Surviving Swimwear Shopping

Bathing suit shopping. The bane of almost every woman’s existence. And not exactly my bag. [saddle bags, maybe] I have it on good authority that even the most confident woman suffers from temporary  body image issues when it comes to trying on swimwear. It’s partly the lighting in almost all dressing rooms, partly that you have to leave your undergarments on while trying on [so not cute] and partly because we all make the mistake of trying something on that we know won’t flatter our bodies but we just like the color or the design.

Through all of my body image ups and downs, I’ve learned some important lessons when it comes to wearing a suit. First of all, my husband thinks every suit looks good because they show skin. So he’s easy to please in that way. Second, wearing a suit in a color that flatters your skin can be HUGE. Lastly, invest in at least one good quality [it will probably be expensive] bathing suit that you feel great in. This way, you will always have a backup in case you find yourself feeling down on your bod. This will be your old faithful.

I firmly believe in buying suits that flatter your figure. But I also believe in suits that you feel awesome in. So if you feel great, attractive, confident in it, go ahead and get it, even if it’s not labeled in the store as “the style for your body type.” Since I’m not a bathing suit fit expert, I’ve picked up some tips for choosing a suit according to body type here and here.

If you have a boyish, straight figure [small bust, straight waist and hips] – triangle tops will enhance your bust, as will underwire tops. Patterns and colors will also do that. Seaming in a 1-piece, as well as some ruched styles can create the illusion of a waist, giving you more curves.

For a pear-shaped figure [fuller on the bottom, smaller on the top] – draw attention to the bust by choosing a suit with details or bright colors on the top and a darker color on the bottom. Full coverage bottoms or a skirted bottom will also help cover up any problem areas you may have.

For an hourglass figure [busty with full hips] – support your bust with straps and underwire. Lift those puppies up. Since you have a well defined waist, no need to create one – choose a bottom that flatters your hips.

There are so many different styles of suits out there right now – bikini, triangle top, bandeau top, one piece, halter, brazillian, etc. etc. etc. It can be confusing. Nordstrom and Victoria’s Secret both give great explanations as to what all of the terms mean. They also are divided by style, so you can mix and match your bottoms and your tops. So you don’t have to buy a triangle top with a string bikini bottom.

I normally shop for suits that flatter my body and that feature colors and patterns that I like. I realize that my body is too old and not thin enough for the string bikini anymore, so I’ve moved onto bandeau and fuller bottoms or one-pieces. I like to have fun with swimwear and buy colors and patterns that I wouldn’t normally buy in clothing. Normally wearing a suit means that I’m on vacation so I just try to keep it interesting and cute. I try not to be so super serious with an all black one-piece. My go-to stores are always Victoria’s Secret [great prices, a zillion styles], J.Crew [great prices, when on sale. So so so many cute styles] and department stores.

Onto some of my favorite styles:

Polka Dots.  I have a suit that is the balconet, bra-like top and I love it. It enhances my bust and I simply love when things do that.

I love bandeau tops. And I adore this geometric pattern.

This tankini is more full-coverage but still sexy with the underwire top. I also LOVE the polka dots. 4 colors.

The ruching on this strapless one piece is super slimming. And it is made out of some special jersey material.

Now this is a chic one-piece.

Simple v-neck but still very sexy.

I love this fun, colorful pattern. Very Hawaiian.

Love the ruffle and the tie-waist!

I love this purple/turquoise color combo and the fit of the top should minimize hips and tummy.

Another great black suit. I love the keyhole.

Yep, still thinking about it. I should probably just buy it, right?

Cute crocheted red bikini. A la Target.

Old Navy has a huge selection of mix and match tops and bottoms of all different styles. I am loving this paisley!

Once you’ve found your perfect suit [or suits!] it’s time to find a great cover up. A cover up should be easy, breezy. You shouldn’t have to fuss with it to get it on and off. And it should be light.


I love this open back cover up.


I love this tunic because it is sheer so you can see the suit under it.

LOVE this zebra print caftan. Love the print, love the embellishment.

A sarong is great if you want to cover your bottom half.

Simple beachy dress.

Happy shopping!

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