IMAGES: Sexy swimwear to flatter YOUR figure!
Recently, we shared an exercise regime to get you fighting for swimsuit season (read summer).
Now we come to the style guide -- picking the right swimwear to suit your body!
Not everyone is built like a supermodel, with a narrow waist, long legs and pert derriere. But who says you shouldn't try to look your best? A flattering cut will have all your insecurities melting away with just the right amount of coverage -- or less of it, whatever works best.
In the following pages, we bring you just what you need -- advice on what to pick before you step out poolside or by the sea, so pay close attention!
For the well-endowed
Being top heavy isn't all it's cracked up to be -- just ask the ladies who have to play down their assets all the time because they're always the centre of attention!
If you've got a big bustline, here's what you need to do -- first off, choose swimwear with support. Underwire is always preferable and so are sturdy straps, because they will provide that support and prevent you from jiggling about.
A one-piece, fitted swimsuit (particularly a strapless) will also meet your needs -- it will have a minimising effect on your bust.
When it comes to bikinis, choose darker colours on top, as they don't draw as much attention -- and if you want a touch of brightness, a small print is preferable. Stay away from larger ones and particularly stripes!
Image: If you've got a large bust, opt for underwire support and small prints
Photographs: Beach Bunny swimwear ad campaign
For the not-so-well endowed
Being flat-chested is as much of a problem for women as being top-heavy, but there's no need to fret. There's plenty you can do about it!
First off, you should stick to a two-piece as far as possible -- a bikini, that is, not a tankini. And you can jump up a cup-size or two with a little tasteful padding (the key word being 'tasteful', you don't want to look like you've stuffed yourself with socks!). There are plenty of swimsuits in the market that are produced with that end in mind.
Push-up bra-type bikinis with underwire will also go a long way in boosting your assets and you can add volume with a halter cut, ruffles, horizontal stripes or a large print.
Image: Push-up bra-type bikinis with underwire will go a long way in boosting your assets
Photographs: Victoria's Secret catalogue
For broad shoulders
We get it, you don't want to look too wide at the top, like a man strutting around. But if you're broad-shouldered, your big bone structure on top can be a touch masculine, so here's a solution.
Accentuate one shoulder -- and that's best done with a one-sided, single strap swimsuit. Bikini, tankini or one-piece, that's your call.
Wide straps will also serve to balance out your broadness, as will a square neckline.
Moreover, draw the attention away from your shoulders to your hips with striking bikini bottoms or detailing at the hips on a one-piece. One way of doing that is opting for solid colours at the bust, combined with a patterned bottom.
Image: Accentuate one shoulder -- and that's best done with a one-sided swimsuit
Photographs: Phax Swimwear
For a big tummy
Most of us are stuck with this problem and boy, do we know how tough it is to flatten that ungainly stomach with flattering swimwear.
But fear not -- there is a solution. Depending, of course, on just how much tummy you need to camouflage!
For those with an out-and-out large belly, the best option is tummy control swimwear. Yes, such a thing exists. The fabric and cut of such one-piece swimsuits is intended to keep fat under control and prevent any unsightly lumps and bumps. They'll hold you in and smoothen your silhouette.
If, on the other hand, you've got a bit of a paunch, you can resort to trickery! You can opt for a tankini, which only affords a peek at your mid-section and nothing more. If it's a one-piece, try to get a suit with rouching at the belly or detailing down the sides -- both these designs will camouflage your bulging belly.
And bikini-wise, you can go retro with high-waisted bottoms that come up past your navel.
Image: You can go retro with high-waisted bottoms that come up past your navel
Photographs: Ava Bell Designs
For wide hips
If you're pear-shaped (narrower on top and wider at the hips), there's a lot you can do about it.
The tankini should be your swimwear of choice, here -- it will accentuate your narrow waist and draw more attention to the top half of your torso.
Also, choose a deep V-neck cut so that it's your top that comes more into focus. Other ways to achieve the same end are to have a lighter colour or print on your upper half.
If you're very self-conscious of your hips, you can have a skirted bottom half on your swimsuit, so that you're covered up a little more and are comfortable with your look.
