women's swimsuits

How do you know your swimsuit size?

The mere idea of swimsuit shopping is enough to send some women running for the hills. Trying to figure out what fits, what style is the most flattering and how to compliment your figure while taming trouble spots can be tough. If you know how to find your swimsuit size though, you can eliminate much of the guess work and make the process much simpler.

Clothing sizes and swimsuit sizes

Some swimsuits come in the three basic sizes: small, medium and large. If you usually wear one of these sizes in clothes, it might work for your next swimsuit. Of course, some brands run big and others small, so look online before heading to the store and see if you can find any helpful information.

Other labels – including Lands’ End – sell suits in a larger variety of sizes, often running from 2 to 18. These sizes may also match up with your tops, women’s dresses and jeans, giving you an idea of what to get.

If you’re busty, you should also take your bra size into consideration. You’ll need a suit that supports and lifts your chest, and the best one will probably have underwires and come in a few different cup sizes, much like a bra. Never settle for a swimsuit that flattens and squishes your chest, or anything that lets your bosom sag.

Try on the swimsuit

Even if you think you know your bathing suit size, always try on swimwear before buying anything. The suit you love on the rack might seem like it will fit perfectly, but you have to slip into it if you really want to know how it will perform at the beach or pool.

Once you have a suit on, bend, stretch and move around to see how it holds up when you’re being active. If the swimsuit rides up, shifts around or lets anything pop out (heaven forbid) when you wiggle and jump around, give it a pass.

Take your swimwear measurements

With a tape measure, you can quickly figure out your swimsuit size. While standing in your underwear (don’t wear your normal clothes, or you won’t get accurate figures), wrap the tape measure around the fullest part of your bust and jot down how large it is. Then move it down to your natural waistline, which is usually just under your last rib and couple inches above your belly button, and measure again. Finally, encircle your hips with the tape measure and see what it says.

When you’re done, you can compare your measurements to those found online. Most companies offer a chart or other information so you can determine what size you need in their brand. Lands’ End also invites shoppers to call our customer service center for help if you’re not sure of what to get.

You might also want to consider ordering down a size if you’re in doubt. Swimsuits are made from stretchy fabric and usually expand when they get wet, so anything too big will probably end up looking baggy.

Consider swimsuit separates

Figuring out your swimsuit size can be extra tricky if one half of your body is larger than the other. Women with pear-shaped figures – which are smaller on top and fuller throughout the bums and hips – can have an especially hard time finding swimwear that fits.

Save yourself the frustration and get swim separates. You can order tops and bottoms in the sizes you need, so you won’t get stuck with something that’s saggy in one place and too-tight in another. Not in the mood for a bikini? No worries. Just get a tankini instead, and it will look like you’re wearing a one-piece.

Don’t get obsessed with swimwear sizes

Sizes can vary wildly from brand to brand. One label’s extra-small might be equivalent to a medium from somewhere else. There’s no international standard that manufacturers have to follow, so it’s always a bit of a gamble. Whatever you do, don’t get hung up on a suit’s size. If a pair of large bottoms look amazing, get them! Don’t feel bad just because the label doesn’t have an ‘M’ printed on it.

Consider the swimsuit’s cut

With bathing suits, great fit goes beyond size – consider the style of the suit, too. If you have a curvy bum, you might want something like our tugless tank. The generous cut provides the coverage you need and stays put. Anyone with a full bust should look at suits with wide straps. Often, thin ones can’t offer much support and will dig into your neck and shoulders.

No matter what you choose, remember that the right swimsuit size for you is whatever fits and feels best.

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