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Breathing Becomes Aerobic Exercise : Slimsuit Marries Girdle With 1-Piece Swimsuit

April 14, 1988|JEAN FAIN | Jean Fain is a Boston-based writer with an expertise in exercise

Egad. Summer will be here before you know it. Better start fasting and aerobicizing tomorrow if you want to fit into the season's scanty new styles by June. If only there were a suit that could hide bulges and accentuate curves.

That is the thought that sparked Carol Wior, 39, a Los Angeles fashion designer, to invent the Slimsuit, the patented one-piece swimsuit that guarantees to make you look as if you have taken an inch or more off your waist and stomach.

Wior, who made her name in the fashion industry with a line of Marilyn Monroe dresses and women's undergarments with miniature computer chips that play "Love Me Tender" and "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," said the Slimsuit idea came to her while sitting on Waikiki Beach two years ago.

"The suit I was wearing had no bust or stomach support; it kept riding up and my breasts kept falling out the side cut-outs," said the 5-foot-5, 123-pound entrepreneur.

"I saw one woman in an old-fashioned suit with formed cups, but when she turned right her suit went to the left.

"I decided then that most women really have nice figures, but the swimsuits they were wearing didn't do them justice."

Six months and hundreds of samples later, Wior invented the Slimsuit.

Kimberly Salotti, one of Wior's most enthusiastic customers, said that, after having a baby, she was too embarrassed to go to the beach, until she discovered the Slimsuit.

"I never thought I'd get my shape back," the Newport Beach resident wrote to Wior. "But the suit takes three inches off my waist." Salotti liked the suit so much she bought 10 so she could wear one daily under her clothes.

She has since lost 20 pounds and taken a job modeling at Wior's traveling fashion shows.

The suit is actually two swimsuits in one. The Lycra-Spandex lining hugs the body like a combination girdle and bra, lifting and separating the upper body (with the help of underwires) and holding in and smoothing out the rest. A looser-fitting, fashionable outer shell further camouflages the flabby truth.

Breathing Becomes Exercise

But where does the fat go? "The fat doesn't squeeze out the leg lines," Wior said. "The suit holds the inches in." So customers can double-check results, the manufacturer includes a tape measure with each suit.

There is a drawback, however. Wearing a beach body girdle may make breathing feel like vigorous aerobic exercise.

"Everyone likes to be an inch thinner, even the skinniest women," Wior said. "If you're a size 6 you want to be a 4, if you're a 10, you want to be an 8."

A popular item in its first year, the Slimsuit grossed $3.5 million; Wior expects to earn another $15 million this year. More than 4,000 department and specialty stores now sell Slimsuits, which retail for $45 to $65.

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