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  • Writer's pictureSara Marsden-Shreeve

Know Your Swimwear Basics!

Swimwear Basics; Summer Holidays | The Image Tree
Check Out My Quick Tips Before You Buy

Lucky You! You've booked your getaway to somewhere sunny or at least a Great British break in the peak of Summer sun! Optimism? Either way, you will have to don some form of swimwear to give your pasty skin a treat, but don't panic I am here to point you in the right direction to dress your body the right way so that you feel more like Bo Derek and less like Beau Bridges... There's nothing worse than getting to the beach and not feeling like you want to disrobe because your cossie is not filling you with confidence.

So ladies, what are your assets? We need to enhance those...and what bits would you rather hide? We can assist those parts. No one is ever completely happy with their bodies, not even supermodels, so the key is to be more positive about what we do like so we dilute our thoughts about the other bits. So with this in mind I've broken our lovely little bodies into various proportions so that you can adjust the style of tops, bottoms and swimsuits accordingly to suit your requirements. Hope this helps!

Ooh and because I'm trying to limit myself from confusing you with countless images of swimwear clad models with unusually proportional bodies , I've put together a collection of examples and finds on a PINTEREST BOARD to give you high street inspirations you can look at afterwards. So please feel free to click on the link at the bottom of the page when you've absorbed my basic tips.


We need to determine proportions so we can do a balancing act, so decide whether your shoulders and hips are in proportion. If unsure, place a measuring tape from the top of the shoulder bone (straight upwards of the arm pit - knobbly bone bit) and let it hang down straight like a plumb line, if hips are wider they should fall outside the tape, narrower within the tape and balanced if the tape skims the hips.

If HIPS are Wider than Shoulders...

  • Keep the bottom half of a bikini set plain if you can mix and match and/or in a darker shade and ensure its in a high leg cut as you're comfortable with. You can find one piece swimsuits with more pattern and interest to the top part of the design too. If you are bottom heavy don't wear super big briefs or bikini shorts, they will only maximise the area further if you don't balance the top. Mini sarongs are a nice touch to your outfit if you don't like your bum or you can even get swimsuits with skirts (skorts). Confidence trumps everything.

  • The bikini/swimsuit top can be patterned, detailed or in a lighter or brighter colour to trick the eye and create balance. Horizontal stripes or bandeau styles also balance out a wider bottom half. Bigger busts need to be supported though, so bandeau's and strapless maybe unforgiving.

  • Small Boobs - Give them some oomph with maybe a ruffle or sequins and for more shape go for tops with underwire and/or moulded cups. Twisted bandeau bikini tops look great too.

Swimsuit Focus
Give Focus to the Top Half

If SHOULDERS are Wider than HIPS...

Emphasis to the Bottom Half

  • Anything with a halter neck works wonders, provided you keep the straps in harmony with your bust, so bigger the boobs the wider the straps. If you have a big bust remember support is essential, so underwired or banded cups are a must and consider a one-piece or wrap-over swimsuit if you have tummy worries.

  • A deeper or more plunging neckline works best to draw the eye down. Nothing strapless or with a square cut neckline, as this will widen shoulders further.

  • Keep your top half simple if you can, this allows you to emphasise your narrow hips with patterns, detailing and colour.


Take a look at your waist and hips. Decide whether your waist goes in clearly from a rounded hip, straight up and down or somewhere in between these two categories.

If your WAIST clearly goes IN from a rounded HIP.

  • Choose high cut legs or plain hip panels on your bottoms. If you have a small waist, any detailing or even belted briefs are a nice touch to emphasise your waspish midriff.

  • Wrap effect swimsuits or tankinis (long top with bottoms) are flattering for the fuller figure but ensure ruching is minimal as they can create bulk.

  • If you like the 'on trend' look, try the 1950's corset styled tops or a high waisted brief with a cupped bra top.

If your WAIST and HIPS are Straight up and down.

Curved Panels Two Piece
Curved Panels Optically Create shape

  • Swimsuits with curvy side panels in contrasting colours look good and create curves or try a patterned two piece. Avoid anything with vertical stripes. If you are slim, the latest 'cut out' one pieces look great.

  • Low cut legs and the usual side tied bikini bottom is fine. You can go high cut in the leg if your legs are shorter than your torso.

If your WAIST and HIPS are somewhere in between the above two sections, you can pretty much wear most leg cuts. Just think about your boobs, shoulders and hip proportions.

And Finally...

Take the whole of your general build into consideration and apply the following rules for colour and pattern

Tall - Avoid vertical stripes, instead choose horizontal designs and lines. Avoid loud prints as they draw attention- unless of course you embrace your height!

Petite - Keep any focal interest to the top half of the body. Keep any patterns small so that you don't get swamped. Hipster style mini briefs are flattering on the smaller frame, individual proportions allowing,

Fuller figured - keep patterns larger and aim for any vertical/ diagonal detailing and necklines, keeping any straps wider. Darker or monochromatic colours work best to streamline, as light or bright can create attention to lumps and bumps. No shiny fabrics either, they are not forgiving. One piece swimsuits or tankini styles in a block of colour or print are flattering and can come fitted with control panels for extra confidence. Keep legs higher cut (to your comfort level) and avoid too much ruching, If you like your boobs, go for some embellishment around the neckline to draw the eye to your assets.


A swimsuit can create focal points to oomph an area or draw the eye away from another. They can camouflage bits we're not so confident with and balance out hips or shoulders and even create or emphasise curves. What would work for you here?

Swimsuit Edition | The Image Tree
Look To Wear Your Eye is Drawn


Two Piece Time | The Image Tree
From Tankini to Bikini. High Legs to Shorts

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please ensure that the essential fabric on your swimwear is lined to avoid transparency issues when you make your 'goddess-like' exit from the water! Ooh and also if you would like further confidence tips for actually feeling better disrobing or going to the pool or beach, check out my other friendly blog post here.

Thank you for reading and enjoy your holiday!


Sara xx


And don't forget if you need some further advice personally, check out my Services and Style Journey Packages.

Are you mind body and wardrobe happy?, The image tree blog
It's Time To Be Happy Inside and Out

Plus, I also have a private Facebook Community full of positive self image vibes and body love... Holistic Style Tips galore too. Click on image to find out more

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