The best swimwear by body type


By Debra Simon


Every woman's body is distinct, and (finally!) it's fashionable to celebrate these distinctions.


Whether you're lucky enough to go to Jordan Lake, Carolina Beach or an open pool this summer, make a splash with a bathing suit that's right for you.


Start by trying on the suit and facing your reflection in the mirror with confidence. Think about how you feel. Does the garment make you feel gorgeous? If that's an aim too high, are you at least satisfied?


Generally, a suit with gathers is flattering because it can hide bumps and bulges as well as add curves, and two-piece numbers that allow you to purchase the top and bottom separately are lifesavers.


Here are guidelines about selecting swimwear that works well with specific silhouettes.


Ample chest

  • Shop for a one-piece or a structured, halter-top bikini that can be tied at the neck and the back.
  • Opt for wide straps, which are more comfortable than thin ones.
  • Ensure that there's an underwire or hidden bra.



Heavy bottom

  • Go for solid colors in simple cuts.
  • Or, bring the focus up with a printed top.
  • Give the illusion of longer legs with a high-cut bottom in a shade darker than the top.



Plus size

  • Reach for the magic of an unfussy, one-piece suit.
  • Employ darker shades of attractive, cool colors, such as blues, greens and purples.
  • Elongate your line with vertical stripes or detailing running down the sides.



Prominent stomach

  • Choose a suit that's fitted on top and then floats away from the body.
  • Draw eyes away from your tummy with a high-cut leg or low-cut top.
  • Look for a matte texture rather than a shiny finish.



Small top

  • Pick a one-piece with a horizontal print and padding or a ruffled bikini.
  • Make a small bust look larger with volume on the top, such as pleating or beading.
  • Add shape with an underwire.