Bikini Briefs


A Tropical Affair ~ Staycation

January 5, 2012

by Rhea Cortado
During the wintertime, Angelenos get cabin fever. We’re always surprised by when it’s all of sudden too chilly to wear sandals. I upgraded to my thicker neoprene wetsuit for surfing and keep hearing about friends going across hemispheres to where it’s summer. Because I’m not in possession of a vacation home in Cabo San Lucas, driving up the coast to Santa Barbara and visiting A Tropical Affair lingerie and swim shop is one of my favorite places to detox into a vacation state of mind when everyday responsibilities don’t allow for international border-crossing.

The striped lounge chairs and straw fringe trimmings feel like you’re in a Hawaiian hotel cabana drinking a mai tai. I love that both the lingerie and swimwear merchandise fluidly in vibrant colors that have a young, fresh and light-hearted mood. No swimsuits could be considered simple, boring or conservative. Owner Heather Taylor has an impeccable eye for uncovering specialty designers like Mikoh Swimwear, So De Mel and L*Space and plucking the best items that surprise and uplift any cold spell. I can get a warm spot of summer from a new neon bright bikini year-round, even if it’s hidden under my wetsuit.

Inquiries:  Heather Taylor
A Tropical Affair, 114 East Haley Street,
Santa Barbara, CA  (805) 730-1624A Tropical Affair fun shopping experience

A Tropical Affair - interior



Favorites: Reborn ~ UNDREST

December 19, 2011

T-shirt by Keep Me

My number one favorite T-shirt has died. It was in the most yummy modal and spandex blend fabric that was cut to drape just perfectly. But even after taking the best care (hand-washing and hang-drying), you can’t fight the aging from wearing it all the time, year after year. Now it’s in archival status, saved only for special occasions to preserve the threads while I continue hunting for its successor.

Thankfully after my Undrest knit bikini had endured seasons of heat, sand, saltwater, chlorine and sunscreen and it was time for a replacement with snappier Lycra, I could still get that much-loved zig-zag print. The designer, Maria Paz Navales started Undrest as pretty Supima cotton Brazilian-cut panties and matching bralettes. Shortly after, she translated her feminine, fun style into launching Undrest By The Sea swimwear. Its breakthrough signature look for a few seasons now has been her zig-zag knit bikinis and monokinis that have the handcrafted look of a sweater-like knit, but are very water-friendly in stretch yarns and features an inner lining. All of the swimwear is knit in her vertically integrated atelier in East Los Angeles, which means Maria has complete creative control in the fabric design. Season after season the zig-zag pattern evolves in fresh color combinations and tweaked bodies. So when last year’s suit passes its expiration date, its newest reincarnation will be waiting on deck, as if slipping into that favorite shirt for the first time.

Swimwear by Undrest by the Sea.

Available At:

Undrest. By the Sea: Venice Beach, California

Undrest. Los Angeles. By The Sea. Artifacts:  Los Angeles, CA

Curve:  Los Angeles & NYC & Miami

Planet Blue:  California

Atrium:  Miami, Florida

Simons: Montreal, Quebec

Urban Outfitters: Nationwide

Anthropologie:  Nationwide

Intermix:  Selected Stores

Free People

inquiries: Traci Bendick at



Rhea Cortado

Bikini Briefs


As a contributor covering the swimwear world for Lingerie Briefs, Rhea Cortado feels like she’s living in an endless summer. Rhea has covered the lingerie market, emerging designers, events and trade shows for the trade newspaper California Apparel News for more than six years. On top of having vast professional expertise of the subject areas, she is a truly, madly, deeply obsessed fanatic for lingerie and swimwear because both have transformative powers to put the wearer in a escapism and vacation state of mind. She has written for a variety of publications such as Transworld Business magazine, AlmaSurf Brazil, Surfgirl Magazine UK,, Tu Ciudad Los Angeles and Audrey Magazine. Her personal blog, The Surftorialist is a passion project about all things she loves about surfing, people who have cool surfy style and make cool surfy things.