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How to Choose a Swimsuit for Your Body Type

What's the Best Swimsuit for My Body Type?

As we are all aware, swimsuits come in all different shapes and sizes. From one pieces to two pieces, tankinis and bikini tops, skirted bottoms to high waisted bottoms, and many more. There are numerous options to consider when shopping for a new bathing suit, and an infinite number of ways to mix and match swimwear. Choosing the right swimsuit for your body type will make you more confident in and out of the water. However, the biggest mistake we make when shopping for our swimwear is thinking that we should fit into a swimsuit. As Anne Cole famously said, “There is no such thing as a bad figure. There are just bad swimsuits.” Instead of finding a way to fit into a swimsuit, find a swimsuit that perfectly flatters your unique shape. 

As you shop for your perfect swimsuit, some of the most important things to think about when choosing a swimsuit are your body shape and how the swimsuit makes you feel. Here’s how to choose the perfect swimsuit for your body shape.

How to Measure Yourself for Your Swimsuit

To know what bathing suit will best fit your body shape, you first need to understand your body’s unique measurements. Use a measuring tape to measure the following areas:

  • Your Shoulders
  • Your Torso
  • Your Bust
  • Your Waist
  • Your Hips

To get the most accurate measurements, wear your undergarments or form-fitting clothing while measuring these areas. When measuring your shoulders, take your measuring tape and wrap it around the top of both your arms. To get an idea of how to accurately measure your torso, bust, waist, and hips, take a look at our size guide, which will also help you understand what size swimsuit to order from Anne Cole. Once you record your measurements, take a look at the following body shape descriptions to determine which best matches your measurements. 

How to Measure Your Torso for a Swimsuit

To measure your torso for your swimsuit, use a flexible measuring tape, starting from your shoulder. 

  1. Pass the tape over the fullest part of your bust, down between your legs, and back up to the same shoulder, creating a loop around your body. 
  2. The tape should be level and snug. Record the measurement where the tape meets at your shoulder.

Measure Your Shoulders 

To measure your shoulders for a swimsuit:

  1. Stand straight with your arms at your sides, and extend the flexible measuring tape from the tip of one shoulder to the tip of the other, ensuring it follows the natural curve and remains parallel to the floor. 
  2. Keep the tape flat and taut, but not too tight. Record the measurement where the tape meets at the other shoulder.

Measure Your Bust for a Swimsuit

To measure your bust for a swimsuit, use a flexible measuring tape while wearing a supportive bra that maintains your natural shape. 

  1. Wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of your bust. Make sure the tape is parallel to the ground and not too tight or too loose.
  2. Record the measurement.

Measure Your Waist for a Swimsuit

  1. Locate the narrowest part of your waist just above the belly button.
  2. Wrap a flexible measuring tape around your waist while standing upright, without sucking in your stomach. The tape should be level and snug but not tight, and record the measurement where the tape overlaps. 
  3. Record this measurement.

Measure Your Hips for a Swimsuit

To measure your hips for a swimsuit:

  1. Locate the widest part of your hips. 
  2. Wrap the flexible measuring tape around the widest part of your hips while you stand with your feet positioned close together. 
  3. Make sure the tape is even and parallel to the floor and fits snugly around your hips without being too tight.
  4. Record this measurement.

What to Do with the Measurements

Once you have all four measurements (torso, bust, waist, and hips), review our swimsuit size chart to compare your measurements with the swimsuit sizing.

The measurements will also help you determine which body type you may have. Read on to learn which body type your measurements fall under.

Pear Body Shape: Hip Measurements > Shoulder Measurements

If you've noticed that your hip measurements are wider than your shoulders, you may have a pear shape body. If you fall into this category, your hip measurements would be at least 5% wider than your shoulder measurements.

Pear shaped bodies can have:

  • A curvy lower body
  • Hips and thighs that are wider than the shoulders
  • Narrow shoulders or smaller bust

Pear shaped bodies look best in a swimsuit style that:

  • Flatters your lower body curves
  • Accentuates your waistline and torso
  • Highlights your chest or bust

Pear Shape Swimsuit Recommendations:

Pear shaped bodies look best with bathing suit cuts that show off lower body curves instead of hiding them. For example, instead of pairing your bikini with boy shorts, show off your curves by wearing a swim skirt or  high waisted bikini bottoms.

Draw attention to your top by selecting bikinis with underwire or halter support, vibrant patterns, and interesting details, such as this underwire bikini top.

One piece swimsuits, tankinis, and swim dresses can also flatter your shape by accentuating your waistline and figure.

Inverted Triangle Body Shape: Shoulder Measurements > Hip Measurements

Inverted triangle body types have wider shoulder and chest measurements in comparison to their hip measurements. In most cases, shoulder and chest measurements are at least 5% wider than hip measurements. The name is derived from the way the body shape forms an upside-down triangle figure.

Inverted triangles may have:

  • Broader shoulders and chest
  • A medium or larger bust
  • Narrow hips and waist

Inverted triangle body shapes look best in swimsuits that:

  • Draw attention to the neckline
  • Draw attention to the hips
  • Bring flair to the bottom half of the body

Inverted Triangle Swimsuit Recommendations:

If you have an inverted triangle body shape, eye-catching one piece swimsuits such as a flutter sleeve rash guard can flatter your shoulders while grabbing attention with bold prints.


