Reader Request: Sassy Swimwear

swimsuits
Back in May, I was flipping through InStyle’s swimsuit guide and thinking to myself, “Man, am I glad I haven’t gotten any reader requests for a suit guide. I know absolutely nothing about swimsuits.”

Then I went to check my e-mail, and found this note from Lydia:

I have a request I’d like you to cover in a blog post – summer swimsuits. Finding a swimsuit, shopping for one, how to find suits that are flattering yet covering, good places to find them, and what trends (color, pattern, and style wise) are popular this summer. I know finding a bathing suit is a challenge most women face each spring, and we’d love some tips on how to know what is flattering, because so often bathing suit shopping is very frustrating!

Rats.

I know VIRTUALLY NOTHING about swimsuits, and even if I were to cook up some advice for Lydia, I can’t imagine I’d add anything new to the wealth of information that’s already out there. So here’s my plan: I’m gonna point you over to Angie’s general guides to swimwear – parts one and two – if you’re interested in “I carry my weight in the middle, what style suit should I wear?” type guidance. And right here, I’ll share some very general things I keep in mind when I shop for a swimsuit. Which happens about once every ten years.

  1. DO NOT avoid swimsuits/swimming because of body comparison hang-ups: You don’t look like Heidi Klum in a tankini? And there are a handful of women sunbathing on your local beach who do? SO THE EFF WHAT? You get to swim if you want to swim, just like they do.
  2. Don’t make swimwear shopping a giant ordeal: You do not live in a Cathy cartoon, so don’t make this activity into a month-ruining catastrophe. You need a new swimsuit. It’s gonna take a while to find one you love, in all likelihood. Block off a chunk of time, pinpoint a few stores, and stay focused.
  3. No matter what anyone says, if you like the look of a style, try it on: Don’t think you’ve got the abs for that bikini? Worry about how your skin will look in that cutout? You will never know for sure unless you try it on. Even if it’s a style that is “forbidden” for someone your shape or size, if you love the look on the hanger, give it a whirl. You never know what might work.
  4. Whatever you buy, make sure it sits quiet: Suits that pull, pinch, migrate into your buttcrack, subdivide your person, or otherwise fight your body are going to drive you bananas. Don’t pay attention to sizing and numbers. If the medium gives you major love handles, try the large.
  5. Whatever you buy, make sure it stays on: If the cups ride up to your neck when you lift your arms, pick a different size. If the halter ties come undone when you do a little dance in the dressing room, find a different style. And yes, I HIGHLY recommend doing a little dance in the dressing room. You need to see how this suit looks after you’ve chased a child across the sand or swum back from afar. Nobody teleports onto the beach in sunbathing position, so move in your potential new suit and see how it reacts.
  6. You may fear bikinis, but they give you more control: I’ve been a one-piece gal my whole life, but I finally picked up a bikini several years back. Why? Because it didn’t squish my boobs, it didn’t make me look like a grain silo, and I was able to buy a completely separate bottom that actually flattered me. Everyone has their preferences, and the very thought of a bikini may make you feel faint. But if you are considerably heavier on top or bottom, just know that a two-piece will allow you more leeway to fit both halves correctly. Tankinis are similarly flexible.

As for places to look? Well, I got mine on a total whim at Opitz Outlet … but I’d been eyeing the selections at Athleta and Title Nine for YEARS. Tons of darling designs in adorable patterns. However, while Athleta offers a wide selection of cup sizes, both brands only go up to XL in bottoms. So that’s limiting. The suits are also pretty spendy.

Both Land’s End and L.L. Bean have AMAZING variety, some adorable styles, and a greater variety of sizes – Bean goes up to 18, and LE offers regular, petite, plus, tall, and petite plus (!). Prices are a bit lower, though you’ll still probably end up spending around $70 to $100. Also be sure to check out Swimsuits for All, which has a mind-blowing array of size and style options.

Yes, all of these are online retailers and the prospect of buying a suit online must seem akin to buying an orthodontic retainer online. How on EARTH will you know what will look good by seeing a photo of a model who looks nothing like you? Well, you won’t. So you’ve got a few options:

  • Pore over the body type recommendations on the websites
  • Order three suits and return two
  • Try on similar styles in person at Target or a department store so you can get a vague idea of what will work

We’ve got more swimsuit styles, shapes, and sizes than ever. It may take some time and frustration to find your perfect suit, but if you shop smart and patiently your efforts will pay off. Promise.

