Finding the Best Bikini for You
Staring at yourself in front of a three-way mirror wearing two small pieces of clothing can be the least fun thing about getting ready for summer.
Thankfully, swimsuit shopping doesn't have to be so bad.
READ: Find Your Most Flattering Bathing Suit
Contrary to popular belief, bikinis can be worn by anyone, regardless of their size. From modest tankinis to daring Brazilians, designers now aim to offer an array of styles and sizes for women to choose from, making bikini shopping easier than ever. The key to finding the perfect style? It’s all about knowing what your figure needs to look its best.
“Confidence will allow you to wear almost anything and look fantastic, but when it comes to bikinis, our body types have different requirements,” says stylist and creative consultant Ellianna Placas. “Luckily, bikinis have come a long way since they were first created in 1946. Now, no matter what your shape is, there is a style to showcase your best assets comfortably and stylishly, so you won’t have to worry about wardrobe malfunctions and just focus on summer fun.”
Ready to buy the best bikini ever? Check out these tips before suiting up:
Much like fitting bras, when it comes to bikinis, it's important to get the right fit. “The perfect fit is important,” says Maggie Kombogiannis, founder of Meli Beach Swimwear. “If a swimsuit is too small, it will dig into the skin and if it’s too loose, it won’t support you. Try to get a fitting by a professional at a shop specializing in swimwear.” In time for the summer season, many lingerie boutiques offer personalized swimwear fittings.
Enhance Your Best Features
Figure out what your favorite features are and prepare to flaunt them with pride. “Opt for pieces in cuts that you feel great in and that you trust to work for your body,” says Jess Cole, Modstylist for Modcloth.com. “Instead of focusing on ‘hiding’ an area you’re self conscious of, highlight assets that you want to show off. Love your shoulders? Go strapless. Lastly, don’t be afraid to mix and match tops and bottoms in various colors and sizes for a customized look and fit.”
For those with broad shoulders, but tend to carry weight around their midsection, lingerie expert and author of "The Bra Book" Jene Luciani recommends the tankini. A tankini gives you the comfort of hiding any bulges you don’t want others to see, yet it gives you more variety than a standard one-piece swimsuit. “Be sure to look for wide-set straps,” she says. Luciani also suggests opting for a bottom with ruffles to balance your overall look.
(Bleu Rod Beattie Swimwear)
"This figure fits the profile of most women,” explains Luciani. “This means you are a little larger on the bottom than on top.” For those who may be feeling hesitant about showing off their belly, Luciani says a swim skirt or a pair of swim shorts will minimize hips and thighs. They can also be paired with a top of your choice. “Look for a padded bikini top if you need a little extra on top to balance the bottom or details, like ruffles, to show off a slim middle,” she advises.
Those with a slender waist and a wider bust line and hips should have no trouble finding a bikini that flatters your curves. “This shape, which is perfectly proportional, can wear anything,” explains Luciani. She suggests looking for a halter, bra-style or bustier bikini top. Not only are they on-trend this season, but they provide support for big-busted gals. In terms of bottoms, Luciani likes ones with side ties.
(Jolidon Designer Swimwear)
If you’re straight from top to bottom, you need to find a bikini that will instantly create curves with minimal effort. “Look for bikini bottoms that has multiple straps on the sides and details at the bust,” says Placas. “Ruffles can also create the illusion of curves if they are at the bust line and the waist line of the bikini. A pattern with a swirl can do the same.” Placas also prefers a halter neck tie or closure to create the illusion of broader shoulders, as well as to maximize the bust.
(Tori Praver Swimwear)
Stylists agree that if you have a baby bump, flaunt it with pride during beach season. The key is looking for a two-piece that will provide a lift and comfort all around. “Choose a style with bust support and a full bottom to provide you with ample coverage that will not dig into your tummy,” says Placas. A halter top is an ideal choice for a growing bust line.
(A Pea in the Pod)
If you’re under 5’4” Placas says a bikini can actually give you length in the right places. “A string bikini or any high cut style will elongate the legs,” she says.
(Marc Jacobs Swimwear)
Small Chest or Slim Bottom
If you have a small chest, slim bottom or both, you can use your suit to create curves. “If you’re wishing to add a little more oomph to your bottom, create curves with bottoms rugged down the middle,” says Lexi Sheehy, representative for Nina Swim. “This lifts the bottom creating the illusion of a rounder booty.” For small-chested ladies, Sheehy likes a balconette top, which offers a more dramatic lift than a standard top, creating cleavage. “A balconette top is a simple, stylish solution to a tiny bust line,” explains Sheehy. “This style highlights the cups of the bust, working with your petite frame.”
(Fig Leaves/Nina Swim)
Is a tummy pooch stopping you from getting into a bikini? You’re in luck because the ‘50s-inspired high waisted bottom is on-trend and a major do. “If you have a tummy, a high-waisted bikini will help to camouflage your belly as well as one that has ruching or gathers in the tummy area,” recommends stylist Illysia Neumann-Loreck. A high-waisted bikini is also a great way to channel your inner retro bombshell and add glamour to your overall look to the beach.
WATCH: Adding Retro Flair to Your Wardrobe