The every body type swimwear guide

This is a great example of a monokini for curvy women with a small bust.

This is a great example of a monokini for curvy women with a small bust.

Are you counting down the days until your neighborhood pool opens? Or perhaps you have a costal vacation in your future. If your summer involves any type of water activity, you are probably searching for the perfect new swimsuit. These days, there are so many cuts available that it’s difficult to know exactly which styles will best fit your body shape. Here’s what makes a swimsuit “perfect”: it balances your body’s proportions so that your best features are accentuated. Make sense? Keep reading for tips and tricks for finding the suit that’s just right for you.

Curvy hips / Small bust

If you have a smaller bust and curvier hips and thighs, you will want to look for styles that draw the eye up towards your chest and therefore visually lengthening your body. Some cuts that achieve this goal include classic one-pieces that have either a plunging neckline, or a deep v-neck. Another option is a “monokini” with cutouts around the waistline. If you are attracted to patterns, look for diagonal stripes, which will emphasize your waist and bust.

If you are planning to wear a 2-piece swimsuit, don’t be afraid to mix-and-match (for example, a patterned top and coordinating solid bottom). Remember to wear brighter colors on the areas you want to emphasize, and darker colors on the areas you’d like to minimize. The most flattering 2-piece style for your body type is a halter-top bikini top with a matching mini-skirt. Steer clear of string bikini bottoms and ruffled boy-shorts, as they will just draw more attention to your hips and thighs.

Remember that black makes everything look smaller and to look for pieces that give you that extra support if you need it.

Remember that black makes everything look smaller and to look for pieces that give you that extra support if you need it.

Curvy hips / Large bust

For women with fuller-figured shapes, you will want to focus on finding a suit that has one thing in particular – support! Look for tops that mold and lift the bustline by way of an underwire as well as wide, adjustable straps (so that when you are splashing around in the surf, “the girls” will stay secure). Remember you don’t have to sacrifice great style for comfort; search for tops with fun patterns, mesh details, and sexy necklines.

For optimum tummy control, look for tankini tops made from specialty fabrics designed to tighten and flatten around the stomach area. If you prefer a classic one-piece look, keep in mind that ruched fabrics and dark side panels are visually slimming.

Long torso / Long legs

This is a great example of a high waisted swim suit. A high waisted bikini or one piece is great for taller women to show off their legs.

This is a great example of a high waisted swim suit. A high waisted bikini or one piece is great for taller women to show off their legs.

If you are one of those lucky women with a long torso and legs that go on for days, then the high-waisted bikini trend is for you. Channel Grace Kelly this summer and find a cute bandeau top and rock a pair of coordinating high-waisted bottoms. The higher waistline is not only on trend this season, but the cut instantly trims your torso and draws attention to your waistline and bust. For an extra stylish look, choose a ruffled one-shoulder bikini top or a sexy, off-the-shoulder bandeau.

For women who actually plan on swimming (instead of just splashing around in the surf), finding a one-piece that fits just right may be a bit tricky. Search for stores that offer sizes created for taller women, and look for suits that have adjustable halter necks.

This woman's bathing suit cuts her in the right places to compliment what curves she does have, but also show off her slim/athletic build.

This woman’s bathing suit cuts her in the right places to compliment what curves she does have, but also show off her slim/athletic build.

Compact body / Athletic 

Creating the illusion of more curves is the number one strategy for any woman with a compact, athletic body. If you prefer one-pieces suits, look for one in a vibrant color or fun print to create more interest and movement. From bust to hip, ruffles and prints can create the illusion of a longer torso.

Since a body shape of this type is rather versatile, you can pull off the skimpier suits as well as the conservative ones. Instead of wearing shapeless boy-cut briefs, feel free to don a sexy string bikini bottom, or cute triangle bottoms. Keep in mind that higher-cut bottoms will make your legs look longer. For the top piece, choose V-neck halter-top with thick banding under the bust to help play up your curves, or else show off your shoulders with a strapless top. Look for a top with cups and details such as embellishments or ruffles. Stay away from straight-across bandeaus and shapeless tankinis.

There’s so much to look forward to during the summer months, so don’t let bathing suit shopping make you skip a beat. Keep this guide handy and finding your perfect summer suit will be a breeze.

Kristin Hauch-Melton

Kristin Hauch-Melton is a writer and communications consultant. She earned a degree in Communications and Business from University of North Florida, serves on the board for the Fayette Chamber of Commerce and lives in Peachtree City with her husband, horse, and dog.

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