Image courtesy Swimsuits for All

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  • Anonymous

    Sears carries the Lands' End stuff in their stores, so if there's one near you, that's an option for actually going and trying on their suits in person…

  • Kelly @ blackdog finds

    You rock, Sal! This is the first year I've contemplated going with a one-piece because I was self conscious about my body, but now after reading this I'm kinda just thinking, "Eff it! I'll wear what I like, what fits, and what's cute". I generally get my bathing suits at JCP or Old Navy. I tend to get inexpensive ones just because I may wear a swimsuit like 3 times in an ENTIRE year. P.S. You look so fit and fabulous in your swimsuit pics!!!

  • Harriet M. Welsch

    Re: Lands End suits, you can try at least some of the styles on in person at Sears stores. And if you order suits on line, you can return them to your local Sears (check your local store; your mileage may vary).

  • EvaNadine

    i had to buy myself new swimsuit last year, and here are the things i learned:
    (1) pick a color, any color. it is easy to go to black, but pick something with a little punch of color.
    (2) try on many styles — especially the ones you dont think will work for you. the suit i ended up choosing looking matronly on the hangar, but made me look SMOKIN!
    (3) no matter how thin a gal is, none of us feel 100% comfortable and at ease in swimwear, so just go with it. pick a gorgeous coverup if you need to, or just spend all day toning up in the pool. either way, own it. 🙂

  • Elle Sees

    brave post, sal!

  • orchidsinbuttonholes

    Great tips, Sal!

    I'd add figleaves.com and barenecessities.com to your list of places to check – they have a fairly wide assortment of cute suits with a great range of sized tops (28-54 bands and AA-HH cups). It's a fantastic option for those of us whose shape does not jive with the standard S, M, L, XL (or even 2, 4, 6, etc).

    And I also swear by having a cute cover-up.

  • Cynthia

    Miraclesuits really are pretty miraculous. I got one (shopping online) from Norm Thompson a couple of years ago when I was headed to Hawaii, figuring that they knew what the slightly overweight 40ish lady wanted to wear on the beach. And? They do. My miraclesuit has a deep cleavage, it's a nice print with a surplice line, it looks HAWT, and it stays firmly in place during all activities. I'm not sure it makes me look 10 lbs lighter but it's pretty flattering on what I do have.

  • Anne

    I have 2 great mix & match tankini suits from Target. I love them for swimwear, since they're not too expensive, they have a pretty wide range of sizes and they have a lot of cute styles. Both of mine have skirted bottoms, which is WONDERFUL for me, since regular bikini bottoms aren't modest enough for my liking, and shorts just emphasize my thighs.

    Another place I'd recommend if you're willing to pay a little more is Eddie Bauer. They don't seem to carry much in stores, but they have some really great suits online that are meant to flatter!

  • GingerR

    I have a tankini. They're good because you can buy the top/bottom in different sizes but it's not a bikini, which I've never worn.

    My other tip is to use self-tanner. I feel a lot less conscipious at the pool/beach if my thighs have a little tan/color to them.

    My mother mixes self-tanner with lotion because she thinks almost any shade is too much. I'm bolder and use it undiluted.

    Jergen's glow is my favorite and is avaiable at Target, but there are many different opinions about which one is best.

  • eek

    Va Va Voom! You look fantastic!

    I think bikinis can be more flattering sometimes that one pieces because they fit better. I can't stand tankinis because the tank part always rides up the muffin top! I have found a halter style bikini at Old Navy that flatters my body so I usually by a couple each season since they are so cheap!

  • bubu

    I had great luck with lands end mixing a halter top with swim shorts – easier and more comfortable for hanging out with small kids at the beach, i'm not self-concscious the whole time, and not trying to pull shorts on over a wet suit each time I get out of the water…and the halter is really cute and puts the focus up high where i want it

  • La Historiadora de Moda

    Sal, I can't imagine you looking like a grain silo in anything! That line cracked my shit up.

    Sadly, there are no beaches (or even pools) in my plans this summer, so I have no excuse to buy a new swim suit, but next time I do, I'll keep these tips in mind for sure!

  • isleen

    Target has some nice options in their adult line of swimsuits (I stay away from the juniors since I find tie-on bikini bottoms to be an epic fail for me). I also swear by Newport News Build Your Own Bikini series. They have tops and bottoms that actually cover my long torso and pronounced behind. The styles and colors are limited but when they have a combo I like, it's like magic.

