Bikini Whisperer: The Ideal Suit for Different Body Types
Welcome to our bikini advice column, featuring the hard-earned wisdom of our very own swimsuit master, the Bikini Whisperer. Today, we hear from a woman on the hunt for a perfectly fitting suit — and the Bikini Whisperer has some ideas for how to handle. Looking for some advice of your own? Drop us a line!
Hi Bikini Whisperer,
I’m shopping around for a stellar bikini and would love to use the Shop by Body Type feature available on the site but need a little help. I struggle to recognize the difference between a pear shape and a curvy silhouette. Who knows, I may even be an hourglass! Could you please expand on each body type and help me out?
Hi Bikini Hunter,
Of course. Let me give you a brief breakdown of the different body shapes. Remember, not all figures fit into a specific category, and labeling all of our beautiful uniqueness into five specific shapes is unjust. Use this only as a broad guideline that allows you to narrow down swimwear selections.
Slender bodies are usually defined by waist, hip and bust measurements being in line with each other or within one to one and half inches apart.
The best thing to look for are cutouts, which add dimension to your shape. OYE’s Rorschach one-piece suit has strategically placed curved cut-outs that define the waist indent.
Adding focus to the waist is key, and high-waist bottoms can do the trick. Tori Praver’s Lotus bottom is perfect for a slender shape because it cinches the waist while adding dimension with its side cutouts.
Stay away from the matchy-matchy colors or solid-colored one-pieces, which will make you appear boxy. Go for a two-tone bikini or mix and match prints. Mixing textures is also a great way to add shape to this silhouette.
Pear body shapes carry most of their body weight in the hip and thigh area, meaning hips are wider than both the waist and bust.
Look for side-tie bottoms like Acacia’s Anini bottoms with longer ties that hang along your thigh, disguising your bottom weight.
Find a suit that rides higher on the hip but doesn’t fall directly on the waist. Completely stay away from high-waist or low-rise bottoms, which will make you appear heavier than you really are. Mid-tier, moderate-coverage bottoms work best. I’d even recommend going for a looser fit or possibly sizing up so that the elastic band does not pinch at the wrong place.
Pair it with any top that accentuates your breasts. Avoid showing too much skin on top because it will draw attention to the bare skin and make the top section appear smaller. You want to blend things as much as possible and balance the coverage. Acacia’s Panama top is ideal for covering and highlighting the bust.
Athletic shapes have a muscular build. Shoulders tend to be broader than the waist and hips, which are in line with each other.
Shy away from extremely sporty suits or high-neck tops, which make your shoulders appear wider. Instead, wear a bikini top with thick straps.
Mikoh’s Tuamoto top lends an athletic appeal with a soft approach, ideal for athletic gals. Its delicate color and crochet details add a light touch to your look, while the bikni shape complements your structure. It’s not about hiding your muscular build — be proud that you're strong and fit! — but about representing it in the best way possible.
Look for curved lines like scoop necklines rather than sharp, angular cuts.
Opt for thicker-band bottoms, anything with cut outs, or delicate details. MIkoh’s Kapalua bottoms feature string side accents which can add roundness to the hip area by spreading the strings apart.
Curvy babes have a waist wider than the hips and is about the same with the bust.
Busy-printed suits are not your friends. They typically confuse the eye and give your body unnecessary dimension. Instead, choose a solid-colored bikini with clean and interesting lines. Simple goes a long way — focus on fit.
Beach Joy’s Petal top is minimal yet interesting and is proportionally balanced when paired with boy shorts. Seek boy short bottoms that follow the curvature of your behind, which lends an instant lift.
If extra bust support is needed, opt for comfortable bustier top that fits snugly and accentuates your features.
Hourglass figures have a narrower waistline than shoulders and hips. Shoulder and hip measurement tend to have one to two inch difference.
Avoid one-piece suits or monokinis with side cutouts. These suits are typically not intended for hourglass shapes and end up giving you a baggy waistline effect due to excess fabric. One-piece suits can hide your waist — stick with a bikini.
Be cautious if choosing a high-waist bottom — make sure it hits right on the narrowest part of the waist. If it sits any lower or higher than the waist, it will make you appear wider.
I suggest choosing a same-color bikini, which draws attention to your mid-section. A bikini with a thick band top and thick band bottoms will give the same emphasis. Ula’s Cyprus bikini is ideal with its thick bands with gold detailing that draws attention to your greatest asset.