Our brave model Mary sits poolside in her cut-out suit. Photo: Jolie Novak, AOL

Finding the right swimsuit can be daunting no matter what your age, shape, size, or preferred style. A bit too snug here, a little too droopy there, and snagging the right bathing suit can seem as fraught with peril as the search for the Holy Grail.

Designers made the task even more challenging this summer when they embraced the cut-out trend and sent slashes through swimsuits faster than you could say "sample sale."

Models at Hervé Léger, Alexander Wang, and Erin Wasson sashayed down the runway in a range of provocative pieces, and bold, young, hard bodied celebs including Leighton Meester, Miley Cyrus, and (of course) Rihanna have posed for the paparazzi in the barely there bathing wear.


But here at StyleList, we couldn't help but wonder what happens when a regular woman, in this case a 49-year-old mother of two, takes a walk on the wild side in a cut-out swimsuit at her local community pool.

Would the trend take flight? Or would her friends and neighbors be shocked or (hopefully) awed?

Meet Mary, who spent the day in a stunning one-piece Michael Kors in rural Hanover, New Hampshire. The psychiatric nurse is comfortable in her own skin and knows what looks good on her body, and her reaction to our style challenge was: "You want me to wear THAT?"

Ever the good sport, she dutifully donned the selected swimsuit, setting aside her typically bohemian style for a runway special.

Not that we were putting her in any old thing. Our stunner of a swimsuit had a green and white abstract print, was slashed around the midsection and featured gold disks at the waist and hips. (Find it online at Michael Kors or Neiman Marcus!)

As May made her way over to a lounge chair, entire families turned their heads and stared. The fashion forward style was enough to make fellow moms clad in L.L. Bean tankinis -- no joke, almost every woman was sporting one - to put down their novels and take note.


No tank you! Mary ditches the omnipresent tankini for a trendier one-piece. Photo: Jolie Novak for AOL

The men looked slightly intrigued but mainly perplexed: not the usual look at their pool. One man said he wasn't quite fond of it; his wife countered that he was the more conservative type anyway. (She wore a blue, watercolor print racer-back tankini, natch.)

Mary admitted that the tankini was her suit of choice as well, but confessed to owning a skimpy red bikini that she likes to break out when she really wants to make a splash.

Despite the confused glances, our model was more flattered than offended. "I thought I would feel out of place, but I didn't. I loved wearing it. I'm a skinny girl wanna-be!"

Several other women couldn't believe that Mary has two college-age children. "Good for her," one chirped. "I would never pull that off and she looks great."

Following a quick dip, Mary decreed that "the suit felt natural" in the refreshing water. "It was actually VERY comfortable. I felt like I was wearing a one piece, but more trendy."

So aside from the stress of stepping outside her fashion comfort zone, the suit looked great, was fully functional, and managed to turn a few heads. We'd say that was a win-win.

What do you think? Should a modern woman wear this suit? Sure, it's hot on a fashion runway, a Kardashian reality stunt, or in a Victoria's Secret ad, but does this cut-out swimwear trend work in the real world?

Let us know by leaving a comment and then check out the most iconic celebrity bathing suits of all time.