The No-Bullsh*t Swimsuit Guide For EVERY Body Type (2023)

Pear-shape, hourglass, inverted trapezoid -- we can't even keep track of the ways people are categorizing womens' bodies anymore. When you're at the mall, do you ever say, "Ugh I can't wear this top because I'm apple-shaped"? No, you say -- I can't wear this top because my chest is too big/too small or my torso is too short/too long.

While the outdated body categories frustrate us on a regular basis, they become even more annoying when swimsuit shopping -- a task that is difficult enough without us having to figure out if we're banana-shaped or not. Since we, as fashion editors, couldn't decipher our "body shapes" we figured most of the female population must be having the same problem as well. To help everyone out, we decided to come up with a guide to bathing suit shopping using language we actually use when we talk about ourselves. Whether you want to conceal cellulite, hide back fat or provide enough support for the girls, we've got a suit for you.

Behold, the ultimate guide to swimsuit shopping for real women.

Small Chest: Finding a suit that flatters your bust can be a challenge. The best bet for a gal with a smaller chest is to go for a top with embellishments or ruffles to give the illusion of a larger chest. Alternatively, a suit with padding can help to give you a little somthin' somethin' extra.


Tori Praver Seafoam Flounce Halter Top Sweet Pea Pink, $23 ; Anna Kosturova Seashore Bikini Top Swimwear, $77

HUGE Chest: For the girls with big girls, string bikinis are not your friend, nor are bathing suit tops that come in size S, M and L. Cup sizes and underwire will offer you the support you need so your boobs won't be all over the place when you take a dip. Also look for thicker bathing suit straps and double-stitched bands for the most flattering results.

Broad Shoulders: There are a few things you can do to balance out your body when you’ve got a set of broad shoulders. First, opt for a solid colored suit with printed panels along the side. This will help create the look of an hourglass figure, thus evening out a boxy upper body. You can also rock an asymmetrical neckline, which will draw the eye up and away, instead of straight across.


Lisa Marie Fernandez One-Piece Arden Flounce Swimsuit, $430; Miraclesuit Side Course Temptress Floral One Piece Swimsuit, $158

(Video) How I Built My Dream Body (No Bullsh*t Guide)

Flat Booty: This is another time when frills and ruching come in handy, as they give the illusion of a bigger behind. Opt for bottoms in bright colors and loud prints to try and distract from a flatter tush. Also, showing a little cheek is preferably to full-coverage bottoms.

Big Butt: If you’ve got an ample backside, string bikinis and high-cut swimsuits can often be uncomfortable and a bit too revealing. You'll need a suit with enough fabric in that area so you’re not constantly tugging for more coverage or picking a wedgie. So beyond avoiding Brazilian and other skimpy cut swimsuits, you should look for designs with solid bottoms and printed tops -- which will help balance out your big booty.

Compact, Athletic Body: The goal here is to give the illusion of more curves, which is easily done with a top with cups, padding and gathering, and by picking girlie prints and bright colors. Don't go for straight-across bandeaus, boy-cut briefs or shapeless full-pieces, as this will only enhance your athletic figure.


Love Handles: Oh, how we love to hate our Love Handles. But fighting the bulge is easier than you think. A high-waisted bottom works wonders -- just make sure it extends above your belly button to prevent a muffin top.

Short Torso: The trick to elongating a short torso is adding length and lifting the bustline. Low-rise bottoms make your torso appear longer and halter straps draw attention to your neck and shoulders, making people skim over your short mid-section.

(Video) Swimsuit shopping for your body shape - real life examples

Back Fat: The last thing you want is a suit with thin straps that will dig into your skin and make those dreaded flesh folds even more pronounced. So reach for designs with thicker straps and high backs to smooth any lumps and bumps.


Short Legs: If you want to elongate shorter legs, go for suits with high cuts in the leg (a la Kelly Kapowski). Since you are showing more skin, it will make your gams appear longer. And if you're really brave, go for a thong for optimal lengthening potential.

