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The ultimate swimsuit guide: Plus-size swimwear

On the plus side
You have curves, and you know your booty is hot. Sexy as you are, it's easy to doubt yourself come swim season -- especially given fashion's yen for the wispiest of models.

Rest assured, there are plenty of options for the real women out there -- yes, figure-flattering plus size swimsuits that give your shape extra support while providing a slimming look.

Where to begin
You will probably be looking for something a bit more concealing than average swimwear -- and thongs and bikinis probably are not your best bet. Some great options for you in terms of swimwear include tankinis, one-pieces and skirt suits (also known as skirtinis) -- they show the curves while providing waist-slimming, hip hiding features.

Plus-sized Play it up or cool it down
Here are some tricks of the trade to help you camouflage or accentuate as you see fit:

Hate your hips and thighs? Send the attention upward, with a tankini top and high-cut leg bottoms.

If you have great legs, lengthen and accent them with some nice hip detail.

A flared swimdress will hide hips and downplay thighs.

If you have belly bulge, go for a longer tankini top that will meet the bottoms of your suit.

Strategically placed cut-outs or intricate necklines can draw attention away from your middle.

Try to stick to dark colors, and avoid whites or neon shades.

Big breasts may be a hassle to haul around sometimes, but swim season is a great time to turn them into one of your most attractive assets!

Some suits to check out
Shade Clothing's swim bottoms feature a four-inch slimmer band, which is designed to minimize the tummy area and help hide love handles. Their swim tops are also extra long, which can help deal with that muffin top.

Plus-sized If you are feeling like a fun splurge, Christina Swimwear's Fantasizer collection has a slimmer power fabric that takes inches off your figure. We love the Fantasizer swim tank with center ring in orange black (shown to the left).

Another option is the Miraclesuit (miraclesuit.com) -- their styles are specifically designed to flatter plus-sized figures with a fabric that offers three times the control of the average suit. (They say their swimsuits "will make a woman look 10 pounds lighter in 10 seconds.")

What to look out for
When choosing a plus-size swimsuit, take particular care to look for a quality product -- including good fabric, strong seams and a built-in bra.

Finally, no matter how tempting it may be, don't try to squeeze into something that is just too small (and this goes for everyone, not just plus-sized gals). If it's too tight, even the most amazing swimsuit in the world will not make you look sexy and shapely -- all of the attention will be on the bulges, and they will look bigger than they actually are.

Dive in
Remember: Women are meant to be curvy. You don't want to hide your body -- just emphasize it to to your advantage!

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