Have you ever stumbled onto something you're great at completely accidentally? That is what happened to me with swimwear sales. I got a part time job at a surf shop when I was 19 years old and I almost got fired my first week because I HATED being a pushy sales person. On a quiet Thursday, six days into my new job, a cute brunette breezed into the surf shop. I greeted her as I was instructed but as she murmured she was just looking, I saw my boss glaring at me from across the store. That horrible feeling of pressure and impending doom settled in my stomach as I approached the dressing room, knocked, and ask her if everything was fitting ok. Through the door, she said no, but didn't offer anything further. I looked around the racks and saw a suit I thought would fit her well and I picked the size I thought she would be and handed it to her over the door. She came out a few minutes later and to my surprise, she bought the suit I had picked for her! I got a nod of approval from my boss and from then on I was a swimwear selling rockstar. I LOVED helping people the perfect suit! Who knew?? It was actually a defining moment for me. That one sale inspired a love of swimwear sales which turned into me being a swimwear buyer for our company. As I helped thousands of women find suits in that 5 year period, I learned a lot about different body shapes and the painful struggle of trying to hide your flaws and enhance your assets in so little fabric. I expanded our selection to meet most needs and would special order suits for women that had specific needs. Seeing a woman near tears just thinking about swimwear shopping and then helping her to walk out feeling good about her body was so fulfilling!
I contemplated publishing this post next spring since it's a little late in the season but not only are there always vacations and cruises to go on but right now swimwear is going to be going on sale!! Perfect opportunity to hunt down the perfect suit for next year at 70% off so bear with me ;)
1. Don't let price scare you.
The first thing you have to realize going in is that you get what you pay for. I would never want anyone to spend $100 on a suit that they didn't adore but I will tell you that when you find a suit that you adore, buy it even if it $100! Growing up on the beach, it was hard to fork over the money because I lived in a swimsuit but if I bought a nice suit it lasted a year and if I bought a cheap suit, Id go through 3-5 in a summer. So, if you find a high quality suit you love and you don't wear it much you will have it for 10 years easy. I have over 20 suits in my personal collection that are 10-15 years old and now vintage. ;) You also have to realize that when you buy a higher end suit that they were designed for specific body types by talented designers. When you find a company that fits you, you have struck gold! Any time you need a suit, you start with that company and often you don't have to go anywhere else. They understand YOUR body. It's a beautiful thing. I know it gets tempting to go places with cheap cute suits, like Target, and think you can spend $30 but let me tell you, I am 118 pounds and 5'7" and I can't wear their suits. I'm too flat chested for even their extra small tops and their bottoms are either falling off or cutting in. I am simply not the Target fit model. If you have been shopping in Target and feeling depressed because no suit or size seems to fit right it's because you aren't the fit model either. There IS a suit that will fit you like a glove, it's just not at Target. My favorite brand right now is Despi and they are worth every penny! The material is heaven, and the fit is perfect for my body! I feel awesome when I wear it!
2.Try on a wide variety of suits.
Even if you don't like the print or how it looks on the rack, try it on! You start to see what works for you and sometimes you'll be shocked at how much you love something that didn't impress you on the rack. I don't know how many times the suit I'd suggest to a shopper would be something I'd have to talk her into even trying on and 9 times out of 10 she'd buy it. Growing up in a conservative home, I got the impression that Brazilian cut suits were immodest and never even tried them on but when you are skinny without many curves, you don't have much to cover! Or if your mid section is a problem area for you, don't be afraid of a full cut high waisted bottom. I know people refer to them as "granny panties" but if they show off your curvy rear and flatten out your tummy to enhance your curvy figure, who cares?! Once I ditched the close minded mentality, I finally found suits that fit my rear end! Have an open mind and explore what's out there. My rule is that if you say something is ugly you have to try it on!
3. It's all about balance.
I love fashion! But we all know that some fashions just don't become us. I have long legs and a short torso and no matter how cute high waisted pants are, they make me look like Steve Urkel. ( Dating myself, I know!) Trying to rock them isn't going to work. We all have limitations and if you really want to look your best you have to work with that. Have no fear though, you also have assets that you get to enhance and that part is more fun ;) Most importantly, don't get hung up on trends. If low rise bottoms are the big thing this season but you have a super long torso and short legs, its going to exaggerate those features like a caricature. You want a french cut bottom with a natural waist to bring balance to your figure whether that's what hot or not. Or if you have a large bust and really need support, you might need to find a cute underwire suit even if that's not what's in style. You will look and feel more beautiful in what fits and brings balance to your figure. Trying to force a trend is going to leave you feeling insecure and unhappy in your suit which makes you feel like it's your body, but its not!
