We asked Shannon Michaelson, Aqua Sphere swimwear specialist, for her best tips on choosing the right bathing suit for your body type. “Wearing a swimsuit is the most vulnerable that a woman can be in public, so it's imperative to find a quality swimsuit that makes you feel comfortable and confident,” she says. “Dressing for your body and finding a flattering fit is as much about identifying and emphasizing your strengths as it is trying to minimize your weaknesses.”
your body type
The most important thing to remember is that determining your body type is not about your height or the weight on your scale. It is about understanding and embracing the overall shape of your body, notes Michaelson. “Pay attention to where you tend to gain weight, what parts of your body you try to hide and what your best assets are,” she advises. “I often find that taking a picture in undergarments is a helpful way to get a true assessment of where you are in your journey at any given point.”
Make a note
Most importantly, don't take the process too seriously. “The best advice that I can give is to be kind to yourself, have fun with color, focus on fit instead of size, bring along a trusted friend to offer support and a second opinion, experiment with cuts and styles and remember that no one else is looking nearly as hard at your flaws as you are,” says Michaelson.
If you're: Busty
What you need: You are likely seeking additional bust support without stress on the neck or shoulders, explains Michaelson. Look for a swimsuit that offers an exemplary fit and is sold by cup size so you can get the fit you want. Also look for other support features such as underwire and thicker, adjustable straps for added comfort.
- We love the bold pink hue and comfortable halter ties of this beach-ready tankini (gap.com, $45 for the top, $37 for bottoms).
- Say yes to bright stripes with this supportive bikini with a halter top (nordstrom.com, $29 each for top and bottoms).
- An underwire and clasp at the back make this cute navy chevron striped bikini a good choice if you're heavier on top (topshop.com, $56).
- The halter neck adds support to this elegant white one-piece with adjustable cup coverage (net-a-porter.com, $195).
If you're: Athletic
What you need: Flattering piping details, moderate bust support, a medium leg and an open back work well for this body type, notes Michaelson. You can also soften your chest area with padding (if needed) and show off a toned butt and legs with embellishments at the hip. Feminine prints also help to soften a leaner frame.
- We love the feminine floral print on this string bikini and there's removable padding to add curves if you want (shopbop.com, $76 each for the top and bottom).
- Tri-color bands at the hip and colorblocking on top of this chic bikini help give the illusion of curves (freepeople.com, $90).
- This vibrant yellow one piece is embellished with a bow at the bust, which adds extra shape (net-a-porter.com, $245).
- A bold pattern adds shape, while the underwire provides some lift in this black and white print two piece (jcrew.com, $52 for the top, $46 for the bottoms).
If you're: Curvy
What you need: You're probably looking to conceal your tummy, back and/or hips. “A feminine neckline works well for this body type to draw attention upward from the waist,” advises Michaelson. “Tummy support, full back coverage and adjustable straps ensure a flattering fit.”
- A lower cut leg adds coverage at the hips — a bonus feature of this elegant deep purple one piece (landsend.com, $119).
- The gathered bodice of this eye-catching one piece with tie-dyed detail helps conceal a tummy (saksfifthavenue.com, $158).
- High waist bottoms offer generous coverage and we love the retro silhouette of this black and white print bikini (neimanmarcus.com, $295).
- Slight shirring on this pretty polka dot Ralph Lauren one piece slims the torso, while the skirted bottom covers up hips and thighs (zappos.com, $120).
If you're: Tall/have a long torso
What you need: Being tall has its perks but buying a bathing suit isn't always one of them. Extra length in the torso is a necessity, says Michaelson, as are moderate bust support for shaping and a medium to high leg. Ruffles can also add curves where you want them.
- Ruffles along the top and bottom of this bandeau bikini add the illusion of curves (shopbop.com, $58 for the top, $49 for the bottoms).
- We love the little bit of flare at the hips and on the bust of this colorblock bikini from Marc by Marc Jacobs, which adds extra shape (Nordstrom.com, $94 for the top, $89 for the bottoms).
- Give some shape to your long torso with the help of the lace ruffles on this copper-hued two piece (net-a-porter.com, $240).
- Ruffles at the waist create a more hourglass shape, just one of the reasons we love this pastel one piece with a bold patterned panel down the center (modcloth.com, $132).
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