No matter how great your body, women everywhere cringe when it's time to enter the fluorescent-lit dressing room with a bunch of skimpy bathing suits. With a few quick tricks and some suits targeted at different problem areas, TODAY style contributor Stacy London hopes to make the experience of finding the right suit a little less painful.
Tips before hitting the dressing room1. Try applying a light self-tanner for a few days prior to shopping for a suit since pale skin and dressing room lighting rarely make for a good mix. And shave or wax or whatever — hairy in fluorescent lighting doesn't work either.
2. Remember it is more than likely you are a different size in swimwear than you are in clothing. Most women can be up to three sizes larger in swimsuits than their clothes. Do not let this get to you — make sure you find the suit that fits well and gives you the proper coverage and lift where you need it. Size be damned.
3. It is OK to buy without try. Some people feel much less self-conscious when trying swimsuits on at home. As long as you try them on with underwear and keep the tags on, this is fine. Swimsuit shopping is emotional. Do what makes you feel most comfy.
Many women carry their weight in their midsection, especially postpregnancy. To create balance in the body, go for a tankini that has a V-neck and rusching in the midsection. This wrapping effect creates an hourglass silhouette by holding the tummy area in. The visual effect balances the body and our eyes are drawn to the shoulder and the leg line.
As seen on TODAY: Swimsuit: Carmen Marc Valvo top, $81;
Carmen Marc Valvo bottom, $60
Shoes: Nine West, $79
Handbag: Moyna, $140,
Sunglasses: Robert Marc available at
Bangles: RJ Graziano, available at Macy's
Earrings: RJ Graziano, available at Bloomingdale's
You do not need to be stick-thin to wear a bikini! When you have a larger chest, do look for a top that has full cups with an underwire. You want to make sure your chest doesn't make a surprise appearance when you go for a swim!
If traditional straps like the ones here don't feel secure enough, look for a halter to tie around the neck, which will help you control how high you can hoist the girls. Also, the brief here is a string bikini bottom. The brief, which gives fuller coverage, helps to balance a larger chest.
As seen on TODAY: Swimsuit top: Athena, Macy's, $52
Swimsuit bottom: Athena, Macy's, $44
Shoes: Steve Madden, $79.95
Earrings: Lee Angel,
Bangles: Kenneth Jay Lane available at Saks, Nordstrom
Handbag: Echo, $88, Macy'sBigger on bottom
Many companies are making three-piece tankinis now that come with a top, a brief and a miniskirt. The skirt is made of the same swimsuit material and can be worn in the water or as a cover-up. This is particularly helpful for women who carry their weight in their bottom half.
The deep V and the printed top naturally pull the focus upward. The A-line of the miniskirt actually floats off the tush and hips and flatters the leg line. A darker solid color also helps to camouflage a larger bottom.
As seen on TODAY: Swimsuit top: Merona, Kohl's, $19.99
Swimsuit bottom: Merona, Kohl's, $19.99
Shoes: Aldo, $70
Handbag: MAXX NEW YORK, $140, Lord & Taylor
Sunglasses: Robert Marc, available at
Bangles: Gold and wooden cuffs, Kara Ross,
Necklace: RJ Graziano, available at Bloomingdale's
Earrings: Gerard Yosca,
Hat: J. Crew Well-proportioned
Even if your body line is in proportion, make sure you choose a swimsuit that doesn't skew that balance. Look for a moderately thick, widely placed strap with a V-neck. Pleating or rusching under the bustline will call attention to the smallest part of your frame.
Look for a medium-high cut on the leg hole to give you the longest leg line and enough coverage in the seat. One-pieces have been making a big return, not just for balancing the body shape but for those seeking a bit of modesty in a string-bikini world!
As seen on TODAY: Swimsuit: Gottex, $178, Saks
Shoes: Stuart Weitzman, $265,
Handbag: Banana Republic, $138
Sunglasses: Mui Mui,
Scarf: Kenneth Cole,
Earrings: Gerard Yosca, available at