10 Types of Bathing Suits for Different Body Types

Shopping for the right swimsuit can sometimes feel like a hassle. A lot of women have difficulty finding the right suit for their body type. In fact, a lot of women report struggling with their confidence in a swimsuit. 

Getting to know your body type and how to flatter it, however, is the first step to getting a swimsuit that you feel great in. Check out these tips and guidelines on the best suit for you, and boost your confidence next time you step foot on the beach!

Different Body Types: Focus on Your Proportions

Over the years, you may have heard different ways of describing all the varying body types. Some may be familiar with terms like “fork” and “knife” when categorizing body shapes; others swear by the Kibbe method that was developed in the 1980s, which focuses on the essence of different body types.

For the sake of ease and brevity, we are going to be sticking with a method of body typing that focuses on the balance of proportions. Though everybody has a different and unique body, here are some general groups that you may fall into.


The hourglass figure generally features a chest and shoulders that are the same width as the hips. Hourglass types have a defined waist and tend to appear quite curvy –– like an hourglass. You may want to emphasize your waist to highlight your curves.


Apple body types carry the most volume around the middle. They often have slender limbs and narrow hips, but may carry an ample bust. For apple types, it’s often recommended to emphasize your slim legs while creating definition in the waist.

Inverted Triangle

Inverted triangle types have broad shoulders and carry most of their volume on the upper half of their torso. Their hips are narrower than their shoulders, and they may have a broad rib cage. Many inverted triangles appear quite tall and athletic. If you have this body type, you may want to add some volume near your hips and take advantage of your beautiful shoulders.


Rectangle body types have a straight up and down silhouette. Like the hourglass, they have evenly proportioned shoulders and hips; the difference is that they often have little to no definition in the waist. The focus for rectangles is either to accentuate your slender silhouette or bring volume around the top and bottom as well as definition to the waist.


The pear body type carries the most volume around their bottom half. Though they generally have slim shoulders and a narrow upper torso, they have wide hips and often have strong legs. Pear types might choose to highlight their beautiful hips and legs while adding some volume to the upper body for balance.

Bathing Suits for Different Body Shapes

How you choose to highlight and balance your figure is up to you. Some may wish to accentuate the body type they have, while others prefer to disguise certain aspects of it. Whatever the case, here we have some guidelines on which styles to go for –– and which to avoid — when you wish to achieve a certain effect. 

Extra Coverage

Whether your goal is modesty or a bit of tummy control, these styles are ideal for a bit of extra fabric coverage. If the idea of showing a lot of skin isn’t for you, you can’t go wrong with one of these looks.

High-Neck Top

Whether it’s part of a one-piece or a two-piece swimsuit, the high neck features a neckline that ends at or above the collarbone. This can offer some added sun protection as well as modesty in the bust. This style is especially flattering for slim or athletic body types, as it draws attention to sculpted shoulders and creates a sleek silhouette. If you have a larger bust and want to avoid cleavage, this can also be a good option for you.


The tankini is a universally flattering style. While it puts a bit of an emphasis on modesty over a bikini, the tankini comes in a variety of styles; some show more skin, others create shape through extra layers and ruffles. Most people look great in a tankini, but it can be extra helpful to disguise a bit of weight around the stomach; this is especially true of tankinis with multiple layers.

Long-Sleeved Swimsuit

The long-sleeved swimsuit –– also called a rash guard –– is most often worn by divers and surfers. Its main purpose isn’t an aesthetic one –– it’s usually to protect against sunburns after many hours in the water. However, if you’re looking for extra coverage, a long-sleeved swimsuit can be a great option.

Waist Emphasis

For a lot of women, creating an hourglass figure is the desired effect of their swimwear. In that case, try out these looks, which are designed to draw the eye inward. 

Retro Bikini AKA High-Waisted Two-Piece

This bikini has its origins in the first two-piece swimsuits that became popular in the US. Its main feature is a high-rise swimsuit bottom that cinches the waist. Many versions of this style also have an old-fashioned underwire halter top with a sweetheart neckline. This style has a lot of vintage aesthetic appeal; it also offers a lot of coverage and bust support. This is ideal to slim the stomach and emphasize the waist.

Criss Cross Swimsuit

The criss-cross swimsuit is a modern style. Anyone can give this look a try if you want to stand out; however, athletic or rectangular body types that don’t have many curves will look great in this style, as it adds interest and shape to the torso.


The monokini is a one-piece swimsuit that nevertheless shows off plenty of skin. Monokini can refer to a few different things, but typically it means that a bathing suit has significant cutouts on the sides. While this is great for anyone who wants to show off their figure, it’s an especially flattering style on rectangle body types or those without many curves; the cutouts can create the illusion of a shapely torso.

Showing Some Skin

When it’s time to get your tan on, showing some skin might be your ultimate goal. These styles offer extra breathability and let you show off your figure.

String Bikini

The string bikini is the classic way to flaunt what you’ve got at the beach. Anyone with confidence can pull this look off, but be sure to apply sunscreen liberally as most of your skin will be exposed. If you have a particularly large chest, hips, or bottom, you may want to be careful with this look — it can be a recipe for a wardrobe malfunction, so make sure it fits perfectly.

Bandeau Top

The bandeau top has a history of being a slightly risky move, due to the fact that it often lacks supporting straps. However, many bandeau swimsuits these days come with removable straps, as well as built-in bust support or underwire. Bandeau tops are great for showing off extra skin and getting an even tan around the chest. If you have a smaller bust and hips, you may want to avoid this style as it can flatten the bust even more.

Adding Volume

If you have an inverted triangle, pear, or rectangle shape, you may wish to create extra volume in your hips or bust. Try out these styles to achieve this illusion.

Ruffled Swimsuit Bottoms

Some bottoms are simple and sleek, while others add detailing for extra flair. Swimsuit bottoms with ruffles, bunches, or pleats are a great way to add some coverage to the hips and thighs while remaining flirty and fun. For body types with broad shoulders, this style also creates volume in the hips, balancing out your proportions.

Flounced or Ruffled Top

A flounced top features an extra layer of fabric that creases or ruffles across the chest. This can be part of a one or two-piece bathing suit. The flounce top brings emphasis to the chest and shoulders; if you have narrow shoulders, wide hips, or a small chest, this look provides you with extra volume to encourage an hourglass shape.

Choose What Works for You

There are endless styles of swimsuits out there. The great news is you can experiment with them as much as you want! Remember, these are just suggestions for finding a fit that is flattering as well as comfortable. What style you choose to wear is ultimately up to you. Once you figure out what you like, it’s time to hit the dunes and enjoy the sun!


An Introduction To The Kibbe Body Types | the concept wardrobe.

The Evolution of the Swimsuit | CR Fashion Book 


Learn What Our Beach Body Survey Revealed About Bikinis | POPSUGAR Fitness