Swimsuit

Know your body type. Your shape––where you naturally distribute weight––determines which swimsuit will look best on you. Measure your hips at the widest point, waist at the smallest point, and bust at the fullest point for the best reference, since swimsuit sizing and styling depend on these ratios. Here are suggested interpretations of your body shape:

 

  • Pear shape: If your hips are significantly wider than both your waist and bust, you’re probably a pear.
  • Apple shape: If your waist is significantly wider than your hips, and equal to or nearly as wide as your bust, you might be an apple.
  • Hourglass shape: If your bust and hips are about the same width, but your waist is significantly smaller, you’re a classic hourglass.
  • Straight (also known as ruler or banana shape): If you’re thin all around, with no significant difference between your hips, waist and bust, you’re a straight shape.
Choose an appropriate swimsuit store. There are boutiques that specialize in swimsuits (everything from sporty wear to poolside glamor) so do your research to find one that will work for you. Additionally, if you’re not too particular about your swimwear, many clothing brands have their own swimsuit ranges available in department stores. Online shopping is another possibility but is probably best reserved for swimsuit duplicates when you already know what kind of swimwear fits you and you just need a few extras or a renewal of the same brand.

Select the right cut. Here’s a quick rundown of what you might want to favor/avoid:

  • A one-piece will hide your waist. Choose one with shirred panels over the stomach, or in a dark, solid color.
  • A 1940s-style, bathing-beauty bottom that’s high-waisted can also help hide a waist. Again, go with a dark color or shirring.
  • A tankini will highlight your waist, because it draws the eye to the section of skin that’s showing. If you love your waist but not so much your hips or bust, choose this.
  • Boyshorts make your hips look wider, regardless of color. If you have a large bust and want the hips to match for a classic hourglass shape, choose boyshorts. However, be aware that this style can feel uncomfortable for some women, so be certain of fit before you purchase anything.

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