Gone are the days when your only choice for swimwear was a one-piece or a two-piece bathing suit. Contemporary bikinis come in all shapes, sizes and materials, with some cut in ways to flatter a less-than-perfect body. Follow a few simple guidelines to figure out which type of bikini is ideal for you.
Consider where and how you will use the bikini. If you want to do some serious swimming—either in a pool or in the ocean—you want a bikini that has decent coverage because skimpy tops have a way of losing their precarious placement and slipping away in the water. Sports-oriented bikinis with bra tops are best for active water sports. For poolside sunning, think about where you want and do not want tan lines. String bikinis or strapless bikinis are popular for sun worshippers.
Determine a budget. There is no use getting your hopes up for a limited edition Calvin Klein if you are on a Target budget. However, if you shop for bikinis in late July or August, you might be able to score a bargain on high-end swimwear. Late in the season, however, your selection will be more limited.
Take a long, hard look at your body in a full-length mirror. You don’t have to look like a cast member of “Baywatch” to rock a two-piece, but there are styles that complement certain body types better. For example, if you want to draw attention away from your lower body, go for a halter-style top that shows off your shoulders. If you want thigh coverage, try the boy short look, but note where the hem hits your thigh, because some boy shorts accentuate the shape of the thigh. To cover the stomach area, a tank-top style tankini is ideal, but note that some tankini tops are cut short to let the belly button show.
Show off your assets. Most women shopping for bikinis want to show some cleavage. Micro-bikinis and string bikinis are the most revealing styles. Women with larger bra cup sizes may find these small patches of fabric simply won’t do. In this case, look for a fuller cup that is lined, or a sports bra-style top.
Consult your itinerary. While that thong-bottom bikini is right at home in Rio, it would be scandalous in modest beach spots like Bali. Remember, too, that one of the best accessories for a bikini is a good cover-up.
- Avoid bikini styles that pucker or pinch the skin—check the fit carefully.