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Make A Splash: The Ultimate Bathing Suit Guide for Different Body Types

Make A Splash: The Ultimate Bathing Suit Guide for Different Body Types

Let’s get one thing straight: you can wear any kind of bathing suit that makes you feel confident, sexy and comfortable. A bathing suit style is not limited to shape or size, contrary to popular belief. It’s all about finding one that accents your beautiful features while minimizing the parts that you’d like to de-emphasize, and there is no shame in that.  

Nowadays, there are a plethora of bikinis, one-pieces, swim dresses and tankinis that fit all body types. The “little black dress” has crossed over to the swimwear industry because of its versatile and flattering silhouette. The options are endless, and we want to help make shopping for the best bathing suit for your body type a little easier.

If you are looking for a guide to give you some ideas of what type of bathing suit will flatter your figure, we’ve got some great suggestions here for you. Read on for some stylish picks from curvy to athletic, for small frames to broad shoulders, skimpy to full coverage that’ll accentuate your best qualities, making swimsuit shopping easy, and. dare we say… fun? Let’s get started!

Smaller Chest 

For those who have smaller chests, look for a bathing suit that doesn’t gap or flatten when shopping for a flattering swimsuit. The key is to find tops with straps that are adjustable and/or are halterstyle to help accentuate your upper half.  

Think bold or bright colors and patterns, embellished detailing and texturesruching/gathers and bows or beads to create a structural effect. No need for extra padding or an underwire, unless you choose to help give the girls a lift.  

Try: Scoop tops or bandeaus 

Larger Bust 

Proper support is vital for those with larger busts in order to feel comfortable in and out of the water and when playing in the sand. You don’t want to worry about the ladies drooping or falling out. Seek out suits with an underwire and/or molded cups in solid, bold or blocked colors. (Be sure to know your actual size, too, as that can make a huge difference.) Try to avoid ruffles or embellishments if you’re looking to minimize the focus on your chest.  Skinny straps or push-up styles will do little as far as support and coverage, so look for wider straps and strong materials 

A good way to know if a bathing suit top (or one-piece) is going to give you the support you need is by looking at the straps. The thicker the strap, the more support you’ll get. Look for adjustable and bra-style tops that are marked with an actual bra size (instead of a S, M, or L) when shopping. 

Try: V-shaped swimsuits that naturally draw the eye up and down 


For curvy ladies with an hourglass shape, you want to highlight those beautiful curves while also giving support and coverage where you need it. This shape is balanced with a full bust, round hips and a smaller waist. String bikinis and monokinis accentuate thicker thighs, so be aware of that when shopping. 

Look for bathing suits that draw the eye toward the neckline. Color-blocking styles are great, on-trend and do a good job of highlighting areas you want to emphasize while minimizing those you don’t. Prints that go from bust to hip also give the illusion of a longer, leaner torsoRuching is fabulous for hugging and camouflaging at the same time. 

Try: A wrap-style “little black swimsuit” 


The “straight up and down” body type has little difference in size between the shoulder, waist, and hips, making it fairly easy to style. Opt for a swimsuit that plays up your curves if you have this athletic body typeSwimsuits with less coverage help create that illusion of a shapelier silhouette.  

Bold prints, ruffles, horizontal lines and embellishments are all going to be great at creating the effect of a fuller top. Push-up and padded tops will also help. Look for bikini bottoms that have belts, skirts or ruffles to give the appearance of a curvier bottom.  

Try: Monokinis with strategically placed cut-outs 


If you’re apple-shaped, you carry most of your weight in your middle but have slender hips and shoulders and fuller bust. Bathing suits that emphasize your cleavage and legs will flatter your figure nicely 

There are a ton of one-piece and two-piece swimsuits that are great for an apple shape.  Tankinis and high-waisted bikinis help smooth out the middle, and shirred fabrics work miracles. Choose a bathing suit that accentuates your legs while giving you more coverage in the bust and tummy area.  

Try: A high-waisted, retro bikini  


Pear-shaped gals are generally curvier at the hips and thighs and smaller on top. The stunning pear-shapes tend to have delicate shoulders and smaller waists with wider hips. The key is to find a bathing suit that balances those proportions and achieving the coverage you need for your bottom half while accentuating your top half.  

Look for swimsuits that have a skirted bottom, to cover the wider part of the upper leg. A plunging neckline or eye-catching top can draw the eye upward, therefore minimizing your bottom half. Try to avoid boy shorts or thick-banded bathing suit bottoms, as the extra fabric will only accentuate the areas you are trying to minimize. 

Try: A flattering swim dress with delicate detailing at the top  

At the end of the day, it’s all about finding a comfortable, flattering fit, which is what great style is all about. Try on different bathing suits for different body types to see how they look and feel on you. Don’t be afraid to shop outside of your comfort zone. Remember that especially with bathing suits, it’s difficult to envision how they may look on versus hanging on a rack. The best swimsuit might be one you haven’t considered before.  

Try to avoid trendy silhouettes if they’re doing nothing for your body type. Perhaps a classic or retro look will work better on you. You also may be tempted to think that adding extra fabric will give you more flattering coverage, but it could actually (and surprisingly!have the opposite effect. Tankinis are sometimes a better choice. Or, you might choose a demure look with a swim dress or bodysuit. Try many options and take some risks.  

Whatever body type you are, it’s all about finding a style that fits you and your body. You want a bathing suit for your body type that makes you feel comfortable and confident. Whether you’ll be wearing it on a family trip enjoying water activities or on a romantic getaway to a beach resort, we hope this guide to finding the best bathing suit for your body type will help you enjoy some fun in the sun.

About The Author

Sandra Lee

Sandra Lee is a blogger, amateur photographer and freelance writer for parenting publications such as Red Tricycle and Mommy Nearest. Hailing from Texas and living in the Bay Area, she writes about life with two kids, beauty finds, food and all things motherhood on her blog, Coffee in the Middle. As a bilingual Mexican and Italian woman, she’s committed to teaching her kids about diversity, the Spanish language and the love of different cultures. When she’s not chasing the little ones around, she’s either baking up something delicious, taking a yoga class or writing.

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