How to Choose Swimwear for Your Body Type

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It’s summer in the Northern hemisphere and if it’s actually hot (sadly summer isn’t always so hot everywhere), but if you need a new swimsuit and want some tips to flatter your body shape, as they are the most unforgiving of garments, then read on.

Swimwear to Flatter Your Body Shape

Swimwear to flatter your figure

I shape – horizontal stripes will give you more curves
A shape – darker bottom and lighter top will balance your booty.

X shape – enhance your curves with a suit that draws the eye upwards

H shape – look for built in waist shaping or a cross-over design

V shape – lighter bottom and darker top and halternecks all flatter.

8 shape  – your classic shape was born for 50s retro swimwear and anything that highlights your waist.

O shape – look for built in waist support and contouring.  A boy leg offers more coverage.

 

Body Variations

 

Swimwear tips

Want longer legs?  Look for a higher cut leg.

Small bust – from padding to strapless, extra horizontal detail or other embellishments work for you.

Large bust – to avoid the mono-boob look, find a swimsuit that has built in underwire to keep your girls lifted and separated. Check out Bravissimo for some great options if you need that extra support.

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13 Comments

  • Any suggestions for an X-shape looking to hide those hateful low-hip saddlebags? They’re easy to camouflage with regular clothes, but they do seem more noticeable in just about any swimsuit!

  • Any tips for someone too long in the torso for the 8 shape suits? I can definitely see where it would help with my high hips, but monokinis and one-pieces give my 6’0″ frame a serious *ahem* camel toe. Any two piece options for an 8 shape? Would a high waisted skirt work?

  • Hi. I have found your posts about Figure 8 so helpful. Discovering your site has been such a relief as I knew I wasn’t fitting into the standard shapes I kept reading about.

    I would really love if you could do a post on how Figure 8’s can wear belts. I love belts but find it hard to get them to not make me look ten times wider across my hips.

  • Hello Imogen! So I’m 5’10 and 145 lbs and a definite 8 shape, and since I’m 20 years old I don’t want to wear a one piece to the beach. I have a very small bust, a wide & short torso with wide hips, and very long legs. Any advise on what bikini top would be flattering?

  • Hi Imogen
    I’m going to Kauai in three months and am in a pickle as far as what to look for in swimwear. Since discovering your blog I’ve found that I am truly a figure 8 body shape that’s has a large bust of 32g, long legs (5′ 7″), shorter waist and average bottom. I’ve been and will continue to loose weight before my trip but my proportions will remain about the same. I am currently 160lbs and hoping to be closer to ten or more less than that at the time vaca arrives. So my predicament is, you say my body type is made for 50s inspired swim wear, however I was hoping to go for a more mature and sexy look, perhaps with a two piece? I love the classy look with the 50s wear but a more contemporary look is what I’d like to get. And what kind of bottom shape is best? High waisted, low waisted, boy shorts, bikini, high cut, board shorts, the options are overwhelming! And I have large boobs and broad shoulders so what sort of too is best recommended? I assume a halter but not sure entirely (obviously underwired) :). Thanks for your help!!!

    • Tamira – bottom shape – a higher cut leg gives you longer legs, a boy leg makes your legs look shorter. Style is really about personality – I think that the 50s style is sexy and mature in appearance! Halternecks can be uncomfortable with larger breasts as the weight of them pulls – I’d look for straps over your shoulders and a built in bra. http://www.bravissimo.com sells some great swimwear for larger busts with good support.

  • I’m an 8 & my bathing suit is just like the yellow 60s style one pictured, except mine is green. It is the most flattering style on me.

  • I’m an H with a small bust – one pieces smash the girls down. I usually end up with a tankini with a ruffle up top to balance things out. Any other advice?

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