All this month, we’re featuring the summer’s most ubiquitous staple: The bathing suit. From how-to tips and expert advice, to shopping guides packed with the season’s chicest styles, we’re committed to lessening the innate stress that all women face when it comes time to debut our bathing suit bodies. While we’re all for embracing what you’ve got and rocking it, we probably all could benefit from a few useful tricks designed to help us consistently look our absolute best, which is what you’ll get right here. Happy summer!
Let’s face it: Bathing suit shopping can be a bit of a headache. Not all swimsuits are designed for all bodies, so it takes a little time to find the perfect—and most flattering—style. No matter how we’re built, we all have a few areas we’re not totally thrilled with, and would prefer not to highlight for hours on end. That said, we compiled 10 useful tips to keep in mind when aiming to find a bathing suit that’s equal parts stylish and slimming (hint: it’s not as hard as you might think!)
1. Say yes to bikinis
The first rule of thumb: You can rock a bikini! If you’re not thrilled with the shape you’re in, the most flattering option is to choose a retro style that features a high waist and a bandeau top. That way, you’re only showing a chic sliver of skin at the slimmest part of your midsection.
Try: Minnow Bathers Cosmic Band Bikini, $175; at Need Supply Co.
2. Take the plunge
Want to show a little skin without wearing a two-piece? Opt for a plunging neckline on an otherwise modest one-piece, which is extremely flattering (and every bit as sexy as a skimpy bikini.)
Try: Plunge Bathing Suit, $59.40; at ASOS
3. Consider bright solids
There’s no need to only wear black bathing suits, as bright solids can also be quite slimming. Look for bolder neon-leaning shades when you’re already tan, and primary colors when you’re still rocking the final stages of winter’s pale patina.
Try: Gold-Tone Hardware One-Piece, $29.95; at Old Navy
4. Use visual effects
Look for vibrant colors with darker contour color-blocking detail on the sides for a super-slimming effect.
Try: Giejo Skinny Suit, $122.50; at Shopbop
5. Embrace large prints–and ruching
Despite what you may think, a larger print can be incredibly flattering with the addition of strategic ruching, which create stomach-camouflaging folds.
Try: Tommy Bahamma Happy Hawaii Wrapped One-Piece, $147; at Tommy Bahama
6. Remember: Not all bikinis are skimpy
A no-brainer way to cover up your midsection while still wearing a two-piece: Choose a stylish tank-style bathing suit top and a pair of matching bikini bottoms. So cute!
Try: Polka Dot Swing Top, $40; and bikini bottoms,$26; both at J. Crew
7. Skinny stripes work
Skinny vertical stripes really do give the illusion of a longer, leaner body! (Bonus: The one below also features slimming side panels and ruching!)
Try: Norma Kamali Kamali Kulture Shirred Mio One-Piece, $75; at Kamali Kulture
8. Embrace halter straps
Thick halter-style straps draws the eye upwards and tapers your torso, creating the illusion of a slimmer physique. Plus, it highlights your shoulders, which are typically a slim part of most women’s bodies.
Try: Marc by Marc Jacobs Taboo Retro One-Piece, $131; at Bloomingdale’s
9. Go for shapewear
Choose a swimsuit with built-in shapewear. The below version features Spanx’s signature slimming technology, as well as a draped cinched belt which emphasizes smallest part of the waist
Try: Spanx Whittle Wasitline One-Piece, $75.20; at Spanx’s eBay store
10. Seek out surplice styles
Look for suits that feature a surplice bodice (translation: wrap-style.) This style is a great match for gals who want to hide a tummy, as it works like ruching to conceal. When choosing a surplice style, don’t be afraid to go for bold prints.
Try: Upstream Surplice One-Piece, $39; at Kohl’s