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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!

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