It’s nearly beach season and it’s time to start looking for that perfect bathing suit. No matter what your body type, there is a perfect suit out there for you that can help you feel confident when you’re catching some sun. Working in the fashion industry has helped me better understand body types and how clothing affects confidence, and I want to share these tips with you. Follow my easy guide to figure out what look you want to rock this summer.
Find Your Body Shape
The first exercise to figuring out what bathing suit you would look best in may seem strange or stressful, but it will help you get to know your body better. Stand in front of your mirror, preferably in your undergarments, and take a look at your body. Do you carry most of your weight in your stomach, thighs, backside or is it more evenly distributed? Take a look at your hips and imagine you have a marker. Could you draw a circle, oval or rectangle around your hips? Is your bust wider, equal to, or smaller than your hips? And lastly, is your waist well defined? Take a look at your legs and arms and determine if they seem long, short or proportional to your height. Even if you’re petite or tall, you may have more torso than leg or the opposite. Think about what you love about your body and what you don’t love, and what you would like to show off or cover with your suit.
Once you get to know your body a little bit, you can figure out where on the shape spectrum you fall. The fashion industry has some specific terms it uses to help you put your body in a shape category. You may find that you’re a combination of many shapes, and since every body is unique, you can sometimes choose clothes outside of your shape category.
Apple or Round- Apple bodies carry their weight typically in their stomach. Most apple types will have very straight hips and a less defined backside. If you find that your jeans often are too tight in the waist but baggy in the legs, you’re likely an apple. The bust is generally the same width or slightly smaller than the hips, meaning you could draw a rectangle or slight oval with your marker around the hips.
Hourglass-Hourglass shapes have very curvy hips and bust with a well defined waist. Their bust and hips tend to be nearly equal. If you struggle to find jeans that fit your thighs and backside like the pear shape, you are likely an hourglass. Hourglass figures can usually draw a well defined circle around their hips.
Pear or Triangle– Pear body shapes carry most of their weight in their hips and backside. Their busts are usually smaller than their hips. If you notice your jeans are almost always too tight in the thighs and back, or gap at the waistband, you’re probably a pear. You would probably be able to draw a circle, or possibly an oval, around your hips with your marker.
Ruler or Rectangle-Ruler shapes are straight up and down and have very little curve in the hip. The bust of ruler types is usually the same as the hips with no waist definition. If you find that jeans tend to be big all over or have too much room in the hips, you are probably a ruler. You would be able to draw a rectangle or slight oval around your hips with your marker.
Decide Your Coverage and Find Your Fit
Now that you know your body type, you can decide what you want to show off or conceal with your swimsuit. Within each type of bathing suit, there are various types of coverage you can achieve, so even if you’re more modest, you can still find the right type of suit but cover what you like. You can also experiment with different styles if your body falls between two shape categories.
Apple-Apples will want to show off their thin legs in their bathing suit. Opt for a one piece with a high cut leg to make the legs the star. Ruching on the stomach can help make it appear flatter and help create a more defined waist. Funky details like stripes or piping down the side also help define curves. If you want a two piece, a plain top with a printed bottom can help draw the eye to your legs and define your backside.
Hourglass-Hourglass shapes can show of their well defined waist with a retro, high waisted bottom and a bandeau top. If you need more bust support, a halter top or haltered one piece with a plunging neck shows off curves while providing comfort. Avoid any suit with large patterns as they can distract the eye and make an hourglass figure look bottom heavy.
Pear-Pear shapes should find high cut bottoms that make the leg look longer and leaner while showing off their curves. Avoid anything with busy patterns as they can make your thighs and hips look much wider than they are and opt for stripes or solids. Tankini styles with a higher cut bottom or even string tied bottom will help make the leg look much trimmer. If you want more coverage, choose a high cut boy short style that can cover up more of the backside.
Rulers-Ruler shapes will want to add some visual details to help break up straight lines and mimic more curves. A printed bikini with a bandeau top can help draw the eye up and down, but because of their boldness, can make a straight figure appear softer. A one piece with ruffles, a very bold pattern or beading on the bust can help create a more curvy figure.
Not every body is identical, and even if your tastes venture into a different body shape style, you can find ways to make it work for you. For example, I am an hourglass shape but love bold patterns. I wear a plain bathing suit but have a skirt cover up that has a bold print. Experiment in the fitting room but use the fit guide as a way to help you get started. Even if you don’t feel the most confident in a swimsuit, every body is beautiful and you are no different, so own your beauty. Take your suit and rock it this summer with confidence, no matter your body shape.