Full Thighs: To try and flatter a fuller thigh, opt for bottoms with a little bit more coverage. Bottoms with a skirt can help to conceal part of your upper leg (and feel free to skip the bikini wax).

A Tummy Pouch: Hiding a tummy is actually much easier than most people think. Peplums, for example, aren't just great to wear to the office -- they are also perfect for a day at the beach. A full-piece with ruching can also help to conceal your stomach. Choosing any one-piece with a plunging neckline with help to keep the focus upwards, rather than on your mid-section.

Big Hips, Skinny Legs: The key with this body figure combo is balancing out your shoulders and hips. And since you’ve got plenty of hip, pick a suit that gives the illusion of an elongated clavicle. These off-the-shoulder numbers will do the trick.


Pregnant: Since you don’t want anything too tight around your midsection (obvi), it’s best to look for tankinis since they provide ample wiggle room, sun protection and easy access to your growing belly. And speaking of easy access -- a two-piece makes going to the bathroom a breeze.

Cellulite: Whether you’re slender, curvy, short or tall -- cellulite doesn’t discriminate. And simply trying to cover it with those tiny skirted suits isn’t going to work. But there’s no reason to turn into “Modest Molly” or sacrifice your personal style when attempting to keep those unsightly dimples under wraps. Look for swimdresses and tankinis with longer hemlines, but that still pack plenty of sass.

Scars: This is a tricky category -- especially since we don’t know where your scars are located. However, there are tons of suits out there with unique cuts and interesting shapes, so you're bound to find something to conceal a scar or two. Consider a cropped top if your scars are located on your chest, upper back or shoulders. And suits with mesh insets allow for full coverage while still showing a bit of skin.


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Burn Easily: Sun-sensitive ladies have it tough. You want to catch some rays, but you don’t want to look or feel like a boiled lobster afterwards. But beyond having a coverup and SPF 50 sunblock at the ready, your swimsuit can also provide a bit of stylish protection. Consider the rashguard. The long-sleeved tops aren’t just for serious surfers anymore and they also come in a variety of fun, eye-catching prints.

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What color bathing suit makes you look skinnier? ›

Choose Dark Colors

Dark shades have a slimming effect, especially black and navy blue hues are perfect if you're looking to hide a few pounds. To spice up things, look for fashion-forward silhouettes and styles. Swimwear Tip: Look for pieces that have cut-outs which can add a hint of sexiness to your ensemble.

Why did they ban full body suits in swimming? ›

People have gone so far as to label their use as "technical doping". They were deemed to provide an unfair advantage to the wearer by FINA, which led to a ban on all swimsuits of a similar nature.

What do non binary people wear to swim? ›

A simple swim short

Wear a shirt, or bikini top, or pasties, or just your top surgery scars with these Adidas three-stripe swim shorts—they're absolutely classic and extremely gender-flexible. Bonus points because you can just wear these around as regular athletic shorts.

What are the 3 types of bodies? ›

Most people are unique combinations of the three body types: ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph.

How do I know what is my body shape? ›

Body shape is based on the relationship between three points on your body: your shoulders/bust, waist and hips. Draw an imaginary line down from your shoulders to your hips and make a mental note of where the line hits. It can be helpful to snap a quick mirror pic for reference if you're having a hard time visualizing.

What color makes you look skinny? ›

Black never fails to make you look slim and elegant. Darker shades of colors like blue, purple and brown can also help to hide flaws and create a slimming illusion. On the other hand, lighter colors, like white and khaki, can add pounds and give the illusion of a larger frame.

Is it better to buy smaller or bigger swimsuit? ›

You might also want to consider ordering down a size if you're in doubt. Swimsuits are made from stretchy fabric and usually expand when they get wet, so anything too big will probably end up looking baggy.

Why do female swimmers not shave their legs? ›

We did it to swim faster. The idea behind this was that our body hair—and the dead skin cells that accumulated from not shaving—would add an extra layer of "drag" (or resistance) in the water. Meaning, not only did we have to pull body weight through the pool, but also the weight of our body hair and dead skin.

