Jun 22, 2009

Bathing beauty

Leda & St. Jacques Author: Elle Canada Credits: Leda & St. Jacques

Jun 22, 2009

Bathing beauty

With warm weather comes BBQ parties, patio sessions and serious beach time. If you’re like the thousands of women who dread the task of bathing suit shopping, take note: has enlisted the expertise of Amie Heenan, one of four sisters who own Toronto boutique Melmira Bra and Swimsuits to identify all the major body types — from curvy pear-shapes, to those Perfect 10s — so you can find the perfect suit for your shape. Read on … an itsy bitsy may just be in your future.


athleticWHITE.jpg1. Athletic body

  • Look for soft colours, prints and geometric patterns that will not distract from your toned physique, but enhance it and show off that nice body you have worked so hard to achieve. 
  • Adding detail to the torso will help add definition. Try hipsters and halters, which add feminine details to a strong chiselled body.
  • Be wary of boy-shorts because they can make your body look too boyish and intensify the appearance of a boxy figure. Details around the bust line are also a great choice because they give the appearance of a smaller waistline.
  • If you are still too worried about showing off your torso, a one-piece bathing suit is a great choice, so look for suits that have details which will create definition around the waistline, such as placement prints and jewellery.



bustyWHITE.jpg2. Busty



  • Make sure to find a suit that gives you great support, which means no strapless.
  • Avoid bra styles that minimize your bust by flattening it, as the bust line will appear fuller and rounder, thereby shortening the body and giving an overall heavier appearance. Look for suits tht have thick straps and fit and cover properly to ensure you bust is lifted upwards and inwards, giving the illusion of a longer torso and therefore making you look slimmer.
  • Look for details and prints that pull attention away from the bust, such as ruffles, shirring, draping and colour blocking.

Product images courtesy of Roza Phox and Genny Lui

Check out bathing suits for pear-shaped and petite women
And don't forget to enter our summer style contest!

pearshapedWHITE.jpg3. Pear-shaped

  • The ‘50s are back in swimsuit style, which is good news for ladies concerned about their hips and thighs. Such styles as a skirted bottom is a hot look right now and is effective at covering up problem areas and drawing attention away from them in a fashionable way. Other cute '50s-inspired attire includes styles that suck and tuck you in and help create a slimmer figure.
  • To balance out your upper body with your lower half, opt for a thicker tank-top style; don’t wear anything too skimpy as it will look off-balance with the bottoms.
  • Geometrics and florals are very trendy for the warm season, so have fun and select suits that offer up pops of great colour and contrast. However, avoid any suits that have belts across the waist or those with tight elastics; creating bulges is definitely not your goal! Instead, go for a suit that has a side tie. You will be drawing attention upwards; or, try a higher-cut bottom to lengthen and slim the thighs.



petiteWHITE.jpg4. Petite



  • With a small figure you have to be careful not to overwhelm your tiny body with too much print and colour — smaller, more dense mini prints or geometrics are a more fashionable choice.
  • Plunging necklines and halters also lengthen the body, creating the illusion of height and legs that go on for days.
  • Word of caution: Just because you’re petite doesn’t mean you should be shopping for your swimwear in the children’s section.
  • Avoid the bandeau styles; they can actually shorten the body and break it up in a way that makes you look stocky.



Product images courtesy of Roza Phox and Genny Lui Check out swimsuits for straight and narrow and perfect 10s
And don't forget to enter our summer style contest!



straight-narrowWHITE.jpg5. Straight and narrow

  • Like the athletic body type, hipsters and halters are going to be a great option.
  • Detail that adds definition to the torso is also good because it can create the illusion of curves in an otherwise lean body.
  • Boy-shorts and bandeaus are your go-to option for creating that curvaceous J.Lo body!
  • Try going for blunt geometrics, which will create sharp edges and balance nicely with your body.



perfect10WHITE.jpg6. A perfect 10 (yes, they do exist!)



  • Women who are well proportioned will be able to find a suit that will work for them fairly easily; so instead of focusing all of your attention on the cut let your personality really shine through with suits that are against the grain.
  • Cut-out bikinis are really big right now as is the ‘50s inspired numbers. Have fun with it!



Product images courtesy of Roza Phox and Genny Lui Check out what styles suit apple-shaped and plus size
And don't forget to enter our summer style contest!



appleshapedWHITE.jpg7. Apple-shaped (Long legs and short torso)

  • Empire waistlines, vertical geometrics and rouching are a great way to create the illusion of a longer torso.
  • Bandeau necklines also break up the body to create a nice openness.
  • Another new style that has seen a reinvention is the blouson; which is a soft draping fabric that is forgiving if you are a little heavier around the torso.
  • The miratex fabric is another great new fabric perfect for summer because of the lycra it contains: It can hold everything in almost like a corset.
  • Styles to avoid include the tankini, which will only accentuate the tummy area, and colour blocking.



plussizeWHITE.jpg8. Plus size



  • For those full-figured ladies there is something perfect for you too! Keeping the eye at the bust line is a must, so plunging necklines, bandeaus and ombre prints are ideal.
  • Square necklines can make the body look very boxy, so try sashes to create feminine touches; which accentuate your curves.
  • Like petite women, colour blocking and geometrics play an important role in making you look your best. Wearing a print that is too small for your frame will only make you look heavier and unbalanced. Don’t lose your personality, so choose something that matches your frame and your state of mind.


Product images courtesy of Roza Phox and Genny Lui
To find more information on these and other bathing suits for each body type, check out our slideshow of swimsuit shopping and visit

Read more
Get beach ready now
The perfect beach body

Body check
Teeny weeny bikini: Reviving retro swimwear

And don't forget to enter our summer style contest here!


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Bathing beauty