Cynthia Del Marco
After years of searching for the
perfect-fitting bathing suit,
Cynthia Del Marco began to believe
such a notion was nonsense.
So she settled on what she could
find at tourist shops in Destin.
That was until about a year ago,
when she walked into Tropique
Fashion Swimwear to use one of the
tanning beds and met the owner,
Sophie Longmire, who is also a
“Sophie said, ‘Let me make you a
bathing suit,’ ’’ the 37-year-old
Milton resident said.
Del Marco scoffed at the idea at
first, but Sophie persuaded her by
offering the suit free if she didn’t
fall in love with it.
“It fit like a glove,’’ she said.
“My husband was over the moon.’’
Now Del Marco has a collection of
about 20 custom-made swimsuits
designed by Sophie and made in her
shop at the corner of Belmont Street
and Ninth Avenue.
Since launching her business in the
garage of her West-side Pensacola
home in the 1980s, Longmire has
created collections for Hawaiian
Tropic, Fredericks of Hollywood,
Cigarette Racing Boats and Panama
Jack. She’s out-fitted many
contestants of bikini contest and
But the core of her business is
catering to everyday women who want
to look their best for a day of
boating or sunbathing. Faster than
you can untie a string bikini,
Sophie has you sized up and knows
exactly what style and size suit is
best for you.
“I’ve never met anyone that I could
not look at and know exactly what
size they wear,’’ said the
Moroccan-born Sophie. She can cut
the styles generous or skimpy for a
Jenny Franklin, the shop’s top model
who organizes bathing suit shows,
said Sophie is honest with
customers. “She’ll tell you what cut
looks good and what doesn’t.”
Del Marco said the first suit Sophie
made for her was a style she would
not have considered, but it ended up
being a perfect fit.
Customers chose from dozens of
different types of material in the
season’s latest colors and patterns
that are stocked in the sewing room.
This year’s hot colors? Neutral and
earth tones. The European-cut
bottom, which is worn low, but not
as low as a hip hugger, is one of
the most popular styles this year.
Sophie said it can be worn by women
of all body types and ages.
Fuller-figured women usually look
better in the Brazilian cut bottom,
which covers more of the abdomen and
hips, but is cut high on the thigh
for a sexy look. Thinner, younger
women look great in a hip hugger.
Custom suits are priced from $110
and up. This year, Sophie will have
a larger inventory of ready-to-wear
suits starting at $69 and that come
in two lines: Tropique, an elegant
line embellished with beading and
crystals; and NoTSO, a brand name
her business partner Dr. Randall
Brown dreamed up.
“NoTSO is Not Totally Stressed
Out,’’ said Brown, an oral and
maxillary surgeon. “It’s the name of
He and Sophie decided to put the
brand on her line of brightly
colored, fun suits that can be worn
while boating, or enjoying a pool
party or a day of volleyball at the
Lindsey Smith, a 21-year-old
University of West Florida student
and model, has been buying
custom-made suits from Sophie for
years. “I love them because I feel
confident that I’ll be the only one
with the suit,’’ she said. “They are
unique, and I think it’s neat to
come in and see what Sophie has
Tropique Fashion Swimwear:
Where: 824 East Belmont St
When: Hours: Monday – Friday,
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Details: For details call 437-8183
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