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Swimwear Fashion Strategies

Before shopping for a swimsuit, take time to identify your body type. There are five basic body types; most of us fit one category pretty easily. Below are tips for deciding which body type fits you best, and what type of swimsuit will be most flattering.

  • Apple. Broad shoulders, ample breasts, and smaller hips are a clue to the apple-shaped figure. Being top heavy may be a good descriptor for this body type. Picture an inverted triangle with the two points representing your shoulders narrowing at the waist. Celebrities with this body type include Trya Banks and Dolly Parton. Avoid low-cut swimsuit tops. Look for a high neckline or thick straps to provide plenty of support and decentuate your most prominent feature. Tankinis may be the perfect suit for apple body types.
  • Pear. Wide hips and thick thighs with a smaller bust line tend to have a pear body type. This type is also characterized by visualizing the letter "A." Celebrities with this body type are Oprah and Kelly Clarkson. The challenge with this body type is to provide balance between the upper and lower body. This can be achieved through color and style. Two-piece suits with a skirt or "boy short" in a dark solid color with a light color on top will draw the attention above the waist and have a slimming effect.
  • Round. Narrow shoulders and hips with a fuller mid-section and ample breasts define a round body type. Celebrities with this body type include Jill Scott and Queen Latifah. As with any swimsuit, the goal is to accent the positives—find a one-piece suit with tummy control panel to achieve smooth lines around the middle and a high-cut thigh to give the illusion of longer legs. A print will be more flattering than a solid for this body type.
  • Hourglass. This body type is often described as curvy. It has a well-defined waist accented by proportional breasts and hips. Most hourglass figures can buy the same size top and bottom when shopping. Celebrities with an hourglass figure include Jessica Simpson and Halle Berry. Since there is already anatomical balance, an hourglass figure can select any swimsuit style and look fantastic.
  • Athletic. Narrow shoulders and hips and a minimal bust line typically categorize this body type. Women with this body type often wear petite or tall sizes. Many women with this body type may be told they're "as skinny as a rail" since their figure tends to resemble the letter "H." Celebrities with this body type include Gwenneth Paltrow and Uma Thurman. A two-piece suit gives the illusion of a curvier body. Look for a solid bright colored suit with a push-up or add-a-cup-size bra to add "pop" to the upper and lower half. Avoid suits with intricate designs, as they can distract from the illusion being created with the bright colors.

The most important part of buying a swimsuit is to feel good when wearing it. When assessing your body type, choose a suit that maximizes your best features and minimizes the most prominent feature. Make selections that give smooth lines and compliment your skin tones. The ideal suit for each body type will provide balance between the upper and lower body.


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