Image: You can have a skirted bottom half on your swimsuit
Photographs: Betsey Johnson swimwear
For narrow hips
Narrow hips are as much of an issue as wide hips; the top half of your torso looks too broad in comparison to the rest of your body and women are conscious of the disproportion.
To strike a balance, you need to get hippy! In other words, your problem area should come into focus -- opt for any swimsuit that plays them up to the hilt. Sequins, bows, ruffles, wild prints, all on the bottom half. And of course, opt for eye-catching colours at the hips too.
All these tips will help your hips 'lie' and that's exactly what we want them to do in this case, so nevermind that song by Shakira!
Image: Wild prints and detailing on the bottom half will play up your hips
Photographs: Victoria's Secret Catalogue
For a short torso
Do you feel like your top half (from neck to hips) is too short and stocky and could fit in a box, while your legs seem too long and lanky in comparison?
There are ways of lengthening your torso with swimwear.
If you're going with a one-piece, opt for a strapless design or a one-shoulder -- both these cuts will create the illusion of stretching and slimming your upper body. And make sure it has a high cut.
On the other hand, if you're wearing a bikini it should have a low-cut bottom.
Necklines should plunge -- a high neckline for a short torso is a big no-no.
Graphic prints are your friend too.
And here's a unique little tip. Any swimsuit with an 'X' pattern across the torso will lengthen it, so look out for it!
Image: Necklines should plunge -- a high neckline for a short torso is a big no-no
Photographs: Caffe Swimwear
For a long torso
In other words, you need a touch of 'oomph'!
Channel your inner diva and go all-out with a sexy cut-away that adds volume to your long upper body.
Or buy a bold print (maybe stripes)? These also serve to volumise and ditch the lanky look.
Another way to disguise a too-long torso is to wear a bikini with side-tying bottoms -- you know, the string kind. These serve to lengthen your legs and your overall appearance will appear a lot better balanced when you compare the top and bottom halves.
Image: Channel your inner diva and go all-out with a sexy cut-away that adds volume to your long upper body
Photographs: Aqua Di Lara Swimwear
For a big butt
Not all bootylicious babes are happy with their, well, booty! If it were up to them, they'd prefer a lot less of it.
While you should embrace your curves, an overly-large butt is as much of a headache for women as overly-large breasts -- you want to draw attention away from it, not to it.
So, swimwear with bottoms in a solid colour are slimming, and we're not talking only bikinis. You can also opt for a one-piece with colour-blocking, which is not only trendy but also has a compacting effect down south. Remember, lighter colours or prints at the top; solid, darker shades below.
Avoid horizontal stripes at all costs.
And if you want maximum coverage on your derriere, opt for boy shorts -- that's better than letting it all hang out!
Image: If you want maximum coverage on your derriere, opt for boy shorts
Photographs: Victoria's Secret Catalogue
For a flat butt
Hold on before you book that Brazilian butt lift!
You want to look curvier, rounder, more feminine -- we get it, no one wants a drooping, flat bottom.
But all you have to do is flip around the advice on the previous page! Spring for a bikini with ruffles on the bottom to add volume. Or opt for horizontal stripes, which will boost your butt size considerably. Steer clear of solid colours at the back and go lighter with your colour tones.
Image: Opt for stripes, ruffles and bright hues, which will boost your butt size considerably
For thickset thighs
The biggest mistake most women make is opting for boyshorts to cover up chunky thighs -- they actually have the opposite effect and only serve to make them look stockier!
If you've got large thighs you want to disguise, the trick is to have your legs look longer -- choose a swimsuit or bikini with a high-cut bottom that creates an illusion of longer and therefore slimmer thighs.
You can also opt for a swimsuit with a ruffle skirting the bottom half -- it's flirty and will cover up your problem area.
Image: The trick is to have your legs look longer -- choose a swimsuit or bikini with a high-cut bottom
Photographs: Norma Kamali swimwear
For petite women
Ladies who are vertically challenged and on the tinier side can have a lot of trouble getting their hands on the right swimwear.
To be honest, nothing is going to have you looking taller, but you can play down your lack of height.
One way is vertical stripes -- they have a lengthening effect.
Another is less fabric across the hips if you're opting for a two-piece -- the lower the waist and tinier the bikini bottom, the better.
And finally, steer clear of florals and polka dots as they have a very little-girl appeal about them when it comes to petite people.