Shopping for swimsuits can be tricky because it shows so much skin, but I really think everyone can wear swimwear, it’s just a matter of finding a shape that suits you, that works with your body, and that you feel comfortable in (that should be the most important parameter!).
In this article, I want to give you tips for each body type - if you don’t know which body type you are, watch this video first:
A little disclaimer: I have exaggerated the proportions of the body types so they are easier to recognize, you don’t need to look exactly like them to be that body shape. Clothing size and body type are 2 different things ;)
Many models are "rectangles", it is a silhouette where the waist is less marked than for an hourglass. The chest and hips are (usually) narrower as in an hourglass and they have similar circumferences.
The strategy here would be to visually create the impression of an hourglass by increasing the difference between the waist and the bust & hips, and we can do that with the shape or the pattern of a swimsuit.
A one-piece with bare sides would be perfect: both the pattern & the negative space on the sides visually make the waist look more narrow.
Note that this is one possible option - you could also use pattern and shape to add volume to the bust and the hips.
Widest part: waist area. Bust and hips have similar measurements and are usually narrower than the waist. Apples typically look for proper support for the breast and enough coverage for the belly.
A high-waisted option will be a suitable option. Wide shoulder bands for the upper part would add better support, as well as boning inside the bra. And then the fabric draped around the hips, as well as the design detail on the right shoulder band, attract the attention.
Much more difference between wide bust and wide hips on one hand and a thinner waist on the other hand. It's a very feminine figure, but it also makes it a lot harder to find clothing that fits. Note that you do not need the proportions of Marilyn Monroe to fit into this category - she was an "extreme" hourglass type!
When it comes to swimwear, support for the breasts is key, so a halter neck is probably a smart option. A one-piece typically wouldn't fit properly around the waist, so it's easier to stick to a two-piece swimsuit. A more sporty bottom allows for comfort: I often hear hourglasses who say they want to feel comfortable on the beach, rather than showing too much skin - your choice, of course!
4. Inverted triangle
The bust is wider than the hips and the hips are narrow. Inverted triangles often wish they had narrower shoulders (while I'm a pear and I would looooove to have the body of an Olympic swimmer!). If we want to bring some balance, then we will want to visually reduce the width of the bust and shoulders, and increase the volume around the hips.
A crossed neck attracts the attention towards your center, away from your shoulders. And a traditional Brazilian bikini with a triangle shape and ties on the sides adds volume to the hips. The same effect could be achieved with ruffles around the hips, or eye-catching hardware like chains or lace.
It's the common body type for a woman, worldwide. Pear ladies' hips are their widest body area, I often hear pear ladies telling me that they have trouble shopping for suits, for instance, because their hips are one size bigger than their chests. Luckily, swimwear is no problem because you can often order the top and the bottom separately.
The strategy with a pear body is to draw attention to the bust. A bottom part that covers the hips nicely and is black or in a discrete color is perfect, even more when combined with a very attractive bandeau-style top with vibrant colors, appealing patterns or hardware - as shown on this sketch.
Colors play a huge role in clothing, also in swimwear. Remember that black is slimming, purple is sophisticated, red is eye-catching, etc.
Neon colors look great when you are super tanned, warm-undertoned.
Prints and patterns attract the eye more than a solid color.
If a part of your body is not symmetrical to the rest (e.g. if you had surgery), think of a top that gives proper support to your breasts. If one side of your body isn't symmetrical to the other, you can have a tailor take in only one side of the swimsuit.
All these tips aim at visually "correcting" proportions: but as a pear, for example, if you're liking your hips and want to highlight them instead of "hiding them", just do the opposite of what I said for pears and take the advice I gave for inverted triangles!
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Here is the YouTube video where I explain the different swimsuits in details:
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