women's swim

How to measure a swimsuit top

Summer is almost here and before you know it, you’ll be headed to the beach for fun in the sun. If you need a new swimsuit, pay extra attention to your chest when taking your measurements and trying things on. A good suit will never squish, flatten or pinch your bosom, and it certainly won’t let anything sag or droop. Instead, it should lift and support to bring out the best in your figure.

Grab a measuring tape to find your swimsuit size

Measuring yourself for a women’s bikini top or swimsuit is easy. Just get a measuring tape (which you can pick up for cheap at most grocery or craft stores), wrap it around the fullest part of your bust and see what it says. That’s it! But you have to do this while wearing nothing but your bra, as measurements taken over a heavy sweater or shirt won’t be accurate.

If you like, measure the rest of your body while you’ve got the tape out. Wrap it around your natural waist, which should be a couple inches above your belly button. Then do the widest part of your hips, which are roughly eight inches below your waist. Compare these measurements to information about the suits you like, which should be available online. You can also jot everything down and take your measuring tape to the store to get an idea of what will fit best before going in the dressing room.

Think about the style of your swimsuit

The size of your chest has a big impact on what kind of swimsuit top will work best for you. If you’re smaller upstairs, you might look good in a strapless suit or a bandeau bikini. Spaghetti straps are also nice if you’re not too curvy, and you won’t have to worry about them digging into your shoulders and causing painful red mark.

Women with a larger chest might want to consider soft cups, which offer subtle shaping and lift. Underwire swimsuits are also a smart choice, as they provide the most support. Some brands offer swimwear in different cup sizes, making it even easier to get something that fits well. Just make sure the wires rest flush against your chest and don’t dig in or pinch. Wider straps are your friend too, as they’ll disperse pressure over a larger area, making it easier on your back, neck and shoulders. Adjustable straps are also nice, as you can tweak them for the perfect fit.

Look carefully at how the swimsuit top fits. There shouldn’t be any spillage around the sides and the edges of the suit shouldn’t press too hard into your skin. The fabric should rest smoothly across your body without any bunching, looseness or bulk. There’s also a quick test you can do to check the fit of your swimsuit top. Once you have it on, bend over and do a little shake. If anything pops out, it doesn’t fit and you need a different size.

Try swimwear separates

Finding a suit that fits well when you’re one size on top and another on bottom can be extra hard. Maybe you’re extra busty with tiny hips, or you have a petite chest and curvaceous bum. Either way, swim separates are a great option. That way, you can get each piece in the size you need instead of getting stuck in something that’s baggy in one place and uncomfortably tight in another.

Separates don’t mean you have to wear a bikini, either. If you want more coverage, try a tankini that goes down past your navel. You can also pair a bikini top with women’s swim shorts or a skirt if you want to keep your bum out of view. There are plenty of options, so don’t be afraid to experiment and come up with something you love wearing.

Try on that bathing suit

Always try on a swimsuit top before buying it – never go on measurements alone. You don’t know how something will look and feel until you put it on, and it’s easy to get stuck with a suit you don’t like if you don’t go in the dressing room. Alternately, you can order a few suits and try them on in the comfort of your own home.

Lands’ End has a simple return policy that makes it easy to get a refund for anything you don’t want to keep, so you can order several swimsuits, buy the one you love the most and send back anything you’re not sure about.

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