Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Swimsuits for Every Body: Part 2

In my first post on finding a swimsuit to flatter your body, I wrote about which styles and details were the most flattering for small and large chested women. Today I'm moving on to a much more daunting body part, the stomach.

Many women don't feel totally comfortable exposing their stomachs, leaving bikinis out of the question. But often if feels like you're forced to choose between an itsy bitsy bikini (yellow polka dots optional) and one of those awful floral printed skirted granny suits. Everyone wants to feel sexy, comfortable and confident when they're out on the beach or lounging by the pool, and neither the granny suit nor the string bikini fits the bill. Luckily, swimsuit manufacturers are picking up on this dilemma and are creating more tankini and one piece suits that use cut or materials that slim the waist, without sacrificing sexiness.

Here are just a few great slimming suits:

Body by Victoria Ipex Tankini Top, Victoria's Secret, $54 ($28 for bottoms)
I understand that this print might not be for everyone, but the bright vertical lines really elongate the torso. The sexy deep-v cut also draws attention away from your stomach (just don't be surprised if that attention goes to your breasts!)

The Miracle Bra Push-up Halter Tankini Top, Victoria's Secret, $44 ($38 for bottoms)
I just love this sleek and slimming suit. This is just one example of how you never have to sacrifice sexiness for coverage. One thing to remember about tankinis is that you don't want more than 3/4-1 inch or so of space between the top and bottom, otherwise you're drawing attention to a wide part of your stomach.

Magicsuit Firm Control Crisscross Shaping One-Piece, from Victoria's Secret, $130
Magicsuit uses a smoothing fabric that works much the same way Spanx do, eliminating bumps and lumps and creating a slimmer appearance overall. This suit also combines a very flattering "wrap" look that emphasizes your bust while making your waist appear thinner.

Calvin Klein Pleated One Piece, from Victoria's Secret, $70
You've heard it before: horizontal lines make you look wider and larger, vertical lines make you look long and lean. Calvin Klein adds both, using horizontal ruching at the bust to draw attention there, and slimming vertical panels along the sides. It also comes in a tankini version.

Anne Cole "Suddenly Slim" Double Strap One Piece, from Nordstrom, $126
Ruched keyhole detailing at the bust adds visual interest while an underwire bra and an extra strong nylon/Lycra spandex fabric (in black, no less) will hold you in and emphasize curves.

You've seen the good stuff, but let's move on to the examples of what doesn't work:

This apron top is the bathing suit equivalent of a muu muu. It might make sense at first to avoid anything fitted if you are self-conscious about your stomach, but having loose fabric like this only makes you look wider (and won't hold you in the way a tighter, stretchy suit will).

In the past couple of years, cut-out suits have taken off, with magazines promoting the style as "flattering on every body type!" This is wrong. If you have any hint of love handles, everyone's attention will be drawn to them.

I mentioned earlier that horizontal lines and details add width, and a suit like this that is nothing BUT horizontal lines (strips+ruffles+ruching+straight neckline) isn't flattering on any body.

If you've got other suggestions for swimsuits that flatter a large stomach, leave 'em in the comments!


Adriana said...

That Calvin Klein for VS is on backorder until the end of the month and the tankini is on backorder until the end of July! Have you seen anything else very similar to that? I love the bust.

Meg said...

Adriana- You're in luck! Macy's carries both suits (in different colors though. You can check them out here:



It's a great suit, I hope you love it!