“Try a bikini top with a push-up bra or opt for a belted one-piece with a V-neck plunge. The belt gives you an hourglass shape, while the ‘V’ draws the eye to your midsection.” bright light doesn’t cast shadows and won’t emphasize the appearance of cellulite. Only a camera will leave a shadow,” she says, adding that higherend swimwear brands use better fabrics that tend to fit better. “They research things like stitch technologies and print placement. It makes a big difference.”
When you step into a specialty boutique, be prepared to get schooled in swimwear design—fits and cuts are key. Vasilia Panagakos, owner of Toronto’s Avec Plaisir and Eres boutiques, says that with the dawn of Google, more and more customers are asking for things that simply won’t work. “A lot of customers come in with assumptions on what to wear based on what they’ve read online,” she says. “I’ll have clients with a full bust say they want a bandeau bikini top because they read that it gives more coverage, but what they need is the exact opposite.” Panagakos and her staff work to determine which brand will work for each customer. “This is where technical accuracy and quality come into play,” she says, listing longevity of the swimsuit, comfort, breathability and memory of the fabric among the benefits of the brands she carries.
Of course, being realistic is important when shopping for swimwear. “It’s like shopping for jeans,” says Panagakos. “You have to know what’s going to work and what won’t. I have a Mediterranean body type, for example, and I can’t wear any style that’s too low-cut.” But when a look you’ve set your sights on won’t jive with your body type— farewell, high-waisted bikini bottoms— it’s actually an opportunity to stop the carousel ride of shame that accompanies swimsuit shopping. “Focus on the most beautiful parts of your body and forget your imperfections,” says Chantal Levesque, designer of swimwear label Shan.
So the next time you hit the shops looking for a new swimsuit, be positive and remember that sunny beach days lie ahead. I plan to slow down a little, take stock of what will actually suit my figure and make peace with my thighs. Barring all that, there’s always my trusty corkscrew and really large glass.