Women's Swimsuit Guide: HOW TO CHOOSE A SWIMSUIT

Swim season never ends: Whether it's cold-weather getaways to tropical destinations or spring break and summer vacation, we know you’re always in search of the most figure-flattering, cute swimsuits. That’s why we proudly specialize in bra-sized and slimming bathing suits. Our curated range of swimwear solutions means you're set to dive in with confidence.


These key styles comprise a smart and stunning wardrobe of swimwear.

Bra-Sized Swimwear

If you’re a DD+ cup or above, this category is tailor-made for you. These suits combine the perfect fit and engineered support of your favorite bra with a swimsuit that’s ready to get wet. Some even come from favorite bra brands, like Freya, Fantasie and Panache. And they’ve got as much style as substance.

Slimming Swimsuits

Imagine if a bathing suit and shapewear had a baby. These swimsuits visually subtract pounds by marrying hidden support with clever styling. Think strong stretch fabrics, inner linings that smooth a tummy, and strategic draping, necklines and patterns. They come in plus size, too.


A longer tank-style top + a bottom = these two-piece suits. A tankini top can take the form of a push-up, plunge, halter, blouson and more. Tankinis are especially great because they can have a bra-style top built right in. Anyone looking for the happy medium, coverage-wise, between a teeny weeny bikini and a one-piece suit would do well with a tankini or two.

One-Piece Swimsuits

Modern one-piece suits are incredibly chic—definitely not your mama’s bathing suits. They range from basic black and sophisticated solids to artful patterns; sweet maillots to sexy plunging necklines and cutout monokinis; minimal and barely there to flatteringly padded and adorned.

Bikini Tops

The upper half of a two-piece suit can take almost endless forms: bra-style underwire cups, triangle tops, halter bikinis, sporty cropped tanks, longline bustiers, strapless bandeaus and so much more. Whatever your personal preference, there’s a bikini top to go with it.

Bikini Bottoms

These separates run the gamut from high-rise briefs and boy shorts to string bikinis and thongs. There are also low-rise hipsters, mid-rise bottoms—even cute swim skirts. Choose bottoms based on whether you want to showcase legs or gloss over hips and thighs. Fashion twists include asymmetric cuts, drawstring details and hardware embellishments.


Shopping for a bathing suit can be more fraught than finding the perfect jeans. Not anymore—we’re on-hand to alleviate your bathing suit concerns by rounding up can’t-go-wrong options. For every shape, we’ve ensured there’s a suit to help you make a splash.


YOUR OBJECTIVE is to emphasize your narrow top half and downplay the lower body. LOOK FOR ruffled, patterned or padded tops, from deep V to a bandeau, that accentuate your chest. IN A ONE PIECE, side detail like cutouts or patterns highlight a narrow waist. IN A TWO-PIECE, tankinis are ideal for balancing the body. Bottoms like miniskirts obscure thighs; boy shorts provide a proportional fit. Solid colored bottoms let your torso take center stage. STYLING TIP: Look for vertical prints that draw a long, lean line, top to bottom.

Full Bust

YOUR OBJECTIVE is to get the support your chest needs. LOOK FOR supportive tops that provide comfortable coverage. Try bra-sized swimwear, minimizers, halters, wide straps (adjustable if possible) or underwire tops. Try a swim dress or skirt. The horizontal hemline visually counters a full bust. IN A ONE-PIECE, a plunging V-neckline accentuates your assets while straps bolster them. IN A TWO-PIECE, mix-and-match separates allow you accommodate a bigger top half. STYLING TIP: Define your waist with details like shirring, gathering, buckles or belts.

Small Bust

YOUR OBJECTIVE is to build your bust with eye-catching patterns (skip solids). LOOK FOR ruffled, patterned or padded tops, from deep V to a bandeau, that accentuate your chest. IN A ONE-PIECE, look for an empire waist or a high-cut leg line. IN A TWO-PIECE, have fun with adjustable triangle tops, an O-ring between the cups, fringe, handkerchief-style tops, ruffles, peekaboo keyhole details and halter or one-strap necklines. STYLING TIP: Padding, which can range from light to substantial. How much you bump up your bust is a personal preference.

