Women’s Bathing Suits

Monday, 30 June 2008 | Tags:

Most women hate the thought of bathing suit shopping. But the one you buy should make you feel as hot as the weather, or at least comfortable enough to take a cooling dip. We dug up some tips from the experts on what look for in a bathing suit.

The Basics

  • Bathing suits are all fairly expensive (averaging $60-100). Cheap suits (if not just on sale) won’t last, and could leave you with an embarrassing revelation.

  • Most suits are a mix of nylon and Lycra or spandex. Some are made from cotton but it’s not a good material for getting wet because it takes a long time to dry, doesn’t hold its shape, and fades quickly.

  • A good bathing suit should fit like a second skin. The right style should reveal your assets and camouflage your flaws. Here’s what to look for according to body type:

    • Large-chested women require proper support. Look for a suit with an underwire bra and molded cups, or racer-back straps. Straps should be at least ½-1 inch wide. Avoid spaghetti straps or strapless styles. Square necklines are flattering. Deep V necklines might reveal too much. Avoid flimsy fabrics. To minimize the chest, select a darker shade for the top than the bottom.

    • Small-chested women can find styles that help fill out on top, including push-up, under-wire or padded. Avoid suits with foam or removable inserts (too hard to control!) Wear a darker bottom with a lighter-coloured top.

    • To camouflage a full tummy, look for suits with high Lycra content, between 10-15% or hidden control panels. Draped, gathered or textured fabric also helps hide the tummy area. All-over printed suits are good bets, as they are optically tummy trimming. Avoid shiny materials, which only magnify flaws.

    • Pear-shaped women benefit from a one-piece suit with a low back style or bust enhancing details to lure eyes upwards. Wide necklines help balance the width of hips. A two-piece with a high-waisted bottom and high-cut legs will give the illusion of length and leanness. Draw attention up with a v-neck and colourful top. Avoid camouflaging with shorts-style pieces or one-piece suits with skirts, as both tend to draw attention towards problem areas.

    • Long-waisted or short-waisted body types are flatteredy by the tankini — a tank top-style two-piece rather than a bikini, since they don’t require a waif-like figure.

    • A lean, boyish figure looks best in shorts-style bottoms, but if you have shorter legs, this could work against you. String bikinis are also a great choice because they are a feminine style. Rounded scoop necks embellish the chest area, and a belted one-piece emphasises the waist.

  • Separates are very popular allowing you to mix and match, especially to get the right size.

  • Recent new bathing suit styles to check out include:

    • The Tankini, which is a two-piece with either a bikini, shorts, or skirt bottom, and a tank top. It’s great for hiding the tummy.

    • Even newer is the “jogger’s” swimsuit or sport tankini, which looks more like a sleeveless t-shirt and shorts; not good for vigorous swimming, but it’s great if you don’t want to reveal too much skin.

    • The bandini, which is a strapless top, can be worn short or go to your waist; essentially it’s a strapless tankini. (Avoid the bandini if you are large-chested.)

Other Considerations

  • Follow these tips from the experts on how to beat the change-room blues and find a suit that fits you:

    • Find a store where you are comfortable. Make sure there are mirrors inside the change room so you have privacy.

    • Shop at the beginning of the season this way you have the most styles available to try on.

    • Wear a thong or small underpants to the store to a better idea of how the suit will really look without your underwear sticking out.

    • Avoid shopping after a big meal or when you feel bloated.

    • Take your time picking the suit. Definitely don’t pick one in a hurry.

    • Look for hangtags that help you identify assets and flaws.

    • Move around in the suit before buying; twist, turn, stretch your arms over your head and squat down. Pay attention to where it slides around or what pops out as you move in order to make sure it’s the right fit. A good suit may shift but stays fairly firmly in place.

  • Caring for your bathing suit properly can extend its life.

    • Rinse it out in fresh water and hang to dry after every use.

    • Wash it every so often with gentle soap and water on the delicate cycle, or hand wash.

    • Never put your suit in the dryer.



top of page | | back to posts |
  • Subscribe to the A&K Newsletter