Jennifer Cermak

Designing swimsuits with real women in mind

  • Photos by Stephanie Colgan
    Designing a swimsuit has long been Jennifer Cermak's goal.
  • Cermak designed the prints with colors she calls "easy to wear, especially with pasty white skin."
  • Cermak designed the prints with colors she calls "easy to wear, especially with pasty white skin."
  • Cermak designed the prints with colors she calls "easy to wear, especially with pasty white skin."

The dread of swimsuit shopping

Jennifer Cermak is a 32F on top and an 8 on bottom, so you don’t have to tell her about the challenges of finding a swimsuit that fits all around. That personal frustration has been a major factor in her success as the owner of Nani Nalu beachwear boutique at 50th & France. She can commiserate–and offer solutions, even if it requires a special order. As resort season approaches, the wait for one of Nani Nalu’s cabana-style fitting rooms has been known to top two hours.

Cermak has personally tried every brand and cut available for curvy women. She knows halter styles are uncomfortable for anyone who wears a D cup or larger. She balks at the notion that an underwire solves all support issues. She knows that larger women don’t necessarily want one-piece suits—in fact, the fit is that much tougher when chest weight is pulling the suit down.

Unsatisfied with the options for the 35 percent of her clientele she calls “busty beauties,” Cermak set to work designing her ideal swim collection.

Dream Line

Cermak’s new label, JennaSea, is designed to fit sizes 32C to 38G. It is now available at Nani Nalu.

Cermak is testing the waters with a few bikini and tankini styles. Pieces are sold separately since rare is the woman who fits the same size on top and bottom. The fabric is engineered to stretch, and Cermak knows that it will flatter: Rather than using the usual fit model, she tried her suits on friends of all shapes and sizes.The line includes convertible straps that can be worn three ways. JennaSea has tops with an underwire and without.

Cermak even designed the prints. She went for a retro, tropical whimsy vibe in a palette of teal, caramel brown, and coral—colors she calls “easy to wear, especially with pasty white skin.” Tops sell for $85 to $110; bottoms are $65 to $70.

More To Come

Cermak will launch JennaSea nationally in July at Miami Fashion Week and Swim Show. Meanwhile, at home, she’s working to cut down those fitting room waits. In April, Nani Nalu will move a block and a half east on 50th to the former Peterson Portraits spot, with parking in back and room for eight fitting rooms. Until then, make an appointment. 3922 W. 50th St., Edina, 952-546-5598,

Swimsuit Tips from Cermak

Body Issues: "We all have them, no matter our age or size. Stop complaining. Accept the body you have and learn to flatter the good parts."

Lift: "Getting the right amount of lift elongates the torso and creates a better overall silhouette."

Side Coverage: "Finding a suit that provides coverage on the side of your bust can help push things back to the center (and cover that pesky armpit bulge)."

Cleavage: "Don’t cover too much! Aim to cover half. Any more than that and you might as well add five years to your appearance per extra half inch. (If you are older than 65 and want that extra coverage, remember that most suits can be altered.)"

Get Opinions: "Take a deep breath, step out of the fitting room, and let us do our thing. You will end up almost enjoying the experience and go home with a suit you love."