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Video: Swimwear that flatters any figure

TODAY
updated 5/25/2007 10:51:49 AM ET 2007-05-25T14:51:49

Bathing suit season. How is that those three little words can strike terror in the hearts of women everywhere? While it's too late to lose 10 pounds (or 20 or 50) by Memorial Day, it's not too late to look and feel your best all summer long. Liria Mersini is a fashion consultant and body image expert — she's put together some great swimwear looks for virtually every figure! Whether a size 2 or 22, most women know exactly what scares us about going public in a bathing suit. Here are six of the most common swimwear concerns and what to do about them:

Challenge: My (hour) glass is full
Goal: Minimize full curves

Do you have a full hourglass figure? Pick a simple style, like a halter maillot, and use prints to manage all the attention you're sure to receive poolside. Snake halter tank suit, $79.95, The Avenue; Cork T-strap sandal, $49.99, shoetrader.com; Gold circle choker, $19.99, Ashley Stewart

Try a print at the bust if:

  • You are smaller-busted and want to create the illusion of more.
  • Your bust line is your favorite feature and you want it highlighted.

Hint: Think of your print as a spotlight. Don't be afraid to choose a bold print but keep everything else muted and subdued for a minimizing effect.

Challenge: My bottom half is bigger than my top half
Goal: Minimize hips and thighs to create an "in proportion" look

Is the bottom half of your figure at least one size larger than the top half? This is a reality for many women. To work with your curves, try a longer line tankini but don't stop there. A long tankini top will look wonderful with a simple skirt or jersey pants. Pink halter tankini, $59.99, Fashion bug; Classic swim skirt, $29.99, Fashion bug; Jersey drawstring pant, $49.50, Lane Bryant; Tori gromet espadrille, shoetrader.com; Jax on a necklace, $125,jaxxco.com

Try a longer line tankini and coordinate with separates if you are:

  • Two different sizes on the top and bottom half
  • More comfortable in pants or skirts than a bathing suit
  • Tall and want coverage

Hint:Be creative. Don't be afraid to mix and match.

Challenge: Sporty and full-figured: The bikini challenge
Goal: Find a curve-friendly bikini

Got fuller curves? Want a bikini anyway? Try a modest bikini for more coverage than you might expect. The ruched bottom offers maximum coverage and the extra banding on top is easy to wear if you have a full bust. Ruched batik sundress, $39.99, silhouettes.com; Maximum coverage ruched bikini, $79.99, Land's End; Gold beaded slide's, $39, shoetrader.com

Try a modest bikini if you:

  • Have always wanted to wear a bikini but don't want to feel too bare.
  • Want a young, sporty look but need coverage.

Hints: You can adjust the ruched bottom to show more or less tummy and hip. So it adjusts with your mood.

Challenge: My thighs!
Goal: Create youthful coverage

Are your thighs are your fullest feature? You don't have to wear a swimdress for camouflage. Instead, try a graphic print tank suit partnered with a bubble skirt. With the low waist and bubble shape you'll stay modern and have coverage exactly where you want it! Graphic halter tank, $89, alwaysforme.com; Gauze bubble skirt, $34, alwaysforme.com; Jeweled platform flip flops, $19.95, avenue.com; Sea glass necklace, $18, avenue.com

Try a tank and bubble skirt cover-up if:

  • Your thighs are the fullest part of your figure.
  • You want a hip modern beach look.

Hints: Try this if you have junk in your trunk and don't want to wear a swim dress.

Challenge: An apple shape/ large midsection
Goal: Create the illusion of a waist

You can create the illusion of a defined waist with a matching tank and pareo. Black smartsuit tank and pareo, $152, LipoInABox.com; Zebra print thong, $89.99, shoetrader.com; Yellow pantent leather bag, $24.99, Ashley Stewart

Try a matching tank and pareo if you:

  • Want optimum coverage.
  • Need to minimize tummy or hips.

Hints: If one pareo is too sheer, try using two. You'll get coverage and still have the pareo look and feel. Also, add a pop of color (like this yellow tote from Ashley Stuart) for drama.

Challenge: Large and not too curvy
Goal: Create curves and minimize

Would you like to show off your great legs and still have enough body coverage? Try a ruched tankini. Since the sides of this skirt are adjustable you control how much leg you want to show. Red adjustable skirtini, $89, Alwaysforme.com; White t-strap sandals, $49.99, shoetrader.com; White sunglasses, $6.99, Old Navy

Try a ruched tankini if:

  • You have great legs and want to show them off.
  • Your legs are your favorite feature and you want them highlighted.

Hints: Match with heels and wear this out dancing.

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