Why do swimmers wear 2 caps? ›

The first one is used to cover their hair, as latex clings to the head better. The second silicone one doesn't crinkle as much as latex, so it smooths any lingering bumpiness on the head. Without the second cap, there is more drag in the water because the first one could wrinkle.

What should you not wear to swimming? ›

The important thing to note is that clothing shouldn't be overly baggy or made of heavy materials such as denim or wool. These can become water logged and heavy, making it difficult to swim or float.

How do you shower with gender dysphoria? ›

Find ways to do everyday things that reduce your dysphoria - steam up or cover the bathroom mirrors, use a big sponge or loofah for bathing, cuddle a pillow to cover your chest when you sleep, or master makeup contouring.

Can you change your gender to non-binary? ›

In addition to male and female gender options, some states have added a gender-neutral “X” option for non-binary, intersex or gender non-conforming individuals. In all 50 states, transgender individuals can legally change their gender on their driver's license.

What is the strongest body type? ›

A mesomorph has a large bone structure, large muscles and a naturally athletic physique. Mesomorphs are the best body type for bodybuilding. They find it quite easy to gain and lose weight. They are naturally strong which is the perfect platform for building muscle.

Which body shape is best for female? ›

The stereotypically attractive female body shape is an hourglass figure, which includes wide hips, a narrow waist, and broad shoulders.

What is the rarest body shape? ›

What is the rarest body type? The hourglass body shape is the rarest body shape as it requires equal bust/shoulder and hip proportions with a dramatically smaller waist size.

What are the 4 body types? ›

To get a precise assessment of whether you're an ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph, or a combination type, you could go to a lab and have your body fat, bone, and muscle mass measured.

What body shape is 32 26 34? ›

Hourglass Body Shape

E.g. 32-26-33, 33-27-35, 36-30-38.

What hair color makes you look thinner? ›

"Dark colors recede and make your face seem slimmer," he says. The ombre trick works best with deeper brunette shades, so consider dyeing your hair darker if it's naturally light, he adds. 3.

What color makes you look younger? ›

If you want to experiment with looking younger, start out with reds, pinks, and purples. They all have a youthful vibrancy to them that is widely recognized." Don't just take his word for it, though. Up ahead, see how the chicest over-40 celebrities are putting these youthful colors to the test.

What mirrors make you look skinny? ›

Curved glass is what's flattering your figure. Regular mirrors have the panes straight up and down, but if they're curved slightly inward, your figure instantly appears slimmer. Conversely, glass that's bowed out makes you look bigger (think of the whacky mirrors in fun houses).

How do you know if a swimsuit is too big? ›

6 Signs Your Bathing Suit Doesn't Fit Anymore & It's Time To Toss...
  1. You're Uncomfortable In It. ...
  2. You Constantly Have Wedgies. ...
  3. Your Straps Dig Into Your Back. ...
  4. You Show A Little Too Much Skin. ...
  5. Your Bottom Is Saggy. ...
  6. Your Neck Begins To Hurt.
7 Jun 2016

Do swimsuits get bigger when wet? ›

"Swim fabrics stretch when wet, so staying true to size or sizing down is best when you're in the water," Tyler Conrad from Summersalt swim told me. If you stay on the drier side, sizing up could be beneficial to make you feel more comfortable and secure in your suit.

How tight should a swimsuit fit? ›

A properly fitting swimsuit should fit closely against your body. Bunching at the seams or tightness and pulling at the straps and openings usually indicates an incorrect size. You should be able to move freely without causing the neck or leg openings of the suit to stretch.

What color swimsuit is most flattering? ›

The Most Flattering Swimwear Colors That Aren't Black
  • Dark Purple. Call it blackberry or eggplant, we're talking a deep purple hue. ...
  • Emerald Green. ...
  • Navy or Royal Blue. ...
  • Maroon. ...
  • Burnt Orange. ...
  • Related Articles.

