The Right Swimsuit for Your Body Type

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Tell us if this scenario sounds familiar – summer comes, and whether you like it or not, you head to your favorite department store to pick out a new swimsuit. You find a few you like and head to the fitting room.

Fast forward thirty minutes.

You’ve returned each and every one back to the rack, thinking that maybe you could pull a Jennifer Hudson. You feel discouraged. Maybe you just weren’t meant to swim, get a tan, or have any sort of life during the summer months. Maybe you should move to Alaska. Well, what if we told you that you’re not alone, that even swimwear supermodels go through a ton of suits before finding one good enough for a photo shoot? Better yet, what if we told you that there are countless suits out there that will not only fit you well, but fit your budget?

You’ve just gotta know what to look for, and of course, being your cyber fairy godmothers, we’ve put together some excellent BUDGET swimwear options.. all for less than $50.

The Curveless

So what if you weren’t graced with JLo’s behind, Scarlett Johansson’s boobs, or Beyonce’s hips? If you’ve got an athletic body type, meaning your shoulders, waist, and hips are all the same width, you’ve got lots of choices and many swimsuits can give you the curves you crave. Simple embellishments, like beads, sarongs, ruffles, and belts, which accent your waist, will turn your curveless figure into a shapely one. You’ll be strutting down the boardwalk (summertime’s makeshift runway) in no time.

Here are our swimwear picks for beach babes with an athletic body type:

Leopard Print Wrap MonokiniLeopard-print Wrap Monokini, on sale for $69 at Victoria’s Secret

Ruffled Bandeau Bikini TopRuffled Bandeau Bikini Top and Bottom $14.80 and $12.80 at Forever21

Women's Cross-Front MonokinisWomen’s Cross-Front Monokinis, $32.94 at Old Navy

Sessa Swim SeparatesSessa Swim Separates, $28.80 at Kohl’s

OP Juniors Fashion Rainbow Bikini Top With Molded Push-Up CupsOP Juniors Fashion Rainbow Bikini Top With Molded Push-Up Cups, $11.80 at Walmart


If you’re heavier on the bottom, in other words your butt is wider than your shoulders, aim to accentuate your torso and your neckline to draw the eye upwards. Choose a top that’s a lighter color than the bottom, or has some noticeable, standout feature. Halter tops and scoop bottoms are a great option.

If you’ve got a sizable booty or thick thighs, don’t be afraid to show them off! They’re not anything to be ashamed of and in fact, higher-cut bottoms will actually make you look better, not worse. Only resort to skirts and shorts if you’re just not feeling like revealing much.

Check out these budget & figure-friendly swimsuits:

Shirrendipity Halter Swim DressShirrendipity Halter Swim Dress, $79.00 at Athleta

LOFT Beach Colorblock Bandeau One Piece SwimsuitLOFT Beach Colorblock Bandeau One Piece Swimsuit, $79.50 at The Loft

California Waves Swim Separates Top and BottomCalifornia Waves Swim Separates Top and Bottom, $22.40 a piece at Kohl’s

Top Heavy

Maybe you’re a little busty – in a Barbie kind of way – or maybe you’ve just got really wide shoulders and small hips. You’re what they call an “inverted triangle.” Since everyone will naturally look up (at your chest, perhaps), remind them that you’ve got a sexy waistline, too! To do so, go with a high-cut leg, boy shorts, and/or a bottom that has a more vibrant color or busier pattern than the top. All the while, make sure you’re well supported with a swimtop with cups, a halter top or heavy-duty underwire.

These suits are great for top heavy women:

ASOS Mix and Match Twist Bandeau Fuller Bust Bikini Top D-F ASOS Mix and Match Twist Bandeau Fuller Bust Bikini Top D-F, $17.80 at ASOS

Convertible Halter One-piece Convertible Halter One-piece, $55.50 at Victoria’s Secret

Kenneth Cole Reaction Lace Ruffled One-Piece Swimsuit Kenneth Cole Reaction Lace Ruffled One-Piece Swimsuit, on sale for $79.90 at Macy’s

Plus Size

There are TONS of awesome plus-size swimwear available these days, and they are affordable AND stylish (no more hideous floral printed muumuus). A few tips – most plus size sistas think they look “slimmer” by covering themselves up. Not true; high-cut bottoms really are much more flattering. As far as colors and patterns go, look for the “crossover” style (you’ll know it when you see it) and avoid horizontal stripes along the waistline. Also, the more skin you show, the thinner you look, so don’t be afraid to show what your mama gave you (within reason). If you don’t have a standard black one-piece suit yet, that’s a must buy… for any body type, really. When picking out suits, think voluptuous, not matronly.

