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Swimsuits 101: How to Buy the Best Suit for Your Body

Swimsuit Shopping for Every Body TypeBy Amy E. Goodman
Author of Wear This, Toss That!

For anyone else holding in her breath with the idea of stripping naked and donning a swimsuit really, really soon, trust me: You can breathe a little easier after reading these tips from my interview with SPANX founder Sara Blakely on how to find a suit that works for you.

If you’re tall with a narrow torso: Tankinis are your most flattering option because the flare at the hip adds curves to a long frame.

If you’re pear shaped: Draw attention to your top, not your hips, with a one-piece bandeau with ruffles.

If you’re busty: Halter-style one-pieces offer maximum support.

If you’re petite: Petites with a small chest should try a two-piece to elongate their torso, with embellishment on top to give the illusion of a bigger bust. A slightly higher cut on the lower half of your bikini will make your legs appear longer.

If you have a belly: Tummy trouble is best concealed with one-piece styles that have ruching through the midriff — which makes waists look cinched — and/or color blocking with a dark color across the stomach to narrow the waistline and flatten the tummy.

If you have wide shoulders: Flatter broad shoulders with a deep V-neck one-piece that draws the eye up toward the neck and slims shoulders.

If you’re hippy: A swim dress is perfect for a woman who loves her upper body but wants a little extra coverage through the tummy and down below at her hips.

Flat chested: Wider neck straps can give the appearance of a little cleavage. Padding and built-in-support are lovely additions to give the bust a boost.

A curvy figure: An hourglass shape looks fantastic in a solid color with a plunging neckline (optional: choose one with detailing just under the bust).

Thin and athletic figures: The world is your swimsuit oyster. You are lucky to be able to wear the boy-short look—one I love, but one that can look a bit bottom-heavy on the wrong body.

Don’t Forget to Cover Up
Stylish coverups make the pre- and post-swim that much more fun! Grab the season’s super hot trends—a nice big tote, over-sized sunglasses, strappy sandals—as well as a festive, slimming coverup. Try these to make a sexy, confident splash this summer:
Croft & Barrow Hooded Coverup Tunic (Kohl’s, $17)
Vitamin A solid-colored coverups (Bluefly, $64)
La Blanca by Rod Beetle printed tunic (Dillard’s, $79)
Flores Silk Tunic (J. Crew, $70)

Swimsuit Sizing
Save yourself a headache and use the SPANX swimsuit sizing chart, which works for most swimsuit brands. Based on the measurement in inches of your bust, waist, hips, and torso, you can quickly and painlessly decode your swimsuit size, which is typically one size larger than your pant size.

Tell Us: Have you discovered any tips to making suiting up a breeze?


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