It’s the first day of summer! And with all the wonderful things that you get to enjoy in the summer – long days of sunshine, warm nights, weekend grilling with friends, vacations to exotic getaways, sun bathing on the beach and going swimming… you’re probably going to have to go bathing suit shopping (gasp!).
Most woman think of trying on bathing suits with the same enthusiasm as they do a visit to the gyno (ouch!). And while there are some similarities; you’re half-naked, feel uncomfortable, and hope the whole experience is quick and painless; there is a better way to shop for swimsuits.
The secret to a carefree and successful swimsuit shopping experience is to be patient and have an open mind. Realize that there are so many great options that you don’t have to settle for something that is just “hides this, tucks that, and minimizes problem areas.” Don’t judge the goodness of a bathing suit by the way it looks on a hanger. Try it on! Experiment with different shapes (try on everything from tanks to tankinis) and brush up on flattering trends like neon (yes, neon), color blocking, and eye-catching patterns. Here’s some advice straight form the professionals in the field that will help you look your best in a swimsuit, no matter what!
Size doesn’t matter
Forget about the size. Some of you may not know this but in today’s fashion industry, size really doesn’t matter. For example, in one store you could be a 10 and in another a 6. Sizing is not completely regulated and therefore there’s no reason to beat yourself up over one store’s idea of a size. Focus on how the suit fits you regardless of what size it is. It’s an indisputable style fact that you will look slimmer in a swimsuit size that fits you rather than a size you want to fit.
Details such as beading, embroidery, patterns, and blocks of bold colors can great on swimsuits so use them to highlight your best assets. If you love your cleavage (and who doesn’t?), find a swimsuit with gorgeous neckline detail. On the other hand, if you don’t like a particular aspect of your body, don’t buy a swimsuit that calls attention to that area. Use bright, saturated colors (remember I said neon above?) because they can be surprisingly slimming. A bright one-piece that contrasts with your skin tone can visually lengthen your body.
Get a stylist
No, buying a swimsuit doesn’t require a high-end department store stylist to help you look your best. However, you can get yourself a virtual stylist at no cost. Buying swimwear online has its perks even if you can’t try the bathing suit on before you buy it. Here’s how you fix that: Shop for swimsuits on sites that have fit experts via a live chat or over the phone (two great options are landsend.com and soma.com). If there is a physical store in your area, go there and get measured by one of the stylists. That way you will be armed with the fit that works best for that site and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect when you make your purchase.
Work with your body not against it
Before you go shopping, arm yourself with the knowledge of what styles will flatter your shape. Here are swimsuit solutions to the most common body types:
For the busty ladies, approach your swimsuit search like you would bra shopping. The ultimate goal is comfort, lift, and support and that holds true when selecting a swimsuit. Look for a suit that has bra-like construction with underwire and support designs like a halter or a tank with wide over-the-shoulder straps. If you tend to be top-heavy (more busty up top, a bit smaller on the bottom), go simple on top and sport bright colors and patterns below the waist. That will promote visual balance to your frame.
For the not-so-busty ladies, this is where detailing (such as “volumizing”) and embellishments such as ruffles can come in handy. Also, there are many swimsuits that are designed to add a bit of “help” to the cleavage-challenged. Be sure to avoid sports-bra-like tops, which can have the opposite visual effect.
Who says just because you don’t have wash-board abs that you can’t be sexy in your swimsuit. A great look is this season’s retro-glam one-piece suits with ruching, shirring, and draping. Any area in your mid-section that you want to downplay can be de-emphasized in this look. Use zigzagprints patterns (like the ones from Missoni) to camouflage a tummy.
For the pear-shaped woman, color blocking is your friend. Choose a one-piece suit that has a dark color on the bottom and solid blocks of color on top. Remember bright colors can be your friend as well. You can design your own bikini in a store with mix-and-match separates. Pair a printed or bold color tops with a dark-colored bottoms to give your body its best look.
For those ladies with a longer torso, create balance by creatively elongating (seemingly) shorter legs. Find a swimsuit with a low-cut neckline (sexy!) and a high-cut leg (also sexy!). Stick to solid colors because a continuous print can make a long torso look even longer.
For the ladies with a shorter torso, get ready to expose some skin! In fact, to balance your shape, you can expose as much skin as you are comfortable with. Find a two-piece that has a low-rise bikini bottom. For those of you not comfortable in a bikini, you can elongate your mini-midsection with a strapless one-piece.
For the women with a fuller figure, skip the boring one-piece black swimsuit and have fun with prints instead. Bold prints have a way of distracting the eye and they can hide areas that you’re not super confident in. With all the choices and updates in fashion, you can find a swimsuit that has built-in shapers to help you showcase exactly what you want, how you want.
Buying a swimsuit doesn’t have to be an ordeal that leaves you angry, depressed of vowing never to hit the beach again. With a bit of practice, an open mind and some confidence, you can find the suit that’s right for you.