No one ever said shopping for a bathing suit was easy. Sure, you might have your eye on that super sleek one-piece or that cute bikini, but how can you be certain it’s right for you? Although there are no rules when it comes to fashion—except for wearing what you love and what helps you look and feel like the fabulous person you are—you’ll always have more fun shopping for a swimsuit when you know exactly what flatters your body best.
Where swimsuit tops are concerned, there are several factors that can simplify the process of selecting the right style. Whether you’re a strict sunbather, an avid diver, love to swim laps, or just want to splash around in the sea with your family, you’ve got plenty of options. Here are four considerations to keep in mind as you begin planning what to wear by the pool and at the beach.
If you have a full bust, you know that it can be difficult to find the perfect bathing suit top to meet your body’s needs. That tankini top may be gorgeous, but does it provide the support you need? Look for structural details that set the top apart and provide you with enhanced stability.
For example, thick straps are a must if you have a large bust. You’ll love how supportive they feel, and they add a fresh, retro-meets-modern twist to your poolside look. Underwire is important, too. Think of it as the “bones” of the top. It’s there to support your chest, add a little bit of lift and separation, and contribute to a flattering shape. Anything with an underwire has the potential to work well, but it should be coupled with the aforementioned thick straps to really meet your needs.
For those who have smaller busts, there are plenty of bust-enhancing swimwear options that add some lift while flattering your body to perfection. Strategic design details are especially effective in accentuating the bust. For example, a sweetheart neckline creates the illusion of depth at the cleavage and lends your chest a fuller look.
Many also feature sewn-in soft bra cups for an added layer. Others may have visual elements that add texture to the chest, like a ruffled neckline or crisscross draping that lends the appearance of a fuller bust. Contrasting patterns and horizontal lines also do the trick. For example, a solid one-piece suit with a patterned chest can convey a more substantial look. Whether or not you choose a suit with curve-enhancing cups, you can easily get the look that you desire.
If your torso is short, you’re in luck: there are countless one-piece swimsuits that work beautifully in your body’s favor. Look especially to those that have asymmetrical design characteristics. For example, a one-shoulder suit calls attention to the top while lending your frame the illusion of a few added inches.
Strapless tops and bikinis, by contrast, can shorten your torso. If you do prefer this look, aim for a top with a higher neckline. A halter top with bikini bottoms works well if you favor wearing a two-piece style. And, again, stick with asymmetrical designs that convey a sense of additional height and length.
By contrast, those with long torsos may want to look for suits that visually cut the body in half to lend the illusion of a slightly shorter torso. This is easy to accomplish with a women’s bikini top and a pair of matching or contrasting bottoms. Aim for more vibrant colors, as these visually trick the eye into seeing a shorter torso.
To further the effect, look for tops that have V-shape necklines. It draws the eye upward, especially when paired with a high-waist bikini bottom. Tankinis are especially suitable for those who want to minimize their torsos. While you can wear a one-piece suit, the presence of two pieces is distinctive because it serves to break up the body. That creates the illusion of a shorter torso in the process.
The right bathing suit top can even help you accentuate the areas of your body you love the best. A tankini for large busts, for example, is flattering because it shapes and smooths the body beautifully. Attention isn’t focused solely on the upper body, but more generally dispersed throughout to lend you a balanced and flattering look.
Meanwhile, if you want to call attention to your upper body, opting for a tankini with a skirt or a swim dress is a great way to accomplish that. Features like bright colors on top will draw the eye in that direction, especially when you pair them with neutral or dark tones on the bottom.
No matter what your goal, there’s a bathing suit top out there that’s just right for you. With a little bit of experimentation, you can easily find the suit that best flatters your figure and helps you feel confident on the beach, by the pool, and while strolling the boardwalk.