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In the Swim
March 27, 2023

The Trio of Millbrook Moms Behind Stylest

By Tara Kelly

Stylest was born of serendipity. As Joyann King and Chrissy McCurdy tell their origin story it all started at a summer pool party in Millbrook in August 2020. King was hosting a meet and greet for moms in the area. The rosé was flowing. 20 or so women were lounging around in their usual swimwear. You know, the kind that never fits quite right. Or didn’t offer much support. Or rode up in the back exposing more tush than the wearer was comfortable with. King, a former fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar overheard her friend, Alia Bosworth talking with McCurdy about the bra she was wearing under her swimsuit. “A little life hack, for a little more support,” McCurdy called it. 

McCurdy, King, and Bosworth are all fashionistas with bona fides from an assortment of well-known names: Harpers Bazaar, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karen, Saks, Tiffany & Co., Elle Magazine, among many others.

You can see where this is going, right? Three professional women, one simple concept, lots of expertise, another glass of wine, and voila, a new swimwear line is born. Launched in April of 2022, Stylest is, “A shapewear swimwear system,” King says. “Everything is designed to work together as a complete outfit.”

Everything is the suit, some with long sleeves, all with SPF fabric, for the sun-conscious crowd, a swim bra for extra support, a sarong-style wrap; and a quick-drying lace coverup, oh and with a slight ode to Pamela Anderson in “Baywatch,” a sporty belt, to set off the figure. Most of the suits are one-piece. All the styles come in coordinating colors, with some leopard print thrown in the mix. 

“The swimwear line is created by moms for moms,” King says. And these moms are listening to what their customers want. “We’ve learned a lot about the market from the women who come to our trunk shows. It’s a very inclusive line, from an A cup to a size 20. The line is very body positive. You can find a suit that flatters you.” 

They’ve done their research: the fabric is state of the art, and a state secret; though King hints, “A major French fashion house uses it for their riding britches.” They also discovered a little-known resource, The Design Library in nearby Wappingers Falls. “We found the seashell motif for the lace coverup there.” McCurdy, whose focus was lingerie, says, “A bra has 32 different components.” They’ve added a few more to keep the garment in place while in the water, and of course, while chasing down the children poolside.

On the one hand this is a story about a new swimwear line, but it’s also a story about three women, all moms, who left behind big-deal careers in the city, to live lives more focused on their families, and found themselves reinventing themselves as entrepreneurs. Now, both the family part and the business part work in harmony in a greener, more bucolic setting. And the pool in the backyard is part of their research and development. 

King and her husband bought the property adjacent to theirs and turned the house into the Stylest office and showroom. The women spend most days there, except on Wednesdays when they head to the city, to meet with their design team. Bosworth recently moved to Charleston, S.C. from where she handles all the marketing for Stylest. Oh, and one more thing, the lead designer is Christine Cook, daughter-in-law of Helen Cook, whose garden is featured in this issue. They only discovered this after she was hired. Serendipity indeed. Millbrook might be a small town, but it has a long reach. —