How can I dress cute without showing my stomach? ›

Go big on top, narrow on bottom. If you like the idea of belly camouflage but want to show some shape too, let opposites attract. Pair any full-cut top, blouse, jacket or tunic with a slim base of trim pants, leggings or straight or skinny jeans (here's where the latter come in handy even if you no longer love them).

Do female swimmers shave down there? ›

Swimmers maintain their bikini line and underarms on a weekly basis as they are practically living in a swimsuit 12 months a year. Shaving down is saved for the competitions where athletes are expected to perform their best. Such as the Olympic Games or World Championships. Generally this occurs only 1-2 times a year.

How can I look cute while swimming? ›

How to Be Fashionable at a Pool Party
  1. 1 Go with swimwear that makes you feel confident.
  2. 2 Bring a cute cover up that complements your suit.
  3. 3 Go vintage with high-waisted shorts and a crop top.
  4. 4 Rock denim cutoffs for a cool, classic look.
  5. 5 Try a comfy two-piece outfit for a resort vibe.

Do professional swimmers wax or shave? ›

Many professional swimmers opt to shave before a big competition, which has significant drawbacks. Some of the drawbacks include that hair regrowth happens quickly, nits and cuts can happen, hair regrows blunter, which can make it seem thicker, ingrown hairs are common, and razor burn is a potential side effect.

Why do female swimmers have short hair? ›

Shaving is the ritual swimmers perform before a big meet, removing all hair that cannot be covered by a swim cap or suit. (And, truth be told, a lot of the hidden hair will go as well.) The goal is to reduce drag (a small factor) and enhance the mental gain from a more streamlined sensation in the water (a big factor).

Does hair get wet under a swim cap? ›

If you are swimming without putting your head in the water then a swim cap will protect your hair from splashes and will probably stay dry but if you swim with your head below the water line, water will seep into the cap because there is not a watertight seal.

Why do swimmers shave their armpits? ›

It has been proven that shaving the arms, legs, back and pretty much any other part of the body exposed to the water reduces frictional drag, improves streamline and heightens the swimmer's awareness and feel for the water (more on that in a second).

Why are jeans not allowed in pools? ›

Absorbent material can break down in the water and the fibers can clog equipment. Clothing that has been dyed like t-shirts, jeans or other apparel can bleed into the water and make the chemical levels drop.

Can I wear leggings to swim? ›

If you had to answer our title question with a simple yes or no, the answer is “yes.” You can certainly wear quality activewear for swimming and other activities in and around the water.

What colors should you not wear when swimming? ›

The hardest colors to distinguish are the light blue and white. Darker colors are more visible on the light pool bottom, but they can often be confused with leaves, dirt, or shadows and you should try to avoid swim suits with lots of dark colors as well. The clear winners are the neon colors pink and orange.

What is a Nonbinary baby? ›

Children who do continue to feel they are a different gender from the one assigned at birth could develop in different ways. Some may feel they do not belong to any gender and may identify as agender. Others will feel their gender is outside of male and female and may identify as non-binary.

What's the most common girl name in the world? ›

The answer is Sophia (or Sofia, depending on how you choose to spell it)! Yes, Sophia is officially the most popular girl's name IN THE WORLD!

What is a unique female name? ›

If you would like a name with a pretty sound, these unique girl names surely fit the bill.
  • Annalise. A combination of the name Anna and Lise, this name is simple, pretty, and unique.
  • Brigitta. ...
  • Charmaine. ...
  • Constance. ...
  • Geneviève. ...
  • Larisa. ...
  • Lorelei. ...
  • Lucinda.
10 Feb 2022

What gender takes longer showers? ›

Women take longer showers, but men shower more frequently. Overall, the average length of time in the shower has decreased by more than 50 percent from 2009. Average shower time now clocks in at 6.8 minutes, versus 13 minutes then.

Which gender takes more showers? ›

New Moen Research explores how men and women's showering and grooming routines compare: Women take longer showers (7.2 vs. 6.3 minutes), but men shower more frequently than women.

