By InStyle Staff
Updated Mar 07, 2016 @ 12:45 pm
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Bathing Suit Body Type
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The time has come—it's swimsuit season. Whether you're headed to St. Barts for spring break or just clocking in some beach time in Santa Monica now that the weather has warmed up, the often-dreaded exercise of swimsuit shopping is upon us. Of course you want to look your best, so we’ve talked to experts, like J.Crew’s Amy Romanowsky, Solid & Striped’s Michelle Copelman, Belusso’s Kirsten Sarkisian, and Alix’s Alexandra Alvarez, and compiled a fail-safe guide on what to look for in a bikini or one-piece, no matter your shape.


Swim Guide - Hourglass
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The goal: To show off your assets and highlight your waist.

What you should look for:

  • A retro silhouette: "For an hourglass shape, look for a high-waisted bottom with a bikini top," Romanowsky says. But this look flatters taller frames best. "I know my friends who are a bit shorter always feel weird about high-waisted things because they feel like it cuts their torso," Copelman says. "Make sure the bottoms don’t come up too, too high."
  • A clean, frills-free bikini bottom: If you are going to go with a traditional bikini bottom, Sarkisian says, “You don’t want a bow on your hips. That is not the place you want to put extra fabric, look for a clean finish bottom that doesn’t have a lot of extra stuff."
  • A one-piece: "I think that a simple and elegant one piece does a great job of accentuating curves while maintaining a modern elegance," Alvarez says.

Shop the swimsuits (from left): Skinbiquini, $90; Lisa Marie Fernandez bikini, $395; J.Crew bikini top, $58; J.Crew bikini bottom, $54;


Swim Guide - Rectangle
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The goal: To create curves.

What you should look for:

  • A one-piece:"A one-piece is super feminine," says Copelman. "It gives the illusion of a smaller waist."
  • Strategically placed cut-outs: Romanowsky suggests looking for a style with side cut-outs to draw extra attention to the waist.
  • A higher cut leg opening: "A beautiful curve on the leg opening makes you appear longer and it creates a nice shape around the hip and bottom," Sarkisian says.

Shop the swimsuits (from left): Victoria's Secret one-piece, $72; Solid and Striped swimsuit, $160; Marysia maillot, $323;


Swim Body Embed
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The goal: To balance a heavier bottom.

What you should look for:

  • Full bikini bottoms with a lower cut leg opening: "Avoid high-cut bottoms because you don't want to expose too much skin in the hip area," Alvarez says. Additionally, find bottoms that don't have bows or ties that will dig in.
  • A triangle or a halter bikini top: "If you're a triangle, you have more freedom with tops," Romanowsky says. "Low necklines and halter suits that tie at the neck draw the eye upwards."

Shop the swimsuits (from left): Madewell x Giejo bikini top, $118; Madewell x Giejo bikini bottom, 99; Tory Burch one-piece, $195; Belusso bandeau, $110.; Belusso bikini bottom (similar style), $99;


Swim Guide - Inverted Triangle
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The goal: To balance broad shoulders and/or a big bust.

What you should look for:

  • A halter suit: This is a flattering style that accentuates the collarbone and neckline, Romanowsky says.
  • Tops with support: Look for string tops with molded cups and underwire.
  • An adjustable string bikini top: "You can take the bottom of the triangle and spread it out really wide so it looks proportional on your body," Copelman says.
  • Brands that sell separates: "Most women aren’t the same size as they are on top as they are on bottom, or vice versa," Copelman says. "So by picking a brand that lets you mix and match you are going to find a style that really does highlight your best assets."

Shop the swimsuits (from left): Zimmerman bikini, $275; Vix Paula Hermanny bikini, $118; Heidi Klein bikini top, $200; Heidi Klein bikini bottom, $135;