Plenty of Plus-size Swimsuit Choices:

Bold Cutout Bikini Set Bold Cut Out Bikini Set, $29.80 at Forever21

ASOS CURVE Exclusive Plunge Swimsuit ASOS CURVE Exclusive Plunge Swimsuit, $47.64 at ASOS

One-Shoulder One-Piece Swimsuit Women’s Plus-Size One-Shoulder One-Piece Swimsuit, $49.99 at Target

Shore Club Pink Plus Size Crossover Swimsuit Shore Club Pink Plus Size Crossover Swimsuit, $51 at Swimsuit for All

Maternity Swimsuit

Thankfully, suits are already stretchy to begin with, so really you just need one that’s extra stretchy and can evolve with your growing belly. Don’t just get a suit that’s one size too big – get one designed for a pregnant woman. Otherwise, you’ll have too much room in some areas and/or not enough in others.

Some maternity swimsuit picks:

Women's Maternity Twist-Front One-Piece Swimsuit Women’s Maternity Twist-Front One-Piece Swimsuit, $27.98 at Target

Maternity Patterned Halter Swimsuits Maternity Patterned Halter Swimsuits, $42.94 at Old Navy


If you’ve got an hourglass figure, first thank your mom. Second, have fun trying on swimsuits. You’re one of the few women out there who can get away with virtually any style.

Some options for curvy girl:

Cutout Triangle Top and HipkiniCutout Triangle Top and Hipkini, $46.50 and $43.50 at Victoria’s Secret

One-shoulder MonokiniOne-shoulder Monokini, on sale for $54 at Victoria’s Secret

Tummy Issues

If you’ve got a pouch (and most of us do), there’s no reason to hide underneath a cover-up. Just look for swimsuits with tummy control panels or ruching (gathered fabric) to cover any issues. Also, bikinis with high waisted bottoms are also a good bet as showing more skin actually makes you look thinner.

Bombshell Bikini BottomBombshell Bikini Top and Bottom, $12.80 and $11.80 at Forever 21

ASOS Tapestry Print Soft Longline Bandeau Bikini ASOS Tapestry Print Soft Longline Bandeau Bikini Top and bottom, $34.30 and $30.49 at ASOS

Women's Swim Dress Women’s Swim Dress, $39.99 at Target

LOFT Beach Seahorse Print Tiered Ruffle One Piece Swimsuit LOFT Beach Seahorse Print Tiered Ruffle One Piece Swimsuit, $89.50 at The Loft

Sessa Solid Cut-Out Bandeau One-Piece Swimsuit Sessa Solid Cut-Out Bandeau One-Piece Swimsuit, $51.60 at Kohl’s


As a Petite fashionista’s, your biggest concern is how to find a small swimsuit that doesn’t make you look like an elderly member of the Mickey Mouse Club or a 36-year-old Lolita. Don’t fret. You actually have a ton of options, including checking out the juniors department, and, in a pinch, the children’s department.

Check out these picks for petite fashionistas:

Gemstone Underwire Top and BottomGemstone Underwire Top and Bottom, $52 and $44 at JCrew

Ruffle Bandeau & Ruffle Hipster Solid Ruffle Bandeau Bikini TopRuffle Bandeau & Ruffle Hipster and Solid Ruffle Bandeau Bikini Top, $24.90 at Delia’s

Floral Rashguard Two-PieceFloral Rashguard Two-Piece, $29.90 at Gap Kids

Older Fashionista

Look, just because you’ve reached a “certain age” that doesn’t mean you have to head directly to the muumuu section when looking for swimwear. As an older fashionista, it’s your duty to bring as much style to the beach as you do on shore. Play up your assets (great bustline (Helen Mirren) or curvy hips (Susan Sarandon). Try patterns (not the standard muumuu floral print) and try a bit of color.

Great swimsuits for the older fashionista:

Watercolor Ruched Halter Tank Watercolor Ruched Halter Tank, on sale for $44.99 at JCrew

Retro Stripe SwimdressRetro Stripe Swimdress, $125 at Ann Taylor

Women's Balconette SwimsuitsWomen’s Balconette Swimsuits, $32.94 at Old Navy

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