Finding the right swimsuit can be… challenging, to say the least. Whether a style is more pretty than practical, lacks support or has a confusing cut, not all swimwear is created equal. We’ve enlisted the help of four real women to show you the best and brightest bathing suits for your poolside weekend, beach vacation, and rooftop lounging needs. Scroll through for the most flattering suits designed to bring out the best in your body for petite frames, curvy shapes, and everything in between.
Halter or bandeau? Skirted or string? Before we get started, it’s time to get schooled in swimsuit jargon. Knowing the proper term for your suit can make online shopping smooth sailing and leave you one step closer to poolside perfection.
Not sure which fit is best for you? Start with these foolproof styles for your body. If you’re curvy or fuller up top, halter styles and criss-cross necklines are your best bet for much-needed support. (Psst. Keep an eye out for options with gel cups under the bust that really help hold up the girls.)
Ladies who are built straight up and down should turn to cuts and shapes that create definition at the waist, like high-waisted bottoms paired with an underwire top for added structure. But if you’re a member of the itty bitty titty committee (no shame in that game), reach for textured tops that bring a bit of intrigue to your upper half (e.g. bandeau bikinis with halter strings or triangle tops with ruffles).
Plus-sized cuties should keep in mind that two-piece buys can fit just as well (if not better) than one-piece looks. The name of the game is comfort and coverage so don’t shy away from strategic cut-outs or old Hollywood-inspired silhouettes.
Short-legged or petite? Usher in the season with suits that feature high-cut bottoms (think string bikinis and one-pieces that sit high on your hips) that show off your gams and create the illusion of more balance. Steer clear of boy shorts that segment your lower half.
How to Make Sure Your Suit Fits
Follow these money moves to ensure your swimwear fits before you buy:
Scoop + Shuffle: Bend over, scoop under your chest and lift to rest your chest securely in your top.
Tug the Straps: Give a tug or two to check that adjustable straps are tight.
Pull the Bottom: Confirm the coverage with a gentle pull. If the suit rolls on your cheeks or cuts into your hips, you might need to size up.
Pinch the Middle: Grab the middle of one-piece suits, pinch and then pull. If there is a large gap between you and your swimwear then it will most likely stretch out after only a few uses.
Take a Selfie: Snap yourself in the mirror to avoid potential unwanted see-through suit disasters.
(On Weslei) Eres Sirene Embellished Swimsuit ($555)
From bikini bottom details to one-piece cinchers, belted styles combine the best of form and function. Let these waist-defining suits complement your curves and add interest to clean silhouettes. Babes with athletic bodies are served best by belt details that create the illusion of curves. Tall, petite, and fuller women can embrace buys that have ruching, printed belts, or built-in belts that don’t add bulk.
Belted Swimsuits That Slay on the Beach
Trendy Print Swimsuits
Playful prints and trendy patterns are a surprisingly universal way to show off what your momma gave you. Fruit-filled designs and bold graphics are at the top of our list. Petite and curvy ladies with hourglass shapes, keep an eye out for prints that don’t overwhelm your frame. Tall and athletic types should use bolder prints to break up the body.
Stay breezy by the beach with this effortless striped maxi that will never clash with of-the-moment patterns and prints. Brit + Co Pick: Elan Cover-Up Maxi Dress ($74)
Printed Bikinis + One-Pieces That Turn Heads Poolside
Simple, sleek, but never boring silos bring a timeless touch to summer 2018. Look for strategic cutouts, alluring asymmetrical styles if you have a long torso or fuller shape. Opt for classic one-pieces and color-blocked separates that forgo excess embellishment if you are short or boxy.
Sarongs and summer skirts lend just the right amount of polish to fuss-free styles. Brit + Co Pick: DONNI Tootsie Skirt ($154)
Minimalist Swimwear That Flatters Every Shape
Equal parts sweet and sassy, ruffles and scalloped edge detailing add just the right amount of sex appeal to your go-to suit. Large ruffles work best on taller or more narrow body types, while intricate edges help streamline more voluptuous shapes.
Throw-on-and-go options with femme touches are a perfect match for the flirty vibes of your swimwear. Brit + Co Pick: Rhode Resort Camille Open-Back Cotton Kaftan ($176)
Fun and Flirty Suits That Work for Your Weekend Getaway
TBT calls for athletic-inspired cuts that offer a bit of ‘80s-era magic. Sports-bra tops, racerback tanks, and rashguard options support and flatter in the most functional ways. Structured styles that fit securely are a universal hit.
A smocked jumpsuit pairs well with suits built for water-sport shenanigans. Brit + Co Pick: Old Navy Smocked Wide-Leg Jumpsuit ($35)
Athletic-Inspired Bathing Suits Made for Fun in the Sun
Athletic: Cynthia Rowley Blue China Print Wetsuit ($295)