How do you indirectly tell someone to shower? ›

Don't just say "Take a shower". Ask why he is not. Then talk about how to make that situation better.
If you're not that comfortable with being so direct, hinting at it may give him some ideas:
  1. "I can tell you worked your butt off in track."
  2. "Let me open a window and turn on the fan for ya."
27 Jun 2017

How do I know if I'm non-binary? ›

In really simple terms, a non-binary person is someone who does not identify as exclusively a man or a woman. Someone who is non-binary might feel like a mix of genders, or like they have no gender at all. Personally, I identify outside of the gender binary entirely. I am not a boy or girl at all.

Do birth certificates show gender? ›

California Becomes First State to Introduce Gender-Neutral Birth Certificates. California has become the first state to allow its residents to opt for a gender-neutral designation on birth certificates.

How can I change my gender without surgery? ›

Hormone Treatment

Hormone therapy can help you achieve more masculine or feminine characteristics. Commonly prescribed by a primary care provider or endocrinologist, hormone treatments can be part of a presurgical plan or a stand-alone service.

Is it better to size up or down for swimwear? ›

“Swim fabrics stretch a bit when wet, so sizing down or staying true to size is better when you're spending most of your time in actual water,” she says. “If you're staying dry most of the time, sizing up could help you feel more comfortable since the natural stretching won't happen when the suit stays dry.

Should you size up or down in swimsuits? ›

Swimsuit fabrics tend to become more stretchy when wet, Keep in mind that when wet it will fit slightly looser, so buy true to size when fitting the suit dry. A common belief is that you should always size up in swimwear, but this is untrue.

Is it better for a swimsuit to be tight or loose? ›

Generally, a swimsuit should be tight enough to help contain your breasts and minimize unwanted movement. If you're spilling out or not contained, your swimsuit might be too tight or too loose, or it might be the wrong fit entirely for your shape.

How do you know if a swimsuit is too tight? ›

Your swimsuit is too small if you can't slide at least two fingers under the straps. This remains true if your swimsuit straps keep digging into your shoulders, causing pain, discomfort, and indentations in your skin.

How do I keep my swimsuit bottom in place? ›

If you are still having trouble keeping your swimsuit in place, you may want to try using swimsuit tape. This is a special type of tape that is designed to adhere to enough fabric and skin. You can use it to secure the edges of your swimsuit in place. This will help to keep it from riding up and provide extra support.

How many swimsuits should I own? ›

It's ideal to have at least three or four suits if you frequently swim because exposure to chlorine causes them to deteriorate over time. In general, women prefer to have between 5 and 10 various bathing suits in their wardrobe, whereas men often need fewer alternatives depending on how often they swim.

Do swimsuits get looser? ›

Yes, that bikini was super cute in the days of yore, but I've got news for you: Swimsuits are made of elastic, and elastic stretches out over time, with multiple wears. If you have a go-to piece you're always sporting, it may be time to say goodbye to it and hello to something new.

Which swimsuit is best for small chest? ›

Bandeau bikini tops tend to work best for those with smaller breasts since you won't have to worry about constantly pulling them up.

What size is a 34 swimsuit? ›

3234" / 87cmS
3436" / 92cmM
3638" / 97cmL
3840" / 102cmXL
7 more rows

How do I know my swimsuit size one piece? ›

One-piece bathing suit measurements are usually provided all in 1 chart since they can only be 1 size. Take a look at the size chart that has a bust, torso, hip, and waist measurement to find your correct size. Most competitive swimwear measurements will be provided in a single chart.

How should a swimsuit fit on the bum? ›

As a rule of thumb, your bikini bottoms should sit securely without riding up or being too tight against your groin. If your bikini bottoms are too tight, you might notice some irritation and feel a little bit uncomfortable and of course, we want you to be Lounging in comfort.

Why are women's Olympic swimsuits so tight? ›

Unlike regular swimsuits, Mark said a tech suit's actual purpose is to literally make you faster in the water by helping an athlete hold an optimal body position — that's why they look so tight. "In a lot of ways, the suit helps assist the swimmer's muscles do their job," he said.


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