Shopping for bathing suits can be—in a word—annoying. Not all swimsuits are designed for every body, so it takes 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 look 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 longline top. That way, you’re only showing a chic sliver of skin at the slimmest part of your midsection.
Try: Floral Longline Bikini, $68; at Topshop
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: Motel Sun and Moon Plunge Front Swimsuit, $74; at ASOS
3. Consider bright solids
There’s no need to only wear black bathing suits, as bright solids in simple cuts can also be quite slimming. Look for bolder neon-leaning shades when you’re already tan, and primary colors like poppy red or royal blue when you’re still rocking the final stages of winter’s pale patina.
Try: Scoopback Tank Suit, $88; at J.Crew
4. Use visual effects
Look for bathing suits with contoured color-blocking detail on the sides for a super-slimming effect.
Try: Tory Burch Lipsi Color Block One Piece Swimsuit, $225; at Bloomingdale’s
5. Embrace splashy prints
Despite what you probably think, a larger print can be incredibly flattering thanks to its ability to deflect attention from problem areas.
Try: Lenny Neimeyer Swimwear Basic Lycra Adjustable Swimsuit, $269; at Nancy Meyer
6. Ruching, ruching ruching
When it comes to masking problem areas, ruched fabric is a woman’s best friend.
Try: Seafolly Summer Garden Boyleg Swimsuit, $200; at ASOS
7. 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: Zimmermann Gardenia Peplum Tankini, $108 – $178; at Anthropologie
8. Go dark and chic
We all know nothing’s more slimming than black, but it can get definitely boring. To spice up a black bathing suit, choose a fashion-forward style. Slim and stylish!
Try: Betsy Johnson Retro Revival One-Piece Swimsuit. $118; at Nordstrom
9. Vertical stripes work
Vertical stripes really do give the illusion of a longer, leaner body! (Bonus: The one below also features slimming side panels and ruching!)
Try: Juicy Couture Boho Stripe Swimsuit, $112; at Shopbop
10. Go for shapewear
Choose a swimsuit with built-in shapewear. The below version features Spanx’s signature slimming technology, as well as ruching.
Try: Spanx Push-up One Piece Wasitline One-Piece, $49.99; at Spanx