A suit for every body

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Grey Hawaiian (Rincon) $130

Any woman can be a bathing bombshell, but more often than not we find ourselves staring into the fluorescent-lit mirror of a change room asking, “Does this swimsuit make me look fat?” It’s understandable that some women aren’t well-versed about water-wear. After all, there’s only a short time for Canadians to relax poolside and a wide variety of suit styles to choose from.

It’s best to shop for a bathing suit early in the season; there’s a bigger selection and you might need to try on a few before you find “the one.” Keep in mind that not every style looks good on everyone.

Donning a bathing suit after a long winter makes many of us cringe at our pasty-white limbs.

“Go with something colourful and brighter because it gives your skin a lift,” says

Danica Salajko, owner of BathingBelle.com, an online store based in Toronto. This season the hot hues are tangerine, eye-popping neons and corals.

“Gingham and retro prints are really fun, too,” says Salajko. “This year is about crochets and bolder colours. You’ll see ’80s-style suits and bold prints.”

Neo-nautical is also docking on shore in spring/summer 2012, with large stripes and courageous colours.

“Stripes are something very important,” says Caroline Brodeur, purchasing director at Bikini Village.

“They can either be two-toned or give a ­retro nautical look. You also get multicoloured stripes, which gives a more modern look. It almost looks like a colour block. Stripes are bold and bright.”

Salajko and Brodeur offer tips on how to fit a bathing suit for different body types.

Curvy

“Normally I suggest to women who are a bit more curvaceous to embrace more of the vintage trend and rather than hiding your curves, accentuate them,” says Salajko. “Halter-necks and underwire, anything more structured, is going to give you a lot better shape.

“And going higher in the leg gives the look of a longer leg. Lower-legged bottoms, like boy-cut shorts, cut off at a wider part in the body, which makes it look like you have shorter, wider legs.”

Shapely women might also want to steer clear of solid-colour suits. “Solids show every bump and ripple, especially in a one-piece,” says Salajko.

Small-busted

“If a woman is small-busted I suggest tops with cups and padding with added detail like ruching or ruffles, because adding things like that gives the illusion of a larger bust,” Salajko says.

Big-busted

“For women who are top-heavy underwires are always best. Halters can sometimes be a little uncomfortable around the neck depending on the weight of the breasts,” Salajko says.

Petite

“People who are shorter are going with the higher, longer leg,” says Salajko because it adds the illusion of height.

“Make sure not to (opt for) too much fabric,” says Brodeur. “I wouldn’t go for a skirted bottom or a tankini because there would be too much fabric. Pushup (tops) could be a good idea because it creates curves.”

Bottom-heavy

“Some people think that if they put a lot of fabric there (on the bottom), it will cover everything,” says Brodeur. “I suggest a skirted bottom, but there are different kinds so you have to make sure the hem doesn’t hit the largest part of your thigh, making you look larger. You can have it with ruffles and it looks feminine and girlie.

“You want to avoid boy-leg cuts if you’re larger because they will create a large block in the place you want to hide. You can even go for a higher cut and it will give the view of a higher leg and narrow hips.”

Boyish-shaped

“I would suggest going with hipsters; that creates a lower waist,” says Brodeur. “If you go with something hipster you won’t put too much attention at your waistline if you don’t have one. I wouldn’t go with a one-piece, but if you do, go with one that has detail on the waist to give a visual effect. You need to put attention away from your waist or put detail there to create visual effect.”

Long/short-waisted

“If you’re looking for a one-piece (your torso length) can be an issue,” says Brodeur. “For someone with a long torso, if they don’t want to wear a bikini, I would suggest a tankini because you get good coverage like with a one-piece, but you have some inches to play with. It’s probably the No. 1 idea for someone with a long torso.

“If you’re shorter, all the one-pieces have adjustable straps so you can play with it. A tankini is still a good option because you will still get the same coverage.”

Tanners

“For tanning, bandeaus are the best; you don’t get tan lines,” says Brodeur. “You might want to look for a V-neck bandeau. If you’re tanning for a specific reason, you want to make sure the one you’re buying will fit with what you have to wear. But normally bandeaus are the best because you don’t get any weird tan lines. If someone is getting tanned with a monokini, they will end up with weird tan lines.”

Athletes

“Something that crosses in the back is probably the best thing if you want to do sports because you will never have a problem with a halter getting loose or straps falling off the shoulders,” says Brodeur. “And bottoms shouldn’t be super tiny with ties that could get loose. Boy-short bottoms are good for that, but the problem is mainly on top rather than the bottom for sports. You don’t play beach volleyball with a bandeau top; you keep it for tanning.”

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