Throw a net into the sea, and you might catch some fish.
Wear some netting near the water and reel in the compliments.The netting is sexy swimwear with mesh cut-outs, overskirts and high necklines.
"Mesh is a trend that was sparked by lingerie and is selling like gangbusters," says Debbie Coryell, fashion manager at Jantzen in Portland, Ore.
Anne Cole, a Los Angeles designer, says the sheer accents are more alluring than too much bare skin. "You're wearing some transparency, yet you don't see anything."
And the mesh, she says, is not only fashionable, it's flab's best friend.
"It's made of two-way stretch Lycra, which is very firm," she says. "It's really like a good strong fishnet, with very tiny holes."
Suits in the Anne Cole Collection range from mild to wild. A group called Peeping Tom thrives on exposure. For those bent on modesty, Cole recommends a maillot she calls Shutter which has a sheer insert in the midriff.
"The mesh looks like a little aperture in a camera," she says. "It's our most conservative suit."
In black, fuchsia, azure and purple, the Shutter is about $73.
For more exposure there's Slam Dunk, a high-neck number with more mesh than maillot. It's sort of like a one-piece bikini, with sheer fabric connecting an opaque top and bottom. About $76, it comes in black, white, purple, navy, royal blue, fuchsia and orange.
"It's really for someone with a better figure who wants to show off a little more," Cole says.
At Gideon Oberson, a Tel Aviv swimwear company with offices in Hackensack, N.J., Ron Russell says the use of sheers is a definite enhancer. For an upper thigh problem, consider a one-piece suit with a short sheer skirt.
"It's not fuddy-duddy, but it does cover up your upper thigh," he says. "It really makes a customer feel sensual without showing everything."
In ecru, black or navy with an underwire bra, the suit is about $120. For more cover-up, out of the water, at least, there's a strapless bandeau swimsuit in terra cotta and chocolate print, $98, with an ankle-length sheer skirt and tie belt, $146.
Coryell gives Britain's Princess Diana some of the credit for the season's sheer success. Part of it should go, too, to the paparazzi who shot her in a black maillot and mesh suit she bought by mail.
Part of Jantzen's Sheer Delight collection, the one-piece suit has a high neckline of mesh. Others in the group, about $64 in black, navy or periwinkle, have mesh panels at the midriff on the back.
"Mesh is especially flattering at the neckline," Coryell says. "As we age, skin at that area is not especially as supple or smooth as it used to be. This is a good camouflage."
Anne Cole Collection: 800-770-6858.
Gideon Oberson USA: 800-583-7946.
Jantzen Inc.: 800-238-7946.