4. Make Pinterest board.
As women, we tend to think we are the odd one out when it comes to swimwear. We are the only one with big hips, or size E boobs, or no boobs, or short legs, and I can just keep naming body parts! Very few woman are perfectly proportioned, so if you aren't, you are in good company! There are a plethora of options out there, so the first step is to get a general idea of what you are looking for. Most people have no idea about swimwear styles or how they work on their body so the first thing I recommend is go pinning. Do not pin suits you like!! Pin swimwear models that look like YOU, and by "you" I mean models that are similarly proportioned. They may be bigger or smaller than you but they have the same strengths and weaknesses. What are they wearing, what do you like or not like about the suits they have on? If you can determine the brand names, take notes. Research other companies that are similar to brands that you find and once you have a little list, google which stores carry those brands. It might take a few tries to get it right, but once you find that fit, it will change your swimwear shopping experience forever! You will look forward to shopping and you will look forward to rocking that swimsuit! You do not need to be a size 2 to look AMAZING in a swimsuit!
5. Choose colors that flatter you!
We tend to shop for swimwear by what catches our eye, but that is not the way to go! Be purposeful, and when you shop look for colors that you KNOW bring out your natural beauty. If you aren't sure, think about some other clothes that you own that get you compliments. More often than not, it's the color that enhances your skin, hair, and eye color that bring the compliments. You can also research online what your color palate is or bring a friend to give you an unbiased opinion. Of course you won't love every color you look good in. I have very dark hair and eyes and I look best in dark rich colors like deep lipstick red and eggplant purple. I also look great in some shades of yellow but I hate yellow. I feel comfortable in dark earth tones and so even though I might find a suit in a brighter color, I am not going to love it so its better for me to hold out. I will tell you though, when you really look good in something you know it! You will feel beautiful and love wearing it! If you don't get that vibe, leave it on the rack.
Here are some basic ideas to get you started:
This is a Fixed Halter Top. It's a great universal piece because it can work for a flat chested girl that needs her top to stay put or for a larger chested girl that needs support. Any top that is not on a string is categorized as a fixed top. A thicker band underneath gives more support.
Other examples of fixed tops.
Underwire tops with removable pads can also be good for both flat chested girls that need something with push and padding and( with the pads removed) for a larger chested girl that needs support.
Tops with ruffles, fringe, embroidery or other embellishments help to give the illusion of a fuller bust for us flat chested ladies!
Both the underwire top and the high waisted bottom here flatter the curvy figure! You could also pair this with a solid bottom if you wanted to draw more attention to your bustline.
If you have the torso for it, higher waisted bottoms can give the illusion of a much smaller waist since they come up to the smallest part of the waist. I like how she paired this with a patterned top to flatter her bust.
Low rise bottoms are a must have for me with my short torso! See how it lengthens her torso and balances her figure.
Bottoms with tie sides are very versatile as well for those that find themselves between sizes. Also note how the suit below paired a printed bottom and a solid top to minimize her bust to bring balance to her figure. This is a great use of colors patterns and styles for her body shape!
And speaking of prints, don't discount them! Prints sometimes make the suit for you! Check these out! A mitered suit is super thinning
Color blocking and shirred sides are enhancing this gorgeous girl's figure!
More great examples of color blocking. Even though the suit on the right is colorful, the lines give the illusion of a slimmer figure. If you have a curvier figure, you don't have to stick to black for a slimming look! Use lines, colors, and patters to draw the attention where you want it!
Great uses of lines, shirring, and ruffles here too!
And this is just a tiny example of what's out there! Spend some time thinking about what your best features are, pin some models that are similar to your body type and be aware of what you like about different suits. Maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses and I promise you'll be looking forward to wearing your swimsuit before you know it! Message me with questions or comments if you need help! And comment below if you find a great suit or a great deal or both!
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"And Aubrey was her name. A not so very ordinary girl or name."(Or so says David Gates ;) I'm a wife to Phillip, a mother to Scarlett and Juliet. We live in the beautiful city of Thornton, Co. I'm a recovering red bull addict. I love to read. I hate to cook. I seek to be inspired and also to inspire others. I am a Beachbody Coach on a quest to be truly healthy mind, soul, and body and challenge others to do the same.