July 15, 2009

FACING YOUR FEARS - bathing suit season

When I first set out to write this article on bathing suits, a strange thing happened. I began to panic. I started remembering all of the horrible bathing suits I’ve have over the years, and then realized that I needed to get a new swim suit this year. I turned to my friends for support and encouragement. What I thought I would hear from them was things like “oh, I saw some great suits at XYZ store” or “the bathing suit you had last year is great, why do you need another one”; but instead I heard horror stories. And the stories were frightening.

Tales included stories like not knowing a suit was transparent in water until it was too late, losing part of a bikini when waterskiing, having the protective undergarment part of the bottom half of the suit come unhinged and hang out the backside of the suit resembling a tail. Then - the worst of the worst stores. The photographs. Have you ever seen a photograph of yourself in a horrible bathing suit? I need a moment of silence…

One of my oldest and dearest BFFs simply said, “Bathing suite horror stories? Buying one, wearing one, thinking about one.” Well said.

So why do we do it? Why do we put ourselves through the humiliating torture known as bathing suit season?

We humble ourselves and stuff our less than perfect thighs into a swimsuit because it’s summer. We do it because the things that require a bathing suit are fun. Some of us do it simply to play nice with others.

I am on a quest. I’ve challenged myself to make the “bathing suit” an overall pleasant experience; I want the mere mention of the “bathing suit” to not drum up any horrible memories or strike panic into the hearts and minds of the women of Michiana. So I have researched and collected some tips for you.


Universally Flattering – Like the a-line skirt or a princess cut jacket, a one piece with a deep front and back ‘v’ is a style that is flattering on everyone. Keep in mind your figure challenges, and distract attention from those areas with embellishment and rouching. The suit to the left is a Miracle suit, found at Macy's and at http://www.cyberswim.com/

Look Thinner – One word, ROUCHING. Slight gathers along the side of a swimsuit that creates a subtle drape is not only slimming, but camouflages an ample midsection. V-neck styles will bring attention away from trouble areas, and bring all the focus to your neckline and face.

Remember when shopping for a bathing suit, the same rules apply as does when you are shopping for street clothes. In other words, fit is key…extra fabric from an ill fitting bathing suit will make you appear bigger. Keep balance in mind. For example, if you are smaller on top, bring pattern and focus to the top, this will help to balance your figure.

With pattern, a dark background is going to be more slenderizing than a lighter one. The perfect shape for a string bikini? Someone with an “h” shape, who has no curves and a small bust line.

Plus Sized – the best choice is something that is a ‘baby doll’ style 2 piece. A suit that doesn’t cut the hip, but rather is more like a short tunic is best. Choose a solid over anything printed, and keep the attention at your face; in other words, v-neck styles are your best bet. The suit to the right is found at www.swimsuitsforall.com

Thick Middle – look for styles that have a contrast in color or a belted waist. Smart color blocking with the attention toward the top (neckline) will distract from your midsection. Stay away from printed styles – try something in a solid. Details like side rouching also help to disguise a thick midsection.

Belly – Many women want to disguise a little belly pouch, especially Mom’s with youngsters. Wrap styles or anything with some shirring or rouching is a good choice. Gathers (or shirring or rouching) on the sides allow a nice drape in the tummy area. Also, a pero or wrap at your hip with some detail will distract from your midsection.

Top Heavy – Of course a maillot with an underwire is the optimal choice, but they are hard to find. Look for a one piece halter style; this is going to offer you the best support while offering enough cleavage to keep your look sassy.

Small Bustline - Look for a top that has some padding. The best cut is a triangle top. Something that has some detail or embellishment like embroidery, ruffles etc. will bring more balance to the top half of your body. A bikini in a bright print will offer the illusion of balance.

Bottom Heavy – Bring attention to the top of your suit; this can be done with ruffles on top, pattern on the top and a plain bottom. This can also be done with a deep v, and jewelry (yes, simple jewelry with a bathing suit). A higher cut leg will elongate the line of your leg, making your hips appear thinner. Styles to steer clear of include boy shorts, no ruffles or embellishment on the bottom of your suit – this includes bikini styles that tie on the side.

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