Finding the perfect swimsuit becomes the dreaded beginning of the summer season ritual for many women. When trying on swimsuits, it is important to be realistic and to find suits that flatter your body type. A flattering swimsuit makes the most of the proportions of a woman’s figure. The key to choosing a flattering swimsuit is less about how great the swimsuit looks and more about knowing what colors, print and silhouettes go best with your body type. Here are a few tips on how to choose a suit to flatter your figure, accentuate your assets and hide your not so favorite parts.
The first step is to KNOW your body type. There are generally four body types: straight-figure, pear shape, apple shape and the hourglass shape.
- Straight Figure– So you’re not so curvaceous as your other friends. That’s okay! Choose a suit that emphasizes your bust and hip area. A bathing suit with ruffles, ties or other embellishments will do the trick. This will give the illusion that those areas are bigger and hence creating a waist. Wear a swimsuit with bold horizontal stripes or a horizontal pattern to create the illusion of curves. These will draw attention across your body, rather than up and down. Avoid swimsuits in darker colors, which can make your frame appear even narrower.
- Pear Shape– With this body type you are smaller at the top and carry more weight in the lower regions, at your hips, thighs and legs. The key for this shape is to draw attention to above the waist and away from your lower section. The answer is a wearing a swimsuit with a lower neckline. Also look for bright, lighter colors on the top of the swimsuit. Mix and matching your suit is a neat trick. Prints on top and dark solids on bottom balance out this figure type, as darker colors are slimming. A monokini is also a good choice. It is the one-piece with the back mid-section cut out of it. It is designed to make your torso look longer and draw attention to your waist and away from your lower region.
- Apple Shape– For this figure, you have a larger upper-body and fuller breasts. Buy a bathing suit with patterns. Avoid strap-less suits and ones with ruffles and a lot of detailing on the top. Halter tops with banded support are a good choice. (For fuller breasts see tips below).
- Hourglass Shape– Hourglass figures have a curvy upper and lower body, and probably a small waist. Choose swimsuits with a matching top and bottom or solid colors. The key to flattering this body type is to avoid wearing two pieces that have little coverage. This can over-accentuate your curves and make you look either top or bottom heavy. One-piece bathing suits work well with this shape.
- Large Breasts– If you have large breasts, avoid wearing skimpy tops with little coverage. Look for suits with a full coverage such as halters, especially the ones with the band for under the bust. For this feature the most important thing to look for is support and good bra construction, so look for suits with wider straps and that fit snug under your bust. If you would like to buy a one-piece suit, find one with foam cups or a shelf bra.
- Saggy Breasts– Swimsuits with push up support and foam cups are the answer for this feature. Buy suits with a banded halter or bra cup top. This silhouettes naturally give more support and keep the bust in place. The more comfortably snug they are the better.
- Small Breasts– For a small bust frame choose a suit that has ruffles on top. Triangular cups connected by a string will draw attention to your chest and give the illusion of a fuller bust. Using the string, adjust the cups so they are closer together, which will emphasize cleavage. Also buy cups with removable padding. If you are totally flat chested avoid bra cups that are shaped to hold a bust. It will look empty and re-emphasize what you’re trying to distract from.
- Bigger Midsection– If you feel that you have a bigger tummy, look for a one piece suit that has ruching. A one-piece suit that has draping or color blocking with a dark-colored mid panel around the waist can help to hide a larger tummy. You can also choose a one-piece swimsuit with a belt to cinch the waist. Avoid one-piece suits with the empire seam (right under the bust) suit with high-cut legs can draw attention to the curves of your body rather than the center of it. Choose suits in darker colors to make your frame appear slimmer. You can also look for suits with tummy control panels or power mesh. These have little spandex and is geared to pulling in the tummy area and creating a firmer look. Think Spanx for swimwear. Want to wear a two-piece suit? Try a tankini. It will cover your tummy but still give you the look of a two-piece and the options to mix and match your bottoms.
- Short Legs– To create the illusion of longer legs wear a one piece with a high cut along the leg opening. String bikinis with tie sides are great as you can tie them a little higher on the hip to create the look of a longer leg.
- Long Torso/Tall Woman– The average one piece is fit on a woman who is about 5′ 7″. So for a figure that has a long torso the suit may not fit properly and will feel like it’s not giving enough coverage at the bikini area, not sitting correctly under the bust or feels short and uncomfortable in the length. For this shop brands that dedicate one-pieces to tall women.
- No Buttocks– If you feel you have a very small buttocks or none for that matter choose a bikini with ruffle details at the waist or on the back of the bikini. Also swimsuits with ruching down the middle create the look of a larger bum. You want to avoid the saggy look in the back so try going a size smaller. Less coverage can make the area appear larger.