Now that designers have finally wised up to the fact that we don’t all hail from Brazil, they’re offering suits that look good on real women with real issues. Real Simple consulted designers, boutique owners, competitive swimmers, and others to compile tips to help you find the best bathing suit for your body type.
Bathing Suits for Large ChestsWhat to look for: Underwire is key, but wide or adjustable straps, boning, seamed cups, and sturdy linings help lift the chest, too. Other ancillary support features, like high necklines, full coverage at the armholes, or halters with wide bands under the breasts, also help. And embrace the bikini: “In some cases, a two-piece is actually better, because you have a band of support all the way around the back,” says Linda Sassoon, president of Gottex USA.
What to avoid: Skimpy styles that gape open or lack structure, like triangle tops.
Bathing Suits for Full Hips and ThighsWhat to look for: A suit with eye-catching details above the waist―a pop of color, a deep neckline, hardware―to lure attention to your upper half. Down below, opt for an arched leg line that hits about an inch south of the hip bone. A skirted bottom also hides hips, says Ilene Sofferman, manager of Canyon Beachwear, in New York City. An A-line cut, a slit, or ruched sides keep the look modern.
What to avoid: Boy shorts, one-pieces with side cutouts, and bottoms with embellishments, especially ring hardware (which can pinch the skin).
Bathing Suits for a TummyWhat to look for: Designs that skim over the middle (think A-line tankinis) or suits that have ruched or textured fabric or built-in control panels to suck in an ample midsection. And, no, you don’t have to shy away from all bikinis, says Kari Rubin, owner of the Sunsplash Swimwear boutique, in San Diego. “Choose styles with high waistbands that are shirred or folded to give you more coverage.”
What to avoid: Tight-fitting tankinis, belt detailing, and low-rise or string bottoms.
Bathing Suits for a Straight FigureWhat to look for: Three-dimensional details―ruffles, rings, shirring, padding―and bold prints can make a straight body look more curvaceous, says Pamella Protzel Scott, creative director for the swimwear line Ella Moss Isla: “Bottoms with embellishments bring attention to the hips and create a waistline.”
What to avoid: Designs that reinforce straight lines with vertical stripes or harsh square necklines, or anything completely solid and free of texture or accents.
Swimsuit Myths and Shopping Tips
5 Things to Do Before You Hit the Stores1. Apply self-tanner a day in advance to warm up winter skin. But don’t try this on the day you plan to shop. The tanner will rub off on the fabric.
2. Check your closet for clues as to what already works on you. Love how you look in V-necked tops? Try halter cuts. Not a solid in sight? Focus on prints.
3. Wear a seamless thong (which won’t show under swimsuits) and easy-to-remove clothing. A shift dress and slip-on flats allow for speedy changes.
4. Allot plenty of time to shop. You don’t want to settle just because you’re in a rush. Give yourself more than a lunch hour to browse and try on.
5. Drink a margarita (optional). :)
6 Crucial Moves to Make When Trying on a Suit!!
- Lift your arms over your head. Does the top rise up?
- Bend over. Does your chest spill out the front?
- Lower your arms so they’re at your sides. Are your breasts coming out of the sides of the suit?
- Relax your shoulders. Do the straps fall off?
- Sit cross-legged. Does the bottom pop open or creep down in the back?
- Do a couple of lunges. Does the bottom ride up?
Here's to a great summer !! XO Sara Stakeley