Now that your body is bikini-ready, here are some tips for picking out the RIGHT bikini!
Determine your body shape. Your body type will determine what you choose to highlight or downplay with your bikini. Here are the most common types:
Athletic — Your bust and hips are both fairly small, and you're skinny overall. You can emphasize your small frame, or try to make your bust and hips appear bigger.
Apple — You tend to put your weight in your bust and belly, but your legs and hips are smaller. To imitate an hourglass, choose a bottom that makes your hips look bigger and a top that makes your bust look smaller.
Pear — Your weight collects around your hips and butt, but your waist and shoulders are smaller. To imitate an hourglass, choose a top that makes your hips look smaller and your bust look bigger.
Hourglass — Your bust and hips are both wide, but your waist is narrow.
Choose a top. The cut, color and fabric of your bikini top can all make a big difference in how it looks on you. Use these cheats to pick yours:
To make a small bust look bigger: Shun black, and instead opt for white or bright colors. You can also use ruffles to add the appearance of volume. Bandeau and halter bikini tops look best on small-breasted women. You can also find padded tops.
To make a large bust look smaller: Wear black or other dark colors, or busy patterns. Avoid any top that does not provide enough support for your breasts — choose a bikini top with an underwire, if possible, and avoid bandeaus like the plague. Steer clear of stripes or large patterns.
To emphasize your bust: Triangle tops, aka the classic string bikini look, will easily direct traffic to your assets. You can also emphasize cleavage with a halter bikini, or perkiness with a bandeau.
To support a large bust: Choose a top with wide straps, underwire support, and sufficient coverage.
Choose a bottom. Not only will the bottom you select determine how your derriere looks, it can also emphasize your legs or direct attention away from them. Here's what you need to know:
To make your butt look bigger: Choose a white or light-colored bottom. For extra emphasis, wear a ruffled string bottom or boyshorts.
To make your butt look smaller: Wear black or dark colors, and avoid stripes or busy patterns. Opt for a high-cut or tie-together bottom. Even though you might be tempted to cover up with boyshorts, don't — they'll only make you look wider.
To emphasize your butt: Wear — what else? — a string bottom. You can also choose one with a lot of details, such as rings, ruffles or patterns.
To make your legs look longer: Choose a high-cut bottom that rounds up to your hipbones.
To make your legs look shorter: Wear boyshorts, which will cut a sharp horizontal line at the top of your thighs.
Coordinate your top and bottom. So you've decided what you want, but how do you put it together? Here are some tips for buying separates:
Wear a color that's a shade or two lighter on the part you want to emphasize. For instance, if you want to draw attention to your bust, you might wear a light blue top with a darker blue bottom.
Coordinate your colors. Try going monochromatic (wearing two shades of the same color), pairing a bright color with white or black, wearing two jewel-toned colors (such as dark purple and dark blue), or pairing neutrals (such as white and black).
Don't be afraid to get mismatched sizes. If you have a small bust but wide hips, swap out that top for a size small and get a size medium or large for the bottom — your two pieces don't need to be the same size, they just need to fit. If you're unsure about mixing and matching sizes, ask a salesperson for help.
Keep it tasteful and age-appropriate. Few things cause more second-hand embarrassment than seeing someone else in a bikini they shouldn't be wearing. Follow these basic guidelines to avoid disaster:
Avoid a string top if you're larger than a C cup. If you're falling out the sides of a string top, it's too small — find something with more side support, like a halter.
Leave thongs to the celebrities. On the whole, they're not flattering and show more than most people want to see.
Skirted bottoms are for old ladies. Unless it's a pinup-style cut with more of a ruffle than a skirt, skip it.
Make use of a cover-up when you are walking to and from the beach or pool. Cover-ups are flattering and can help you to feel comfortable when not in the water. Look for cover-ups that are easy to remove and replace.
Wear your bikini with confidence. The best bikini in the world will look unflattering if you keep your shoulders hunched and your posture sloppy. Show off what you've got! Stand up straight, keep your shoulders back, and hold your chin up. Add a smile and a confident attitude, and you'll be stunning in that bikini.