Choosing a Bathing Suit for your Body Type

To bikini or not to bikini, is that the question? Or is it just a matter of finding the right style to suit up for summer? Here's a guide to the best suits for your body type.

This push-up bikini adds two cup sizes. Perfect for a small bust.This push-up bikini adds two cup sizes. Perfect for a small bust.Courtesy of Victorias Secret
Flat Chest

If your chest is flat and you feel self-conscious about it, try a style that has a built-in push-up bra. Your best bet for style is a triangle or bandeau top with ruffles and lots of detailing, bright colors and patterns. Steer clear of halter tops and dark colors. On the bottom, boy shorts, string bottoms or hipsters work equally well, depending on your body type. If you're not a bikini gal, a one-piece with a one-shoulder top, ruffles and details will take attention away from what you don't have and focus on what you do have.

Large-busted girls should look for support and coverage.Large-busted girls should look for support and coverage.Courtesy of Lands End
Large Bust

If you have a large bust, your first priorities are coverage and support. Underwire or support cups will give you a worry-free structure. Many stores such as Lands End offer swim suits for cup sizes D and above. Cross back straps provide extra support. You may also want to minimize your bust by accenting other areas like hips and waist. Look for a V-neck to make you look more narrow. A single deep color like royal blue, dark purple, cranberry or black will also minimize your bust and play up your assets.

A skirt across the bottom or boy cut pants minimize wider hips and a bigger bottomA skirt across the bottom or boy cut pants minimize wider hips and a bigger bottomCourtesy of DKNY
Wide Hips

If you are self-conscious about your bottom or hips, try a swimsuit with a boy cut bottom or a skirted bikini. These are both fun and playful styles that hide the areas which make you feel uncomfortable and give you room to move and play. A tankini is a great bet for you as well, where you can buy bottoms and tops separately, combining whichever top makes you feel most comfortable with the boy cut or skirted bottoms.

Draping across the stomach and smaller repeating patterns minimize a wider midsectionDraping across the stomach and smaller repeating patterns minimize a wider midsectionCourtesy of Lands End
Big Middle

To make your midsection look smaller and make your legs look longer, steer clear of styles that are tight around your stomach. Draped fabrics, small ruffles and other details around the midsection help minimize your tummy. Stay away from bright floral prints paisleys and large polka dots, and opt instead for a single color with fabric draping details or a micro repeating pattern like small diamond-shapes or vertical zig-zags.

Cut-outs on the sides give curves to a boxier more athletic figureCut-outs on the sides give curves to a boxier more athletic figureCourtesy of ASOS
Athletic Build

Show off your athletic figure with a cut-out swimsuit. Not enough material to be called a one-piece but technically it is only one piece, cut holes in the stomach, back or sides show off your assets while playing down any areas that feel too wide or muscular to bare completely. To minimize broad shoulders, look for an asymmetrical suit, that only goes over one shoulder. Ruffles down the center line also play down your width up top.

Details and patterns give skinny girls extra curves and definitionDetails and patterns give skinny girls extra curves and definitionCourtesy of Juicy Couture

If you feel self-consciously skinny or have a boyish figure, look for detailing in your suit to give the appearance of curves. Avoid bandeau tops that go straight across, and instead try triangle or halter tops, monikinis, or bikinis or one pieces that have a lot of ruffles and large patterns. Don't go overboard draping clothes to cover your thin body. Instead, wear cuts that give you the illusion of curves. Bright neon colors, floral prints and polka dots, and big, bold patterns with detailing will all flesh out your figure and make you look great.

Have Your Say

What's your favorite bathing suit style? How do you look your best in a swimsuit? Share your thoughts in the comments below!




latest videos


Favorite Swimsuit Style?

  • One-piece bathing suit.
  • Two-piece bikini.
  • Tankini.
  • A skirtini!

related stories

Micro_kids swimwear 2011_micro
As summer heats up and you start prepping to jump in the nearest pool, check out our overview of ...
Not sure what works for your body type? Check out Kidzworld's style tips to find out how to dress...
Are you small on top and bootylicious on the bottom? Find out how to dress up your pear-shaped fi...
Are you all angles and no curves? Create the illusion of shape and dress up your boyish figure w...

Dear Dish-It in the forums

kittenmeeoows posted in Friends:
im about to move to the biggest school in the  state from like the smallest what do i do will i fit in 
reply about 3 hours
fake_smiles posted in Friends:
Okay so basically I used to go to this school and I met some of the people who I wish to be life long friends with. Problem: All of them go to a different school Problem: I go to a dumb boarding school and only get to spend 1 day and a half with them when i come back on fridays before I leave to go to school on Sundays. I really hate this school too. My sister graduated high school from here and my other sister is in her last year here. After this year I'm going to be all alone at this school. I'll have to be going here for the next seven years since its a middle and high school and I'm only in middle school. Plus my sisters are the best students there. Every time I tell people I'm the sister of Stephanie and Siri,they automatically have high expectations of me. But mainly,I just want to know how to keep in touch with my best friends. We can't even have phones at school so I can't talk to them during the week. [s:sm3/1jw0]
reply about 4 hours
diamondgoogoo posted in Style:
Be who you are and a good person. Because popularity doesn't matter. Just be happy with what you got
reply about 6 hours
I understand how hard this must be. Because I should probably take this advice too.. I would try and focus on school lessons and ignore others. Don't be afraid to join a club! If you go to one that interests you then you might meet someone with common interests. I hope you get through this.
reply about 7 hours
Uh Hello?
reply about 8 hours

play online games