Swimwear Body Shape Guide

Swimwear Body Shape Guide

If you’re off on holiday this summer and the thought of wearing a swimsuit brings you out in to a cold sweat, check out our Swimwear Body Shape Guide


The goal for pear shapes when it comes to swimwear is to slim the lower body and add volume to the upper body.  So in simple terms, keep the lower body plainer and darker and go for patterns, details and volume on the  top from the ribage upwards.  If possible highlight your little waist by drawing the eye across your waist by placement of detail.  See the swimsuit below which cleverly starts the pattern at the smallest part of the waist.

With pear shapes it’s always a good idea to create details / interest around the neck, face and shoulders.  This can be tricky with swimwear when you don’t want tan lines!  You could always go for a chunky necklace but make sure you don’t choose a metal one, as that’s going to get pretty hot in the sun – ouch!

A higher cut brief can make your stomach look flatter and your tummy look smaller, so give them a go!

Cover Up

Buy a large sarong, hareems or palazzo pants in dark bold colours.  A sarong is ideal and versatile as you can tie it around the smallest part of your waist to create a maxi skirt down to the floor, which will lengthen and slim your legs. This saves time messing about trying to find the ‘perfect’ fit of holiday cover ups which can be tricky when your waist is a size much smaller size than your hips and thighs.  Go for nude or metallic coloured sandals that don’t detract from the detail on your top half.  They’re more versatile anyway!

AVOID: Fuss, large prints or thick horizontal stripes on your bikini bottoms.Gorgeous at Debenhams, £45



Halter neck styles are often good for apple shapes as they break up the bust and shoulders and also provide added support for generous busts.  Another style of bikini top to try is a balconette style which will lift and separate your bust, giving you a longer waist and a more hourglass figure.

The most important thing is the fit – a bikini top that is too small will a) be uncomfortable and b) make you look larger (women always look bigger when they wear clothes that are tight because the visual impression is that they are ‘busting’ out of the their clothes.)

Apples usually have really great legs and slim hips so experiment with colour, pattern and interesting details on the bottoms.

Some apples can be a little conscious of their tummy as they tend to have a shorter waist than say, a pear shape.  If this sounds like you try a bikini bottom that sits just below your belly button with a high cut leg to flatten your stomach.


Deeper necklines will help to create softer lines around the bust and break up the volume a bit making you look slimmer all over. Deep halter neck styles will look sexy and offer you enough support if you want to hit the swimming pool but ensure your bosoms are contained! Hidden bust support is always a great idea for bustier ladies.

Cover up

Use a large sarong that goes down to the floor, hold two corners of the sarong then twist the fabric, swapping hands to create a halter neck cover up. The style will add structure to your top half, drape down over your body to hide your belly yet show off your fantastic legs.

AVOID lots of volume on your upper body or string bikinis that could lead to a fashion mishap!



Your body shape is feminine with curves in all the right places. You have a medium to full bust and you definitely have curvy hips and thighs. You may or may not have a flat tummy but overall your figure is pretty well-balanced.

You can get away with many styles and shapes of bikinis but a halterneck, bandeau or a one-shouldered bikini with a hipster brief is often the most flattering, showing off your long waist and curves. Seafolly at John Lewis, £58 always do nice options for hourglass figures.



Horizontal stripes and zig zags or chevrons always look stylish and summer and never date.  These types of patterns look really amazing on hourglasses as they highlight your curves and your waist. However, keep the leg cut quite high on your bikini bottoms to avoid looking too wide on the hips.

Hourglass shapes can also pull off nice halter neck styles which flatter the shoulders.


Deep V halter necks with a built in belt or waist panel will really emphasise the hourglass shape, boosting your bust to perfection and slimming your waist giving.


Kaftans with a cinched waist and low open neck will emphasise your shape nicely. Go mini or maxi depending on how much leg you want to show.




If you are plus size or very curvy and have a relatively flat tummy and are an hourglass shape,  a 50’s style bikini with high waisted briefs is a glam style to try.  Just add Audrey Hepburn Shades and hat.

Bold colours, patterns and tribal prints look amazing on this style of swimwear.


You can trick the eye in to seeing a flatter tummy by boosting the bust so look for swimwear that offers in built support. Look for Lycra styles that will hold you in at all the right places and go for deep v necks which will break up the bust. Go for plain all in ones which will elongate the body or bold large prints which will disguise any lumps and bumps.


A kaftan that is nipped in at the waist yet still flowing and loose will look chic on you. If you want to show a bit more cleavage use a sarong wrapped around your waist going all the way down to the floor which will lengthen your legs, hide your stomach whilst leaving your best assets still on show.




Look for bright colours and feminine prints but also play about with interesting necklines and cut-out styles which look incredible on your body!


Cut out and scoop side swimsuits and two tone one-pieces can add depth and curves to your figure.


Hareems and a one-piece beach jumpsuit would look great on your figure.  The soft fabrics create fluidity, movement and curves.

River Island


If you are blessed enough to be taller than 5’7 and waif-like, you can pretty much wear what you want and look great. We love high-rise 50s style bikinis for tall slim ladies at the moment, however only if this is your kind of style.

Anything with pattern, detail, embellishment, volume to it will look great on you and cut out swimwear looks particularly great as it adds feminine curves to your tallness, showcasing your body at its best.

A lot of tall ladies can feel self-conscious about their height and sometimes feel too skinny, but you can get away with anything when it comes to beach wear so go for bright, bold prints in interesting cuts, which will break up the length of your body.


Look for swimsuits that are cut out with ruches, ruffles, pleats and frills on which will give the appearance of more curves. A halter neck style will give the appearance of a more generous cleavage whilst delicate stringy straps will show off your slender arms and shoulders.



Long maxi style kaftans and dresses look amazing on you, worn with simple flats. Again you can go for prints and colours or keep it plain and just add some bangles and a necklace to complete your look.

AVOID: A plain block colour one piece which will make you look too ‘up and down’ and lacking in feminine curves.


The simple triangle, bandeau or halter bikini was made for petite figures and they look fantastic on you. Try a small print as opposed to large chunky prints which may overwhelm your small frame.

If you want to try a one-piece go for a cut-out option which will show your figure off well and try a block colour to lengthen and streamline your body.

AVOID: Overwhelming large prints that may stunt your height.


Triangle style bikinis look great on petit colours. Go for small prints and bright colours which will add more depth and ruffles and frills will help you to give the illusion of curves. Stay away from large prints might overwhelm your small figure. Ties at the hips on the bikini bottoms that are in a print or pattern will add width to your hips if you are quite slim and want to create more curves.


Simple bold colours or small prints work really well on your figure, but that doesn’t mean boring!  Go for a bold colour and fun bit of detail!


Petite figures can wear little shorts and vest tops and always look fantastic! A smock or tunic top can be a nice alternative but don’t go mad with prints or colours as it could drown you.

Need help to identify what colour suit you?  Try our FREE GUIDE TO WHAT COLOURS SUIT YOU

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