Choosing the Perfect Bathing Suit for Your Body Type

The sun is shining, the days are getting longer, and the beach is calling your name. But before you pack up your sunscreen, towel, and flip-flops, there’s one essential item you need to tackle – the bathing suit (uimapuku). For many of us, finding the ideal bathing suit can turn into a quest akin to seeking the holy grail. We pore over countless racks, glare into unforgiving fitting room mirrors, and still can’t quite find the swimwear that makes us feel like a million bucks.

The key to feeling confident and comfortable at the beach or in the pool is to dress for your body type. Each body shape comes with its unique set of features, and the perfect bathing suit plays to your strengths while minimizing any areas you’re not so keen on showing off. Here’s how you can choose swimwear that flatters your silhouette, so you can focus on enjoying the water without a second thought.

Hourglass Figure

If you have an hourglass figure, characterized by a well-defined waist and fairly even proportions on the top and bottom, you’re in luck. This body type can pull off most styles of swimwear. To enhance your natural curves, opt for swimsuits that feature high-waisted bottoms to accentuate your waist or choose a one-piece with a belt to highlight your hourglass shape.

Avoid overly modest styles, such as boy-shorts, which can hide your curves rather than celebrate them. Also, steer clear of overly skimpy bikinis, as they may not provide the support you need. Instead, try a classic triangle top with string-tie bottoms if you’re looking to rock a two-piece.


For those with a pear-shaped body, with wider hips and a smaller bust, the goal is to draw the eye upwards to emphasize your upper body. Look for a swimsuit with a push-up or padded top to balance your proportions. A halter neck works wonders for lifting and creating a fuller look up top.

Dark, solid colors can minimize the appearance of your lower half, but don’t shy away from patterns entirely. A fun print on top can add visual interest and divert attention away from the hips. For bottoms, high-cut or high-waisted styles can help elongate your legs and give the illusion of a higher hip.


Slender legs and a rounder midsection typically characterize apple-shaped bodies. The trick is to elongate the torso and create the appearance of a waist. Tankinis and one-pieces with ruching or shirring are perfect for this; they can slim the waist while offering the desired coverage.

Avoid boy-short bottoms and opt for high-cut ones instead, as they can give the illusion of a longer, leaner leg. V-necks and scoop necks also provide a flattering style, as they draw attention upwards and elongate your silhouette. Dark colors on the upper half and lighter tones on the bottom create balance, but feel free to mix and match to find the combination that you love.

Athletic Figure

If you have an athletic body type, with relatively straight proportions, focus on creating the illusion of curves. Look for swimsuits with defined cups to add volume to your bust area. Texture, ruffles, and embellishments can also help to create the appearance of a fuller chest.

Choose bottoms with ruffles or ties to add volume to your hips, and consider a bikini with a bandeau top to widen your chest. One-pieces with side cut-outs can also give the impression of a more defined waist. Avoid anything that can flatten your natural curves, such as sporty, straight-across bikini tops.

No matter what your body type, the number one rule is to find a bathing suit that makes you feel confident and beautiful. Remember to choose quality and a proper fit over trends, and always try your swimwear on in natural light if possible. With these tips in mind, the perfect swimsuit for you is just a fitting room session away!