Choosing the right swimsuit for your figure

Choosing the right silhouette style swimsuit for your body is a balancing act for your curves - no matter where you want to pay up or play down with your fuller figure. Don't try to conceal your body with a shapeless swim dress, says Michele Weston, columnist and "Curvy Style" expert.

Everyone's shape will be slightly different, but your specific body type - pear, round or hourglass - is most important.

The key to finding a great suit is to know what complements your silhouette -- and keeping an "open mind" if you've always worn the same style, Michele says.

If you dread going shopping for a swimsuit, Michele recommends checking out the new "Web Mall" experience that's happening online from and also browsing through You can also visit any of the seven Avenue stores in the Chicago area with styles are for women size 12W and up. For information, call 1-888-AVENUE -1.

When picking a swimsuit It's hard to decide whether you should stick with monochromatic colors or opt for graphic or tribal floral. We'll always have the classic black, but consider trying saturated color and bolder patterns too, Michele says.

Here are some tips on flattering your curvy figure with the perfect swimsuit:

If you tend to be fuller on the top

you should try to focus on supporting your bust. Look for a suit with built-in support with wide straps and an under-wire bra or a top with soft cups. Also look for suits that have diagonal seams or wrap the body -- the shape and lines will draw the eyes away from the bust.

  • Shirred Wrap Front One-Piece Red Swimsuit from the AVENUE Stores

This shirred wrap-front swimsuit with ring accent is designed to make you look silhouette sleek – so you can feel like the best on the beach! (After all -- GLAMOUR Magazine named this suit "one of the best" for a fuller-figure this month for summer 2008!)

Soft molded cups and front shelf bra for shape and support. Complete front and back hidden mesh tummy control lining to feel and look smoother.

  • Tip: Try for a longer leg line for better control for your silhouette with a heeled sandal
  • Price: $ 99.95 in Sizes 16-28
  • Item #: 0309-75694-1043

If playing down your tummy is your main goal

Look for a swimsuit with shirring across the midsection. Anything that drapes over your midsection works well. Look for a suit with ruching, since it adds another layer to your swimsuit. Also try a suit with all-over print on a darker ground. It'll keep the eye from focusing on one specific body part.

  • Contour By Beach Scene® shirred one piece berry color swimsuit from
  • Tip: This suit is shirred with a deep V-neck that elongates your neckline and the midsection ruching helps to plays down extra fullness!
  • Price $39.99 in Sizes 14 – 28W
  • Style # 0028-43845-1190

If you're interested in disguising a fuller back

Look for a swimsuit that has a higher cut in the back neckline. Buy a swimsuit made with layered power net or high Lycra content, which will help with control and support. You can also try a swimsuit dress with that 'High- glam' styling which will offer another layer of coverage.

O-ring detailed classic black swim dress by Carol Wior® from

  • Tip: A soft-cup bra with the addition of a floating underwire supports, minimizes and enhances the fuller bust line.This skirted updated style with silver O-ring trimmed straps and O-ring waist detail make this one very modern.
  • Price: $54.00 in Sizes: 14W-28W
  • Style # 0528- 37021-1163

If you're curvy all over

Definitely try mix and match separates. Look for a one-piece suit or a tankini set that has a solid dark-colored bottom and a printed or a bright-colored top. Since you're pretty proportionate, don't shy away from trying both a dark bottom/light top as well as a light bottom/dark top combo to discover which look works best for you.

  • Black and White Chain-Trim Maillot Halter Swimsuit with a B/W interlocking circle print top at
  • Tip: ilver chain detail at empire waist helps to draw the eye upward, as well as having a Nylon/Spandex blend which subtly smoothes you and a soft foam bra cups offers bust line shape and support.
  • Price: $59.90 In Sizes 12W – 28W
  • Item #: 2328-51360-1116

If you tend to be fuller on the bottom

Look for a swimsuit with a beautiful neckline. A halter neckline will draw the eye away from the hips, and focus on your bust and shoulder area," Also, look for a one-piece suit or a "skirtini" that has a solid dark-colored bottom and printed or more brightly-colored top.

  • AVENUE'S floral updated tribal print against a blue background creates a dramatic effect in this chic "skirtini".
  • Tank has a sweetheart neckline with adjustable spaghetti straps. Sewn-in soft foam cups and braided trim enhance and support. Ring detail at bust. Skirt has front power mesh tummy tamer panel for added control.
  • Tip: Choose a subtle tonal color print on the top to diminish a fuller bottom solid color skirt.
  • Price# $89.95 in Sizes 16-28W.
  • Style #: 0309-77052-1043
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