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BY Design

Revenge of the Nerds

May 23, 1996|MIMI AVINS

This summer, swimwear designers looked to our recent past, drawing inspiration from eras characterized by their naivete, their all-American style, their fresh-faced geekiness.

In post-liposuction times, bathing suits have gone from mildly racy to swimsuit calendar risque. The more revealing swimwear became, the more predictable a backlash was. Once the thong took to the beach, modest tanks and boy-legged two-pieces couldn't be far behind.

Would Marcia Brady wear a tank suit ventilated with slashes of transparent mesh? Would Beaver Cleaver hang out in the backyard in little bikini briefs? Nah.

Deliberately nerdy swimwear they'd be comfortable in features preppy prints, splashy florals and madras plaids, sometimes mixed together. Clam diggers have been resurrected along with halter tops and covered-up maillots meant more for swimming than sunbathing. Neat polo shirts that could have been borrowed from a little brother's drawer make the perfect cover-up.

Bareness hasn't been completely abandoned, but a bikini bottom tied with bows is as sweet as it is sexy. It reminds us that before seduction, there was innocence (in a Biblical sense).

* Styling by LAUREN BECK; hair and makeup by CHERYL CALO / Cloutier

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