How to choose the best swimwear for your shape

For most women, shopping for a bikini or one-piece swimming costume is more of a chore than a pleasure. Here’s how to make it easier – whatever your shape.

We can all picture ourselves lying on a beach or by a pool, book in hand, huge sunglasses on, Frankfurter legs tanning… But actually finding that fabulous bikini we’re imagining can be one of the hardest shopping trips we have to make.

In fact, with the harsh changing-room lights, unflattering mirrors and acres of skin (and probably cellulite) on show, it makes buying jeans look like a doddle.

There are two key rules, though, that will make this dreaded excursion a whole lot more enjoyable.

Firstly, make sure you’re feeling great before you go, with a nice new pedicure and smooth, polished skin (our article Your summer skin problems solved will help you sort this out). Most importantly, make sure that bikini line is under control. The new Venus Bikini Precision Trimmer is a powered trimmer with a unique head that allows you to manoeuvre around all angles safely and easily, even in the most delicate areas, so you will be neat and tidy in no time.

Secondly, work out in advance what types of swimwear are most likely to suit your body shape, so you don’t waste time (and feel miserable) trying on bikinis that don’t look right.

Here’s our guide to picking the right shape for your figure.

Pear shape

If you’re smaller on top with curvy hips, you’re lucky: you can go for almost any of the cute triangle or halterneck bikini tops. If your stomach is fairly flat, look for a mid-rise brief that sits just below the belly button but controls any little bulges, and offers good coverage at the back. Anything too frilly could make your bottom half look bigger.

Look for stores where you can buy separate tops and briefs, as not only can you make sure the sizing works better (a smaller top half for example), but you can create the illusion of slimmer hips by choosing a light bikini top and a dark-coloured bikini brief.

Apple shape

When your weight sits around the middle, it can be hard to find a flattering bikini, so a chic one-piece could be a better option. There are lots around that have control panels on the tummy, and if you can find one with distinct cups, you can add shape and curves that way. Also, a pattern that is darker in the middle and lighter on the top and on the hips, will make your waist look slimmer.

If you’re going for a bikini, consider a retro style, with a high-waisted brief and a balcony-cup halterneck top for some high-octane glamour. A skirted or frilly bikini brief will add oomph to a flat bum.


Lucky you, with your small waist and curvy hips and chest you can wear pretty much anything, so enjoy it – but do make sure you have enough support for your breasts. The tiny triangles that constitute bikini top-halves in some shops might leave you feeling less than secure if you’re anything over a B-cup. An underwired cup will keep you looking pert, without over-doing the padding.

Apart from this, your only question is: do you play it cool, with a chic cut-out one-piece, or ramp up the va-va-voom with a pin-up-style that boosts your curves to their full effect?

What are your tricks for successful swimwear shopping? Let us know your tips in the comments below…