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Swimwear to suit every body’s needs

July 2009

Even for women who adore shopping, looking for bathing suits is the worst kind of shopping. Trying to figure out what a suit will look like on your body from its appearance drooping on a hanger is a job for a mind reader. The average number of suits a woman takes into a dressing room is 20, and she will take an hour or two trying to figure out which one shows the fewest of her flaws. At Paradis du Maillot one shopper tried on 121 suits!

Milad Hodhod, owner of Paradis du Maillot, surprised me when he mentioned that “60 per cent of bathing suits never even get wet.” In fact, there are entire lines of suits made just for show, with piles of impractical fabrics for water and all kinds of fancy trimmings.

Bathing suit manufacturers have gone to great lengths to help us suit our bodies. There are suits for every type of figure imaginable. The best trend in the industry, though, is the great concept of mix-and-match size. Not pieces. No longer are you stuck buying a two-piece in one size. Not only can you buy a top in one size and a bottom in another, you can also choose different styles of tops and bottoms in coordinating colours to suit your body shape.

There are many kinds of bathing suit bottoms to choose from, including shorts, skirts and often with matching sarongs. On top, you can buy both a teensy bikini top for your trip to the Riviera and a more modest tank top for sitting on the pool deck with your in-laws. For women who want to enhance their breasts, there are suits with padded bras or gel inserts (which feel more like breasts).At the other end of the spectrum are tops that are cut provocatively for women who want to show off their larger breasts.

Bikini Village Entrepôt, 2727 Taschereau at Marie, St.Hubert. Info: 450-923-1754. Hours: Monday to Wednesday 10am to 6pm, Thursday and Friday 10am to 9pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm. Call first for instructions on how to get to this hard-to-find place (enter through Marie and turn left on Grand). You will be rewarded for your efforts with discounts of up to 75 per cent on bathing suits for women and men (women XS-16,men S-XXL) by such brand names as Seafolly, Billabong, Livia,Vitamin A, Split, Gottex, Christina, Tommy, Roxy and O’Neil. Look for special promotions on casual clothing. On a recent visit, there was a mix-and-match bathing suit sale with tops and bottoms at $1.99 each. Other liquidation location (temporary): 3822 Côte Vertu, 514-335-1449.

Paradis du Maillot, 9800 St. Laurent at Sauvé. Info: 514-389-2032. Hours: Monday to Wednesday 9:30am to 6pm. Thursday and Friday 9:30am to 9pm. Saturday 9am to 5pm, Sunday 10am to 5pm. This is bathing suit heaven – a one-stop shop for the whole family, with amazing prices. It is huge –12,000 square feet – and filled to the rafters with thousands of suits, including walls full of mix-and-match pieces. You can select 20 or so, go into the spacious, air-vented, large-mirrored fitting rooms to find the one that fits your body. The store carries suits for all body types from all over the world – Brazil, South Africa, Colombia, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Mexico, the United States, Spain,Germany, France and the Mideast. Men will find board suits as well as the trendy volley suits with a shorter leg (think boxer brief length).

Sandra Phillips is the author of Smart Shopping Montreal. You can find money-saving ideas on her shlog at



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