Tips for choosing a swimsuit that flatters your shape

Lots of women dread the annual bathing suit shopping trip. In fact, many of us put off swimsuit shopping till the day before we leave for vacation.

Much like bra shopping, we struggle with so many body-image issues when it comes to finding the one swimsuit we love. Unless we are happy with our bodies upfront, this trip can be discouraging, embarrassing and leave us feeling drained and dumpy.

Buying a swimsuit is all about illusion. You can’t physically change your body the day before your vacation, but by selecting a swimsuit style that suits your shape, you can head for the beach feeling strong and confident.

The key to a great swimsuit is finding the right combination of fit, pattern, colors and selective detailing that is compatible with your body shape and bust profile. So print out this handy reference guide and take it with you to the change room, and you’ll find a swimsuit that both fits and flatters you.

Women With Curvy Bodies

  • If you have marvelous curves in the right places, try a wrap-style bathing suit. Depending on your specific needs, these styles can flatter a variety of looks.
  • If you have a small waist, wear a swimsuit with a belt or detailing around the tummy area.
  • Wrap-style bathing suits flatter breasts best when they have halter-style necks. If you’re going for the halter look, make sure your breasts are well supported and not popping out the top or flattened by the seam line.
  • Try a high-cut leg hole to give you the illusion of having longer and slimmer legs.

Women With Larger Breasts

  • If you have larger than average breasts, choose a swimsuit that has proper supportive material in the bust area. Built-in bra cups or underwire can do wonders at shaping and supporting your breasts.
  • Choose suits that have high Lycra content because they will help support the bust area.
  • Women with large breasts and small shoulders should choose styles that have a halter neckline. If you have larger shoulders and breasts, choose a suit that has a V-neck or scoop-neck style.
  • If you’re looking to shrink the appearance of your breasts, choose a suit that has a matte finish fabric and darker in color than the remainder of your suit.

Bottom Heavy Women

  • If you have a larger bottom, it’s important to bring attention to the breasts by choosing a light color that will give the illusion of balance. You can also appear balanced by wearing a strapless or empire waist style bathing suit.
  • Skirted suits are not a good option. They add extra weight and bulk as well as bring attention to the lower half. Instead of covering yourself, your bottom becomes the main feature when wearing a skirted swimsuit.

Women With Small Breasts

  • If you have smaller than average breasts, the most flattering style for you is a string bikini. Push-up styles and small padding enhancements can make the breasts appear larger than they are.
  • If you want to balance out your body, choose a bathing suit style that has a lower neckline, includes bright colors and is highlighted by detailing on the bust area.

Tummy Slimmer

  • If you’re looking to shrink the size of your tummy, you should choose a swimsuit style that includes vertical lines of piping, seaming and wide V-necks. These will all work towards drawing attention away from the problem area, plus they will elongate your figure.
  • When it comes to colors, choose patterns on the top half only.
  • If you’re looking to purchase a two-piece suit, select one with a higher waistband which includes a high content of Lycra for added support.
  • Regardless, if you’re looking to slim your tummy, stay away from all horizontal prints and cuts in the swimsuit style.

One key rule of thumb for all swimsuits involves color. Wear darker colors with matte fabrics on areas of the body you want slimmed down. Do the opposite when you want to draw attention to a part of the body and increase the appearance of its size.