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Taylor’d with Style: Beginning the Journey to find the Proper Swimsuit

By JeanAnn Taylor

Woman sitting in a pool wearing a wide-brimmed had

Our spring here in Western North Carolina was exceptionally chilly, but now that we’re in the middle of summer, it’s hot! That means, if you haven’t already been shopping, it’s swimsuit shopping time.

There are many of us who avoid this arduous task because 1) it’s awful, and 2) we don’t know which style is most flattering for our bodies, and 3) it’s awful. The very thought of going to a store, taking off all our clothes, squeezing into a skimpy garment, and standing in front of a full length mirror is enough to make us want to bring back Victorian bloomers, stockings, skirts and sleeves!

To make this chore bearable, it’s important to remember the overall goal, which is probably not to wear the latest trend, but to find a suit that fits well and best flatters your figure and skin tone. To begin this journey, think about what you want.

Which colors do you look best wearing? Bright jewel tones, soft pastels, muted or clear hues? The correct color will brighten your eyes and compliment your complexion. The wrong color will give you a sullen appearance. Choose a color that isn’t too close to your skin tone, or you may look as if you aren’t wearing a suit at all.

Also remember that white and other pale colors can become transparent when wet. Prints are fun and can distract from problem areas. Small or large florals, geometrics, stripes, and polka-dots are all attractive in swimwear. Balance is the key to happiness in many areas of our lives, and it is also the key to finding the most flattering swimsuit.

If your bottom half is heavier than your top, you can balance your look by emphasizing your top line. A bright color at the top will attract attention away from hips, and also flatter your face. This principle applies to all body parts.

The shape and design of the suit can flatter or fail. The trick is to know which design features work for you . . . and which don’t. The goal is to draw the eye to the most favorable areas of your body and distract from the least. Ruffles, flounces, and other frills add volume. Consider your body and decide if this is what you want . . . and where.

A halter-top is flattering for full-busted women. This style gives support, while the side fabric offers coverage. Ruching is a woman’s best kept fashion secret. This gathering-technique visually creates a slimming silhouette. Diagonal lines and belted suits can define your waist and be very slimming. Extremely low-cut tops and high-cut bottoms should be chosen carefully.

Remember, the eye will always go to where fabric meets skin. If you don’t want to emphasize a specific part of your body, take care that you don’t make it a focal point. Some suits have very low backs while others have high backs. Consider if you want to show off your trapezius, or not.

Straps are optional in many styles; they can be removed or attached depending on your mood or activity. Floaty overlays, attached swim skirts, and swim dresses are attractive and feminine. These design features cover, conceal, and camouflage in modestly sexy ways.

Fit is the overall most important factor to consider when purchasing and wearing a swimsuit. It should be snug enough to stay where you want it, but not so tight that it is uncomfortable or causes skin to bulge. A baggy, saggy, or gaping suit will not only look unsightly, it can expose body parts you want to conceal. Some fabrics will expand when they are wet. Keep this in mind when purchasing as well.

Your everyday wardrobe is a good indicator of styles you enjoy and feel most confident wearing. For example, if you tend to dress conservatively, you will most likely feel more at ease in a modest bathing suit. If you are accustomed to wearing an underwire bra, buy a suit with this feature. Many suits now come with built-in shapewear.

If this makes you feel more comfortable, choose a suit with this in mind. If you prefer solid colors, settle on a solid color suit rather than taking yourself out of your comfort zone with a wild zebra print.

When purchasing a swimsuit, quality is important. Check the fabric label for a high content of lycra; this fiber will mold to your body offering a better fit. Lined suits will hold their shape and offer the most protection from becoming see-through when wet.

To know how a suit is going to look and react to your body, you must try it on and move about. Sit down, wiggle, bend over, and move your arms as if you were swimming. This is the only way to know how the suit will move when you do. Wear undergarments that don’t sag when trying on swimwear.

It’s impossible to get an accurate assessment of how you look when your undies are hanging below the bottom of the suit. Bring a pair of sandals to slip on. It’s also hard to visualize walking along the beach if you are wearing a pair of hiking boots.

While you are shopping in this department, try on a coverup or two. These flowy fashions are usually so pretty I can’t resist them. I don’t often get the opportunity to wear sheer, lacy, or crochet gowns, so I’ll take advantage when I can. Sarongs are another option.

They can be worn in many creative ways; crossed over the chest and tied behind the neck, wrapped around your waist, or wrapped around your back and tied in front. Cover Ups and sarongs can be in a complementary or contrasting color to your swimsuit.

A wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and cute sandals will complete your easy-breezy summer fashion.

Lastly, put on a bright shade of lipstick. Lipstick will brighten your face and give you a boost of confidence. Remember, nobody is perfect. Find the best swimsuit for you and enjoy the sunshine!


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