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The New

Swimsuit: It's 'Toot'

November 06, 1986

There's a new swimsuit in town, and it's the opposite of everything swimsuits have been for the last few years. Instead of high-cut legs that aim for the armpit, these legs extend halfway down the thigh. Instead of baring practically all, this suit is so covered up it would have been approved by the old Hays Code. Most revolutionary of all, this suit is not just for swimming. It can also be used for aerobics or bicycling.

"We saw a lot of cycle shorts on the streets of Rio," says Gayle Baizer, head designer for Catalina's Catalina Juniors and Sunset Beach divisions, which each have a version of the suit. The Sunset Beach one is called "Real Flowers" and Catalina Juniors has a squiggle-printed "Toot Suit." "That comes from a friend of mine who's British," Baiser explains. "With him, when something's really cute, it's toot."

Baiser thought the cycle shorts she saw in Rio were "a terrific look," and remembered them when creating the Mayo pictured here. Swimwear designers often go to Rio de Janeiro for inspiration. And while Brazilian women typically wear the itsy bitsiest of bikinis on the beach, they always change into something more modest for strolls down the sidewalk.

This new suit is an adaptation of both the skin-tight, Bermuda-length shorts cyclers wear and the abbreviated rubber wet suits favored by surfers. "It's an athletic look," says Baiser. "If someone wants to go to a club and work out and then dive into the pool, she doesn't need to change."

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