How to Find the Right Swimsuit For You

Swimsuit season is upon us! And while many women cower at the thought of shopping for a new suit, it

Swimsuit season is upon us! And while many women cower at the thought of shopping for a new suit, it doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience. No matter what your body type is, there are suits out there that will flatter you. You just need to know what to look for. Here are some tips on finding the right swimsuit.

Shop For Your Body Type

If you have a small bust: Look for a suit with light colors on top and dark on the bottom. The top should have molded bra cups or a push-up bra. Also try a top with ruffles, shirring, or horizontal stripes.

If you have a large bust: Look for tops with wide or adjustable straps, underwire support, boning, seamed cups, and/or sturdy linings. Tops with vertical stripes or patterns work well for large-chested women. Other great features are high necklines, full coverage at the armholes, and full bands under the chest. Avoid skimpy styles that gape open or lack structure, such as triangle tops.

If you have a long torso: Suits with larger patterns or high-cut legs will make your torso look shorter. Tankinis and two-piece styles with high-waisted bottoms work best for your shape.

If you have large hips and thighs: Try a dark, solid suit with a skirted bottom or with shorts attached. If you want a pattern, make it a smaller print. A higher-cut leg can make your thighs look slimmer, while wide shoulder straps that crisscross in the back bring attention away from the lower body. Suits with bright colors, deep necklines, and hardware above the waist will also focus attention on your upper half. Stay away from boy shorts, one-pieces with side cutouts, and embellished bottoms.

If you have a thick waist and tummy bulge: Look for suits with tummy-control panels or with gathers, pleats, or shirring at the waist.  V stripes at the waist and hips or a dark color around the middle will create an hourglass shape. If you prefer a two-piece, pick one with a high waistband that’s shirred or folded. Avoid tight-fitting tankinis, belt detailing, and string bottoms.

If you have a straight figure: Ruffles, rings, shirring, padding, and bold prints can all make a straight body look more curvaceous. Embellished bottoms bring attention to the hips and create the appearance of a waistline. Steer clear of vertical stripes, square necklines, and suits that are completely solid and free of accents or texture.

Find The Right Fit

Size up: Swimsuits tend to run small, and tight suits make you look heavier. So try on suits that are one size larger than your dress size.

Look for separates: Few bodies are perfectly proportionate. So, if you’re buying a two-piece, look for tops and bottoms you can buy separately (i.e., in different sizes).

Test the top: Slip your finger under the strap and lift it off your shoulder. There should be less than one inch of “give” between your shoulder and the strap. Straps should not bulge out or dig in. Don’t forget to lean over and make sure you’re not spilling out of the suit!

Assess the middle: The torso of a one-piece should lie flat against the body, with no puckering.

Check out the bottom: Sit down to make sure the suit does not ride up. The bottom should not be saggy or pinchy. Leg openings should not bulge or dig in to your skin. And there should be no pulling in the crotch.


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Originally Published in Reader's Digest