By Stacy CoxFashion, beauty and lifestyle expert for The Dr. Oz Show, The View, Marie (Osmond) and E! News. Stacy owns Pampered People in Los Angeles, a beauty/styling boutique that focuses on amplifying your confidence from the inside out.
Does the mere thought of the beach send you over the edge of sanity? Well, I, for one, raise my hand in solidarity because I'm as apprehensive as you are. No matter what size you are, we all have confidence issues about finding the right swimwear to flatter our figures and minimize a part of our physique that ranks as our least favorite. Take a moment to read about what to look for and what to avoid when you're ready to take the "plunge" into a new bathing suit! I start with general guidelines and follow with specific body-type recommendations.
What You May Want to Avoid:
- Handkerchief, Two-Piece Tankinis: Cute on tweens and teens, but don't provide any support at the belly and waist, if that's an area of concern for you.
- String Bikini Bottoms: The ties on the bottom offer no support; these bottoms often make a large area look even larger.
- Triangle Bikini Tops: A little triangle piece of fabric won't provide ample support for ample cleavage.
- Tops and/or One-Piece Suits Without Strap Support: Strapless suits of any kind are lacking support.
- Bikinis in General = Less fabric means less support in the areas you need it the most!
Try to Look For:
- Swimwear with built-in body-slimming, -smoothing and -shaping support around the cleavage and belly areas.
- Suits that have underwire support in the bra
- Swim dresses and swim skirts that offer a visual flow around butt and thigh areas to minimize size concerns.
- Color and Color-Blocking: Don't feel you have to wear basic black because it's slimming. Color and color-blocking, if done right, can make you look just as slim as the classic black suit.
- A great beach cover-up! If you're feeling a bit self-conscious, wear this at the outset until you're feeling more comfortable. Baby steps – don't push yourself or set unrealistic expectations at the start of summer!
- Accessories! Finish the look, just like you would for a work outfit. Think: Statement necklace/bracelet, chic summer sandals, a wide-brimmed straw hat and stylish sunglasses. This will help draw attention away from an area you're not as fond of.
- Remember to Apply Self-Tanner: The way light reacts/reflects with a tan has the ability to make you appear pounds thinner.
Big Butt/Pear Shape
Smaller on top, larger on the bottom. Ladies with this figure may want to minimize the appearance of their hips, butt and thighs. The key is to avoid tie-string bottoms, which are tiny to begin with, and won't provide you with ample coverage for this area. These bottoms have the ability to make you appear larger than you actually are.
You may want to opt for a swim dress or swim skirt. Both are helpful in creating a "flow" around the hips/butt/thighs to make the area appear leaner. Many of the dress/skirts can tie into a sarong so you have style adaptability.
Big Belly/Apple Shape
Someone who easily gains weight in their mid-section may fall into this category. This also can be a trouble spot for ladies who have just given birth. Avoid bikinis that offer zero support and will draw attention to your mid-section. Also, stay away from cut-out style suits that highlight your waist and work against you if you're missing shape in this area.
Opt for a swimsuit with added and invisible tummy-control panels built into it! Just like the shapewear we love to sport underneath our dresses and suits, some swimwear companies are now offering the same feature. The compression aspect will make you feel instantly supported, and create curves and a silhouette where one previously didn't exist. Color-blocking, popular with street wear and dresses in particular, is another trick that will immediately help streamline your mid-section.
Big Boobs/Strawberry Shape
Smaller on the bottom, but with ample cleavage up top describes this body type. Avoid suits that are strapless and offer no support. Bandeau tops are a big no-no for this category. Look for tops that have straps that are at least one-inch wide, are halter neck, and/or have underwire support. Another bonus: A bathing suit with built-in molded foam cups built into the design.
Big All Over/Banana Shape
Women with this body type tend to gain weight evenly and all over. The key is to select a suit that provides support and incorporates elements from each of the three aforementioned categories. The ideal suit should offer body-shaping support in the belly area, have a skirt or dress bottom, and offer molded cups and nice, wide supportive straps. A bikini is not the way to go as it won't flatter any of these areas.
Follow Stacy on Twitter: @stacycoxbeauty