There's more to getting bikini-ready than hitting the gym. Shopping for suits comes with a whole host of challenges that can range from avoiding awkward tan lines to wearing a bikini without exposing too much skin. We've addressed each problem with a solution and the one- or two-piece you need. Your summer free of swimsuit troubles starts now.
The problem: A two-piece that reveals too much for comfort
The solution: Think beyond the traditional bikini. A retro style exudes pinup glamour, while a tankini is chic in a playful graphic print.
The problem: Shopping for suits in public
The solution: To prevent a dressing room meltdown, hand over your credit card and give Norma Kamali's Try Before You Buy service a go. A personal shopper will send you selections (based on your body measurements) so you can test them out at home; you pay only for what you keep.
The problem: Not enough support
The solution: Give the girls some extra support by making friends with underwire pieces, or looking for padding on the underside of the cups to provide lift and keep things secure. Fuller coverage on the sides also does wonders.
The problem: Shopping on a budget
The solution: To spent not much money on something very well made, head to the Gap. Their fabrics have a tighter knit than other brands at this price, which means a non-flimsy fit and a quick drying time.
The problem: No time to change between the beach and drinks
The solution: Transform a plunging one-piece into a daring top by slipping on your breeziest skirt and boho pendant necklace.
Shop it: Mara Hoffman, $209; marahoffman.com.
The problem: Awkward tan lines
The solution: Stick to simple, strapless silhouettes minus any tricky cutouts or fancy trimming. You can work in attitude with print and color—if polka dots and pink don't say "fun in the sun," we don't know what does.
The problem: A wardrobe malfunction while playing water sports
The solution: Be picky about straps. Racerback or crisscross designs offer the best no-slip support. Or you could try something similar to a sports bra—just watch out for uniboob.
Shop it (from left): Lululemon Athletica top, $54; lululemon.com. Lululemon Athletica bottom, $48; lululemon.com. Roxy top, $79; roxy.com. Roxy bottom, $58; roxy.com. Lole top, $50; lolewomen.com. Lole bottom, $40; lolewomen.com.
The problem: Bumps and bulges
The solution: For a smooth finish sans Photoshop, check out Ward Whillas. The minimalist brand specializes in seamless cuts crafted from a high-compression fabric that sculpts without digging in.
The problem: A small bust
The solution: Not a shocker, but padding is the answer (though it doesn't have to be the bulky kind of yore). You can now get a decent boost even from a string bikini or halter top without underwire, but structured cups are still your best bet to really pump up the volume.
Shop it (from left): Eres bikini, $485; net-a-porter.com. Voda Swim top, $66; vodaswim.com. Voda Swim bottom, $44; vodaswim.com. Victoria's Secret top, $26; victoriassecret.com. Victoria's Secret bottom, $26; victoriassecret.com.
The problem: You've got belly bloat
The solution: Relax those abs, and disguise a tummy with strategic draping instead. Not only is it an elegant alternative to ruching, but it's also more forgiving. If draping feels too ladylike, seek out suits with side boning along the body: the extra structure slims without making you feel suffocated.
The problem: Short legs
The solution: Elongate stems with styles that are cut high on the hip. Warning: Anything above the pelvic bone starts to look NSFB (Not Suitable for the Beach). A deep neckline will also shorten the torso and give your gams extra inches.
Shop it: Luz Collections (for a similar style), $150; cools.com.
The problem: Finding a plus-size suit that's actually on trend
The solution: Bookmark Torrid, stat. The retailer stocks of-the-moment options that flatter and look fresh. We love the sophisticated Riviera flavor of this black-and-white number—just add oversize shades and go!
Shop it: Torrid, $89; torrid.com.