Shopping Tips: Bikinis

Wednesday, 11 February 2009 | Tags: , , , ,

The dentist or bikini shopping: which do you dread more? If you're like most women, it's actually a tough decision. To make bikini shopping a little less painful, we learn some tips from the experts on how to find a bikini to highlight your assets and camouflage your problem areas.

Shopping Tips

The key to success when it comes to bikini-shopping is to know your body shape, your problem areas, and your best assets.

As a general rule, patterns draw visual attention. If you want to highlight your bosom, wear a patterned top. If you want to hide your hips, avoid patterns and go for solids instead.

And don’t be afraid to accessorize! Look for wraps and cover-ups, sunglasses, hats, jewelry (water-resistant), shoes (a cute wedge or fancy flip flop) and a fun beach bag to provide visual points of interest, especially if you want to draw the eye away from a problem area.

Body Type:

If you’re not sure what your body type is, have someone take some photos of you and then try to match your shape to what’s listed below.

Once you know your body type, it’ll be a easier to narrow down the bathing suits on the rack. After all, trying on suits that aren’t designed for your body type just wastes time, and makes the whole experience even more difficult!

If you have:

A large chest:

  • Look for tops that provide good coverage and support. Underwire is your friend in bras, and in bathing suits.

  • Tops that also have side support (again, think about the structure of a well-made bra) will also help keep your “girls” in check. 

  • You can either do a typical bra-style top, or try a halter top, which creates a visual A-line that appears to narrow your top half. Just make sure the halter has built in cup support so that your neck isn’t carrying all of the weight of your breasts. 

  • Pay attention to the straps. Again, just as with bras, you want the straps to be wide because thin or string straps will just cut into your shoulders or neck.  Ouch! Wider straps also add visual balance to your top area.

  • Avoid:
    • horizontal stripes, which accentuate width
    • strapless tops (e.g. bandeaus), which won’t provide coverage and support
    • patterns, which will draw the attention
    • string bikini tops: those little triangles will do nothing for you
    • high-necklines, which will create a uni-boob look.

A small chest:

  • Just as with bras, you can find bathing suit tops that are contoured and padded to provide extra shape. Some even come with removable padding, which can be handy for different situations. Be careful the padding is not overdone, or it will be obvious it’s an augmentation.

  • The idea here is to give the illusion of volume. Ruffles, patterns, beading, horizontal stripes and eye-catching details help with this.

  • Halter tops also work on smaller chests, providing a nice shape. Look for one that is patterned with other details added.

  • Avoid
    • bandeaus, which will flatten your chest area
    • high-necked tops, which also flatten rather than flatter

Large hips or booty:

  • To minimize your lower-half, make sure your bottoms don’t attract attention. Think solid colours in neutral tones like black, navy, brown, etc.

  • Another way to draw attention away from your lower half is to attract attention to your upper half with a brightly-coloured, patterned, or detailed top.

  • High-cut leg holes help to create the illusion of longer, leaner legs.

  • Always make sure you get the right size. If your bottoms are too tight, the elastic will cut into you and just create the look of bulge.

  • If you have an hourglass shape, meaning your waist is smaller than your hips, try a something with a small ruffle, fold over, colour band or belt along the waistband. This will bring attention to your smaller waist and draw the eye up from your larger hips and/or booty.

  • Avoid bottoms with:
    • Bright colours
    • Patterns
    • “Granny-style”, high-waisted or boy shorts
    • Skirts with a hem that falls at your widest point.

Short legs:

  • Create the illusion of length with a high-cut leg hole (though nothing higher than the hip bone).

  • String bikinis work well on short-legged women since they take up less skin real estate, thus making your legs appear longer.

  • Avoid:
    • Boy shorts since they create a horizontal band of colour that cuts off your legs
    • Skirted bottoms, which also cut off and shorten your legs visually.


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