Sync your personality and shape with a new swimsuit for summer.
Swimwear shopping carries a four out of five on my anxiety scale. Nearly naked in a dressing room, bad lighting that highlights my cellulite and a perky salesperson who inquires about sizes. When it comes to swimwear I have multiple personalities as I try to connect a bathing suit to an image of sweet and flirty, subtle and sexy or sophisticated and smart. Perhaps that’s too many requirements to place on a small item that first and foremost needs to make my body look good from the butt upwards. And even then it needs to work for me—I don’t want my breasts to look too small or flattened, I want my legs to look long and slender and my butt to be lifted. Additionally, I don’t want to fidgit with the fit and be tugging or pulling to stay covered, no thong or boy short bottoms for me. Exposing my thighs gives me enough angst so my bathing suit needs to draw the attention upwards.
So, I skip the dressing room and now order multiple styles online to try in the privacy of my own home.
If you're like me and dread swimwear shopping, we’ve got some tips to help you find the right style for your body. The most important tip is to remember that you are aiming for a balanced silhouette.
Just add Havianas and water.
My Bathing Suit Pick
Off the Shoulder Suit, JCrew $120
I received four compliments (Yes, four compliments!) from gal pals at a recent pool party. I was so psyched to receive kudos from other women I immediately ordered this suit in another color just in case J. Crew decided not to keep this in stock. It's ideal for covering up any little flaws-gives the illusion of a flat tummy, good support for an A-C cup and flattering on the bottom half.
You may need some extra support; under wire tops, formed cups and wider bands under the bust line can work well and look great.
Avoid strapless bandeau tops and those tiny, triangle tops that offer minimal coverage.
Halter-top bikinis offer support, while providing some great cleavage too. Look for styles that are banded under the bust line and can be tied in back and around the neck to make adjustments.
Look for one-piece swimsuits with some structure in the bust, such as soft foam cups or a shelf bra.
Tie Back One Piece, Alloy.com $25
Sweetheart Tankini & String Side Bottom, Alloy.com $35
Look for tops with a touch of padding, or an under wire, demi-bra style that makes the most of adding to your small bust line.
You have the body to wear cute, ruffled tops that are hot right now, triangle tops plus bandeau tops are easy to wear as well.
Avoid tops with too much fabric or have a poor fit.
BLEU Bright Young Things Bikini Underwire Bikini, Swimwearforme.com, $134
Underwire Bandeau Top & hipster, Alloy.com $23
If you don't have many curves, choose a swimsuit that has a belted waist to create one. Or choose a one-piece suit with a high-on-the-thigh cut. The cut-out one piece swimsuits instantly create a few curves at the waist and hips without adding “weight.”
Bikinis are also good for you. Add some details at the hips with rings, ruffles and bows.
Side Tie Cut Out One Piece, Alloy.com $25
Surplice Blouson Swimsuit, swimwearforme.com $120
Big on Bottom
A mini-skirted bikini bottom is made just for you! Skip the super frilly ones. Choose a skimming, smooth skirt that covers just what you need too.
Opt for a bikini bottom that has slightly wider sides, skip the string side tie versions that only draw unwanted attention. To balance your proportions choose a solid bottom and a patterned top. It will draw the eyes upward.
Play up your top-side to de-emphasize your bottom.
Avoid boy shorts, skimpy bottoms, or lots of ruffles and details at the hips.
Diner Dot Halter& Bottom, Alloy.com $70
Bandeau Skirted Bikini, Swimwearforme.com $130
Plus Size Figure
Look for one-piece swimsuits with lace or mesh inserts. Showing a little skin in the right places can be sexy. A well placed cut-out or a deep v neckline can be a flattering visual.
Lengthen your thigh with swimsuits that have a high cut leg or adjustable ruching detail at the hip.
Avoid too much fabric and boy short styles. Stay away from white, as well as bright fabrics.
Robby Dots Side Tie, Swimwearforme.com $80
Bandeau Halter Swim Dress, Swimsuitsforall.com $70
Too Much Tummy
If you are self-conscious about a less than flat tummy try one of those swimsuits with a little extra Lycra woven into the tummy area; they work wonders. A one-piece with some draping around the waist or hips can also help to conceal a “muffin” top.
If you’re going for a two-piece swimsuit, then opt for a tankini where top and bottom meet at the waist. They cover just enough, but you still have the freedom and hip factor of a bikini.
Avoid teeny bikinis.
Sweetheart Tankini &bottoms, Alloy.com $30
Peekaboo Bikini Top& Bottom, Swimspot.com $150