Who likes shopping for a swimsuit, raise your hand! I think trying on bikinis can be kind of an ordeal for many of us who aren’t Giselle. The lighting is always so awkward and unflattering everywhere except J.Crew (thanks, J.Crew for figuring out how to empty our wallets). But on the whole I like bikinis and swimsuits in general, because once you’re out there on the beach under the sunlight, you look and feel much, much prettier. Once you figure out how to pick the bikini for your body, and build your outfit strategically around it, you’re good to go and all you need to do is just enjoy yourself.
1. If you have a small chest: Create major curves with a bandeau top. A bandeau top is anything that has a heart-shaped neckline as opposed to a more common triangle shape. The rounded neckline of this bikini, along with twist details, give the illusion of a fuller chest–but also, just how cute is it?
Skip this: padded or push-up tops–too obvious! The beach is all about freedom and it’s so much more natural and flattering without all the underwire cups and serious padding.
Mandalynn Gabriella Mesh Bikini (Made in USA), $150
2. If you have full hips: are your hips wider than your shoulders? Balance things out by drawing the eye up with a jewel-neck halter. This mesh halter bikini has basically the shape of a statement necklace, keeping the focus on your face. It also shows off your toned shoulders, giving you a more athletic and balanced look
Skip this: Ruffles or boyshorts will add more to your widest point. Keeping it simple with a classic bikini bottom is the way to go!
Eberjey Vieques Geo Top, (made in USA), $88
3. You’re thin all over: A slender physique works well with almost any swimsuit, but a delicate string bikini is particularly flattering. I love the geometric pattern on this bikini, and the triangle top adds more curves to the top.
4. If you have a full chest: Choose tops with wider straps and more substantial cups, like this pretty halter. Not only does that provide more support, it also balances your curves.
Skip this: Since you have beautiful feminine physique, let the body do the talking for you. For most chic and pulled-together style, stay away from anything super girly and feminine like lace, ruffles, extreme florals, bows, etc. Something sleek in an eye-catching solid will do more for you (think Halle Barry in 007).
Eberjey Midnight Maillot, (made in USA) $159
5. If you want more coverage: These days we have so much ‘coverage shaming.’ Like, if someone wants to wear more than 5 sq in of fabric on her person on the beach, it’s immediately “you’ve got something to hide” or “you’re not confident” or “workout harder and you won’t need to.” And I just feel like a woman can have a bunch of reasons for not wanting to walk around like a 16-year-old. Reasons she doesn’t need judgment for. If so, go for an alluring maillot. A deep V-neck style like this one covers where you want coverage, and yet still looks fun, sexy and youthful.
Skip this: High-waisted shorts sound good in theory and look lovely in editorials, but they’re so darn hard to pull off in person. Also, no man gets it, and even though you don’t dress for guys anyways, you also don’t want to have to spend your beach day explaining patiently to your boyfriend why you’re wearing a “grandma” bottom.
Beach Riot X Stone Cold Fox Daphine One-Piece Swimsuit (made in USA), $155
6. If you want to elongate your legs: This maillot does a lot of things to make your legs longer. First, instead of breaking the line of vision at your chest and hips (as in a bikini), it draws the eye higher up to your natural waist with its deep V. As a maillot, it also has a higher cut legs than a bikini bottom would.
Skip this: Boy shorts or bottoms with low cut legs.
Some final tips for looking your most gorgeous on the beach:
-Prepare your skin! I like to do a body scrub before heading out. A little lotion with shimmer can go a loooong way in making you look great in that said swimsuit.
– If you’re into it, do self-tanning. Why not?
-Do a mani-pedi in bright colors. Doesn’t bright red pedi on the sand sound so nice?
-As stupid as this sounds, I find doing my hair in some pretty sort of way before going to the beach makes me feel happier and photogenic, resulting in better overall time being had. You just feel more *ready*.
-Do wear jewelry. Something like a fun bracelet, necklace, or ring sounds like overkill when you’re heading out the door, but then you get to the beach and feel so fabulous and worth it. Also, this is what makes it a beach outfit!
-Your cover-ups are your best friends. A cotton dress or a tunic, romper, surf shorts, a gauzy sweater or even an oversize chambray shirt.
What’s your bikini / beachwear tip?
Related: 9 Eco Friendly Swim Suit Brands