Spring: We love it and we hate it, don’t we? While we’re still anxiously awaiting its arrival in some parts of the country, some of us are already in full swing! With the warmer weather brings the beach, relaxing vacations, beautiful sun-kissed skin, and the excuse to shop for a couple adorable new bathing suits—but the latter can sometimes cause some major frustration and anxiety. Finding a suit that makes you feel confident and beautiful can be a bit like finding a needle in a haystack.
The good news? It doesn’t have to be that difficult! To prove it, we teamed up with Target Style and three beach bums who know a thing or two about navigating their way around the swim section—Rachel, Candice, and Hannah. (Do you recognize them? They’re three of our readers’ choice bloggers you voted for here!) Read on to see their favorite picks and our answers to your trickiest swim style questions!
RACHEL: LOVELY IN LA
Even though it can feel like beach season year-round in LA, shopping for a swimsuit can still be a tiresome task regardless of what shape or size you are. Since I know each and every curve of mine from head to toe, I work with what I know—it’s not about covering up, it’s about uncovering what’s best. Here’s what I look for in a suit to make me feel amazing:
Showing some skin: I love the black and white chevron stripes of this bikini top; it’s such a popular print for spring and summer. The black straps and piping in front give the bikini a sexy, sporty look with the perfect amount of support. I also decided to give the high-waist bikini bottom trend a try for the first time, and I’m so glad I did! The ruching on each side actually works in favor of any body shape—you can hike up or pull down the panel based on personal preference.
A little more coverage: Just because a swimsuit is a one-piece doesn’t mean it’s boring! I’m all for giving credit where credit is due: This is one amazingly bright bathing suit! For sunny days by the pool when I’m not quite feeling the two-piece, a suit with a color this bright still lets me make an amazing statement. It’s super sleek and very comfortable but still has a flirtatious flair with the scoop neck and flouncy ruffle detail.
Get Rachel’s look: Ava & Viv ruffled one-piece
I’m originally from Indiana, where spring doesn’t officially arrive until June (yikes!). Now that I live in LA, shopping for swimwear is a year-round activity! The beautiful weather keeps me constantly at the beach and lounging by the pool. When searching for the perfect suit, I absolutely need something that makes me feel confident, stylish, and comfortable. Because Los Angeles is never limited with swimwear options, it can make suit shopping a little overwhelming. Here are a few simple details I look for in swimsuits (which have yet to steer me wrong!):
Showing some skin: I love wearing two-piece swimsuits, but I need padding in my bikini tops. (“Cold” is never a cute look, if you know what I mean.) If a swimsuit I really like doesn’t have padding, I simply pull the padding inserts from one of my old swimsuits and place them in my new one. A swimwear DIY! For swim bottoms, I stick to traditional, mid-rise cuts, which are flattering on almost any body type. And you don’t have to worry about them coming untied if you’re active on the beach!
Get Candice’s look: Xhilaration bralette bikini
For a little more coverage: If I’m feeling more conservative, I gravitate toward a one-piece. I’m happy to see that they’ve evolved (for the better!) over the past couple of years. Now they bring a show stopping elegance to the pool! With a low-cut front and subtle tropical print, I feel just as great in this one as I do in a bikini. They are also so versatile! They can be worn with pants, shorts, a skirt, and sometimes I even throw skinny jeans over mine to head out on the town. Trust me, no one will notice you are wearing a one-piece swimsuit!
Get Candice’s look: Vanilla Beach palm tree one-piece
We are in a perpetual summer here in Southern California; there’s no such thing as too many swimsuits! I love experimenting with different styles—after all, a girl needs several suits in her arsenal for different occasions! The most important thing, to me, when it comes to searching for a swimsuit is to find one that makes me feel great without breaking the bank. Because I lack a bit in the curves department, I try to find suits that make me feel feminine by creating the illusion of curves.
Showing some skin: When wearing a more revealing suit, I love underwire tops because it gives me extra oomph! I usually choose one that has a bow or ruffle to keep it young and girly. I love the horizontal stripes on this suit because it adds to the illusion of curves but is still extremely flattering. This suit also has a nautical vibe, which is always a plus in my book!
Get Hannah’s look: Xhilaration navy and white striped halter bikini
For a little more coverage: There are certainly days when I don’t feel like wearing a skimpy two-piece: I’m going to be more active, like playing beach volleyball or swimming in the pool, or I simply want to be more covered up (we all have those days, right?). I love this peplum tankini option because it’s different from a typical one-piece but still has a similar amount of coverage. The peplum flare is flattering, comfortable, and just plain fun! Plus, it’s easy to throw on a pair of shorts and go (the top is adorable!); no cover-up necessary! I love mixing tops and bottoms, which is easy to do with Target’s endless selection of suits. Tip: Pick one subtle print (like the polka dotted top) and one busy print (like the pineapple bottoms) for a perfect combo!
FINDING YOUR PERFECT FIT—YOUR QUESTIONS, ANSWERED.
How do I add more “oomph” on top and create the illusion of curves? Choose a top with underwire and padding to give you a little something extra. Horizontal stripes and any extra embellishments (think ruffles or bows) will add the illusion of curves. Also, halter cuts are especially flattering and “uplifting” (if you catch our drift!).
I’m busty—what tops are flattering and provide enough support? Just as above, thicker halter-tops provide great support. If halters aren’t your look, find bikini tops with adjustable straps and cut more like a bra. The thicker the straps, the more support (no string bikinis here!). Underwire is also a must for bustier figures, so look for tops with bra sizing (i.e. 36D, not small, medium, large, or size 2, 4, 6, etc.). For more coverage, tankinis or one-pieces with underwire can be a good choice because they’re modest and supportive but just as adorable as a bikini!
I’m looking for a suit that I can be active in; how do I find something that will stay in place? Whether you’re playing sand volleyball or trying to keep up with a little one, many suits just aren’t practical enough for an active lifestyle. Luckily, there are plenty of cute, sporty suits that will put your mind at ease when you’re on the beach. Look for versions that are cut similar to your sports bra (think racerback, and/or more coverage in front) like this or this. Suits with extra straps also provide more staying power than most (like Candice’s suit above), or this and this!
How do I find something that is flattering and will elongate my torso? Choose an uplifting top and low-rise bottoms or a one-piece or tankini with details (or ruching) on the sides to create the illusion of a longer middle. Avoid high-waist bottoms and midi-tops.
How do I make my waist look more defined? Go for high-waist bottoms that hit the smallest point of your waist (depending on your body, that could be above your belly button or level with it). For a one-piece, choose one that has ruching at the sides. Also, low-cut, V-neck tops will create the illusion of a more defined waist, drawing the eye to your midsection.
How do I make my legs look longer? Choose a bottom that is cut higher in the legs and sits higher on the hips (no, not quite like Baywatch, but you get the idea).
How do I camouflage my tummy? High-waist bottoms are your friends! Choose a dark color or busy pattern to make any pooch invisible (no shame, we all indulge in a little too much pizza in the winter!) Also, peplum tankini tops (like the one Hannah wore) are the perfect solution because they create a small waist and disguise any imperfections below your waistline. Look for one-pieces that have paneling or ruching on the sides as well.
How do I find bottoms that are flattering on curvy lady-like hips? Avoid the boy-short cut, which only makes your hips look wider. Opt for bikini cut bottoms that sit above the widest point of your hips (think higher cut in the legs). This makes your legs look lean and accentuates those gorgeous curves of yours!
So tell us, what are your tips for finding the perfect swimsuit?