Health & Wellness Articles

The Best Swimsuits for Every Body Shape

Flattering Styles for Every Figure

If you’re like most women, swimsuit season isn’t your favorite time of year. But every body is beautiful and deserves to have some fun in the sun. Whether you’re full-figured, small-chested, straight up and down or have some extra "padding," you can find a swimsuit that fits comfortably, flatters your figure and makes you feel absolutely fabulous. Strut your stuff this summer with these eight flattering swimsuit styles that are fashionable and figure-friendly.

Pear-Shaped Swimsuit Ideas
For Pear Shapes: The Playful Push Up
Because pear shapes carry extra weight on the lower half of their bodies, a push up style swimsuit will create the look of a larger bust, creating the illusion of symmetry to balance everything out. Add some cleavage with bikini tops, bandeaus or one-piece suits that add a little bit of extra oomph. Some styles with ruffles up top can make it look like you’re two cup sizes larger than you actually are, creating a balanced, hourglass figure!

This suit from LaBlanca features a sweatheart cup to add emphasis to the bust. (Find it at

For Pear Shapes: The Fabulous Fold Over 
Many pears are bootylicious babes who sometimes need swimsuits that have more coverage across the hips, thighs and butt to help conceal extra curves (or just feel comfortably "covered"). Your best bet: the fabulous fold-over bottom. This swimsuit separate will cover up your booty completely and draw onlookers’ eyes upward rather than focusing on your bottom and hips. Wear a bandeau top with this type of swimsuit bottom, or one-piece bandeau for even more coverage and balance between your small top half and full lower half. 

This fold-over bottom from Jones New York can be paired with a variety of tankini tops to create your own unique, flattering look. (Find it at

Apple-Shaped Swimsuit Ideas
For Apple Shapes: The Wondrous Wrap
Do you carry extra weight around your midsection (commonly referred to as an "apple" shape)? Then look for a fun, wrap swimsuit to create the illusion of a toned tummy. Just like a wrap-style dress, this type of swimsuit will create the look of a cinched, pretty little waist, drawing attention to your strong legs and curves.

This Gottex Ray of Light one-piece suit features a flattering wrap style as well as angled straps to make your waist look super small. (Find it at
For Apple Shapes: The Very Sexy V-Neck
Want to really flatter your figure, you lovely litte apple? Try a V-neck swimsuit style! This type of suit not only offers added support up top, but will help draw all eyes upward and away from your tummy. Want to really feel your best? Find a V-neck swimsuit that has some ruching around the midsection for added camouflage.  

This Jantzen Women's Casablanca V-Neck pairs a dramatic plunge with pin-tuck details around the straps and a very flattering shirred bodice. (Find it at

Hourglass-Shaped Swimsuit Ideas
For Hourglass Shapes: The Lovely Lift Up
Though hourglasses have curves that every woman seems to envy, they typically need some added support when choosing bikini tops. The best option is a structured suit with soft molded cups (or underwire). This will give your best assets a boost, and have you looking and feeling more confident as you run, jump and play on the beach and in the water. 

This Jag Women's Underwire Tankini provides the extra support you need. (Find it at


For Hourglass Shapes: The Coveted Classic
Because your hourglass body is already symmetrical, you can get away with wearing a timeless one piece swimsuit with a print and even ruching details. A one piece will highlight your tiny waistline, thicker straps will add support where you need it most and your curvy bottom will stay covered.

This Seafolly Women's Boyleg suit offers retro styling paired with flattering ruching and supportive straps. (Find it at

Rectangle-Shaped Swimsuit Ideas

For Rectangle Shapes: The Ravishing Ruffle 
Lucky you! Rectangle shapes can wear just about anything and still look fantastic! Though straight up and down, your body type can get away with wearing bikinis, bold prints, one pieces, halters and more. One of the best things you can do to create some feminine curves is to pick swimsuits with ruffles and ruching. Pair ruffles up top with prints all over or just on your lower half, and you’ll appear to have a bigger bust, curvier waist and a rounder bottom.

This Magic Suit Women's Leah Tank One-Piece adds girlish ruffles to a faux-tanikni style suit for feminine curves. (Find it at
For Rectangle Shapes: The Tantalizing Tankini
Draw attention to the smallest parts of your body and create the look of added curves everywhere else with a tank-style swimsuit. And you, pretty rectangle, don’t have to be afraid to go bold! Try on tankinis with bright colors or prints, with bottoms that contain a belt to create the look of a curvier bottom half. These styles may look a bit "busy" on other body types, but not yours! You’ll feel sexier and more confident than ever by creating the illusion of curves.