Plus Size

YOUR OBJECTIVE if you’re curvy all over is to showcase legs without sacrificing bust and tummy support. LOOK FOR sizes 16 and up that fit perfectly, which makes you feel comfortable and confident. IN A ONE-PIECE, a suit with shaping properties flattens the stomach. IN A TWO-PIECE, look for a high-waist bottom. STYLING TIP: Create an hourglass with waist-whittling details like shirring, gathering, buckles or belts. A black suit is eternally minimizing, and the same goes for black panels on either side, which visually carve your figure.


YOUR OBJECTIVE if you’re straight up and down, is to enhance the appearance of curves. LOOK FOR cool cuts, like sweetheart or halter necklines, that create curves and counter boxiness. IN A ONE-PIECE, shop for draped fabric, which draws the eye from shoulder to bust to legs, suggesting curves. Similarly, gathered fabric at the waist nudges your vertical axis into an hourglass. IN A TWO-PIECE, try a patterned top with a solid bottom (or vice-versa). A tankini helps crop a long torso. In general, detailed bottoms add to straight hips; high-waisted briefs and boy short bottoms give a pin-up girl silhouette. STYLING TIP: Colorblocking is a do. The fields of color break up your shape.


Jeni Doherty, our in-house swimwear expert, fields your most popular swimwear questions.

Q: What colors are my best bets?

A: Blue is always beautiful. It works on every skin tone, it pops, it’s vibrant, and it makes you look tanner. I’m seeing a ton of blue this year—and every year, for those reasons. Turquoise and teal are natural picks for swim season. Red is also fabulous on many women, just consider how you tan. If you tend to burn, avoid red. Dark jewel tones like plum, navy and chocolate, and of course Black, are the most slimming swimsuit colors. Pinks can be tough to pull off.

Mixing tops and bottoms, as opposed to matching them, is a huge trend right now. I always recommend focusing more on the top. That’s usually the harder part to get right; you can pair a black brief with anything. Let’s say you find three great tops and two bottoms—now you’ve got six suits!

What it comes down to is this: Choose based on what you like and what you know tends to work well on you.

Q: How do I make a swimsuit last longer?

A: Swimsuits are definitely big wardrobe investments, so you want them to last for as long as possible and still look new every time you pull one out of the drawer. After a wearing, rinse as soon as possible to get rid of chemicals or salt water. Then hand-wash with a gentle soap and hang to dry, out of direct sunlight. Don’t wear the same suit twice in a row so the Lycra can spring back into shape. When shopping, consider what you’re primarily using the suit for. Chlorine and hot tubs can destroy a suit in relatively short order. If you’re swimming laps, you may want to consider a chlorine-resistant suit or a more inexpensive suit.

Q: How do I get the best possible fit?

A: First, try on as many options as you can. Swimsuits are even more intimate than lingerie because they’re worn out in public! Online shopping is great because you get to try on as much as you want in private and return what doesn’t work. Every body is different, and so is every brand. Always try your size and the one above it to see which is better. Swimsuits tend to fit snugly but stretch quickly. If you’re between sizes, think about what you’ll be doing in the suit. If you’re the type who loves to sit poolside and never goes in the water, stick with the bigger size. If you like to swim, go with the smaller size, knowing it’s going to give a little after getting wet. Then, don’t just stand in front of a mirror. Lift something up, bend over, see how it moves with you and whether it stays put.

Be sure to start early in the season. You’re putting yourself out there in a big way, so take the time to get it right. For the best range of sizes and styles, the ideal time to shop is April or May. Don’t wait until July 3rd to find the perfect July 4th suit.

Most importantly, don’t get discouraged. Your goal is to find a suit that highlights the positives and minimizes flaws. You may need to try things you wouldn’t ordinarily consider, like a high-cut leg line that actually makes legs look longer than a covered-up boyshort would. Forget about sizes. No one sees that little tag but you. If a suit fits and you’re comfortable, that’s all that matters.


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