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The ultimate swimsuit guide: 5 shapes and the best fit


“Know Thyself.” The ancient Greek principle applies to many of life’s situations. It might be the first thing that comes to mind when we recite the ancient proverb, but when it comes to swimwear it’s necessary to know your body type. It will make all the difference when you set out to find a swimsuit that works best for your figure and flatters all your best features.

swimsuits for different body types on display

Find your body shape for the perfect fit

Anne-Marie Blondeau, the marketing manager at Maillot Baltex, the third-largest swimwear manufacturer in North America, has some tips of her own in finding the perfect fit. “Begin by carefully analyzing your figure,” Blondeau says. “By determining the aspects of your body you like and want to enhance, and those you like less and would prefer to cover up, you will know exactly what type of swimsuit to look for.”

What shape are you in?

The idea is that you should determine your figure type based on one of these five shapes:

The triangle
Narrow shoulders, small bust, large waist and hips 

The inverted triangle
Wide shoulders, large bust, small waist and hips

The rectangle
Narrow shoulders and small bust, waist and hips

The circle
Rounded shoulders, bust, waist and hips

The star
Proportioned shoulders, bust, waist and hips

How to suit your body type for summer fun

Here are more details on each of the shapes and how you can use this knowledge to determine the best swimwear style for your body.

swim shapes

Triangle: “Women with a large waist and hips should opt for a swimsuit that subtly shifts attention from the lower to the upper body. To do so, simply select a low-cut swimsuit with a wide neckline. This helps create balance between the lower and upper body,” notes Blondeau. “A solid-colored bottom will also help minimize the hips.”

swim shapes

Inverted triangle: For those whose shoulders and bust are bigger than their waist and hips, Blondeau recommends a swimsuit that offers more bust support. Swimsuits with a slightly low-cut neckline and/or wide straps are the ones to be looking for. It is also important to select a style that accents the lower body — low-rise or boycut bottoms with a colorful pattern are ideal.

swim shapes

Rectangle: Women with no figure definition should choose a swimsuit that creates the illusion of curves. Maillot Baltex recommends belts, pleats and stripes to produce this effect. Push-up, triangle and halter tops accentuate the bust, while a two-piece with a high-cut bottom helps minimize a long torso.

swim shapes

Circle: In this case, you need to draw attention away from your waist. Try a swimsuit with a pleated, brightly printed or striped bust. Styles with a plunging neckline, halter top, and vertical stripes also help to create the illusion of a longer torso. It’s also best to choose swimsuits that cover the thighs more than they reveal them.

swim shapes

Star: “Even though you can wear any kind of swimsuit if you have a star-type figure, you still need to decide which part of your body you want to accentuate,” says Blondeau. “A halter top or a swimsuit with a pleated bust will draw attention to the upper body, while a low-rise or boycut bottom will flatter the lower body features.”

More on dressing for your body type

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