First, know your body type. Your shape––where you naturally distribute weight––determines which swimsuit will look best on you. Measure your hips at the widest point, waist at the smallest point, and bust at the fullest point. Here are suggested interpretations of your body shape:
- Pear shape: Your hips are significantly wider than both your waist and bust.
- Apple shape: Your waist is significantly wider than your hips, and equal to or nearly as wide as your bust.
- Hourglass shape: Your bust and hips are about the same width, and your waist is significantly smaller.
- Straight (also known as ruler or banana shape): Your hips, waist and bust have no significant difference.
Secondly, choose colors and fabrics that will highlight your best features and downplay your less-loved parts.
The secret to a good swimsuit is drawing the eye to the most flattering parts of your figure; this will help you to feel more comfortable as well as look your best. Here are some basic tips to follow:
- To highlight a good feature, use a bright color or pattern.
- To de-emphasis an area, use a solid color.
- For light skin, use black or deep jewel tones, such as dark purple, navy, and maroon.
- For dark skin, use bright colors.
- To add volume (such as to the bust or hips), choose a piece with ruffles in that area.
- To minimize volume (such as on the waist), use shirred or ruched fabric.
- Don’t be afraid to buy separates that don’t match perfectly! For example, if you want to highlight your bust and draw attention away from your hips, buy a bikini top in a bright solid or pattern, and a bottom that’s a dark black, blue or brown (depending on the top).
Thirdly, select the right cut. Here’s a quick rundown of what you might want to favor/avoid:
- A one-piece place emphasis your waist. If straight shape, choose one with shirred panels over the stomach, or in a dark, solid color.
- Tankini will highlight your waist, because it draws the eye to the section of skin that’s showing. If you love your waist but not so much your hips or bust, choose this.
- Boy Shorts make your hips look wider, regardless of color. Recommend if you have a large bust and want the hips to match for a classic hourglass shape, choose this cuts.
- High-cut Bikini bottoms make legs look longer. If you’re short, or you’re long in the torso, this is a good selection.
- Halter and triangle tops draws attention to the bust.
- Tie-front Bikini tops draw the eye to the bust, as well as pull the breasts closer to one another, making them look larger. Excellent for small breasts.
- Bandeau tops make the bust seem wider. If you’re a pear shape and you want to imitate an hourglass shape, choose a bandeau top with ruffles or another busy detail.
- For a large bust, look for a straight across cut at the top of your swimsuit with wide set straps to minimize your bust. Try a bikini top with an underwire and a thick chest band for extra support. A thick chest band will prevent jiggling so that the bra stays where it should be and you can’t fall out.
Finally, select the swimsuit suitable to its primary use.
- Bikinis are fairly limited in terms of workouts (laps or surfing), but a more solid tankini would hang in there with no problem. Sports swimsuits often have added features to help with support, streamlining and comfort, so check them out if you’re planning on doing more than keeping cool by the pool.
- Most lifeguard work requires a one piece swimsuit in a plain color. Adding shorts or a wetsuit to complements the uniform.
- One piece swimsuits can be very sexy, especially when you choose nice colors and a flattering fit for your body.
- Ask a professional for help. If you just can’t find anything that works, request some assistance. Go to a store that carries styles you generally like. Describe the look you want to achieve to the salesperson and don’t be afraid of the feedback you get–just respond in accordance and you’ll probably end up with something you like.