Malia Mills: Swimsuits Worthy to Wear

Hate swimsuits? Malia and Carol Mills want you to relax. They've seen your type—actually, just about every body type—and they know your size almost as soon as you walk in the door.


Hate yourself in a swimsuit? Maybe it's because it doesn't fit.

With the motto, "Love thy differences," swimsuit designer Malia Mills and her sister Carol, have opened a shop that's all about fit.

And that, they say, is the difference between love and hate.

The new 271 State Street swimsuit boutique is built on well-engineered bra tops and bottoms that you don't self-consciously tug on.   

The company's mission is to change the way women look at themselves, and, and that starts with those feelings of dread in the fitting rooms. If you don't like how you look in an ill-fitting suit, it's the suit that's flawed, not you, the Malia Mills philosophy goes.

Small wonder that so many women avoid swimsuit shopping, Carol Mills said. Summer comes, and out come the magazines: 'Time to to lose 10 pounds!' For years, the comic strip, Cathy, has been riffing off of women's insecurities about bathing suits and the little voices in her head: 'You're not worthy,' 'This is a horrible experience'...

The Mills sister talk, instead, about loving yourself in a swimsuit.

"There are plenty of women who don't do that because they don't feel worthy." Carol Mills said. "You have to throw all that away. It's not going to happen at Malia Mills. You are going to look beautiful because the suit is engineered to fit you beautifully."

Malia designs around the bra size, approaching construction from a lingerie standpoint. "She studies very carefully what fits an A cup or a D cup—they are a completely different construction. She fits and fits and fits on D-cup gal until she gets it right."

When you try on a suit you should do a test, Carol Mills said. Can you reach down and get your towel—and does it stay in place? Do you feel like you're not going to pop out of the top? 

The suits are made with very expensive fabrics meant to last if proper care is taken, and they are made in America, Carol Mills said. "We pay a premium for that. We have a lot of fans who want that."

The company's fans are among the ones that have helped build it the an operation that has stores in New York, Los Angeles, East Hampton, Southhampton, Larkspur and ... just how did Los Altos enter the lineup? 

"You're not the first one to ask that question," Carol Mills said. Two words: Amanda Tevis, of the Passarelle Investment Co. which has been leasing space to many of the shops in downtown Los Altos that have been creating a buzz. "She is extremely pursuasive and passionate in terms of revitalizing the downtown."

They saw in Los Altos that there were women who supported boutiques, who were interested in buying things that can't be bought in any mall. 

"We walked Los Altos. We walked Palo Alto. We looked at San Francisco." But they love to come to a small town, she said. 

There are were two more words: Peter Mills—"my wonderful brother" who has lived in Los Altos for 30 years. They long made it a habit, when visiting him, to walk downtown, get coffee, buy a New York Times, and hang out in downtown. 

"We recognize it's a little bit of a crap shoot. We opened our store in Larkspur a year ago and (discovered) the psychographic does well." They are hoping to be a draw to get women from other area to come to downtown Los Altos.

"That's a good thing for all of us boutiques. I know someone will buy a suit from me. And a dress from . And jeans from . It can only go up from here.'


Ann Krueger Spivack July 27, 2012 at 01:06 PM
This is great! After learning that the U.S. Olympic team's uniforms were made in China, I've been trying to buy clothes made in the U.S. but they're not all that easy to find. I'll definitely buy a suit here. Thank you for good article.


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