Choose the right swimsuit for your body shape

Caroline Cassidy

Your two weeks in the sun has finally arrived! If you're less than confident about wearing a swimming costume or bikini, don't despair, we've got some tips on finding the best flattering fit for your shape, so you can leave that kaftan at home!

Women wearing bikinis
Women wearing bikinis

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If you're small on top
It's a good idea to choose a top with a little padding, but beware of going for styles with lots of fabric or choosing a size bigger than you are, as this can actually make you look smaller. Look for a top with adjustable straps as this will help you make the most of your cleavage.

If you have a smaller bust, you can get away with wearing pretty, ruffled tops that are so popular right now. Don't be afraid to go for bright colours and patterns either - tropical prints are big news on the high street and are a great choice for drawing attention to your bust.

If you're a classic pear-shape (small busted and bigger on the bottom) look for plain, high-cut bottoms as this will to help slim your hips and lengthen the look of your legs.

If you have a slim, boyish figure, look for boy shorts and low-leg briefs that will add curves and help accentuate your hips. All-in-one swimsuits that have a darker colour at the bottom and are lighter at the top will help enhance your waist and make you appear curvier.

If you're big on top
If you're big busted look for swimsuit styles that come with under-wiring and formed cups, or at least at least a shelf bra for extra support. Avoid brightly coloured and patterned fabric on top and go for plain colours instead – dark red, blue or green will work just as well as black. Another trick is to wear styles with gathered fabric at the waist to help create a flattering division between chest and hips.

Wide shoulder straps are more flattering than thin straps – and will offer more support and be more comfortable too.

If you struggle to get tops to fit, consider a halter-neck. Look for a fit that's banded around the waist and can be tied around the neck. It will give you some lift and allow you to create a more tailored fit depending on how tight you pull the ties. Halternecks are also a great choice for those with toned arms and shapely shoulders.

If you have short legs
Look for bikini bottoms or swimsuit styles that are cut high on the thigh, to help lengthen the appearance of your legs. This style works particularly well if you have curvy hips, as it helps accentuate the waist.

Unless you are top-heavy, try wearing a patterned or brightly coloured colour on top and a solid colour on the bottom. This has the advantage of drawing the eye upwards, giving you a longer look.

If you prefer one-piece swimming costumes, opt for one with a plunging neckline. This creates a continual, long appearance and will up your sex appeal too!

Make sure to avoid boy shorts and bikinis with skirts as these draw the eye downward and make you appear shorter than you actually are.