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Find the Best Bathing Suit for Your Shape

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May 3, 2012

I hope the title of this article didn’t scare you off once you realized bathing suit weather is right around the corner. Please don’t leave. Instead, let’s find just the right bathing suit for your shape – so you can look amazing poolside or at the beach this summer.

We all have things we don’t like about our bodies. Some of us wish we had a bigger chest. Some wish for smaller thighs or maybe a little less of a spare tire. Luckily, bathing suits are becoming easier to shop for as companies understand that all women are not shaped equally. What works for my body type, isn’t going to work for you.

So, whether you are big busted, short, tall or long-waisted – there is a bathing suit that will flatter you. Here are a few tips for finding the best bathing suit for your shape.

Small on Top

The number one key for small-busted women is the pattern. Choose a bathing suit with a bold pattern like polka-dots or another lively print. You might be thinking the more padding the better, but that’s not the case. A little bit of padding goes a long way if you have the right pattern and fit.

Another good thing to look for when trying on bathing suits is a snug fit. If your top is loose, you’ll just be showing the world what you don’t have. A snug fit can give you a little bit of cleavage and make you look like you have more than you actually do.

If you choose to go with a one-piece, find a bathing suit with a scalloped neck which gives an illusion of cleavage.

Image: Mossimo bikini top and bottom from Target

Large on Top

The best fit for large-busted women is a bathing suit with support. The last thing you want is a wardrobe malfunction at the pool. There are flattering options that will give you plenty of support.

Halter tops provide coverage, support, and also look fabulous. Choose a top with a wider band and that ties around your neck. This will give you the lift and support you need.

Image: Ocean Dreams Underwire Banded Halter at jcpenney

Pear-Shaped Bodies

The hard part about shopping for a bathing suit for this body type is finding one that fits on both the top and the bottom. You don’t want too much fabric or too little fabric. Keep trying on suits until you find one that fits just right, or consider buying separate pieces in different sizes.

For pear-shaped bodies, it’s best to stick with dark colors and solids. It’s also important to stay away from boy shorts. They accentuate in all the wrong places.

A swim dress or sheer sarong can give you added cover and confidence, while making you look very glamorous, all at the same time.

Image: Slimming Swim Dress by L.L. Bean


For petite women, a two-piece bathing suit is usually your best bet. If you try to fit into a one piece that is too long for your frame, once the bathing suit gets wet, you’ll have extra material hanging off you. That’s not a flattering look.

For the bottoms, go with a higher cut leg or ones with ties on the side which will make your legs look longer. If you’re busty on top, choose a bikini top with some underwire and great support. If you’re small on top, choose a halter top style with a little padding.

Avoid boy shorts or skirted bikinis. Your goal is to move the eyes upward creating a longer look.

Image: Beach Joy Bikini at Amazon


Tall women actually have the same issue with finding the right bathing suit as petite women do. It seems most one-pieces are made for the average 5’4 to 5’6 woman. If you’re tall, that’s not going to work.

A solid one piece will only accentuates the length of your body and makes you look taller. If you can’t stand the thought of a two-piece, look for side to side stripes and steer clear from horizontal ones.

A ruffled bikini bottom and a ruffle or two on the top will give the illusion of curves.

Image: Mossimo Bikini from Target

Now it’s time to embrace your body type and go shopping for that swimsuit. Have fun soaking up the sun and feeling great about your choice of swimwear.

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