I’ve never been a fan of the concept of “dressing for your body type.” I say, you do you girl and wear whatever it is that makes you feel fabulous. But the one time I find it actually helpful to think about my natural shape is in shopping for swimwear. Sporting a bathing suit, even a full-coverage one-piece, means putting your figure on display and makes it harder to fake slimmer hips, a bigger booty or, in my case, a longer torso. That said it’s not impossible to fake it with the help of certain swimwear styles. So we asked the experts at Shoshanna, Andie, Kitty & Vibe and Aerie what are the most flattering swimsuits for short torsos to help us appear long and lean. Here’s what they advise.
1. High-Cut Legs
Both Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss, founder and creative director of Shoshanna, and Cameron Armstrong, founder and CEO of Kitty & Vibe, recommend lengthening your whole frame with the help of a higher-cut bottom. The combination of showing a little extra leg and the longer continuous line of a swimsuit will make you appear taller and leaner from head to toe. Just don’t go too high-cut—anything that ventures too high above your hip bone will actually have the opposite effect and wind up compressing your torso to comedic proportions.
2. String Bikinis
Gruss and the experts at Aerie agree that a classic string silhouette can be majorly flattering on a shorter torso. First, showing more skin at the hips has a similarly lengthening effect as a high-cut leg, while the halter design up top draws the eye up and in. Second, string bikinis are super easy to alter and adjust to best fit your figure as you can easily position the straps higher or lower on your hips.
3. High-Neck Styles
This works for both one- and two-pieces and helps elongate your torso by drawing the eye all the way up to your neck. A high neck can also be as sexy or as modest as you like—some designs balance a full-coverage front with a low-cut back while others opt for a sportier silhouette more akin to a rash guard. And if you combine this top with a high-cut bottom, you’ll definitely give the impression of a much longer frame.
4. One-Shoulder Suits
Similarly, one-shoulder styles tend to draw the eye upward but are often more flattering than a high-neck for those with a larger bust. And while you can certainly rock a one-shoulder bikini, our experts found this style to be even better at lengthening your frame in the form of a one-piece. Andie’s team of Fit Experts also suggested looking for styles with adjustable straps for an even better overall fit.
5. Tops with Attention-Grabbing Details
Not so into the look of a high-neck or one-shoulder? Opt instead for basically any top with ample detailing around your bustline. Ruffles, lace, embroidery, cut-out straps—whatever floats your boat. A word to the wise, however: Tops that extend below the bust, like tankinis or longline styles, can wind up compressing your torso once more, so keep that attention-grabbing detailing as close to your neck as possible.
AVOID: High-Waist Swimsuits
Yes, the retro style continues to be immensely popular, but it will only serve to emphasize your shorter midsection. The same is true for one-pieces with seams or detailing at the waist, so opt for something with vertical lines or a smooth bodice instead if you’re a full-coverage kind of gal.
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