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‘Swim at Your Own Risk’ suits encourage women to dive right in

Local designers Karla Colletto and Pum Lefebure collaborated on a series of sporty swimsuits, which started appearing in stores this month.

Supporting the Special Olympics by taking the icy Polar Bear Plunge at Catholic University this weekend? Or shopping for your spring break beach getaway? Two local women want to help you suit up.

Karla Colletto, a Vienna-based designer who has specialized in swimwear since 1987, partnered with Pum Lefebure, chief creative officer at D.C.’s Design Army, to develop the Swim at Your Own Risk Collection.

The trio of suits, which started to arrive in stores this month, each feature the same image: a stick figure swimming in two rows of waves above the eponymous warning.

“We wanted to do something very witty and whimsical, and something a little bit more graphic,” says Lefebure, who has worked with Colletto on her lookbooks for the past decade. (This is their first collaboration on the fashion, though.) “We feel like the phrase resonates with confident women. Maybe there’s a sign that says, ‘Swim at your own risk.’ She’s going in.”

The star of the collection is a white scoop-neck one-piece with black trim ($202), sold at some Everything But Water stores and online.

“It’s a very 1980s ‘Baywatch’ kind of body — very high lines on the bottom,” says Lefebure, who says the shape appears to elongate women’s legs.

“People may think two pieces is sexy; I find a one-piece to be way sexier,” she says. “It makes your body look longer and leaner. It doesn’t cut your body in half.”

There’s also a long-sleeved rash guard top ($207), which provides more coverage, and a halter-style one-piece ($239). Find those soon at Bare Necessities in Lutherville, Md.

All the suits come in sizes 6 to 14 and are made with Xtra Life Lycra, which is engineered to withstand chlorine and sun exposure to maintain its shape.

That means wearers can stroll or surf without fear of a wardrobe malfunction, Lefebure says. “This thing, it actually sticks on your body,” she says, “and whether you’re dry moving around the beach, or a wave hits you, it stays with you.”

Knowing that you’re going to stay inside the suit should lead to self-assurance, which is the key to looking good in skimpy attire, Lefebure says. So, despite what those words across the chest say, it’s not much of a risk at all.

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