17 Jun Style Pick!: Suit Yourself! Swimwear for the Masses
Summer has finally arrived! And along with it invites for citywide poolside parties by the truckloads. That trip to the beach is becoming all too real, and while your Haviannas from last year might still be intact, your swimwear selection could use a bit of an upgrade. It’s easy to make the usual mistakes purchasing a bathing suit. For example, choosing a bikini bottom one size too big, hoping it’ll leave room for a sizable derriere, but ending up looking like a waterbaby after being fully immersed in salt water, or going for a one piece that might prove to be supportive below, but lacks coverage up top and results in a Superbowl worthy wardrobe malfunction. As the popularity of poolside parties increase, so will your need to have the right pieces on hand to show up cool, confident and in fashion. Consider my simple guide to swimwear:
Take your measurements: The first step to finding the right swimsuit (or any garment for that matter) is taking accurate body measurements. One trick is to go to a trusted lingerie retailer. You want undergarments that fit comfortably and seamlessly under your clothes, right? This is the same for a swimsuit despite the exposure. Once you’ve gotten your sizes forget everything you’ve learned about body types, because there is only one body type–yours.
Choose your cover-ups first: Not because you’re concerned about covering up, but because you’re going to at some point change from suit to ensemble and it should be effortless. With pool side parties you never know what you’re going to get into next and it would help to not have strings sticking out of the side of your wide leg linen pants. You can do better than the traditional sarong. Bandeau tops look fantastic with high-waist cotton pants and jeans. Kimonos are very current and will sit happily over any string bikini. Opt for halter maxi dresses with full skirts and flowing hemlines. Body conscious clothing rarely plays well with swimwear because neoprene and spandex tend to create tacky, visible lines worn under extra stretchy fabric. Think ahead and you’ll save yourself the pain of figuring out how to make the transition from pool to bar and vice versa.
Martinis NOT TANKINIS!: I honestly don’t even know how they ever became popular. If you’re thinking about one because you want to cover your midsection, don’t because it just cuts you in half, completely destroying a perfectly feminine silhouette. Choose a retro, pin-up style one-piece with ruching on the sides and underwire in the bust line. These styles offer support, coverage and won’t compromise your sexy one bit.
Respect your biddies: Bikini tops come in a variety of shapes and sizes. At this point you’ve gotten your exact measurements and should have a good idea of what style best fits your blessed bosom. If you’re a life-long member of the “committee” then you’re in luck because finding the right top should be relatively easy for you. Triangles and Bandeau tops are great for A and B cups, providing minimal support and several options for modest display. C, D, Double cups and above should lend more focus to support. Look for under-wiring, boning below the pits and wide halter straps. It’s also a plus if the straps are adjustable. Padding should always be optional.
Diversify your Assets: Bikini bottoms can be tricky depending on your shape, much like the top can with your cup size. Try this before shopping for a bottom: stand with your back to a large mirror holding a hand mirror in front of you providing a full view of your rear. Take a mental note or draw a picture of not just the shape of your posterior, but the entire proportion of your “goodbye” from shoulders to mid-thighs. Do you have a long torso with plenty of hips and a noticeable waistline? Then a high cut one piece with a low scoop in the back would look great on you – maybe even go strapless if you’re an A to a small C cup but need more support for your upper back. Are you cheeky with full thighs, modest hips and some natural tummy action? No problem. High waist bottoms and surfer style board-shorts are very much in style right now and fit most frames beautifully and comfortably. Never, EVER under any circumstances wear a bikini bottom or top that is too small or too big for you. Water is heavy and further exacerbates the embarrassment of an ill-fitting bathing suit.
Yes Ma’am. You can stand to tan: Ever notice how much better you look in your swimsuit after one day spent frolicking in the sun with it? A subtle tan has a way of making the idea of wearing a swimsuit that much more enjoyable. I’m not suggesting that you have to get a full-fledged treatment, but there’s nothing wrong with coaxing a little sunshine into your skin tone. There are a few tried and true products available at the drugstore like L’Oreal Sublime Glow and Jergens Natural Glow body lotions that used three days before a pool party can even out your complexion after the long, dry winter months. A passive aggressive glow means you’ll feel less compelled to lie in the sun for too long or forgo much needed sunscreen to protect yourself from harmful UV rays.
Like all your favorite pieces, quality swimwear should be cared for properly after use, machine washing on a warm to hot setting to sanitize, then laying them out to dry to avoid damage. This guarantees they’ll be long-lasting and ready-to wear for all your summertime functions that list swimwear as part of the dress code. When buying swimwear I recommend doing so on the ground since the fit of some styles can be hit or miss. Go to the store prepared with sandals to get the full effect of the styles you decide to try on. Pick up a fun towel and some swanky sunglasses to complete your look and remember – leave your martini at the bar BEFORE you jump into the pool.
Sharon Cyrus also known as The Silent Stylist, is our fashion and style writer who knows about trends and keeps us up on emerging designers. Got a Pick! for Sharon? Contact her here or on Twitter at @SilentStylist.