The Style Glossy: Dressing Room

Swimsuit Shopping Made Easy

By Mariel Chua for The Style Glossy
Swimsuit Shopping Made Easy

Close to fitting jeans and finding good underwear, many women broach the subject of swimwear-shopping with much trepidation. Thankfully, the selection of swimsuits out on the market these days has never been as fun, dynamic, and exciting for the summer shopper — from the most conservative beachcomber to the sassiest seaside strutter, there’s something for every body type.

Gertie Hermanos, resident designer for Sassa Activewear — a brand known for coming up with collections “with real women with real bodies in mind” — helped us decode the tricky nuances of swimsuit shopping.

Summer Outings
“My inspiration for the collection this year was lots of bright colors of paint and abstract paintings,” says Hermanos. “Summer is such a bright and cheery season, and I wanted to infuse the pieces with the same kind of vibrancy you find on a hot summer day.”

But with so many choices out there, how does one decide on a bathing suit? “To put it simply, wear whatever you’re comfortable and confident in,” says Hermanos. “Swimsuits are about fun. Enjoy the experience and try not to think about it too much — you’re bound to find one that fits your personality and lifestyle.”

According to Hermanos, having different styles in one’s closet helps, including a one-piece, a bikini set, a tankini set and some separates. “This also gives the wearer options to mix and match and come up with multiple looks for each occasion,” she says.

For example, for summer getaways with a more conservative tone and dress code, pairing a revealing swimsuit with cute board shorts and a pretty cover-up is both stylish and appropriate. When out with friends, a soft and sheer caftan worn over a string bikini is playful and can go from beachside to cocktails.

Fit for Every Body Type
Hermanos recommends these flattering swimsuit solutions for the following problem areas:

Small Chest: Bandeau or triangle-top bikinis flatter ladies with small chests and give the illusion of a fuller bust line.

Top-heavy: Halter-type tankinis are best for those with big chests. Bikini tops with thick straps or swimsuits with molded cups also give extra coverage and added support.

Belly and Paunch: Graphic tankini tops or tankini tops with side ruching hide the stomach by bringing attention away from the area and by totally covering it.

Big hips, Pear Shapes: Darker hues help visually slim down wide hips. Avoid light-colored bottoms and those with too many accents.

Apple Shapes: Dark solid shades (such as tube tops) help streamline the silhouette. Steer clear of tops with thick straps, too many details or even light colors.

Boyish Frame: String bikinis or swimsuits with cut-out details (such as maillots) give the illusion of curves.

One for All
If you’re buying just one swimsuit that will take you through the summer months and even the next few years, Hermanos recommends a black regular-cut one-piece. “It’s universally flattering and gives the illusion of singularity and longer legs.” A tube-style molded cup tankini top paired with boyleg bottoms are also popular among women.

Always note quality, material and construction. (Check for proper lining, pads and good stitching.) According to Hermanos, a well-made bathing suit is one that can hold up in both in a swimming pool and in the sea, can stretch two ways and can keep its color even with multiple uses and washes. “Ideally, the swimsuit should last for an extended period of time and not just for one season,” she says.

Swimwear Care
To get the most mileage out of your summer suit, always hand-wash with mild soap and air-dry after each use. “Make sure that your swimsuit is completely dry before storing, and fold it properly so as not to damage the pads and other accessories that may have come with it,” advises Hermanos.

Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com/jacomstephens
Mariel Chua is the managing editor of The Style Glossy and is the former beauty editor of the Philippine editions of Seventeen, Cosmopolitan and OK! Magazine. Now based in New York City, she contributes lifestyle, food, and travel pieces to both print and online publications.