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Shopping: Best Swimsuits

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That seasonal ritual of searching for a new swimsuit and finding only new cellulite is one we could all do without. The trick is to be a strategic shopper: Define your needs (if you travel more than a lap, forget macramé monokinis), and then find your maker. Kate Spade, the perkily perfect handbag queen, favors the classic four-triangles-and-floss construction that she first fell in love with while on holiday in Positano; closer to home, she'll restock at Calypso St. Barths (280 Mott Street; 965-0990), which has just launched its own line of Caribbean-worthy stringy two-pieces ($70). Mariejo Pasion, the operations manager of Chelsea Piers, who coaches the NYU women's varsity swim team, is sold on Speedo: The company now offers, in addition to the essential one-piece that we all grew up with ($50; for stores, call 800-5-speedo), a new bikini option for its Neotech line of tops that feature built-in support bras and boy-cut bottoms (sold separately, $28 each). Finally, for those among us whose bodies are bodacious and taut enough, the only bit of stretch we want comes from Tomas Maier, a sexy French designer who cuts the meanest, leanest swimwear around. Maier's creations are the closest thing out there to real fashion for the beach, but never fear -- they are wave-worthy (from $190, exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman).


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