    I also think it helps to know which styles work on you. Swim shorts and skirted suits cut me across the widest part of my body and are supremely unflattering. Halter tops, on the other hand, nicely flatter my small chest. If you have to do mail order, trying on a bunch of suits in a department store or specialty store will give you an idea of which styles to avoid.

  • Fer

    Sally, for 10 years of my life (1999-2008) I didn't wear any kind of swimwear. nothing, zero, nada. of course, it also means I didn't go to the beach or to the pool for this whole period. and why did I deprive myself of that? because I was extremely ashamed of my body, up to the point where I'd rather be at home when it was 100° outside than cooling by the pool.

    the thing is, I had a really large tummy. I mean, disproportionaly large tummy. up to the point where I could be very slim, and still people would assume I was preggers. and not only was it large, but it was also very flabby. and no amount of exercise and diet would make it better. eventually, I had to face my fears, see a plastic surgeon, and have it fixed by him.

    now, why do I tell you this? because putting on swimwear for the first time in my life in this century was a *big* deal. a *huge* deal. it was an epic event for me, and I'm not ashamed to say I cried a little when I finally did so. it's not that I finally had a super model's body, far from it; it's just that I was finally ok, with a proportional belly to my never-skinny body, and the outside of me matched the inside of me.

    so, since buying swimwear that made me happy was such a huge deal because of all the things involved, I can tell you that the most important lesson I learned in swimwear is: this is the one item of clothes you should NEVER, ever save money on. I've tried on many bikinis, from many different stores, and from many different price ranges, and most of them made me feel self concious. and the best one was of course the most expensive one, a green Rosa Chá bikini (it's one of Brazil's most famous brands, I think many of you must know it there in the US).

    yes, I spend such an amount of money in a bikini that I would have propably never spend on a pair of jeans, or a pair of shoes, and maybe would only spend on a terrific bag. but it was EXTREMELY worth it. premium swimwear looks like a ridiculous idea ("really, that much money for so little fabric?") before you do it, but once you've tried them on, you'll see that they are SO worth it! because, the way I see it, this is the item of clothing that makes us feel exposed the most, and if we don't feel comfortable in it, it will show.

    so yes, I wore only one bikini for the entire 2009/2010 summer. I bought a second top, so I could rotate them with the same bottom and variate a little, but that was it. with the money I spend on it, I could have bought 5 or 6 different items at popular store. but none of them would have made me feel so beautiful and at ease with my body as the one I bought at Rosa Chá. so this is why I wrote this ridiculously large comment here to tell people this: if you've made it this far in this large message, believe me. invest in an excellent quality bikini from a premium brand. you will never regret it.

    um beijo from Brazil 🙂

  • Ivy

    Although they're pricey, Modcloth also has some adorable vintage inspired swimwear. The one-pieces are especially nice, since those can be hard to find. (Nothing against bikinis, but when you burn as easily as I do…well, I just like to limit the surface area available.)

  • Patni

    I am one of those big boob types, 30GG. Bikinis make me nervous, but they work better for me. I can buy and expensive 30GG bikini top (usually from either bravissimo or ebay) and then buy a cheaper bottom. I have a black leopard print top and black bottoms right now.
    I also like a bikini because i have a very long torso, and a one piece can cut my "person" in half! The obvious way round this is a halter which ties and so can be adjusted, but i promise you if you have a pair of GGs hanging round your neck it will hurt.

    Before i found bathing suits made for my size i went with vintage. I still love my vintage suits. They tend to be more modest, with extra bust room. The drawback is that the older fabrics rot fast when exposed to chlorine. So be careful and rinse them well, or keep them for natural bodies of water.

  • Jenny

    I just did the search for a suit that would work for my pear-shaped, post-baby body. I wanted something suitable for chasing my kid, being climbed on and clung to. I ended up with a longish ruched black top from Jantzen that works with the black bottoms I made for myself.

    The swimsuit I wish I could have afforded (and found in my size at Macy's) was the "Tina Convertible One Piece Magicsuit by Miraclesuit". It made me feel like a slim and chic ballet teacher! The swishy part kept me perfectly covered for all the bending over to tend to my kid, but looked cool when tied over my shoulder to swim. The defined natural waistline worked for me. I'll be haunting eBay…

  • Mary

    I also recommend people check out Shade –they are a company focused on Modesty and you can get great swim separates that are slimming and tanks that actually go past the waist of the bottom to eliminate any
    handle-age..

  • Sal

    Fer: I'm SO GLAD you found a suit that suits you, and are happy to wear it! How fabulous for you, and thanks for sharing your story with us.

