Finding the Best Swimwear to Flatter your Body Shape

How many of us are guilty of shopping for the same swimwear style each summer? While that trusty string bikini top and bottom pairing may have worked in your mid-twenties, it’s easy to forget that your figure changes with time. Whether it’s down to new exercise regimes, pregnancy, or fluctuating weight gain, women’s bodies are in a constant state of flux, so it’s important to periodically reassess your swimwear choices. “Try, try and try on again!” says Coco Bay  co-founder Belinda Robinson, who believes that investing a little time pre-holiday to sample new styles (and go through favoured two pieces) pays dividends. “Styles change with the season, so be brave and look outside your comfort zone. Of course, online shopping makes this easy as you can try swimwear on in the comfort of your own home,” says Belinda.
If you’re in the midst of panic ordering multiple poolside styles to your door, take pause and read our simple body shape-based guide to finding the best swimsuit or bikini for your silhouette…

Pear Shaped
Possessing the classic English silhouette means covetable beach-ready curves, but it can also lead many ladies to seek minimising bottom heavy lower half in the quest for a more hour glass shape. Darker bottoms slim the hips, while a lighter, patterned or flouncy bikini top (a secret weapon of the small busted) gives the appearance of a wider, fuller top half (seek out mix and match separates to find your perfect combination). A plunging neckline halter top also draws the eye upwards, minimising the bottom; likewise, a high neckline brings balance. For those looking to conceal a less than toned tummy area, a retro-style colour block swimsuit (darker panel below, lighter on top) has an instant balancing effect. Try these…

Joellen cutout color-block swimsuit, £285, Flagpole Swim

Mira Ruffled Bikini, £370, Lisa Marie-Fernandez

Crocheted Halter-Neck Bikini, £195, She Made Me

A shapelier figure is what lean, straight-up-and-down body types are looking for in swimwear. Lucky enough to be able to pull off most styles, the artful placement of stripes and embellishment can help add a little va-va-voom to sporty figures – think elaborate cut outs, feminine trims and skirted pants (the smaller the swimsuit bottom, the curvier the derrière will appear). Add shape around the bust area with high neck styles and moulded bikini tops – avoid one-shouldered swimsuits, which will accentuate an angular, sporty frame. Try these..

Mare Fringed Crochet-Knit Halter Neck Bikini, £300, Missoni

Laced Wrap Front Bra Bikini Top , £70; Laced Hipster Bikini Pant, £52, Seafolly

Stella Cutout Striped Swimsuit, £209, Emma Pake

Those with a smaller frame are often looking to elongate the appearance of their torso, which is easiest done by opting for a high cut swimsuit with a skin-revealing deep V neckline and halter straps (sporty, high necked styles will only accentuate a shorter body). Creating curves on a smaller frame is another concern, in which case a chic tie-waist swimsuit is a chic route to an hour glass shape. Not able to find a bikini small enough to fit narrow proportions? The string bikini and its adjustable ties are ideal. Try these..

Multi Phoenix Plunge Swimsuit, £220, Lazul

Key West Ocean Bikini, £94, Melissa Obadash

Yasmin Pucker One-Piece, £340, Lisa Marie-Fernandez

Those who think that plumping for a larger size will equate to more coverage should beware; the effect will be a baggy fit prone to gaping. Simply choosing a more covered style in the correct size will be far more streamlining (if you’re in between sizes, however, always opt for the larger). Thankfully, swimwear now incorporates full underwired support and moulded cups for bigger busts, with bandeaus and halters coming in large cup sizes (check out Coco Bay’s range of D-F styles), just veer away from adornment and ruffles on bra tops which will accentuate the chest area. Looking to flaunt your curves? Opt for retro shapes – think high pants and bandeau tops for a pin up vibe. Alternatively, a slimming darker side panel on swimsuits is a great way of creating a sleeker silhouette if so desired. Try these..

Jacquard Stripe Halter Swimsuit, £65, Moontide

Poppy Button Bikini, £315, Lisa Marie Fernadez

Blue Wave Bikini, £42, Figleaves

Long Torso
The main concern for those longer in the body is to create the illusion of a more proportioned figure, which means lengthening the leg zone. A quick fire route to the appearance of longer pins is high cut briefs which show more of the upper thigh and draw the eye to the upper hip (stay well away from low-riding, shorts-style bottoms), and high cut bottoms with tie strings. Tank bikini tops which hit the centre of the rib cage give the illusion of a shorter body, while swimsuits (which often accentuate the length of the torso) should be chosen with cut out detailing, thereby breaking up the body block. Those less keen on flashing flesh should look to extra-length, full cover options which adapt to the shape of your body. Try these..

Halter One Piece.

Poppy Red Swimsuit, £270, Marysia Swim

Kasbah Nectarine High Neck Tank Bikini Top, £58, Nectarine Multi Strap Hipster Bikini Pants, £41, Seafolly

Tummy Conscious
Curvy, petite or pear shaped – no matter what your figure, a not so taut tummy can prove a problem area. For those still keen to shimmy into a bikini, higher-waisted, on-trend 1950’s style briefs are a great option, pulling in love handles and smoothing out the stomach area. A so-called ‘surplice-wrap’ swimsuit (with a crossover fabric design) provides extra support to the tummy, not to mention a trimming effect (the doubled material will conceal and smooth any bulges). Those looking for an extra helping hand should look to the plethora of on-trend bathing suits with tummy control panels. Try these..

The Belle and Bridget Striped Triangle Bikini, £120, Solid and Striped

Deep Sea Tummy Control Swimsuit, £40, Figleaves Swimwear

Wrap Front Swimsuit, £41.65, Boden

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