By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
By Raillan Brooks
No article of women's clothing is more honest and less forgiving than the bikini; there is literally nowhere to hide, no trick of the eye one can achieve. Nevertheless, the futile attempts continue. Witness the proliferation of unrealistic-looking padded tops to make smaller breasts gain a cup size or two, and swimsuit makersincluding J. Crewpushing upper-thigh-hiding skirts that no matter how cute or jaunty on the rack, ultimately appear prudish and dated on the wearer.
We thought there'd never be a real solution, until one day last week when a press release from the East Village custom-bag company Freddy & Ma arrived in our inbox. "Who cares if you haven't lost those last five pounds before the 4th of July?" the release breezily exclaimed. "Be smart about accessorizing your bikini, and no one will ever notice." Eureka, we'd found it! A good handbag can rescue any unflattering outfit:
Flat-chested with a fat ass?(Sorry, "pear shaped"): Would that we could all claim, "I gained five pounds in my left tit." But weight settles down in the lower region for most of us, and then we're forced to purchase push-up bras that make our breasts look like they're about to levitate near our armpits. For the beach, Freddy & Ma's Amy Pigliacampo proffers this: "The [Gypsy Lane] hobo bag has a full elliptical shape and sits up high above your waist, so it balances the upper body with a bigger lower body of the bag." Think of it like the third boob you always wanted.
Mind-blowing, blissfully large breasts? Fashion magazine articles continue the annoying habit of describing the top-heavy body type ("the apple") right below the pear, as if it were an equally common problem, as if there were not 100 pears to every one goddamn apple. Strange how our top-heavy friends seem to bear their affliction so swimmingly during bikini season, filling out those dual nylon triangles in ways an ant-bite pear could only dream of. For the tittie-riffic ones, Pigliacampo suggests a bottom-heavy Palo Alto Pouch: "It's a slim, narrow bag, so that's very good for someone who has a larger top. You don't want to add bulk up top." You don't?
Beer guts were more difficult to hide before the dawn of the Gracie Tote by Freddy &Ma. Trust the Gracie to redirect onlookers' pesky peepers away from three months of Heinies and onto the bag's kicky print! Carry it up until the last minutedoesn't everyone haul massive laundry bags into the water these days?
Freddy & Ma's Metro Clutch, also know as the "Sorry, bitch I'm perfect" bag: A simple clutch will hold your keys and suntan lotion while obscuring none of your perfect body from preteen boys' proto-perv viewing pleasure. Expect this bag to sell the least.