Every spring the comic strip character Cathy frets in a fitting room amid mounds of less-than-flattering swimsuits, lamenting yet another torturous attempt to find one or two scraps of fabric that won't embarrass her at the beach. Her frustration is familiar to women whose figures don't conform to the proportions of mass-produced bikinis. Enter Custom Swimwear, which caters to all body types and tastes. The shop's seamstresses can copy a photograph, sketch, or old favorite gone nubby from wear. The staff sews 15 to 20 bathing suits a day, many of which hang from the racks: skimpy bikinis, skirted one-pieces in plus sizes, men's swim trunks, and glorified jockstraps. They can be bought as is, tailored while you wait, or reconstructed by the following day to your specifications. Choose from 100 fabrics, from solid shades to floral, nautical, and geometric prints. Custom suits start at $40 for a triangle-top bikini, but can cost as much as $170 with a support bra and metallic or crushed-velvet fabric. Those who crave completely coordinated outfits can order cover-ups, visors, and hair scrunchies to match. Custom Swimwear's clientele includes bodybuilders, beauty pageant contestants, and women who have had mastectomies. Each customer's patterns and measurements are kept on file, and even first-time orders can be placed via customswimwear.com
, to circumvent a fitting room crisis altogether.