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Many people are breaking out the swimsuits with the hot weather. Fashion expert Jo Ross explains the details to look for accent your assets and camouflage your flaws
1.) Know your body shape. Your body shape - or where you naturally distribute weight - will determine a lot of what swimsuit you should buy. If you can, measure your hips at the widest point, waist at the smallest point, and bust at the fullest point for better reference. (If you don't have a tape, try to eyeball it.) Here are some possibilities:
Pear shape: If your hips are significantly wider than both your waist and bust, you're probably a pear.
Apple shape: If your waist is significantly wider than your hips, and equal to or nearly as wide as your bust, you might be an apple.
Hourglass shape: If your bust and hips are about the same width, but your waist is significantly smaller, you're a classic hourglass.
Straight (or banana) shape: If you're generally thin all around, with no significant difference between your hips, waist and bust, you're a straight shape.
2.) Choose colors and fabrics that will highlight your best features and downplay your less-loved parts. The secret to a flattering swimsuit is drawing the eye to the most flattering parts of your figure. Here are some basic tips to follow:
To highlight a feature you like, use a bright color or pattern.
To hide something you don't like, use a solid color. If you have pale skin, use black or deep jewel tones, such as dark purple, navy and maroon. If you have dark skin, bright colors can actually be more flattering and help hide what you don't like.
To add volume (such as to the bust or hips), choose a piece with ruffles in that area.
To hide volume (such as on the waist), use shirred or ruched fabric.
Don't be afraid to buy separates that don't match perfectly! Say you want to highlight your bust but draw attention away from your hips. You might buy a bikini top in a bright solid or pattern, and a bottom that's a dark black, blue or brown (depending on the top).
3.) Select the right cut. Here's a quick primer on what you might want to favor or avoid:
A one-piece will hide your waist. Choose one with shirred panels over the stomach, or in a dark, solid color.
A 1940s-style, bathing-beauty bottom that's high-waisted can also help hide a waist. Again, go with a dark color or shirring.
A tankini will highlight your waist, because it draws the eye to the section of skin that's showing. If you love your waist but don't like your hips or bust so much,
Boyshorts make your hips look wider, regardless of color. If you have a large bust and want the hips to match for a classic hourglass shape, choose boyshorts.
High-cut bikini bottoms make legs look longer. If you're short, or you're long in the torso, this is a good selection.
Halter tops draw attention to the bust, as do triangle tops.
Tie-front bikini tops draw the eye to the bust, as well as pulling the breasts closer toward the center. If you have small breasts and want them to look larger, this might be a good fit.
Bandeau tops will make the bust seem wider. If you're a pear and you want to imitate an hourglass shape, choose a bandeau top with ruffles or another busy detail.
For a large bust, look for a straight across cut at the top of your swimsuit with wide set straps to minimize your bust. Also, be sure to try a bikini top with an underwire and a thick chest band for extra support. A thick chest band will prevent jiggling so that the bra stays where it should be and you can't fall out.