With all the fabulous new swimsuit styles coming out to play in 2019, it’s hard to know what swimwear is best suited to you.
The key to looking fashionable while still finding a suit that gives support and coverage? Buying for your body type–especially for curvy women.
Here, we’ve got tips on how to buy the best full figure swimsuits, no matter your body type. After all, everybody is different, and there’s a variety that can fit under the full-figured umbrella.
Full Chest vs. Small Chest
First, let’s talk about a common culprit in swimsuit struggles: your chest.
If you have a smaller chest, you can get away with a lot more. But for the most flattering results, you’ll want a top that will enhance what you’ve got. Embellishments, bows, ruffles, fringe, and patterns can all create the illusion of a larger chest, even if the suit offers less coverage.
If you are well-endowed, then support is your first concern. Most swimsuits won’t offer enough support for full-chested women, and a top without enough coverage will leave you fighting wardrobe malfunctions.
Instead, look for bra-style straps with underwire and adjustable straps. The wider the straps, the better support you’ll get (your back will thank you). Molded cups and more coverage are also good options to keep things where you want them.
If you want to make your chest look balanced with the rest of you, avoid extra embellishments up top.
Apple vs. Hourglass
Next is an area many women fight with: your waist.
If you have an ‘apple’ shape (i.e. wider waistline) don’t be shy! You can absolutely strut your stuff.
Apple figures are most flattered by swimsuits that provide a slimming effect. Your best bet is well-placed ruffles, especially angled ruffles, as these can draw the eye downward.
Another good option is shirring, especially diagonal shirring that comes together at your waist’s smallest point. This creates the illusion of an hourglass, especially when paired with small (but still fun) prints.
If your hips and shoulders are roughly equal width and you have a narrow waist, you want to accentuate top and bottom equally. Bikinis with molded underwire are good for drawing attention to the chest while providing support, and a fun pattern can keep everything balanced.
If you’re in love with florals (you should be–they’re one of the best style investments of the season) feel free to get flowery to balance your hips and bust.
Broad Shoulders vs. Broad Hips
Let’s say your hips and shoulders aren’t equal. What’s a girl to do?
If your shoulders are broad, your goal is to balance your upper body relative to the rest of you. Your best bet for this is a solid-colored suit with printed panels on the side–this draws the eye to the waist, creating the illusion of an hourglass.
Asymmetrical necklines are also a good idea, as these draw the eye up and away instead of straight across (but if you’ve also got a big chest, they’re not great at keeping everything in place).
If your hips are wider than your shoulders (i.e. pear shaped) your goal is to balance your shoulders and hips. You’re in good company–Beyonce falls into this category, and you can’t do much better than Queen B herself.
Avoid any suits that call extra attention to your hips, as this will worsen the imbalance between your hips and shoulders. An eye-catching top or plunging neckline are good choices to draw the eye up, best paired with a clean-skirted bottom that falls just below the largest part of the upper leg.
Short Torso vs. Long Torso
If you have a short torso, your goal is to elongate the torso (if you’re a short person with a short torso, this has the added benefit of making you seem taller and longer).
The best way to do this is to pair low-rise bottoms with halter-strap tops, as this draws the eye up while creating the illusion of more space between your hips and shoulders.
If you have a long torso, you want to balance out your torso with the rest of you. Your best bet here is a high-waisted suit. Two-toned two piece suits in bright colors are great for shortening the torso, and V-necks are also a great option.
Short Legs vs. Long Legs
We’ve spent a lot of time on your bust, hips, and waist. But even if you’re baring leg, you still need a suit that will balance out your legs (and yes, there are suits for that!)
If you have short legs, you want to elongate them (this will also make you look taller). Go for suits with a high cut in the leg. If you’re feeling especially bold, a thong suit gives you maximum elongation potential (but not much coverage).
If you have longer legs, you want to lengthen your torso to avoid the baby horse effect. Suits with a flat cut across the legs can help with this, as can suits that flatter a short torso.
Curvy vs. Athletic
Yes, even plus size women can deal with the curvy vs. athletic struggle.
When you hear athletic, you probably think of coltish supermodels. What we’re really referring to is a body that’s straight and narrow without many curves. Avoid bandeaus or boy-cut briefs, as these only accentuate your lack of curves.
Instead, reach for tops with cups, bright colors, and embellishments. Pro tip: the smaller the swimsuit bottom, the curvier your bottom appears.
If you have plenty of curves to go around, a good rule of thumb is that bright colors accentuate and dark colors minimize. Avoid solid colors and instead reach for prints that extend from the bust to the hip.
If you’re a curvy woman who loves surfing or other wetsuit-related activities, it can also be a struggle to find a flattering but functional plus size wetsuit since your cut options are limited.
Your best option is to work with pattern using the same rules that apply to swimsuits. Pattern and brightness accentuate, dark colors minimize.
Looking for Tips Beyond Full Figure Swimsuits?
Finding flattering full figure swimsuits can often feel like mission impossible, but it doesn’t need to be if you know what you’re looking for.
For more great clothing tips, check out our blog for more ideas. If you’re a motorcycle lover when you’re not beachside, check out this guide to must-have motorcycle apparel.