  • Cecilia

    Sal, you look like a girl in a Kathy Perry song. You rock that ensemble!
    I love your tips. It all comes down to making peace with their own awesome, live body! I'm a size 16 with plenty of "flaws", and I have quit caring about what anyone thinks about me in a bathing suit. My body is what it is. No amount of "shaping" and "camouflaging" will make my body look any different than what it is… I just make sure the bathing suit is comfortable. It's not like the bathing suit police will be out on the water, and if anyone really is looking (which they probably aren't anyway), they are more likely than not to keep their opinions to themselves.

  • A-Dubs

    Thanks for the great tips Sal (and fellow commentors)! Also, Sal, you made that stuff up about the spare tire (a couple of posts ago). We have photographic evidence.

  • Sal

    A-Dubs: Ahhh, not so! The side view is a whole different animal. 😉

  • Cassandra

    I have to chime in with the Land's End recommendation–I got a tankini top there on clearance and was pleasantly surprised at how generous the DD cups were. And the color is a nice minty green, very cheerful.

    I originally tried to cheap out and get a bikini bottom at Target to wear with it–and whoa, it was cute–but then I figured out that I just wasn't comfortable showing up in public wearing something with approximately the same coverage as my underwear. I switched them out for a pair of board shorts from REI, and for the first time in years, I feel comfortable in my swimsuit. Not for everybody, but if you really don't feel like showing that much leg to the world, you don't HAVE to.

  • Steph

    Great post! Lands End's and LL Beans' selections are very good, as is their consistent sizing for the most part. I bought my last suit, though, at Eddie Bauer two years ago. They usually have plenty of cute ones, too, every summer, and they offer a decent size range, although not as extensive as Bean or LE, if I remember correctly. But with all those companies, returns are a breeze. And besides, going to a bricks and mortar store, you never know whether they'll have your size anyway, so the convenience of ordering the right size or couple sizes, having them delivered to your home and trying them on there is so worth the minor inconvenience of having to return something that doesn't work. The last suit I bought in a store was at JC Penney, a St. John's Bay suit, and that was a good 8 years ago.
    With all my experience in suit shopping, though, I still hardly wear a swimsuit above once a year.

  • robin

    I can also vouch for the Land's End recommendation. I was able to get a gorgeous once-piece with a long torso AND DD cups! I've had it for three years.

    I would echo the advice from the *amazing* bra post by K Line yesterday. A quality swimsuit that lasts and has adequate support is going to cost some money, just like a good bra would. Al least in my experience.

  • K.Line

    Great advice! As a person who wears a swimsuit maybe 7 times a year (maybe), I will also add that Freya does great suits with cup sizes (up to a G, I think), so that women with large breasts can enjoy 1 and 2 pieces that actually fit their entire bodies.

  • Kylara7

    I just bought two swimsuits on clearance from Victoria's Secret online. They have a huge variety of styles and sizes and I find it helpful to be able to buy a top by my bra size (and choose a matching bottom by size and cut/style), and I prefer online ordering/trying on stuff in my bedroom with good light and a good mirror. The suits they carry are good quality and especially affordable on sale, IMHO. My previously swimsuit was also from VS, but is now almost eight years old and ratty/faded from use, but has held up beautifully otherwise.

    I second the recommendation on self-tanner as well as the comfort of 2-pieces. I'm tall with a long torso and I absolutely HATE the binding feeling of a one-piece pulling at my shoulders and crotch simultaneously. A bikini is much more comfortable for me (even though I still have to pep talk myself out of my imagined/magnified figure fears!).

  • Barb

    I lurv H2O Wear suits.
    They're designed for water exercise, so hold everything in.
    In addition to the usual one-piece options, they also have suits with bike shorts. Lots of mix & match tankini options. Customer service is great at helping decide on size and with exchanges/returns.

    My only complaint is that they don't wear out — starting year 3 of twice a week wear to water aerobics — so don't have excuse to buy new one.

    http://www.h2owear.com/women-swimwear.asp
    "Flattering suits that hold their shape and are guaranteed to resist chlorine! Styles with slimming details and tummy trimming solutions. Sizes range from 4 to 32, some with regular and long torso options and three bra types for stay-put comfort."

  • Sal

    Barb: Holy moly, now THAT's the gamut of sizing! Thanks for sharing a great resource.

  • Rebecca

    Most of my suits are from Old Navy. They fit me well, and since I'm in Minnesota and I only wear them for fun, I don't wear them often so I don't spend a lot on suits.

