Find your most flattering swimsuit

By Elisabeth Vincent Fashionism


Everyone wants to make a splash in a figure-flattering bathing suit, but navigating the racks can be a dreaded task. Follow these expert tips to get back your bathing beauty mojo.

The fit is it Whether you're shopping for an outstanding one-piece or a bodacious bikini, there is one rule: "Above all, proper fit is the most important thing," says Marilyn Snider, 68, and Elly Sherman, 70. Having owned and operated Beachwear Unlimited, a Toronto-area retail store since 1979, they've helped countless women. "A bathing suit needs to fit snugly because it will only get bigger once wet," says Snider and Sherman. "It's important to have no gaping on your bottom half, otherwise it will sag." A properly fitting suit hugs your body comfortably without constricting it. Straps that dig into your shoulders or a waistband that cuts into hips are signs of an ill fit.

Figure it out

Your body shape is a determining factor when it comes to finding the perfect swimsuit. You may think swimsuits are only revealing, but the right style for you will work hard to balance out proportions and downplay your less-than-favourite feature.

Smoothing a rounded belly

Snider and Sherman suggest looking for one-piece suits that have gathered fabric down the front. "Draping across the tummy hides any bulges," they say. Colour blocking can visually slim you down, especially on empire waist suits. "Bright colours on top with dark ones on the bottom will attract the eye up." This year, coral and turquoise are hot shades. And any suit with a tummy control tag will instantly firm and slenderize.

Playing down a big bust

For women with large chests, Snider and Sherman advocate one feature: "Support!" For this shape, they shun triangle bikini tops in favour of built-in bra cups, underwire and wider straps. "A one piece with a straight across cut top or a criss-cross design in the bust will minimize and provide lift."

Working with a pear shape

If you're smaller on top and have fuller hips and thighs, look for suits that emphasize your upper half. Bright colours, bold patterns and a plunging neckline will work. "Soft ruffles will also re-proportion your body," say Snider and Sherman. On the bottom you can choose between suits with higher cut legs or an A-line skirt. "It gives a youthful look while minimizing the upper leg." Stay away from boy shorts they only draw attention to the largest part of your thighs.

Yes, you can wear a bikini

And, if you feel comfortable baring it all, is a bikini still appropriate? Absolutely! Just keep it simple and sophisticated. "Choose a fuller cut bottom with a supportive bra cup top for lift," says Snider and Sherman, "Wearing a fuller bottom helps to prevent muffin top. The higher the pant, the smoother your body will appear." Take a cue from Helen Mirren, who was snapped looking red-hot in a ruby two-piece.

© Beachwear Unlimited 2010                *Please note that some items pictured may not be in stock           Site by West Village Communications