Ready or not, it’s beach season! To help you look your best while lounging poolside, we asked Heather Gross—style expert and buyer for intimate apparel company Bare Necessities—to share her advice on how you can select the most flattering swimsuit for your body type this summer. Just pick the Latina celeb whose body type best matches your own, soak in these tips on choosing the ideal suit for your shape, and then gear up for some stylish fun in the sun.
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Athletic: Michelle Rodriguez
Swimsuit Challenge: Michelle Rodriguez is proof positive that muscles are super sexy! To show off the results of those hard workouts at the gym, choose a swimsuit that creates curves and keeps you from looking boyish on the beach.
Seek Out: Halter styles, which Gross says minimize broad shoulders, are a great pick if you have an athletic body type. Swimsuits that accentuate the waist—such as belted suits or monokinis with the sides cut out—are also perfect because these styles will give you more of an hour-glass figure. For bottoms, look for high-cut styles that will make your legs look longer.
Avoid: Stay away from solid one-pieces, Speedos and overly plain or understated styles. You’ll look best in embellished, feminine suits that emphasize your curves.
Best Buys: Gross loves Tommy Bahama’s and Ralph Lauren’s fun, flirty swimsuits for athletic gals.
Curvy on the bottom: Jennifer Lopez
Swimsuit Challenge: Find a swimsuit that makes your hips look proportionate with the rest of your body. While your hips should be celebrated—just look at Jennifer Lopez!—you may want to minimize in order to create a balanced figure.
Seek Out: For women with full hips, finding the perfect bottom is key; you won’t look your best if the bottom is too skimpy or too full. A skirted bottom can help, and Gross says that many designers now offer styles that are young and trendy. Wearing a belted bottom is also a great way to draw attention to your waist rather than to your hips. Gross also suggests combining a solid bottom with a printed top, as this pairing will draw eyes upward.
Avoid: If you think boy shorts are ideal for covering full hips, think again! Gross says that she would never recommend boy shorts for women with this body type. While you might think that more coverage will make you look smaller, a tighter bottom is actually just going to emphasize your hips.
Best Buys: La Blanca, which offers a wide range of styles that look great on many different body types, is an ideal place to start your sexy swimsuit search.
Slim: Zoe Saldana
Swimsuit Challenge: If you are long and lean like Avatar star Zoe Saldana, the key to looking out of this world at the beach is to find a suit that doesn’t make you look too tall and lanky.
Seek Out: Boy shorts, which create a proportionate figure by cutting the lines of your legs, will look amazing on you. A banded halter bikini—a style that ties around your neck and has a band underneath your bust—is also flattering because it will break up the lines of your body and keep your frame from appearing too lanky.
Avoid: One-pieces probably aren’t ideal for you because they are difficult to fit on a long torso. You’ll also want to stay away from vertical stripes, which can exaggerate the length of your body.
Best Buys: The super-cute monokinis and cut-out designs by Vitamin A are great for long and lean girls.
Curvy on top: Salma Hayek
Swimsuit Challenge: The greatest swimwear obstacle for full-busted women like Salma is finding a suit that comes in your bra size. To look sizzling hot this summer, you’ll want to make sure that your suit fits properly and provides you with full support.
Seek Out: The first step to finding the perfect fit is making sure that you find a top that fits. Look for supportive underwire styles—like a banded halter top—which will keep your breasts up and in. As you try on tops, Gross suggests “bending over and doing a little shimmy to make sure that you don’t fall out.” Don’t stress about the suit bottom, which Gross says are easy for full busted girls—you can pick out anything that you want!
Avoid: Stay away from triangle tops or any kind of skimpy bikini tops. “I understand that you want to minimize tan lines,” says Gross, “but these styles just don’t look right, and you have a chance of falling out and embarrassing yourself.”
Petite: Selena Gomez
Swimsuit Challenge: If you’re pretty and petite like teen queen Selena Gomez, your goal is to find a suit that gives your body a little more length and makes you appear taller.
Seek Out: Your body will look longer in bottoms with a high-cut leg. A string bikini is also a good choice because the minimal fabric won’t overwhelm your small frame. And if you’re small busted, a top that has more dimension—like a colorful or ruffled style—is a great way to maximize your chest.
Avoid: Skip the solid one-pieces; you want a style with a little bit more detail. You’ll probably also want to stay away from tankinis and other styles that “meet and greet,” meaning that the suit top extends to touch the suit bottom. On petite girls, these styles will often be too long, creating a hangover of fabric which can make your torso appear shorter.
Best Buys: Juicy Couture’s cute swimsuits are ideal for adding dimension and length to your figure.
Curvaceous: America Ferrera
Swimsuit Challenge: If you’re voluptuous like America Ferrera, you want to find a swimsuit that helps you get a tall, proportionate look.
Seek Out: Tankinis or monokinis are great options for you because these versatile styles will accentuate your hour-glass figure. If you are full busted and curvy, Gross suggests that you also look for a really supportive top that “brings the girls up and in.” Side-tie bottoms—which you can adjust to fit you perfectly—are perfect for curvy women, as well as bottoms with wide waistbands which will give you more coverage if you want it.
Avoid: Beware of choosing too tight bottoms or boy shorts, as these styles can dig into your sides and create a “hangover” of flesh.
Best Buys: “Curvy is really a good body type to dress because a lot of things will work for you,” says Gross. Try Miraclesuit, which offers a stylish selection of suits which will give you lift and accentuate your curves.
Pregnant: Paulina Rubio
Swimsuit Challenge: The last thing you want is to be pregnant and uncomfortable at the beach. Hot madres-to-be like Paulina Rubio—who this May announced that she is pregnant with her first child—want to select suits that make them feel at ease and sexy.
Seek Out: Gross recommends tankinis to pregnant woman because this style is easy, versatile, and provides coverage if you don’t want to show your stomach. A suit with side-ties is also a good choice if you’re expecting because you can undo the ties as you get bigger.
Avoid: Skip the one-piece suits. They can be difficult to fit and, unlike tankinis, will not grow with you.
Best Buys: For pregnant women who want to look and feel good Gross recommends choosing a suit from Anita’s maternity swimwear line.