne, explains that swimwear was a natural place to start for a brand that aims to offer inclusive sizing that also looks good.
“Starting with swimwear felt relevant because it’s the one garment category which, despite the fact that we associate our best memories with times when we typically wear it, evokes the most anxiety in women,” she says. “I think this comes in great part from the fact that there just isn’t any good swimwear that comes in a large choice of sizes and silhouette-appropriate designs.”
In many ways, the swimwear category could have it the easiest — you can’t buy a dress off the rack that’s a different size on the top and bottom, but you can buy a bikini that way. Size ranges that cap off or start at a certain number exclude so many people of having that option.
But Phylyda’s size range isn’t its only selling point — the swimwear itself is great, not to mention practical (many of the fabrics are SPF50) and functional (one-pieces can be worn various ways, including solely as bottoms.)
The fact that Phylyda is only sold on the brand’s website also allows Lydia and her team to keep control over how it’s merchandised — retailers simply just don’t have the option to only buy it in sizes 0 through 8, and only display 2s and 4s. Instead, shoppers can make all the decisions themselves. What a concept!