Swimsuits for Your Body Type

swimsuits body type

When it comes to swimsuits, we all have our own problems. I’ve yet to meet a woman who is 100% confident with how she looks in a bathing suit. Even the Victoria’s Secret models have gripes about their own bodies. No matter your shape, I believe you have every right to wear a bathing suit you love and feel comfortable in. The key to achieving this isn’t just picking out the cheapest or trendiest suit, it’s learning what shapes, colors and styles look good on your figure. So whether you’re petite and worry about looking like a boy in a bikini (like me!), or curvy and wondering if you can pull off those boy shorts, here is a little guide from me to you.


petite swimsuit

(1)  Madewell ruched floral bikini top & string bikini bottom  (2)  Fringe trim bikini top & bottom  (3)  Target striped tops & bottoms  (4)  Mara Hoffman printed bandeau bikini

Swimsuits for Petites

Triangle tops work best for petites, since the shape accentuates your slim frame. String bottoms are great, since they can easily be adjusted to fit your slim hips and stomach. You can get away with fun patterns and bold colors, so make the most of it! Avoid one-piece suits or bottoms with too much coverage, which can overwhelm your tiny frame. High-waisted bottoms can cut off your figure at the worst spot, too.


pear swimsuit

(1)  Blue underwire bikini top and high waisted bottoms  (2)  Crocheted flounce bikini  (3)  Underwire retro balconet top  (4)  Mara Hoffman rainbow printed bikini

Swimsuits for Pear Shapes

Pear-shaped women are smaller on top but bigger on the bottom. String bikinis can be a bit too skimpy, so try bottoms with thick straps or rings on the side. A push-up top or tops with ruffles or details will make your chest appear larger and balance off your wider hips. Search for “retro” styles – these were made for your body.


athletic swimsuit

(1)  Madewell bikini  (2)  Floral embellished bikini  (3) Floral bandeau bikini top & bottom  (4)  One-shoulder monokini

Swimsuits for Athletic Shapes

To add curves to your straight up-and-down frame, choose a fun bottom. Boy shorts, cheeky shorts, and bottoms with ruffles will do the trick. Push-up or padded tops add curves where they are needed. If you’re more of a one-piece gal, try a monokini – the cut-outs add curves and show off your toned body.


hourglass swimsuit(1)  Bandeau swim top & side-tie swim bottoms  (2)  Criss-cross monokini  (3)  Black and white bikini  (4)  Bandeau top & cheeky low-rise bottom

Swimsuits for Hourglass Figures

Bandeau tops work well paired with a skimpier bottom (just make sure there is enough support in the top). Solid colors or two-toned suits (think color-blocked) really let your curves take center stage.


small chest swimsuit

(1)  Push up bikini   (2)  Rosette floral bikini   (3)  Scalloped bikini  (4)  Floral print bandeau top & hipster bottom

Swimsuits for Small Chests

Bandeau tops cut straight across and offer nothing to define your shape – they actually make your breasts look smaller. Small chests look best wearing tops with details. Whether it’s ruffles, a bright pattern or embellishments, anything that draws attention and adds weight to your top works well on you. Push-up tops add some lift, too.


large chest swimsuit(1)  Floral swimsuit with underwire  (2)  Bandeau top & skirty bottom  (3)  Polka-dot underwire top & retro brief

Swimsuits for Large Chests

If you have a large chest, you likely already know that underwire is your best friend. This may remind you too much of bras, but it is a must when it comes to swimwear. Underwire will support and hold your girls in whether you’re just laying on the beach or actively swimming. Halter tops with thick straps are also a lifesaver for you D-cup-and-up ladies.


apple shaped swim suit

(1)  Red nylon swimsuit  (2)  Ruffle 1-piece V-neck swimsuit  (3)  Halter one piece  (4)  One shoulder ruffle swimsuit

Swimsuits for Apple Shapes

If you have a belly, don’t worry! There are still tons of cute options. Opt for one-piece suits with fun details on the top, like cute straps or a bow. This draws the attention upward. High waisted bottoms and tankinis also work for those of you who want to show off a little of your stomach. Avoid any crazy patterns, which will just draw attention to unwanted areas.


  1. Super cute picks – I’m so happy swimsuit season is finally here! Bring on the ruffles for us flat chested gals 🙂

  2. I think it’s so true that with swimsuits you need to dress for your body type! I was just stressing over ones that were expensive and then found two in H&M that fit great!

  3. I consider myself petite, but lately I’ve been really into one piece bathing suits. Mostly because I feel like I’m too old to be walking around in a bikini, especially with family around (so awkward!). 🙂

  4. Great guide! I find Victoria’s Secret’s bottoms fit me the best. I’m always admiring the bikinis in Target but the bottoms seem to run large.

  5. Fantastic post Rachel. I think so many women are getting trapped into this thought that if it’s trendy, it will look ok on me, then they hate how they look all summer. Such a great guide. Love, Richelle from Lynn + Lou

  6. This is an amazing post! I usually never know how to describe my body shape but here I’d have to go with big cheted. Eeek. Now it’s time to shop!

  7. buying bathing suits is my least favorite shopping excursion each year. I’m just getting myself back into running now, so I’m hoping by my first beach trip I’ll fit into a different category haha

  8. Ah i love the Mara Hoffman in the petite section – I should really just get it already but I’ve been hoping it goes on sale!

  9. Great selection! Love the print on that Mara Hoffman bikini! I bought a DVF bikini years ago (on sale!) while vacationing in Miami and it’s still my go-to suit 🙂

  10. Ironically, I was just online shopping for swimsuits! haha. I found a ruffly push-up top, which should help out my flat-chested woes. My problem is that I’m a mixture of body types so I don’t always know what to do with the rest of my body. I’m a mix of small-chested, athletic and pear shape haha how?! Oh well. Stupid thighs…

  11. I can never figure out what type of body I have, BUT I do know that I love me a one-piece!

  12. So many fun suits to choose from!! You nailed your picks! This is my first year of wearing a tankini….eeek!! Momma feels like she has gotten too old to show off the belly at the community pool! 😉

  13. This is actually SO helpful! I loooove the topshop cornflower scallop suit but they don’t have my size! So cute though!

  14. I’m definitely an hourglass shaped woman but dear god, I would never wear that suit Kim Kardashian is wearing! Less is not always more lol. I think I’m going for a one piece this year, I’ve seen way too many cute ones and I want to give it a try 🙂

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