Thursday, May 10, 2007

Swimsuits for Every Body: Part 3

One of my biggest pet peeves about swimsuit shopping is that 98% of suit bottoms seem to have been designed for women who are happy to have an entire beach full of people inspecting their butt. Finding a cute suit that doesn't morph into a thong after walking five steps seems nearly impossible, as everything is cut to cover the middle 3/4 of your behind. If you're even the slightest bit self conscious about your butt or upper thighs, swimsuit shopping can be a nightmare. Luckily, there are at least a few attractive options for swimsuits that provide better coverage, and you can always go the cover-up route, perfect for time spent outside of the water.

I've always read that if you have larger hips or thighs, it's more flattering to wear high cut bottoms, because your leg looks longer and leaner. This makes sense, but it forces large-hipped women (like myself) to choose between exposing an area you're uncomfortable showing and appearing slightly thinner and taller. If you're brave enough to wear high cut or string bottoms, I say go for it, but go with what you're most comfortable with. You want to spend your time at the beach or pool swimming, playing and relaxing, not tugging on your swimsuit or feeling self-conscious about everyone staring at your cellulite.

Urban Outfitters Damsel Solid One Piece, $88

This vintage style has really made a comeback in recent years. When the ladies of Desperate Housewives wore versions of the suit on the cover of Vanity Fair last year, I was seriously craving one of my own. The great thing about this style is that it has great coverage all over but it's still very sexy, in an old school Hollywood kind of way. In a post last week, Daddy Likey recommended Esther Williams as a great brand for this style of swimwear. One final word of advice- if you're going for more coverage on your hips/thighs, try to offset it with a top that shows off your bust and shoulders (halter tops are especially great). It'll draw attention to your upper body and face and you won't look like a nun.


Urban Outfitters Sunset Maryanne Boyshort, $38 (top is also $38)

If you're comfortable showing your stomach, a boyshort bikini is a great option. If you go to the beach or pool with the intention of actually getting exercise (whether it's swimming, beach volleyball or going for a walk), boyshorts are nice because they're not going to slip down or ride up when you're moving. The key to a flattering boyshort is choosing a style that does not cut straight across (see photo under bad styles, below). This has a softer, less severe shape due to the contrast piping, so it doesn't cut straight across the widest part of your thighs.

W Swim Rain Forest Triangle Top and Side-Tie Swim Skirt, Macy's, $50 for top, $48 for skirt

Swimsuit manufacturers finally caught on to the idea of merging a suit and a cover-up, and it's nice not having to change when you're getting in and out of the water. It's a cute style that's more feminine than a boyshort, with the added coverage of a cover-up.

On to cover-ups...

Body by Victoria Cover-Up Swim Skirt, $28

The only difference between this skirt and the one above is that this isn't attached to your swim bottoms, so you can pair it with any suit that you'd like more coverage from. It's also made out of swimsuit material, so you can go in the water with it. A skirt like this is great for mixing and matching with the suits you already have.

Portocruz Skirt Cover-Up, Macy's, $28

A skirt like this is wonderful if you're not totally cool with showing your thighs when you're not in the water. A flowy, comfortable skirt is easy to throw on or pack in a beach bag, and it "dresses up" a suit for those situations when a swimsuit alone isn't appropriate (walking to and from the pool, eating outside, etc).

Carol Wior Slimsuit 10-Way Pareo, Nordstrom, $38
Though I have yet to master the art of wearing a pareo multiple ways, I know that it can be done. Pareos and sarongs are really useful in their versatility; they're easy to pack and you can wrap it in a way to give you as much or as little coverage as you'd like.

Now that I've gone over styles that work well for covering and minimizing your butt, hips and thighs, let's move on to a few styles that are worth avoiding.

As I mentioned earlier, a boyshort that cuts straight across at your waist and thighs will make your hips appear wider and your legs shorter. Try something more forgiving, like the boyshort I featured above.

A ruffled bottom like this is essentially a wide horizontal stripe across the widest part of your hips. It's great if you want to add curves to a thin frame, but if your hips are on the wider side, you should go for bottoms with a longer skirt bottom (one that covers your butt or longer).

This wraps up my series on swimsuits, I hope that you'll have an easier time finding a swimsuit that flatters your body and makes you feel great. You can read my earlier posts on minimizing/maximizing your bust and flattering a large stomach, and if you have any comments or suggestions for tips I've forgotten, leave them in the comments!

1 comment:

Icy said...

Wow, fantastic post. Lots of really useful information.