How to Choose a Swimsuit

How do you find the swimsuit that is right for you?  Shopping for a swimsuit can be a daunting task.  There are so many styles, so many colors, so many fits, and so many cuts.

First, let’s look at color and pattern


LADIES HOME JOURNAL, SWIMSUIT LAYOUT (Photo credit: George Eastman House)

Selecting a swimsuit with a solid color or print may be a difficult choice when purchasing a new swimsuit.   But, if you know just a few hints, this decision can quickly be narrowed down.  Printed designs tend to call attention to a pattern, and solid colors tend not to attract focus.

Printed designs catch the eye and tend to make certain areas stand out.  Flowers tend to enhance areas, and horizontal stripes widen areas.  Vertical stripes will elongate your body.  Solid colors tend to be more slimming and tend not to accentuate certain areas.

Next, let’s  enhance your figure

So, knowing the above few facts and the shape of your own body, perhaps you have already decided upon solid or print for you swimsuit.  If not, here are some suggestions that help you focus on areas that enhance your body.  You may wish to mix solid and patterns to create your best look.

  1.  If you would like to hide body flaws with a one piece swim suit, a suit with a darker background and big pattern will provide a slimming effect with a distraction.
  1. A solid dark color will provide a slimming effect and focus will be on your face instead of your printed suit.
  1. If you would like to make your hip and thigh area look smaller, go with a solid color bottom and a printed top.  This applies to a one piece or a two piece swim suit.
  1. If you would like to enhance your bust line, select a pattern that is bright and has a busy pattern on the top and a darker bottom.  Swim suits with a V-neck cut (halter) give smaller chests a boost.  Ruffles also accentuate the bust area.
  1. If you have a wide waist area, gathered fabrics in a solid color reduce the appearance of a thick waist.

Please read Tips for shopping for a swimsuit and Swimsuit styles and shapes for more ideas on selecting a swimsuit that is right for you.

Happy shopping.


Tips for Shopping for a Swimsuit

Signaturealamode suggests these tips when shopping for a swimsuit:

Allow plenty of time to try on different styles

When shopping for a swimsuit, allow yourself extra time.  This is probably the one item of clothing that we like to shop for the least.  The more you know what you like, the easier it will be to select a swimsuit.  You may wish to read my article on How to select a swimsuit before you go shopping.  This will help cut down on the time you spend searching all the styles on the racks.  However, shopping for a swimsuit when you are rushed can only led to regret if you do not have time to try on the swimsuit you select off the rack.

Do not go shopping hungry

If you go shopping for a swimsuit while you are hungry, you will tend to stop and eat at the mall.  Perhaps you’ll indulge on junk food.  Then, every swimsuit you try on will give you a disappointed feeling as your tummy feels stuffed.  You’ll find something wrong with every suit as you are only focusing on that bloated feeling if you have overeaten, or perhaps just devoured fried dough and icecream at that kiosk that smelled so marvelous across from the store.  Eat before you leave to go shopping and you’ll have a more successful trip when trying on swimsuits.

Don’t shop for a swimsuit if you are in a bad mood

If you’re having one of those self-loathing type of days, don’t try on swimsuits.  You’ll only get cranky and spend a lot of time hating everything.

Try on sizes too big for you

Start by trying on swimsuit sizes that are too big for you, swimsuits tend to run small.  Also, remember that some styles will not work for you no matter what the cut style.  When you start with a size larger, you can then realize where you need more or less coverage, then work your way down to a size that makes you feel great.

Check the labels

If a swimsuit has more lycra, you will get more coverage and control.  The thicker the fabric, the longer the swimsuit will hold its shape.

Try new styles

You may surprise yourself and look great in something different from your norm.

Swimsuit Styles and Shapes

Swimsuit styles and shapes

Bikini Model

There are basically two types of swimsuits

One piece styles offer more coverage and two piece styles are more revealing.  The differences in the two styles are within the cuts.

One piece swimsuits offer all of the same features as two piece tops, except that they are attached to the bottom.  Classic one piece suits distract from wider hips with a classic cut, and enhance bust lines with a halter V-neck cut top.  High cut legs can downplay larger thighs.


Bikini (Photo credit: memoflores)

Two piece swimsuits, which include tankinis can accentuate different body areas.

So, with this information, the below are the different suit shapes for the top and bottom which applies to both one and two piece suits.

Top area

Banded halter – wider strap around below bust for added support, V-neck cut straps that tie behind the neck.  This style gives more support for larger bust areas.

Keyhole bandeau – front rouching that can be tied tighter or looser to enhance the bust area.