 Halter bikini tops can also show off you shoulders while bringing balance with bold foldover bikini bottoms or skirted bikini bottoms.


Bring a little flair to your bottom half by trying on a swim dress with a skirted bottom or a bold swim skirt. 

Apple Body Shape: Shoulder Measurements > Hip Measurements

Apple body shapes have wider shoulder and chest measurements in proportion to lower hip measurements. Unlike inverted triangle body types (see above), these shapes tend to carry more weight in the body's waist and top half. If your shoulder and chest measurements are at least 5% wider than your hips, and you also carry more weight in the waist, you may have an apple body shape. 

Apple body shapes can have:

  • Wider or broader shoulders
  • Less defined waistline
  • Narrower hips and thighs
  • Curvy or fuller bust line

Apple shaped bodies look best in swimsuits that:

  • Accentuate the neckline
  • Have shirred details at the waistline
  • Show off the legs

Apple Body Shape Swimsuit Recommendations:

Apple shape bodies can flatter their figure with swim dresses such as this one with a plunge neckline and a skirted swim bottom.

Apple shape bodies will also shine in swimsuits that wrap the shoulders with flair and special details, such as this rash guard.

Flattering strapless bandeau swimsuits, as well as bright and colorful tankini tops, will show off your figure and pair nicely with high waisted bottoms or swim skirts.

Rectangle Body Shape: Shoulder Measurements = Hip Measurements

If you find that your shoulders and hips are roughly the same in measurement, and your waistline is fairly straight rather than curvy, you may have a rectangle body type. These body types tend to have a less curvy silhouette and have balanced measurements between the lower and upper half of the body. 

Rectangle body shapes can have:

  • Small bust or medium bust line
  • Straight waistline
  • Same sized hips and shoulders

Rectangle body shapes look best in swimsuits with:

  • Details that draw attention to the shoulders and neckline
  • Supportive tops that accentuate the bust
  • Bold waistline details such as shirred sides or asymmetrical patterns

Rectangle Body Swimsuit Recommendations: 

Rectangle body types will look best in swimsuits with bold design details that flatter the waistline. For example, one piece swimsuits such as this colorblock one piece with asymmetrical designs to create the illusion of a well defined waist.

Floral swim dresses such as this one create an A-line shape to help define the waist while drawing more attention to your bottom half.

Tankini tops paired with a low rise swim bottom or a classic skirted swim bottom can also highlight the hips while creating more shape.

Athletic Body Shape: Shoulder Measurements = Hip Measurements

Similar to rectangle body shapes, athletic body shapes will have similar or equal measurements in their shoulders and hips. Athletic body types are not as curvy and may also have a straight silhouette, like a rectangle body.

Athletic body types have:

  • Muscular or broad shoulders and arms
  • Toned waist without curves 
  • Small to medium-sized bust

Athletic body types look best in swimsuits such as: 

  • Tops with thick bands that show off the shoulders
  • Bottoms with side details
  • Bold waist details

Athletic Body Swimsuit Recommendations:

Athletic body types can show off their frame and shoulders with one piece swimsuits that highlight the neck and shoulders, such as this zip front racerback swimsuit.

Swim tops such as this floral boat neck tankini with cutout details create a flattering look to show off your shoulders and arms and can be paired with any bikini bottom.

Bold, asymmetric patterns and one shoulder swimsuits such as this one will flatter your figure while showing off your shoulders.

Hourglass Body Shape: Shoulder Measurements = Hip Measurements

If you find that your shoulders and hips are similar or equal in measurement, and you have a well-defined waistline, then it is likely that you have an hourglass shape.

An hourglass figure may have:

  • Equal width hips and shoulders
  • Medium to large bust
  • Narrow or well-defined waist

Hourglass body shapes look best in swimsuits with:

  • Supportive bikini tops
  • One piece swimsuits
  • Bottoms that show off the hips and legs

Hourglass Shape Swimsuit Recommendations:

Hourglass body shapes will look great in a bikini that shows off the waistline and provides support for the bust, such as this green bikini.

Maillot swimsuits, such as this lingerie strap maillot swimsuit, can also help create an elegant and sophisticated look while creating a flattering silhouette.

One pieces such as this bold strapless bandeau one piece can also your figure stand out by accentuating a well defined waistline.

The Perfect Swimsuit For You Will Give You Confidence and Comfort

Each woman’s body shape is unique, and we recognize that not every woman will fit perfectly into these few shapes (we’re not meant to). Anne Cole understands that the right fit for every body matters, so we encourage our customers to find the right size for their swimsuit using our size guide

Whatever your shape, size, frame, or silhouette, we want you to feel confident in the swimsuit you choose to wear. The most important question to ask yourself when you wear your swimsuit is: “Do I feel beautiful and confident?” The key to finding the perfect swimsuit for your body shape is confidence. What matters is that you embrace your beautiful shape and find a flattering swimsuit that works perfectly for you. Feel confident and feel beautiful!

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