"I work out a lot, so I like to show my body," says Joanne. Her striped bikini was cute but unsophisticated; she wanted to move up to something more soignée. The bordeaux-colored maillot has ingenious cutout sides that make her waist look smaller and give the illusion of bareness without exposing too much skin. The solid color with plaid piping seems to elongate. Lycra and spandex belted cutaway, $170, Burberry.*
Gia is six feet tall: The black tankini looked skimpy on her. And the band of color in the middle—which emphasized width rather than length—didn't help. The luscious one-piece picked for her was another story. "I love to show off my shoulders," Gia says, and a substantial halter neck does that more effectively than skinny straps. Vertically ribbed fabric and lower-cut legs help to elongate her torso. Nylon, Lycra and spandex ribbed one-piece, $56, Lands' End.
The tankini accented Jennifer's bust and belly unbecomingly, and the print, though pretty, was too large for her. "My original suit was fun and surfy," says Jennifer. "The new one is more grown-up." Our pink and black maillot makes her feel "thinner, taller and more confident." Miratex one-piece, $102, Miraclesuit.
Horizontal ribbing and wide-set straps made Bonnie's body look broader—not what you'd hope for from a black tankini. Our maillot is more gratifying: The vertical stripes create the illusion of a smaller waist and a longer torso; the periwinkle blue is lovely with her hair and eyes. And Bonnie says the suit makes her "very comfortable. I don't feel the need to wear a wrap or a cover-up." Lycra and spandex one-piece, $90, La Blanca.
The noncolor tankini kind of sucks energy out of Erika, and the horizontally ribbed fabric isn't flattering. A glamorous red strapless, in contrast, has a zigzag texture that makes her look curvier; an excellent built-in bra lets her feel totally secure. "This suit is cut to define my waist and accent my shoulders," she says. "And I appreciate the extra coverage on the hips." Lycra strapless one-piece, $180, Gottex.
The flowered strapless was, quite simply, dowdy, making Dena look far older than she is. A halter-neck one-piece, cut low in front and at the sides, is significantly more becoming, yet still provides firm support. Her modest comment: "I think it makes me look a little younger." Miratex halter one-piece, $118, Miraclesuit.
The floral two-piece didn't do a thing for Sherri's yoga-strong body—it accentuated her bottom and lacked firm bust support. The jaunty navy maillot has nautical stripes on top to divert attention from the midsection and hips. "I felt less self-conscious in this suit," says Sherri. Spandex and Lycra one-piece, $58, Cole of California.See more stunning beach makeovers