This Fit 4 U Women's Paisley Three-Tiered V-Neck Top can be paired with your favorite tankini bottom for a super flattering look. (Find it at

For a Little Extra Coverage

If the high-cut legs of traditional bathing suit and bikini bottoms make you feel a little over exposed, fear not. There are lots of great options these days that provide added coverage without sacrificing style, no matter what your body shape is.
To add a little more fabric to your tankini bottom, check out this adorable Kenneth Cole Women's Haute Wave Rouched Skirted Swim Pant. (You can find it at



For a super flattering one-piece option, check out this Jones New York Women's Solid Bandeau Swimdress. (Find it

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Member Comments

  • Do they have a feature on "fat blob" costume shapes!!!! I may have slightly resembled those body shapes 20 years ago, but where are the realistic ideas!!!!
  • I recommend modcloth for swimsuits in cute styles for different shapes and sizes. The prices though...
  • Ooops I see I just repeated previous comments, and that Coach Nicole gave a helpful explanation on first page - sorry : )
  • I didn't see any difference between the body shape of these models: all perfect and slender, no apples, pears or rectangles.
    The text may be helpful but the pictures did not help to visualize at all.
  • "How to pick the perfect swimsuit. Put the swimsuit on you. Does it fit you? Perfect!".

  • I agree that these models do not help at all. They don't have anything to hide that I can see. Give us realistic models with figure flaws of all types so we can see how the suits would really look on us!! Better yet get someone who is not a model and "suit" them appropriately. Now that would really help.
  • I have to agree with those who found the article unhelpful. Let's see photos of swimsuits on actual people who have problem areas (or problem bodies!) I would be much more likely to buy a suit if I could see how it might minimize the flaws of people who look more like me. The models can take care of themselves.
    I recently purchased few swim suits and beach dress.You can also check out their latest collection of swim wears like sports swim wear,Mix n match tops,Bottoms and many more stock at http://www.dollbo
    ts-swimwear/ for pocket friendly prices .
  • Choice of models is so bad! So So Bad.
  • If you want to buy swimsuits for real women with real curves, try www.swimsuitsfora
    I've gotten some beautiful swimsuits, even bikinis, from them that flatter full figured women no matter where your curves are positioned. They also celebrate the curves instead of suggesting how to hide them.
  • ridiculous article. if you are going to talk about swimsuits for heavier persons who are already self conscious in a suit, why can't you use models that ARE a little heavier, DO have problem areas.....
    not helpful - I can see these suits and these models (perfect looking) in any mainstream magazine or catalog.
    VERY disappointed that SP would even post such a ridiculous article.
  • I love the Esther Williams swimsuits. They're not much more than a regular one piece and made in the USA. They're very retro and flatter many figures and sizes. Highly, highly recommend checking them out.
    feeling terribly insulted. Unbelievable that thin models are chosen for fat women who haven't been swimming for years because there ARE NO cool swimsuits for us. Thin models who would look good in ANYTHING, and who had no discernible pear or apple about them.

    next time, just forthrightly rub our noses in our own fatness instead of tricking us into wasting time on an article that obviously wasn't written for us.
  • Disappointed in model choices. Not one is "real". Article not helpful. Distracting and insulting, actually.
  • Swimming is my sport. I want a swim suit that I can actually swim in, not something that has pads and folds just to cover up imaginary imperfections. If people don't like the way I look in it, too bad for them; just look away. Besides, the whole point is to be in the water and once you're in there, nobody really sees the figure of your body anyway. I think I look fabulous for 43, cellulite, tummy, and all.
    I usually buy my swimsuits in Germany, where people are less worried about body image. In the US, the only decent swim suits you can get are Tyr, Nike, or Speedo, but they start with the padding at a size 14, which makes them useless to me.
    Articles like this feed into the obsession with looks. So who cares if you're 200-300 pounds!? Get in your swimsuit and swim them off! Anyone who stares has their own issues.

About The Author

Natalie Nichols Natalie Nichols
Natalie lost nearly 30 pounds the SparkPeople way before becoming a health and beauty contributor to the site. A self-proclaimed "girly girl," Natalie couldn't bear to break a sweat when she was younger, but now can't imagine living a life without exercise. In her spare time she practices yoga, enjoys cooking and stays involved in her community. Leading by example, she hopes to inspire others to live healthier and happier lifestyles, too.

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