Bikinis and swimwear to suit your shape

Caroline Cassidy

You may dread the summer months if it means finding the right swimwear but it doesn't have to be a nightmare. You really can find the perfect suit for your figure if you just follow a few simple rules. The very first thing to realise is that nobody is perfect. Everyone has something they are trying to hide or cope with. Here are a few tips on picking the right outfit for you.

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How about a one-piece? If you are feeling uncomfortable with your size the one-piece suits will usually show more of your back and less of your tummy. Some may allow a little more cleavage or thigh to show. The general rule is to promote your best feature and hide the rest.

Should you decide you want to take to the water you should certainly get a one-piece. Make sure it's made from comfortable fabric and doesn't creep unflatteringly up the backside. Don't do bikini strings, as they are a liability in the water, particularly in the sea where the water can be choppy.

If you are more modestly proportioned on top then look for tops with a touch of padding, or an under wire, these will make the most of your bust. It helps if you have adjustable straps at the shoulders and around the back, that way you can tighten and adjust to suit your appearance.

For those with larger busts you may try some extra support; under wire tops for instance can look great. What about Halter-top bikinis? They can be a good choice, offering support, while providing some cleavage too. Styles that are banded around the middle and can be tied in back and around the neck will give you some lift and will allow you to make adjustments for a more personal fit.

There are also soft foam cups and shelf bras to give added support and shape. Wide shoulder straps will also be more comfortable than thin straps.

If you are a little short in stature then try finding a suit that is cut high on the thigh. This will have the effect of making your legs look much longer.

Vertical stripes can lengthen the body but what about mixing things up. Try a solid bottom bikini with a printed top. This will help give you a longer look. Avoid shorts and skirted bikinis as they draw the eye downward and make you look shorter.

If you are taller then clothes probably hang perfectly making your legs go on and on. Accessorise to your heart's content with rings, jewels, ties and bows. How about some horizontal stripes?

If you prefer a one-piece swimsuit, it might be best to try a cutout suit. It will break up your long body, just like a bikini does.