04/16/2013 05:48 pm ET Updated Jun 16, 2013

How to Deal: The Bathing Suit Edition


Cue the ominous music friends, because bathing suit season is nearly upon us. Sure, a glance at my calendar is enough to send me into an excited tizzy for warm weather to come, swiftly followed by the much-anticipated termination of that pesky seasonal affective disorder. The not so fun part is that Southern California summers are chock-full of beachside barbeques and pool parties and I'm woefully unprepared for the requisite itty-bitty uniform. My solution to the problem may seem contradictory, but here it is: I invest in three or four great fitting swimsuits (the hilarity isn't lost on me that I'm spending lots of hard-earned dough on a few pieces of cloth stitched together to cover my nether-regions), and the reasoning is simple. They can shave pounds off your frame, enhance your best features and stir up some Bo Derek, slow-motion-running confidence in a snap.

Years ago, I would just pluck a couple of suits off the rack at the nearest discount store and make do, but when the pictures were developed (yeah, that many years back) from that beach day, I would cringe at the way my body looked. It wasn't that I was exceedingly unhappy with my form, I just didn't know something so itsy-bitsy could completely change my physique. Granted, there is no magic bullet suit that matches every single body, but here are some tips I've picked up along the way.

Firstly, find that trouble spot! Mine is and always has been, my stomach. Since it never will be as flat as I would like it to be, I have now started to buy retro-cut suits with a high-waist bikini bottom. Not only does it cover any pooch, but it's super-sexy (without being, you know, outright sexy). Plus, if that doesn't sell you, this will: I can eat my hot dog and s'mores without a second thought because even after indulging in some really bad junk food, I'll still look like I have a cinched waist thanks to the top hem that sits where my midsection is the thinnest. It works much like a belt would on a flow-y dress. Also, I make sure to keep a keen eye out for any loose material hanging down around at my bottom because it makes my behind look saggy. Plus, it's an awful experience when you actually hit the waves (ever walked out of the water with a butt full of sand? I have. It's horrifying).

I also have a petite, boyish figure so I'll always buy an underwire bandeau bikini top. Without it, there is way too much material for my less-than-ample figure (read: floppingfabric). I may not have the assets to fill out like a Victoria's Secret bombshell, but I know that with the help of some underwire, everything is in it's place and I can dive for a volleyball without worrying about flashing that nice family having a day in the sand. And if I do end up falling for a triangle string bikini top, I'll do what my fashion designer friend told me. She taught me that the more ruching there is at the bottom of the triangle, the more ill-fitting the top seems. Simply cut a couple of those ruches out and stitch back together!

Of course, your body isn't like my body, and so an underwire might be annoying, or you may LOVE your super-flat tummy, but the key takeaway for when we enter that fluorescent-drenched dressing room, is to find a suit that works with what momma gave us. We're at our most vulnerable state when prancing around publicly in socially acceptable skivvies, so anything that can boost my confidence is a welcome relief. Plus,when someone wants to take a picture of all the fun I'm having I won't immediately reach for the biggest towel. And that's worth sinking my wallet into! is the site devoted to shopping.