How to Find the Most Flattering Swimsuit for Your Body Type
Whatever your shape, we found a suit—or seven—guaranteed to make a splash.
If You're Big-Chested...
"Finding bathing suits is hard because my top half is much bigger than my bottom," says Dawn Zimniak, 29, a residential real estate agent. Zimniak relies on mix-and-match separates, strategically placed embellishments, and occasionally even a tailor. "I shop for suits with structure so I can run around and not worry about a wardrobe malfunction," she says. This patterned minimizer (Miraclesuit, $144) is supportive and slimming; gathered fabric at the waist creates a flattering division between chest and hips.
6 more supportive swimsuits for big-chested women
Wedges, Dana Buchman. Surfboard, Al Merrick 510 Flyer by Tuflite.
If You're Small-Busted...
Singer-actress Jolie Walsh, 33, is forever on the hunt for suits that will build her bust and elongate her petite frame. This bright polka-dot bikini (Nanette Lepore, top, $68, and bottom, $78) plays up the bustline and makes her legs seem like they start at the—very high—waist. "It's so retro and feminine," says Walsh. "I never would have expected it to look this good on me."
6 more ultra-flattering swimsuits for small-busted women
Hat, American Eagle Outfitters. Wedges, Colin Stuart for Victoria's Secret Catalogue.
If You're Pear-Shaped...
"I used to compromise on an unflattering top or bottom, but now I see that I don't have to," says Jacinda Carlisle, 36, a freelance fashion public relations agent. Thanks to its unique cutaway style, this suit (Tara Grinna Swimwear, $139) accentuates what Carlisle likes most (her small waist) and hides what she's self-conscious about (her hips). It's both sexy and demure—and, as she says, "definitely worthy of a trip to the Caribbean."
6 more perfect swimsuits for pear-shaped women
Wedges, Jimmy Choo. Flippers, TYR.
If You're Plus-Sized...
"Basically, I want it all," says Maggie Brown, 28, a dental assistant. "A suit needs to be sexy but practical: sturdy straps, a good bra, and coverage for my backside." She loves this swimdress (Carol Wior
, originally $110, now $49 with code OPRAH
) because it emphasizes her cleavage while concealing her thighs (typically, she buys a separate sarong to match). To complement her curves, Brown gravitates toward one-pieces—"usually solids with some interesting detail." Check, check, and check.
6 more slimming swimsuits for plus-sized women
Wedges, Zodiac USA.
If You're Athletic...
Sue Molnar, 46, a Spinning instructor, works out six days a week to maintain her lean, toned figure. "It took until my 40s to love my teenage physique," she says. "But with a small bust and hips, I'm always looking for styles that add femininity." The vertical axis of this color-blocked tankini (Pret-A-Surf, top, $160) balances Molnar's shoulders; the solid bottom ($140) breaks up her long torso.
6 more shape-enhancing swimsuits for athletic body types
Wedges, Christian Louboutin.