Choosing a bikini for your body shape

Published by Ursula Dewey
Published on 11 March 2008

If you're freaking out about the annual trauma of bikini shopping then fear not. These stylist-approved bikini buying tips and tricks will have you in the perfect bikini for your body shape in no time at all.

We spoke to Nicky Hambleton-Jones to find out which styles, shapes and prints we should be thinking about when it comes to bikinis and swimwear this summer - and her stylist advice is bang on the money.

Ready to learn what swimwear suits your shape? Then read on to find the perfect bikini.

Choosing a bikini for your body shape Boyish figure?

If you have an athletic figure like Cameron Diaz you can get away with most bikini and swimwear styles!

However, you might want to try styles that accentuate a more feminine shape and add some curves to your boyish frame.

Triangle bikinis look great on slim women, as do bikinis that fasten around the back of the neck. Plus bikini bottoms that tie at the side look great on svelte legs. If you prefer a one-piece, go for one with geometric motifs to highlight your waist and give you shape.

As women with boyish frames lack curves, Nicky says: "Bandeau and halter neck tops are very flattering for smaller busts. Go for horizontal stripes if you want to create a little curve.

"For a fuller bust look for tops with padding, under wiring and a triangular shape to give the illusion of a fuller cup size and if you have a fuller bust look for supportive halter-neck tops. Again, horizontal stripes will give the illusion of a fuller bust."

Another shortcut to curves is to look for frilly bikinis which add volume and movement.

choosing a bikini for your body shape Hourglass figure?

If your shoulders and hips are the same width and you have a slim waist to boot, you're lucky enough to be able to wear pretty much any kind of swimwear.

Take care with one-piece costumes though as they have to fit perfectly: if they don't hug your curves in the right places they can flatten your shape and make you look heavier than you are.

Hourglass shaped women like Kim Kardashian look amazing in halterneck bikinis as they exaggerate your natural curves.

One style you should steer clear from is the boob tube/bandeau style bikini. If you're big busted they'll only squash your shape - not a good look!

Apple-shape figure?

If you don't have a waist and carry extra weight around your middle with slimmer legs and arms, then the chances are you're an apple shape.

With an apple shape figure, shop for one-pieces rather than bikinis as a one piece will show off your decolletage and flatten that tum at the same time.

Apple shapes often have a big bust so don't even think about buying a bikini top without underwiring.

Balcony shapes offer good support and will add a touch of vintage glam to your beach side look.

If you're self conscious and want to wear shorts, think again - a delicately draped sarong is a much better way to go.

If you're desperate for a bikini look then go for high cut bottoms to slim down the look of your legs and avoid horizontal stripes and bikini shorts as they'll only broaden your frame.

Choosing a bikini for your body shape Pear shaped figure?

If you have big hips and slim shoulders, forget about those one piece swimsuits - they may accentuate that tiny waist of yours but they also shorten your legs which is not a good look.

Try balcony bikinis and triangle tops to show off your top half to maximum effect and team with low waisted bottoms.

Another tip is to go for a bold shade or bright print on your top half to draw the eye upwards and away from wide hips.

Cornet shaped figure?

If you have broad shoulders and narrow hips then you're a cornet shape - the perfect one for summer no?

It might sound like a wardrobe challenge trying to balance out those broad shoulders, but it's actually easy when you know how.

Nicky says that when it comes to dressing a cornet figure the trick is creating the illusion of balance.

She says: "Try and create visual balance from top to toe, playing down your top half and giving the bottom half a bit of a boost."

Halterneck bikini tops will help to break up the neckline and draw attention to your chest - not your shoulders.

You can also try wearing frilly bikini bottoms or ones that have ties at the side to add volume to your hips and create more balance between your top and bottom.

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