How to Pick the Right Swimsuit

Balance your body shape with flattering designs and patterns

By Jennifer Shelley
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD

It's summertime! Time to reward all that hard work of eating right and exercising with a relaxing trip to the beach or a pool party. Plus, it's hot out there! The water is calling you. I know what you're thinking: Nothing like a bathing suit to expose all those flaws that drive us crazy. Well, before you opt to hide under your muumuu, head for the shops (or the Internet) to find the suit that suits you.

The key to finding a bathing suit that looks good on you is knowing which designs and colors balance your body shape. Are your hips wider than your waist, or is your waist larger than your hips? Do you have a large bust? No worries. Find your body shape below to learn how to find your perfect swimsuit.

  • Inverted Triangle: Shoulders and/or bust are wider than hips. Strategy: Draw eyes down, away from shoulders. Design: Add volume to your lower body to balance or minimize a larger top. You can do this by choosing suits with wide straps, patterns or prints that draw the eyes down, skirts, side stripes, or "boy-cut" lets.

  • Rectangle: Balanced hip and shoulder width without a defined waist. Strategy: Define a waistline by creating curves. Design: Details like princess seams, draping, and belts help create curves. So look for suits with a drop-yoke waist, princess seams, lingerie straps, diagonal lines and prints, and belts or a sash. Avoid solid colors.

  • Triangle: Hips wider than shoulders and/or bust. Strategy: Draw eyes up, away from hips. Design: You want to look for suits that slim your lower body and draw attention to your upper body. Shapely necklines and bust detailing are the key. Suits for this shape also will feature a front zipper, darker or solid colors on the bottom, and an empire-style waist.

  • Circle: Waist is larger than bust and hips. Strategy: Create the illusion of a defined waist. Design: Look for suits that slim your lower body and create a slimming waistline. Suits with interesting necklines or side shirring can do the trick. Also look for suits with princess seams, tummy control panel, high back, diagonal prints, and vertical color blocks.