May 6, 2013 at 10:37 AM ET
It’s that time of year all women dread: Swimsuit season, when we shed those layers and bare all at the beach. But with a sea of swimsuits to choose from, how do you know what’s on-trend, age-appropriate and right for your body type?
Style expert and best-selling author of "The Bra Book" Jené Luciani is here to the rescue with must-have swimwear that won't bust your budget, plus how to find the best one for you!
Body type: Hourglass or pear
Swim trend: Skirted bottoms
If you have a thin midsection but want to hide trouble spots in other areas like around the hips or thighs, you can go for a great on-trend two-piece that has a skirted bottom. It’ll provide a little more coverage on your bottom half, while still showing off your figure.
I find lots of great options in all sorts of styles at Marshalls, where you can get swimsuits for as low as $30 or even less. Don’t forget that this year, it’s important to choose a bright, bold color and have fun with your accessories.
Body type: Busty
Swim trend: Bra-sized swimwear
Whether you’ve recently had kids, lost or gained a bit of weight, or your bra size just fluctuates in general, you want a suit that’s going to fit and support you through the season. That’s why a bra-sized swimsuit is a great choice, especially for busty women. Anita International makes cup-sized swimwear up to an I-cup, in everything from printed tankinis to one-pieces.
Body type: Curvy
Swim trend: Swim dress
Fuller-figured women who love to flaunt their curves should look no further than a swim dress in a bright color or print that pops. You can’t go wrong with a fun printed suit that provides a little coverage at the bottom with a "sarong-front" style, cinches at the waist, and shows off an appropriate amount of cleavage. Plus-size mecca Sonsi.com has dozens of options in sizes up to a 36 or 5X, so you can always find something stylish that accentuates your shape.
Body type: Over 50
Swim trend: One-piece
While women over 50 may not feel the most comfortable in a bikini, there are sexy one-piece suits that show off a little skin. This year, it’s all about the details. A plunging neckline, shirring over the tummy (which also helps to cinch the waist for a slimming effect), high-cut leg openings and even a back that dips low, are all sexy but age-appropriate touches for a day at the beach. The Shape and Enhance Suit at Lands’ End ($159) does all of these things, making it the perfect choice for a mature woman.
After you’ve found your perfect swimsuit, don’t forget the accessories! Here are some key items to toss into your beach bag:
Shades: For women who need their prescription lenses even while on the beach, EasyClip from Aspex Eyewear means always seeing those clear blue skies without carrying around several pairs of glasses. I love that the magnetic frames allow you to attach your sunglasses lens to your regular glasses in a matter of second — making the quick switch a breeze ($250). Also, since you’re saving so much money on your suit, you can splurge on a pair of designer shades. I love the selection at Sunglass Hut.
Hats: We all know SPF isn’t enough anymore, right ladies? That’s why wearing a hat is so important to further shield yourself from the sun’s harmful rays — and look stylish while doing it! LandsEnd.com and ColdWaterCreek.com offer a variety of straw and floppy sun hats and fedoras, so you can score some fun toppers just in time for summer.
Bags: You can’t hit the beach without a fab beach bag. Plus, we all want a designer name without spending a lot. Whether you want straw, canvas, plastic or cloth, everything is under one roof at TJ Maxx. Get one to go with each swimsuit, for a fun, coordinated look.
Wraps: If you want to cover up in a cinch, a versatile scarf that also functions as a pareu/wrap is a great thing to tote along. I found some great prints with lots of color for $26 at AprilMarin.com. Don’t forget you can wear your wrap a lot of different ways, so put one on at the beach and beyond!