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Our best swimsuit shopping tips

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Stress- free swimsuit shopping

It’s that time of year again, when pools and beaches beckon. But you know what that means, right? It’s time to dive into bathing suit shopping. While many of us loathe it, buying swimwear doesn’t have to be stressful.
Happy woman in bathingsuit

We put together some simple tips to help you hit the shops and find the suit you want, minus a meltdown.

Take it slow

The first step in finding the perfect poolside look is to avoid rushing. If you think you’re going to end up with something great by searching for it on your lunch hour, think again. Swimsuit shopping takes time. Give yourself a day or even a few days to leisurely shop for a flattering style that works for your body type (see below). The more you rush, the more likely you are to end up with something you really don’t feel comfortable in.

Shop for your body type

Some people look great in a high-waisted vintage-style suit, while others can rock an itty bitty bikini. The style you end up with should work for your body type, whether you’re long and lean, curvy, petite or somewhere in between. Check out some of our quick tips below.

  • Petite: Look for something cut high on the leg to create the illusion of height. If you’re small on top, choose a bikini with ruffles to add volume.
  • Tummy to conceal: Look for something with a belt or empire waist to create the illusion of a smaller waist. Tankini tops are great for extra coverage.
  • Busty: Go for a V-neck, which helps create proportion and elongates the body if you’re top-heavy. Thick-strap halters and tops with underwire are also a good choice since they offer adequate support.
  • Hips to hide: Look for a suit with details or bright colors on top to draw the eye up or a piece with a skirt or removable cover-up for added beach-side comfort.
  • Long and lean: Add the illusion of more shape with padding, shirring, ruffles and ruching.

Focus on the positive

The worst thing you can do when shopping for a swimsuit is criticize yourself while you’re trying them on. If there are areas of your body you’re not keen on, avoid focusing on them. Instead, focus on what you do like about yourself -- toned arms, elegant neck, tiny waist –- whatever makes you feel good about yourself. The better you feel while shopping, the more luck you’ll have finding the right bathing suit.

Try on multiple suits

While you may be tempted to get in and get out without trying on more than a couple of options, resist the urge to flee the scene. The key to finding something that really works for you is to try on several bathing suits. You might get lucky and find something suitable on the first try, but more than likely, you’ll have to commit to trying on several to hit on the one that really makes a statement.

Think about fashion and function

What will you be doing in your bathing suit? Lying by the pool or chasing toddlers down the beach? Doing laps and playing beach volleyball or lounging in the shade with a cocktail? The choice you make will depend on what you’re going to be doing. If you’re active, have active kids or simply know you’ll be doing more actual swimming that sitting by the pool, buy something that can handle all that movement. If your suit is more for pool parties or beach days (with minimal swimming), you can get away with something skimpier or more fashionable than functional.

More about swimwear

What to look for when bathing suit shopping
Look your best in that bathing suit
30 Swimsuits to flatter your body type

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