    I usually wear a bikini. I know that tankinis are supposed to be good for covering up the stomach, but I feel like they accentuate my flab rather than hiding it. I'd like to get a retro one-piece some day, but haven't been able to talk myself into spending all the money one one.

  • Rad_in_Broolyn

    If you're like me and don't want to pay too much, try swim suit shopping in late August/early September (bare with me). Then better quality (but slightly less selection) suits can be up to 75% off. The first nice suit I bought was from an actual department store and it fits well.
    I am small chested and long bodied, so my ab area is mostly flat. I didn't want to wear a bathing suit for a long time because I wasn't voluptuous, and I thought that cute suits were only for the va va voom type. Now, I accept the way I am built when suit shopping- no push up or padding, just simple and cute. It makes putting on the suit so much easier. (Plus, there are so many cute cover ups you wear to and from the beach/pool!)

  • debbiew

    Try boardshortworld.com for USA made boardshorts in different lengths, patterns and colors!I have several and I never give my pasty,bumpy thighs a second thought at the beach. Great fit, mix and match your tankinis,bikinis or your one pieces to the boardshorts.

  • Kelly

    I'm busty so I have the same problem with swimsuits that I have with dresses – things that fit me everywhere else just do NOT fit the boobs correctly. So I buy suits by bra size and it is INFINITELY better. I "only" have three swimsuits because the bra sized ones are a little expensive, but a few well-fitting ones are worth a truckload of awful ones. I bought my bikini on Figleaves.com. I bought my black tankini top on Figleaves, then I bought some cheapy black bottoms at Target (which I actually like better than the $40 "matching" bottoms from the same brand). I bought my one-piece on eBay. I think Brastop.com usually has inexpensive bra-sized swimsuits too, especially in the "off-season."

  • Kelly

    Oh and I didn't answer your last question – I have all three styles because they're all awesome! The black tankini is what I wear for more "family" functions because it's the most modest. My one-piece feels a lot sexier to me, the neckline is lower and it's tighter all around. And a bikini was my way of celebrating once some scars on my stomach started to fade away (which is what had kept me in belly-covering suits for years)

  • Fritinancy

    I swam on a masters team for 17 years and still swim for fitness three times a week; ergo, I have zero swimwear angst. But I also don't look for "sassy": my swimsuits are equipment, not fashion. I buy my suits online, usually at http://www.swimoutlet.com. I always buy Speedo racing suits–no built-in bras, puh-leeze!–in Endurance fabric, which holds up for years to chlorine and saltwater. I never try suits on until I wear them for the first time. The trick with a racing suit is to size down: you want that sucker to fit you like Spanx. And yes, even you larger ladies can wear racing suits–trust me, I've seen every body type at masters swim meets, and none of them is clad in a bikini, tankini, or any other -ini.

  • Lauren

    Oh my gosh, I just discovered this blog and was totally floored by the Opitz Outlet shout-out! That's right in my neighborhood. I love what I'm seeing so far – thanks for the advice. 🙂

  • Jaime

    I cannot sing the praises of bra sized bikini tops enough! After a disastrous visit to Nordstrom's where I could not effectively explain that a 32F does not translate to size large (or medium or small, for that matter), I went online and ordered a Panache bikini from barenecessities.com. And wow, what a difference a bra size makes. I love my new bikini and feel comfortable and confident wearing it, which is nothing short of miraculous to me!

  • Frances Joy

    I usually get my swimsuits on clearance from Victoria's Secret because they generally have bra sizes for the top and there're lots of styles that have underwire – a must for a relatively busty girl like me.
    I also found a super flattering retro style one piece at the Jersey Shore of all places. It was an emergency buy since I was moving and had packed all my suits in the bottom of a box already on its way to VA.

    I resisted bikinis for many years, but I find that they really are flattering if you find just the right pieces to put together. I feel most comfortable when my suit looks like my unders: Bra-style top (with underwire) and mid-rise boy shorts on the bottom.

  • Peggy of Plush Nest

    YES!

    I'm loving wearing my Liz Lange fro Target top (via Goodwill)& Merona bottom. Yes, the top is maternity & no, I'm not expecting, but it's so comfy and flattering, I just don't care. The skirt bottom is also comfy & flattering. So, what if they're both basic black? The ruffles on the top make me feel pretty and if I feel pretty I'll wear them!

