Women's swimsuit

The question you should be asking is, "What do I want my swimsuit to do for me?"

As a grown adult woman I've spent time as every size from a size 0 to an 18 and back down again. Dressing for the beach is terrifying at any size. Let's face it, from the moment we put our fork down after our Christmas feast until the first day of summer vacation, we're bombarded with commercials, billboards, articles, and radio ads telling us to "lose weight" so I could look great for "swimsuit season," or "be beach body ready" by Memorial Day Weekend. That's silly. The best beach body is the one you already have. The trick is to turn the tables on the discussion and ask, once and for all, "What do I want my swimsuit to do for me?"

One size on top, another on bottom.

How often do you buy a pair of jeans in the same size as your tops? Right. So how is it most swimsuits are sold as sets? Luckily, Lands' End heard our complaints and gave us the power to buy swim separates that fit. Now when we shop for swimwear, we can decide which features we want to accentuate, and which ones we'd like a little help coming to terms with before heading out. Think about which necklines you like the best. Which swim bottoms are you most comfortable wearing? Swim shorts? Swim skirts? Bikini bottoms? So many choices and that's the whole point. You put your best swimsuit together.

Can I make my legs look just a little bit longer?

Maybe you'd like to give the illusion of having longer legs. Can a swimsuit do such a thing? Oh, you bet it can. A bikini or swimsuit bottom with a higher cut leg opening can ultimately make your legs look longer than they actually are. In that way, they are ideal for someone who would like to look taller, as well as anyone who has a long torso. However, keep in mind that making your legs look longer automatically makes your torso appear to be shorter. It's a game of give and take.

Waist-whittling.

When it's your waistline that has you worried, switch to a one-piece. Find a flattering one-piece with pleating or a pattern specifically placed to give the illusion of a trimmer waistline. Another bit of optical trickery is to wear a swimsuit patterned with smaller prints like polka dots to make your waist seem even tinier than it truly is. If a multi colored suit is more your style, having the darkest color wrapping through the waistline area of the swimsuit also makes your waist appear to be smaller. No added control panels are necessary with these tricks. But if you really want a little help in that regard, shop for suits with built-in tummy control. The extra panel does wonders in keeping things from moving around too much.

Thinner overall.

For those of us who are hoping for a swimsuit that will help us look slimmer overall, a retro style swimsuit with all-over control may be just the ticket. SlenderSuits have tummy control and Slendertex® fabrics to firm, slim, shape and smooth your body. No cardio required. However, if getting into a suit with all-over mesh panels to trim and slim is not your thing, no worries. Simply pairing a solid swim top with your favorite patterned bottom has the same impact. Also, horizontal lines don't necessarily make you look larger if they are correctly designed in your swimsuit. If you love them, don't avoid them.

The bottom line.

Some of us consider our bottoms to be our greatest asset. Others take a considerably more conservative approach to covering their backside. For those of us more concerned with coverage than anything else, only a full coverage swimsuit bottom will do. Look for swim skirts, swim dresses and swim shorts. Another trick of the trade is to find swimwear that offers a lower cut leg opening. For days that require more than just wading, dual purpose swim minis and swim shorts give you all of the in water fun without the wedgies. They keep you fully covered while in the water, then pull double duty as quick drying apparel for your busy beach to boardwalk lifestyle.

Don't forget about the bra.

Shelf bra? Underwire bra? A bra with sewn in soft cups? No bra at all? How's a gal to choose? Simple. Declare what level of support you need. If they require the max, stick to a swimsuit that offers underwire, underwire with soft cups (built in or removable) or an underwire push up bra. These bra styles will comfortably lift and support your breasts. Soft cups provided a smoothing effect, while a push up enhances your chest. If you need moderate support, look for a swim top with either built in or removable soft cups. For the woman who needs nothing more than a bit of light support, a swim top with a lined shelf bra will do the job comfortably. Once you know which bra style is best for you, pick a style. Sweetheart, crisscross, and V necklines accentuates your bust. Draped overlay enhances it, while a high neckline provides the most coverage and creates less drag as you move through the water.

Straps that stay put.

If it seems as though the shoulder straps of your swim top slide off every time you hit the water, you're not alone. When you are sick of your straps sliding there are really only a few ways to go. #1. Find a swim top with wide or widening non-slip straps that do not leave indentations in your shoulders. #2. Shop for criss-cross straps, racer backs, or a high halter neck style suit, or #3, look for a swim top with multiple straps attaching in a variety of directions. Most importantly, allow yourself to be unapologetically picky about your swimwear.

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