Originally published on Unwritten.
Take a seat, a deep breath and maybe a shot of hard liquor: Bathing suit season is just around the corner. I know, the idea of cramming our pasty (is that just me?), winter-loving chub (again, just me?) into tiny pieces of nylon can be an intimidating one, but it doesn't have to be.
If there's one valuable lesson that HBO has taught us this season on Girls (basically the reality of every post-grad, twenty-something woman lost in translation), it's to embrace our bodies and our youth. Hats off to Miss Dunham on that one. Curves are not a bad thing, and neither is a trim figure. Thankfully, there are beginning to be bountiful examples of this in the media. Christina Hendricks, Cara Delevingne and Beyonce are all proof that a beautiful body doesn't fit any one description. After all, if we can't trust Queen Bey, who can we trust? So forget the self-depreciation and start embracing the self-love. Bathing suits are our friends, so let's talk about them.
Play in Patterns
First things first, patterns are in. Vintage, floral, paisley, tribal, I really don't care, and neither do the runways, so long as it's patterned. While last year may have been about bright solids and color-blocking, swimwear has taken an adventurous turn into the world of colorful decoration. Still fun, flirtatious and eye-catching, suits are becoming as original and unique as their purchasers (i.e. YOU). That being said, don't hold back when it comes to perusing the racks this year. The wilder, the better.
Say Goodbye to String Bikinis
Let's be honest about this, string bikinis have never done anyone any favors, unless you're a playmate or personal gym trainer and even then, it's questionable. Whoever came up with the idea of two minuscule triangles as a "top" clearly never had to deal with wearing it while frolicking the waves. So while the infamous string bikini has always been glorified in our sex-obsessed culture, I think it's time to let it go. There are too many flattering bathing suit cuts to even leave this style standing. Adiós, string bikinis.
Pick Your Cut: One-Piece or Two?
So you're a AA cup. Or you are what some would describe as "bootylicious." Who cares, it's hot, you just have to know how to work it. Here are four suits for four different body types -- top-heavy, bottom-heavy, flat-chested and all-around curves. If you're a combination, don't be afraid to mix and match the below recommendations. Remember, your body's not the problem. Kate Upton can look as stunning in a one piece as Kate Moss does in a halter. It's all about the finding the perfect fit.
Top-Heavy: What goes up must come down, right? Not necessarily. For anyone with a a top-heavy figure, finding a bathing suit with an underwire is your best friend. I probably don't even need to go into further detail with this one, because if you're top-heavy, you know what I'm talking about.
While underwire bathing suits have a tendency to look like lingerie, embracing a patterned suit with help solve this problem, disguising the wire and making it less obvious to the eye. So help your girls out and offer them a little support. Your curves are lovely, just make sure they still look youthful when you throw on your suit.
Bottom-Heavy: Let's face the facts: You've got a big butt. All I have to say about that is that I'm jealous. Seriously, I know women who would kill for a Kim K ass. Usually the biggest dilemma for those who are bottom-heavy is looking unbalanced. The cure all? Finding a bathing suit with a thicker top piece. Adding more fabric on top will compliment what you've got going on downtown.
While tankinis are one way to go, there are still sexy two-piece bathing suits out there that will do the trick just as well without hiding your tummy. Think long bandeau and crop-top inspired tops. Don't worry, you'll find something; this style is all over the racks this season.
Flat-Chested: If you are flat chested and hate it, you need to go read Alexa Chung's It book right this second. Okay, done? Great. Now that you understand why having a boyish figure is super hot, let's get into it. If you're rocking a smaller cup size, you will look amazing in a thin bandeau top. Throw in some ruffles, thick straps or halter neckline, and you're set. Adding these slight embellishments will help liven up your chest area without looking over the top. Seriously, do you know how many times I would have died to wear a ruffled suit? You're lucky, you can.
All-Around Curves: Okay Miss Monroe, it's your turn. I'd like you to meet my friend: the one-piece. Now before you start scoffing, one-pieces are the most popular suits on the runway right now. I don't know if it's thanks to Mad Men or the current trend of all things vintage, but they are everywhere. And thankfully so. Whoever thinks they aren't sexy needs to spend a few days looking at 1940s pinups and reevaluate.
Wearing a one-piece suit embraces your curves and gives them even more shape. It's like a pretty wrapper twisted around a delicious piece of candy. (Was that a weird analogy? That might have been a weird analogy). Regardless, a one-piece will smooth you out and enhance what you got.
To sum it up: Bathing suits don't have to be your worst enemy, in fact, they can be your greatest companion if properly selected. Every figure has its own attributes, so it really just comes down to learning what yours are and seizing the opportunity to show them off. Your swimwear should compliment your body, not hide it. When you are confident about your curves (or lack there of), then the rest of the world will follow suit. Pun, intended.
Chelsey is a writer for Unwritten. She spends most of her free time scribbling on napkins and over-saturating digital photographs. She just can't help herself. Follow her on twitter @EatDiamondsBlog.