String straps – have a very small triangle cup area with strings that tie behind the neck on one pieces and behind the neck and chest on two piece bikinis.  This style is best for average or small bust sizes.

Bandeau – straight cut with full coverage for larger busts.  The cut is just a large area of material straight across.  Attached to a one piece just below the bust area, and ends just below the bust area in a two piece.

Tank cut – V or scoop neck cut with straps on both sides over the shoulder; straps can be thin, wide or even criss cross in the back.  The lengths vary on tankinis depending upon how much coverage you prefer.

Shirt bikini – fuller top with wider coverage than the average bikini top and cap strap sleeves.

Bottom area

Skirt – a bottom with an attached skirt – hides wide hips and large thighs.

Boy shorts – very wide briefs that cover the hip area and top of the thighs.

String bikini – small triangular shape with minimum front and back coverage tied on the side with strings.

Brief – triangular shape with front and rear moderate coverage with wide band sides.

High cut leg – curved cut that sits at or above the hips.

Thong – show us your cheeks – very thin strap back coverage.

When shopping for a swimsuit, keep these styles in mind and determine what you want to accentuate.  Pick the style that accentuates your best features. Please feel free to take this poll and share with our readers what women are wearing this year.

Archived article: Hot Colors and Trends for Spring

Do you have this Spring’s hot color?  As you may have noticed, when shopping this Spring, many bright colors and bright colored jeans are in the stores right now.  Colored jeans are big this year with bold bright colors.  Of course pastels are always a hit for Spring, but have you noticed specifically which colors are hot for 2012?

earthtone colors for Spring 2012

Pastels this year are subdued and muted so they have a more earthtone look.  Beige tones, tans and whites are hot. Black and white is a classic look each Spring and quite abundant this year.

orange/ coral

However, the big bold spring color this year is orange.  The orange coral tone is popular.  Perhaps you have noticed this color this year as you have started your Spring shopping. Have you also noticed different tones of orange?  Orange adds a pop of color to earthtones and muted pastels.  Even if you don’t like orange, you could pick up an orange lightweight scarf to wear with a tank top under a chiffon see through blouse. A pop of orange color will keep you current this year.

Add orange with earthtones this Spring/Summer.

Archived article: Spring 2012 Fashion Must Haves

Do you have the must have items for your Spring 2012 wardrobe?

As the warmer Spring and Summer months arrive, many of us get the itch to go shopping and update our wardrobe, replace older pieces of clothing and add new trends to our wardrobe.  As we transition into the warmer months, so too does our wardrobe.  We begin wearing lighter colors and lighter materials to keep cool.  But what are the must have items for Spring 2012?  Do you already have them stashed away in your closet?  

I have put together a list of my top ten essentials for Spring 2012.  My top ten list is based on my research of the many fashion magazines one can refer to as well as my personal opinion of what I, as a consumer would wear.

You can take this list to your closet and see what you already have.  Perhaps you only need a few items, or venture out to buy everything on this list.

Here’s my top ten 2012 Spring Fashion Must Haves List:

  1. Peplum top
  2. Shorts suit
  3. White pumps
  4. Printed frame sunglasses
  5. High waisted flare pants
  6. Pleated skirt
  7. One shoulder dress or top
  8. Oversized rectangle clutch
  9. Lace or crochet accented top or dress
  10. Metallic tank

oversized clutch

wear shorts as a suit

Is it okay to wear black to a Spring wedding?

Would you wear black to a Spring wedding?  Please take our survey below.

Signature A la Mode’s response: Yes and No.  Sure that’s helpful right.  Well, the answer depends on what time of day the wedding is scheduled for.

If the wedding is scheduled for morning or early afternoon, it would be best to refrain from wearing black.  Traditionally, black has been reserved for funerals and formal settings.  During the day, in the Spring a more colorful attire is typically more accepted by a group of diverse guests.  Pastels are a common choice for bridesmaid dresses in the Spring, so if you choose a pastel, a small shrug or shawl over your dress would help deter attention should the bridesmaids have a similar color as you.  It is safe to go with a print dress for a daytime Spring wedding.

A black dress is acceptable to wear to a night wedding in Spring as black is an evening wear color.  However, it is advisable to add color for a more festive look as one does not want to be reminded of funeral colors in the church.  Adding colored shoes and a colored clutch is a great way to display a pop of color.

Casual Dressing in the Workplace

Do you think fashion in the workplace has become too casual?  In recent years, more and more companies have been laid back with the attire they require their employees to wear.  With the growth of dot com companies and social media, we have seen more and more people arriving to work in jeans.  What do you think?