With spring break only weeks away, it’s time for beach-goers to start looking for the perfect bathing suit. This is a stressful process that requires weeks of online-stalking and dressing room visits. But you can reduce this stress if you begin your hunt with some criteria in mind.
What even constitutes the perfect bathing suit?
Generally speaking, it’s a style that flatters your form, suits your skin tone, covers everything that should be left up to the imagination and doesn’t leave you with embarrassing tan lines. So as much as we might like the idea of those one-pieces with sexy mid-drift cutouts, they are simply not practical for the majority of bathing suit purposes.
Ladies, stand in front of the mirror in your bra and underwear. Pay attention to the cuts of your undergarments. If you are getting a lady boner from your silhouette, then those are the exact styles you should be searching for in nylon material. If not, then hopefully these tips will inspire you to get rid of your Roxy bikini from high school and find the confidence to buy something a little more mature and less ill-fitting.
1. The fit
Anyone with breasts (sorry, A-cuppers and down) should stay away from stringy tops and ruffled bandeaus. That’s not to say that busty girls cannot wear a bandeau at all; just find one with removable straps. You should aim for something supportive, like a bra — a top that has underwire cups and thicker straps to keep you afloat both in the water and on land.
Flat-chested girls have the privilege of ignoring this category because there is less to hide or emphasize.
Aviva Mandell, a senior majoring in English, hasn’t purchased a bathing suit in six years and is skeptical that there’s actually a cut out there for everyone.
“Not all boobs are made for bathing suits,” Mandell said. “That’s why I stick with nude beaches.”
2. The cut
The perfect bathing suit is not going to be a triangle top. If you are buying a triangle top, then you’re probably settling.
“Triangle tops equals death,” Mandell said.
Don’t let the Victoria’s Secret swimsuit models fool you; a triangle top will not make you look as sexy as they do.
Bandeaus are great for avoiding tan lines, but can sometimes make it look like you have a uni-boob. Strapless alternatives include a sweetheart cut, a ruche or twist in the middle or some kind of blingy centerpiece detailing. You also want something that gives a decent amount of coverage so you don’t have four boobs either.
3. The color and pattern
Again, there is a privileged category of females. The olive and darker-skinned girls can get away with almost any color and pattern of bathing suit. But you should still be practical about it. You may not love a hot pink bathing suit forever.
Girls with pale or pinker skin should opt for anything in the darker brown family; those shades will bring out warmer tones in your skin.
Solids are always better than patterns. But if you feel compelled, polka dots are timeless and can be worn by any body type because of their smaller range.
Another way to alleviate bathing suit shopping stress is not to tempt yourself with brands that sell bottoms and tops as a pair. Realistically, how many girls out there are perfectly proportionate? You need to give yourself the flexibility to try on different sizes. And most stores that sell bathing suits for reasonable prices give you that option.
Emily Skydel, a junior majoring in English, recommends Target for happy bathing suit hunting.
“I usually go to Target for bathing suits because I don’t care if my bottoms and tops match,” Skydel said. “And they’re usually so much cheaper.”
Victoria’s Secret and H&M also have large selections of bathing suits that you can mix and match for less than $50, so there is something out there for everyone. Avoid ordering your bathing suit in a mad dash for something new to wear on the beach. The more time you put into searching for the perfect suit, the more likely you will find one that will last you at least until next spring break.