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The ultimate swimsuit guide: Finding the best shape, color & style

Aly Walansky is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City. She lives with her two Shorkie-Tzus, Scarlette and Max, and a display of pink polka-dot-themed home decor -- not to mention a selection of flavored vodka. Check out he...

Picking the best swimsuit for you

Remember the episode of Oprah where Kirstie Alley shared her weight loss success with the world by sashaying onstage in a bikini? It was the ultimate victory for her. All women who continue to struggle with weight know that perhaps the ultimate most terrifying stage fright -- with the exception of total nudity -- is the bathing suit. In fact, Kirstie put it right up there with being in stirrups at the gyno.

And now for a little less

For the minimalists among us, we really love the Femme Fatale style from the Le Deox swimwear line. Co-founded in 2005 by mother/daughter team Juliana and Marly Renz, Le Doux combines Brazilian sexiness and the relaxed Californian lifestyle. 

The frills, floral embellishments, custom hardware and beads capture attention -- but it's the sexy, flattering cuts that really turn up the heat. See four of their fab bikini styles here:

Picking the best swimsuit for you

"We gain inspiration mainly from sourcing amazing materials, but also from different cultures, various time periods and the environment around us," says Juliana about the collection. "These are suits we could wear on the beaches of Rio, Malibu -- or Maui for that matter -- and not feel out of place." (Psst: Cameron Diaz is a fan.)

Speedo speed suits

Groovy patterns, colors, cuts and extras

According to South Florida-based Swim 'n Sport president Mark Sidle, as the temperature rises, buyers go for the bolder styles, including:

Terrific tankinis in exotic prints and bright colors are ideal for concealing a little bit of extra tummy or "muffintop" issues. 

Sexy monokinis, which give the illusion of a bikini in a creative one-piece style that's ideal for flattering the slimmer figure.

Daring dots and details including hardware trim, beads, stones, rope and lace draws the eyes away from your trouble spots.

And when it comes to playing the bold and colorful card, check out just a few of the sassy and vibrant designs included in the latest generation of racing swimsuits from Speedo. The line is called Xtra Life Lycra, and you can see five of the suits at right.

But will it really work?

The only fate worse than not finding your suit is finding the wrong suit. The signs are all there: straps that dig into shoulders, bulges popping out all over. Finding your ideal fit is just as important as finding the cutest style.

Top six steps to savvy swimsuit selection

Just because your dresses are size 8, don't assume your bikini will be. Swimsuits tend to run smaller than clothing, so be prepared to try on a few sizes larger than you are used to. Is the suit creating bulges or muffintops? That's an instant hint to go up a size. Picking the best swimsuit for you

Are you showing off too much? When you bend over, do your breasts slip out? If you put your arms over your head, does the arm hole allow the guy next to you to catch an eyeful?  Is a normal bikini bottom constantly giving you a wedgie? If so, put an X through it an move on the next style or size.

While in the dressing room, utilize that full-length mirror and get good behind and side views. Pirouette and use this opportunity to be super critical (better you than your date). As you maneuver, notice if anything is bulging out, slipping down or riding up? If it is, toss that suit into the "no" pile.

Be sure to check that your swimsuit's not too see-through Remember that most suits seem perfectly opaque when dry -- it's when they get wet that everyone gets an up-close-and-personal view of your body. Dab a little water onto your suit in a few spots. Most notably to check for nipple coverage.

Know your body. Certain body types can't wear certain suits. That's just the way it is. Once you get that settled, you'll avoid a lot of tear-fests. Determine your body type & learn to dress your curves >>>

Be comfortable -- not just physically, but mentally. Thongs are hot, but you won't be if you feel like a dork wearing one.

Suit up, people!

Don't let fear of shopping difficulty put off your swimsuit purchases -- the selection depletes as the season wears on! When you do get started shopping, look for suits that you feel good in, that flatter fuller figures. 

All of us are getting excited for our sunny weather getaways. Grab your tankini, don your cover-up, and get ready! It's time for you to be the hottest thing on the sand.

Get tons more style advice in our Guide to dressing for your body type>>

More on your body this summer

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