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A Helpful Guide to Swimsuit Shopping

06/22/2016 05:32PM ● Published by Kimberly Boney

Suit Up

July 2016
By Kimberly Bonéy

In just about any fitting room, in just about any city in the world, one unmistakable sound can be heard as summer approaches – the frustrated sighs of a woman trying to find the perfect swimsuit. And it’s not for lack of trying. She’s probably picked up 20 different styles, and is likely to settle on the lesser of the 20 evils, because, well, she hasn’t learned the fine art of shopping for a suit that flatters her figure most.  Whether she’s looking to balance out a more-than-ample bustline or trying to add curviness to a smaller derriere – or a multitude of other challenge areas to account for in between – the struggle is real, and we’ve all been there. Follow along as we guide you to the one that is best suited to your fabulous-at-any-shape-and-size figure. 

THE STRUGGLE: A small bust

THE SOLUTION: Embellishments are your friend. Ruffles, fringe and beading help add dimension to a smaller top portion. Triangle bikini tops with subtle padding
are ideal, offering minimal coverage and maximum style.  

THE STRUGGLE: A large bust

THE SOLUTION:  Bypass the string bikini. Tiny triangles aren’t enough to adequately corral “the girls.” Skip the bold colors, patterns or embellishments on top, as well. Instead, opt for tops that are labeled according to cup size (as opposed to those labeled as “small,” “medium” or “large”). Styles with molding and underwire, wider straps and more coverage in the back area will provide the most flattering support. 

THE STRUGGLE: Broad shoulders

THE SOLUTION:  Look for solid one-piece styles with patterned side panels, as they will give the illusion of an hourglass figure. Asymmetrical necklines are a stylish and functional option, bringing balance where it’s needed most. 

THE STRUGGLE: A small derriere

THE SOLUTION: Ruching and texture on a swimsuit bottom are the most obvious ways to add dimension, but also consider styles with brightly colored or boldly patterned bottoms. Avoid full coverage bottoms – particularly boy shorts, as they will only further minimize a small posterior.  

THE STRUGGLE: A large derriere

THE SOLUTION: Skip the high-cut bottoms, string bikinis, boy shorts and thick banded bottoms.  Consider a cut with a solid-colored, straight skirted bottom - sans ruffles.  Printed tops and plunging necklines help balance out a large bottom by creating the illusion of a more proportionate upper body. 

THE STRUGGLE: An athletic build

THE SOLUTION:  If you need help creating curves, padded tops and bottoms with side gathers are on your team. Look for brightly colored swimsuits with feminine patterns to bring out the softer side of a muscular build. A contrasting top and bottom helps to create more defined curves. A monokini is a great option. Pass on the bandeau tops and boy short bottoms, though, as they’ll bring you right back to square one (no pun intended).

THE STRUGGLE: The tummy pooch

THE SOLUTION: Peplums, high-waisted designs and tankinis are sweet yet sassy options to call attention away from a fuller stomach area. A one piece with a crossover fabric at the waist and a plunging neckline will help whittle the middle and draw the eyes upward.    

THE STRUGGLE: Love handles

THE SOLUTION: Skip low-cut-in-the-back styles and monokinis, as they will draw attention to a wider middle. High-waisted bottoms that extend above the belly button are the cure for “muffin top.” And they are all the rage this season. Winning!


THE SOLUTION: Opt for a one piece swimsuit with a higher back and wide straps. Consider a plunging neckline to add a dash of sexy to this classic style swimsuit.

THE STRUGGLE: A short torso

THE SOLUTION: Low-rise bottoms coupled with a halter top have an elongating effect, helping to create a more proportionate balance between your torso and the length of your legs.  

THE STRUGGLE: Short legs

THE SOLUTION:  High-cut bottoms help to create the illusion of longer legs while drawing just the right amount of attention to your curves. 

THE STRUGGLE: Full thighs

THE SOLUTION:  Look for styles with more coverage on the bottom. The comeback of vintage styles means that a sassy skirt bottom won’t compromise style while covering up larger upper legs. 

THE STRUGGLE: Big hips and skinny legs

THE SOLUTION: Elongate your clavicle area with a low cut or asymmetrical top, which will create an exciting yet functional balance for an out-of-proportion bottom half. 


THE SOLUTION: Try a swim-dress or tankini style to offer full coverage without compromising on the sassiness. Find a color that you love. With more options available in these styles in 2016, you’re sure to find one you’ll be happy with. 

THE STRUGGLE: A noticeable scar

THE SOLUTION:  If your scar is on the upper portion of the body, consider a crop top style that provides coverage while maintaining sexiness. One pieces with stylish mesh insets help cover up scars on the torso. Bold, strappy designs can help detract from scars and may just cover them up entirely while creating a fun, edgy look. 

THE STRUGGLE: Sun-sensitive skin

THE SOLUTION:  Long-sleeved tops offer sportiness and style while protecting you from the damaging effects of the sun. A burn is not the souvenir you’ll want to take away from a fun day of outdoor water play.  

THE STRUGGLE: A baby bump

THE SOLUTION:  A two-piece tankini is the perfect option for a growing belly. It’ll protect you and your little bun in the oven from sun exposure while making inevitable bathroom breaks a breeze.

Swimsuit shopping doesn’t have to induce a fitting room meltdown. Be realistic about what works best for your figure, shop accordingly, and don’t forget to put on the best suit of all: your confidence.

Health+Beauty, In Print, Today Swimsuit shopping
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