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Swimsuits: Shape Hacks For Your Unique Physique

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It might seem ridiculous to be reading this while there’s still frost on the windows.

But let’s face it: warm weather is forthcoming and it’s certainly not going to wait for your latest fitness routine to start taking effect, either. Plus, if you’ve got an upcoming tropical getaway in the works, those plane tickets and hotel reservations also don’t care that you’re mourning that morning cardio routine you bid adieu ever since the last snowfall.

I’d give you a hug, if I could. But since I can’t, let’s spend our lunch break today setting aside that F.O.R.F. (Fear Of Remaining Fat – an acronym constructed strictly for the purposes of this article) and trying to think about how amazing the experience is going to be with friends or loved ones – especially since you’re going to look awesome in the best swim wear for your silhouette.

While there are loads of body types, some of the main seven which style experts tend to cover are: round belly, full hips and thighs, boy shape, top heavy, big bust, little bust, and hour glass. For the sake of time, we’ll go with those reductive body categories for now.

Ample Abdomen
Georgina Burke can sure rock a one piece and this look is everything on Torrid’s plus-size glamour girl:

For full figures, London-based American designer Melissa Odabash suggests “a one-piece with ruching on the body.” Why? Well, it slims the waist, those itty bitty prints create the illusion of dimension, and any of those “Oh bummer” spots popping out can be camouflaged.

Some other options of the optical illusion genre include: diagonal lines that contrast with one another, a black block below of color, deep V-necks, one-shoulder maillot, or even halters.

Maybe you don’t just want to hide, though.

You want full coke-bottle Marilyn Monroe status. In that case, cinching and empire lines draw the eye to your narrowest area. What’s that? You can’t tan your tummy in a one-piece? By all means – go for the bikini – with a fold-over band that won’t commit a hate crime on your love handles.

Getting rug burn and sun burn simultaneously is not necessary and totally avoidable.


Haunches Like Beyonce

Despite her name, Chaucer’s big hipped Wife Of Bath never experienced bathing suit shopping.

We modern (non-fictional) hippy chicks do – and whether you got it from your mama or from mindless nomming is really irrelevant now that you’re racking your brain at the swimsuit rack. For go-go-gadget gams, The Beach Company Fit Expert offers the advice of, “higher cut briefs to elongate the legs and dark colours to minimize the hip area,” adding that, “A tankini-style top with a square neck will draw the attention away from your hips.”

Ilene Sofferman, manager of Canyon Beachwear, adds that “A skirted bottom also hides hips.”

Ever heard of a trikini? Me either until today. It looks like this:

These certainly show off the legs nicely, don’t they? They also brain-ninja anyone who sees you with those cutout shapes under your she-shelf. These draw in the eye nicely, but so can detailing at the décolletage or shaped cups.

As with the belly busting trick, blocking with black (or another dark color) is also optimal. I can never remember what color goes where, so I made up this device. Maybe it will help you too: “light up high; black block below”.


Boy-tifal Body Shape

So, you’ve got a Vogue model body?

Whoever came up with the term “boy shape” is just jealous. I’d be green with envy myself, but I’m told the grass itself only seems greener – for any of us. That said, if you want to femme up what you perceive to be a boyish bod, some experts suggest padding, frills, pretty prints, or decorative bikini tops so the attention-grabbing aspect lies in the details of the design.

To rock a curvy look, Pamella Protzel Scott, creative director for the swimwear line called Ella Moss Isla says, “Bottoms with embellishments bring attention to the hips and create a waistline.”

Bountiful Bosom
You were blessed with a chest of ample proportions, and you’re ever so thankful. But when your cup runneth over at the beach, there’s a fine line between “I’ve arrived!” and “I’m falling out the sides!”

The idea is to try and find a b[r]alance for the girls.

Also, while structured cups can look fantastic, they may cause unwelcome bounce for your sweater bunnies. You can shock absorb them with supportive tops (like maillots with underwires, halters, and one-shoulder tops) and you can lock them in with a hardy three-pronged clasp. If you’re a little self conscious just because of the size, you can always play down the ladies via graphics and stripes.

Linda Sassoon, president of Gottex USA says, “In some cases, a two-piece is actually better, because you have a band of support all the way around the back.”

Micro Mammaries
Tired of surreptitiously squeezing water from the padding in your bikini bra?

Yeah, you are. Try something new, then! “Necklines like halter and triangular bikinis work the best as they provide an illusion of a heavy bust,” is the advice of the Luxury Swimwear line, Shivan & Narresh. Likewise, decorations add a little extra femininity via accessories like frills and beading.

Jene Luciani, author of The Bra Book, confirms the triangle trick and adds that, “Your body shape should drive your swimsuit selection.”

If you’re not opposed retaining a little water in your top (or maybe you’re going to a P. Diddy party and not planning on swimming at all), one flat-fan favorite are the bombshell push-up bikini tops from Victoria’s Secret. They add two cup-sizes like mammary Miracle-Gro!

Pinup Chick
Okay, Jayne Mansfield. Some suggestions for you and your hourglass figure include underwires, halters, and balconettes in solid colors or small prints. Also, tighter fitting swimwear is often suggested by professionals, as it promises to accentuate your body shape.

Admittedly, I had to look up that term – “balconette” – too. It’s this fun retro-looking style:

Alright. All of that said, please take any “do and don’t” beach-wear advice with a grain of salt.

Or sand.

The point is, it’s one thing to feel sheepish about exposing too much or harboring some extra pounds you plan on evicting imminently. But your body shape is permanent, it’s yours, and it’s awesome. If you like the idea of making your straight shape seem like Barbie at the beach or visually deflating your D-cups, that’s great. However, if you were fine with busting out or bending it like Beckham up until you read five beauty magazines that struck fear into the heart of your bikini collection, forget about it. They’re creating a problem that isn’t there. They’re not the boss of your brain! Rock those tiny tops or soccer-chick tanks if you like, you gorgeous thing, you.

And you know what? Even if you arrive in Aruba a few pounds heavier than intended, you can still have an amazing time knowing that even the exquisite Kate Upton is voluptuous at her absolute lightest (specifically zero-G):

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Swimsuits: Shape Hacks For Your Unique Physique
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