  • Anonymous

    I always have trouble finding a good suit, despite having a body that I genuinly like most of the year. The last cute suit I had was before puberty, aka before it became apparent that I had inherited my grandmother's chest 50 years too early. This year, for the first time EVER I found a bikini that is youthfull and yet still suportive from Betsey Johnson. It wasn't exactly cheap, and I had to order from several sites to find the right bottoms, but I'm thrilled to have a suit that makes me feel my real age of 20.

  • Rubiatonta

    Don't forget to check out Etsy for handmade suits — there are a lot of sellers who have cute styles in regular and plus sizes.

    I'm working up the gumption to show my size 18, silvery-blue white belly to the sun for the first time in about 36 years, and I was pleased to find a lot of options!

  • Maggiethecat

    This is definitely OT, but I absolutely have to say THANK YOU SAL for the words 'You do not live in a Cathy cartoon'. Or a SATC episode, or Bridget's diary or whatever piece of annoying crap upholding the insecure, needy, neurotic little female stereotype… ugh. I apologize for the rant/hijack, but chicktion is a huge pet peeve with me, and I love it when somebody says things like that for a change.

  • Kate

    I buy my swimsuits the same place I buy my underwear (and dresses, often) http://www.bravissimo.com – it sells underwear, bra-sized swimwear and clothes for those of us who are larger of chest, and it is a GODSEND. Yes, you need to know your ACTUAL size (and not the size you wish you were – it took me QUITE a while to accept that I'm not a 34D, but in fact a 30G/32FF as I thought that was a freakish size) but they're great about returns and have some really good fitting tips both for underwear and for swimsuits. And although they're a UK shop, they deliver worldwide. Honestly, they changed my life. (And I am in no way employed by them or getting free stuff, I've just become a bra evangelist since I found the right fit for me!)

  • Kate

    Whoops, totally didn't answer the other questions! I always wear a bikini as I like the freedom to get two different sizes; and I'm tall, so one pieces are NEVER long enough. I buy them at Bravissimo as I said. I like something coloured and summery. And nothing too high cut in the leg because I HATE waxing my bikini line, so I want something that minimises the amount of that I have to do. I have two tips – the first applies mainly to larger breasted women: GET FITTED for a bra somewhere where they know what they're doing (or failing that, learn what makes a good fit, and figure it out yourself – band tight to the body and level all round, not riding up at the back AT ALL, underwires flush to your chest in the front, no bulges along the top of the cup, no gaping between cup and boob and so on) and then wear a bra-sized suit. You will be SO much happier in something that fits and supports you well. Even though it will be more expensive, it will be totally worth it.
    And don't buy a bandeau bikini, I don't care that they're in fashion, I have yet to see one looking good on anyone no matter how skinny and pert. Just saying.

  • Anonymous

    I'm totally with you on bikinis. I avoided them for years — decades, actually — because revealing more was the last thing I wanted to do. But I recently discovered that a bikini that *fits everywhere* is way more flattering than a one-piece that doesn't fit *anywhere*. I never managed to find a one-piece that fit my long torso and small bust, among other things.

    The fact that one can now often buy pieces separately, in a range of styles, colors, and prints, now makes buying swimwear so much easier.

  • Anonymous

    You know, it's worth taking a look at Orvis, orvis.com, for a fine selection of swim dresses. I have to say that I haven't felt this good in a swinsuit since high school.

  • Sonja

    I know this is an older topic, but I’m sure there are more people like who are going through those interesting posts months afterwards, so I wanted to add something that might make them as happy as me. I’ve bought an Esther Williams-one piece about two years ago, and I call it “the magic swimsuit”. If you’re a curvy girl, this piece will make you look and feel like a goddess, gently forming your body without restricting. I also bought one as a gift for my sister, and she’s as thrilled as I am. Whereever we go with it, we always receive tons of compliments. I don’t know if this also works for thinner, flat-chested gals, but I suspect it might. It’s even good for serious swimming, as it is sturdy and won’t move or expose you inexpectedly.
    The drawbacks: it’s not precisely cheap, and for what I payed, I would have liked a better quality. Mine had some threads coming lose right in the beginning, and now the colour is fading at the butt. The one I gave to my sister even has a hole, after only two years. Also it’s a bit warm for summer, as the fabric is thick and sturdy, and it’s a definite retro-style, so if that’s not your cup of tea, it might not be the suit for you. But my sister isn’t a vintage-girl either, and she loves it. Also they have pieces in solid black and white, which might look less retro than the ones with dots or tiny cherries. So I recommend this highly to everyone! I found the Ester Williams website to be a bit confusing, so I also wanted to add that you can find some of her pieces via Modcloth or My Baby Jo, for example.