Swimsuit shopping is one of the most dreaded pursuits for most women — not to mention if you're still carrying some baby weight or you're just not in bikini bod shape. The latest, trendiest swimsuits of the season may not be the best styles to camouflage figure flaws and make you feel comfortable. So the question is, how does a gal look stylish and current while flattering one's figure? To solve this style dilemma, we turned to Bridgette Raes, style expert and author of Style Rx: Dressing the Body You Have to Create the Body You Want.
Here, she explains how to find a swimsuit based on your figure challenge, whether you have a big tummy, big rear or big chest. Approaching swimsuit shopping this way is actually the smart way to find a style that flatters — versus choosing a style simply because you love the look. "By choosing a suit that works with one's body, figure flaws seem to vanish. As I like to say, 'It's not your body that's wrong for the swimsuit, it's the swimsuit that is wrong for your body.'"
For a big tummy
Look for swimsuits that have built-in tummy support like Miraclesuit. In addition, look for suits with ruching and/or draping over the midsection. "These will de-emphasize your flaws while emphasizing curves, and ruching camouflages a tummy." A waist-defining swimsuit also creates a more flattering, hourglass-looking shape, Raes says. Another great style? The wrap. "It creates a slimming diagonal over the tummy area which minimizes this feature."
Choose small busy prints to distract the eye and create an all over slimming effect. "Darker colors are preferred because they are slimming and make flaws look less pronounced," Raes says.
For a big rear
Look for swimsuits that fully cover the butt area — steer clear of skimpy cuts that will emphasize the size. Seek skirted bottoms — only if you don't have large thighs. "The skirt of a swimsuit often cuts right at the widest part of the thigh making them look even wider," Raes says.
Seek out bikinis or one-piece suits with a bold pattern or print on top and a solid color on the bottom. "This will distract the eye away from the lower half of the body," Raes says. If you must wear a patterned bottom, Raes recommends choosing diagonal stripes, which are very slimming. Seeking more coverage? Go for a sarong to wrap around your lower half.
For a big chest
If possible, seek a swimsuit top that comes in cup sizes, such as the sleek styles by renowned NYC-based swimsuit designer Malia Mills, so you can ensure a proper fit. "You should be fitting your bikini top like a bra." In addition, look for one-piece suits with padding and underwire support. Thicker straps will hold the weight of a larger chest while keeping the shape intact.
In terms of style details, avoid embellishment or any treatment on top as it will only further attract attention toward the chest. "Something more understated will draw attention away from this area," Raes says.
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