Style File: Figure-Flattering Swimsuits

Studio 5 Beauty & Style Contributor Holly Stone hopes to help calm your fears. She has come up with a list of the top ten most common figure flaws…and ways to hide them!


When women hear the word “swimsuit,” we tend to panic. To help put you at ease, here are some tips for finding the perfect suit to flatter your figure type.

Figure Flaw #1: Small Chest

• Look for tops with a touch of padding, or an under wire, demi-bra style that makes the most of a beautiful, dainty, bust line. Try to find a top with adjustable straps at shoulders and around back so that you can tighten and adjust things, to help fill out the top line.

•Avoid tops with too much fabric or have a poor fit. Opt for separates, where you can choose your top and bottom separately.

Figure Flaw #2: Large Chest

• Halter-top bikinis can be a good choice by offering support, while providing some sexy cleavage too. Look for styles that are banded around the midriff and can be tied in back and around the neck. This style will allow you to make adjustments for a personal fit and give you some lift.

• Look for one-piece swimsuits with some structure in the bust, such as soft foam cups or at least, a shelf bra. Underwire tops can work well and look great. Straight cut bust styles such as a classic tank can look clean and sporty. Wide shoulder straps will also be much more comfortable than thin, spaghetti straps.

Figure Flaw #3: Short Legs or Torso

• Play up your figure by finding a suit that is cut high on the thigh. This will make your leg appear much longer. If you have curvy hips, all the better. This cut will accentuate your smaller waist..

• Vertical stripes can visually lengthen the body.

• Wear a solid bottom bikini with a printed top. This will draw the eye upward and give you a longer look.

• A solid, one-piece suit with a plunging neckline creates a continual, long appearance.

• Avoid boy shorts and skirted bikinis as they draw the eye downward and can make you look shorter.

Figure Flaw #4: Long Legs or Torso

• You can go wild with the embellishments at the hips and bust line. Rings, jewels, ties and bows are all great options.

• Try horizontal stripes and nappy fabrics, such as stretch terry and velvet. You’ll look smashing in those super bright colors that are so, “in,” right now.

• If you want a one-piece swimsuit, try one of the latest, cut-out suits. It will break up your long torso, just like a bikini does.

• Boy shorts are just the thing for your slim hips. Oh, and those cute, ruffled skirts and cover-ups? They’re made just for you!

• Avoid up and down stripes, high necklines and dark, solid colors.

Figure Flaw #5: No Waist

• If you don’t have many curves, create some by wearing one-piece suit with a high-on-the-thigh cut. A belted waistline or ruching on a one-piece suit will give the appearance of an indented middle.

• Bikinis are good for you. Add some illusion at the hips with rings, ruffles and bows. If you’re small on top, go for a strapless bandeau. Go for a dark, solid bottom and a wildly printed or embellished top.

• Avoid solid-colored or horizontal striped one-pieces.

Figure Flaw #6: Wide shoulders

• Balance is the key word here. You will want to play up the bottom of your torso and minimize the top.

• Wear bikini bottoms that have lots of color and print and also sport accents at the hips such as ties, belts and sashes. The new, moderate cut bottom was made for you. Also, wide shoulder straps and square necklines can make you look fabulous.

• Avoid the “V” silhouette by staying away from those plunging neck lines or teeny, tiny bikini bottoms.

Figure Flaw #7: Plus-size figure

• Look for one-piece swimsuits with lace or mesh inserts. A strategically placed cut-out, or a deep V neckline, can really change your visual image.

• Lengthen your thigh with an adjustable ruching detail at the hip. A sheer sarong can give you a little confidence and still look equally glamorous.

• Avoid too much fabric. Modesty is certainly fine, but too much coverage is not necessarily a better option. Stay away from white, as well as bright, neon fabrics and those nappy textiles.

Figure Flaw #8: Full Tummy

• If you’re going for a two-piece swimsuit, then checkout the, “meet-and-greet,” tankinis that are on the fashion scene today. They cover just enough, but you still have the freedom and hip factor of a bikini.

• A one-piece with some draping, ruching or tummy control panel around the waist or hips can also help to conceal.

• Avoid itsy bitsy bikinis and solid colored, one-pieces. Black, however is a good option.

Figure Flaw #9: Larger Bottom

• The newest, mini-skirted bikinis are made just for you! Pick a smooth, skimming skirt that is short and sweet, but covers what it needs to. A ruffled or highly decorated top is great as the details will draw attention to your top half

• You could also go for a moderate, bottom bikini that has a 3 inch side. Make that a solid bottom and print top for a super effect.

• Try a maillot one piece. Something with wide straps, or a strong horizontal neckline, will balance out your silhouette. Remember, playing up your top side will de-emphasize your bottom side.

• Avoid boy shorts, too skimpy bottoms, or lots of ruffles and details at the hips.

Figure Flaw #10: Pregnancy

• Do you know how beautiful you are right now? Enjoy your day in the sun!

• Some moms-to-be choose to go with a regular bikini because they don’t have to worry about the middle part getting in the way. However, as the day draws closer, you will probably want a one-piece. Pick one that you can let out and adjust as your tummy and hips expand. You will probably want some support in the bust as well.

• Avoid buying a cheap swimsuit. You will be better off with one or two higher quality swimsuits that are sympathetic to your condition and will last the season.

Extra Tip: Find it BEFORE you go!

Find your suit BEFORE you go on vacation. Prices at resorts can be astronomical and you don’t want to spend all of your time looking for a suit that fits, especially in a foreign country that considers a size 3 “average.”
Make sure you take your measurements before you start shopping and use those, not size numbers to find your best fit. Choose your tops and bottoms separately so that you can create a custom tailored suit. There are suits made for EVERY figure type. Just have fun trying them on to find the right fit for you.


Shop over 120 shops and eateries at Valley Fair Mall for all your summer shopping needs. They have a fabulous selection of swimsuits to choose from.

Visit for details.

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