Swimsuit season is quickly approaching and while that generally means some well-deserved fun in the sun, the majority of us dread the day when the layers come off and we start to show more skin for the summer. However, bathing suit shopping doesn't have to be so scary. In fact, it's time to have some fun with it and think outside the box when searching for that happy medium between two-pieces held together by dental floss and frumpy one-pieces.
Need a little help? Don't we all. That's why we've put together this handy guide to 2012's hottest swimsuits...and how to make them work for you:
1. Retro - Best For Curvy Types: This swimwear shape has made curvy women look good since the days of pin-up girls posing by the pool. A high-waist slims the tummy and accentuates all the right parts of the torso. However, be aware that the key to a flattering retro look is a reasonable leg line. You don't want a bottom piece that ends at the widest part of anyone's leg (think "boyshort" length), as it will make even leggy types look stumpy. Try one that hits just at the top of the thigh, not one that looks like you're wearing a pair of short shorts.
2. Belted - Best For Tall And Thin Types: If you're on the slimmer side, a plain one-piece won't give you any shape. Try it with some circular cutouts and a belt to add the right amount of proportion to your figure and carve out an hourglass silhouette.
3. Sporty - Best For Pear Shape Types: We aren't talking about Speedos here. There are plenty of sport-inspired swimsuits out this season with zippers, color blocking and even cool collars, that will update your summer beach look. We love a wavy or geometric pattern down the sides of a body-hugging neoprene one-piece, especially since it slims down a fuller-bottom and shows off a smaller top half.
4. Peplum - Best For Rectangular Shape Types: This isn't your grandmothers old bathing suit with the skirt attached. A bikini or one-piece with a bit of peplum (no more than 2''-3'') makes for an adorable, feminine embellishment. The detail can do everything from balance a bust to accentuate the waist.
5. Thick Halter - Best For Busty Types. For those of us with bigger busts, a halter bikini with thicker fabric will provide better coverage. It will feel more comfortable but still give off a sexy vibe -- even if you pick a more understated suit.
GoRunway/Art by Bobby Doherty
No matter which shape or cut is right for you, there are endless options when it comes to choosing a chic and unique swimsuit for summer.
Check out our favorite pieces below.
In related news, take a peek at the 50 best celebrity bikini bodies.