With something as minimal as swimwear, it is easy to forget that all the style elements matter.
Indeed, when you are wearing so little, elements such as colour, cut and shape actually matter more. And there’s a lot to think about considering how little fabric is involved! To help, here is SoSensational’s definitive swimwear style guide for all body shapes.
Swimwear should always be in your best colour. We can’t tell you what colours suit you best, but if you don’t know, you can do the Blink Test. (Stand in front of a well-lit mirror. Find a garment or a piece of fabric in the colour you are thinking of wearing and hold it under your chin. Facing the mirror, close your eyes and count to 20. Open your eyes. If you see your face first, it is more likely to be the right shade for you, but if you mainly see the colour, it is too overwhelming for you; don’t choose it.) Or you could take the guess-work out of it by having your colours analysed by a trained consultant. Find a local colour consultant here.
The neckline is vital to the overall look of your swimwear. If your face shape is very angular, a V-neckline that reflects your face shape will be most flattering. If your face is square, a square neck (if you can find one) or a bandeau swimsuit which creates defined, horizontal lines will flatter you. If your face is round, a scoop neckline will flatter you. If you have a long face, a deep U or horseshoe neckline will be most flattering. And if your face is oval, pretty much any neckline will suit you.
When thinking about necklines, we also have to factor in bust size, because some necklines can be hard to wear if you have a fuller bust, while some necklines can be hard to wear if you have a very small bust. The advice below may help…
The four main body shapes are hourglass, pear, apple and straight…This is a guide to choosing the right swimsuit, tankini or bikini for your body shape.
The best swimsuit or tankini for an hourglass will be in a soft fabric that is not too thick and which moulds gently to your figure. Make sure your bust is really well supported – you definitely do not want your boobs on your waist. And ensure your waistline is clearly defined. If you have a ‘tummy,’ look for a swimsuit with a built in control panel. Gathers over the tummy help to disguise a tum, but don’t choose a swimsuit with excessive draping as that can add inches. As an hourglass with a waist that you want to show off, look for a swimsuit with a belt or a faux belt, and avoid excessive fabric around the waistline, as that can add inches.
A bikini is a good option for a slim hourglass. Ensure your bust is really well supported by your bikini top – you definitely do not want saggy boobs. Boning and/or light padding provide excellent support. when buying bikini bottoms, we would suggest buying them just a little bigger as a bikini bottom that is even slightly too small can cause unwanted bulges (the dreaded muffin-top effect) while a bikini bottom that fits more loosely should give you a smoother line. (And these days, it’s easy to buy top and bottom in different sizes, and only you need to know what size is on the label!)
If you have a small bust and narrow shoulders with wider hips and thighs, the aim is to create balance – to make your top half look more important and your bottom half look slimmer. One way to do this is to enhance your boobs by choosing a swimsuit, tankini or bikini with good support and some padding for the bust.
Another way is to use trickery to deceive the eye by choosing a swimsuit or tankini that has a very light or vivid colour above the waist and a darker and more muted shade below the waist.
If you have narrow shoulders, try to avoid halter necklines as they emphasise narrow shoulders. Wide-apart straps on all swimwear help to create the illusion of width across shoulders, helping to balance out the torso.
As before, we would suggest buying a bikini bottom slightly bigger than you need as a bikini bottom that is even slightly too tight can cause unwanted bulges (that dreaded muffin-top effect, again). However, a bikini bottom that sits rather than grips should give you a smoother line. (And, as we said earlier, it’s simple to buy top and bottom in different sizes these days, and, again, only you need to know the size you’re wearing!).
Pears should also try to choose a swimsuit with matte and/or dark fabric below the waist. Also seek out bikini bottoms that are deep enough to provide good coverage over your rear as anything too brief (over the bottom) could make your bottom look bigger!
Apples generally carry weight around their middle so may prefer a one-piece or a tankini rather than a bikini as it is very hard to disguise a tummy in a bikini! Apples usually have great legs, so rock those gorgeous legs and employ all this clever trickery (well, these tips) to conceal a chunkier mid-section.
Make sure your bust is really well supported – you definitely do not want saggy boobs. Ideally, try to find a swimsuit (or tankini) with a control panel to flatten and slim your tummy and waist. Choose a swimsuit with a bit of gathering or draping around the middle to disguise that tum. Not too much gathering or draping, though, as that will add inches, but just a bit for camouflage. Choose swimwear with a high-cut to show off great legs.
The best swimsuit or tankini if you are tall and ‘straight’ will be one which adds curves. A swimsuit or tankini with gathers or draping around the bust is good for a ‘straight’ figure. Also look out for wide-apart straps, bold prints, frills, bows, halter necklines – you can wear the lot, though frills and bows, may be a bit girly for a chic woman!
A ‘straight’ body also looks good in a bikini. Just choose one which emphasises and enhances your bust, and is not too brief, some gathers on the bikini bottom, too, can help create curves…
If you have very slim thighs, you can wear boy-shorts briefs – you are the body-shape that really suits this cut.
Always make sure the cups in your swimsuit or bikini hold your breasts properly so you don’t finish up with spaniel ears. When ordering swimwear,it can be a good idea to order different sizes to ensure a good fit and return any that don’t fit well.
Always make sure your swimsuit is long enough for your body to avoid camel-toe. Avoid the camel-toe effect on bikini bottoms by ensuring they are the right width and deep enough for your body.
When buying a swimsuit with a control panel, don’t buy it too tight – the flesh has to go somewhere. You could flatten your tummy, but get bulges elsewhere! Buy the correct size, which is not too big and definitely not too small.
Print versus plain. How to decide? If you like print in your wardrobe, buy print in swimwear. If you avoid print in your wardrobe, be wary of print in swimwear. But there’s print and there’s print… hugefuchsia flowers may not be your cup of Earl Grey, but a neat navy-blue geo print may look fabulous on you!
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