Summer is coming, like, mighty, mighty fast, and you know what that means: Gorgeous weather, yes, but also, for us ladies, petty annoyances like exposed feet, exposed pasty legs, sweat in places we don't like to think about, and...bathing suits.
No matter how many magazine articles we read or research we do on our "perfect style", for many of us, the idea of a swimsuit remains terrifying. I used to hate this purchase so much that I wore my busted, unflattering bikini from high school until I was about 26-years-old. By the end, its top was held together with safety pins and its elastic had given out to a point that it fell down at even the hint of a wave. (I solved both problems by wearing a tank top over it--sexy!)
In subsequent years, I made it my mission to crack the code, to learn exactly how to purchase a bathing suit that wouldn't make me feel anxious or insecure or just irrationally bad about my body. Though I still make the occasional (very bad) mistake, through trial and error and consulting any and all experts I can find, I've figured out a (mostly) foolproof plan for buying swimwear.
1. The suit should fit you Seems obvious, but how many women do you see wearing something tragically too big or too small? The rule of thumb is there's no hiding here. Pick something in your size that clings to your body, but doesn't squeeze your flesh. Your size may be different in swimwear--a good bet is to first try one size up.
2. Choose the right details Since you're almost naked and there's not a lot left to the imagination, a great bathing suit has to perform a great deal of disguise work and eye trickery. Its most important feature should be to draw attention to the parts of your body you like and keep attention away from the parts you don't love so much.
- If you want to camouflage a flabby belly, pick a one-piece style with ruching around the waist (it helps to get some spandex in there too). This will draw the eye in and make everything look neat and tight.
- If you want to create the illusion of a larger chest, look for a version with details at the top like ruffles. Padding will also make breasts bigger, but can be really weird when it gets wet.
- The best way to offset a substantial backside is with full coverage bottoms that have shirring and ties along the sides.
- Short legs can be elongated with high cut bottoms, or a high cut one-piece. Even though it's a little '80s, this kind of style also makes the legs look slimmer.
4. The right color will make all of the difference Seriously, if you're trying to make your butt or tummy look smaller the worst thing you can do is splash a loud pattern across them. Go for dark-colored styles, but you're not limited to only black: Deep burgundy, navy, brown and dark green all make you look slimmer than that print you wanted with the palm trees and the sunsets.
5. Don't be afraid to invest Depending on where you live, you could have this piece of clothing for years. If you find something you absolutely love and it looks terrific on you, I say splurge.
6. Love and accept your body If all else fails, it's the bathing suit's fault, not yours.