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Ajit Berg, Published June 14 2013

Fashion in Focus: Swimsuits to flatter your body type

FARGO – With the sunshine slowly heading our way, it’s that time of the year again – swimsuit season.

Nothing gives women more anxiety than swimsuit shopping. But you can find the perfect suit for you with two easy steps.

First, identify your body shape. Second, focus on styles that will flatter your body.

Follow my tips to find the perfect suit to help you shine this summer.

Apple

Larger on top and smaller on bottom.

Do:

Look for halters and underwire-bra styles for a larger chest.

Wear higher cut bottoms to give the illusion of more proportionate hips.

Don’t

Wear anything on top without support, especially strapless tops.

Accentuate your hips with bottoms cut too low.

Pear

Larger on bottom and smaller on top.

Do:

- Find underwire tops with contour padding to balance your proportions.

- Wear higher cut bottoms to cover a tummy and for more coverage on your backside.

- Look for new “yoga style” bikini bottoms that fold over at the waist to avoid tummy “spillage.”

Don’t:

- Wear flat bandeau tops that don’t have ruching or padding. They tend to make your chest look smaller than it is.

- Wear bottoms that are too high cut on the leg, giving you little coverage.

Straight

Proportionate on top and bottom with few curves.

Do

- Go for a triangle bikini top with contour padding to add shape and lift to your bust.

- Find a ruffled bandeau top or bottoms to add more volume on the chest or hips.

- Look for stripes and patterns to enhance the appearance of a larger bust or backside.

Don’t:

- Wear bottoms cut too low on the sides because this will give legs a stocky appearance.

- Wear straight one-pieces. You want something with ruching or cutouts to add shape.

Hourglass

Bust line proportionate to the hip line with a smaller waist.

Do

- Wear almost any style, including a string bikini, which is one of the most flattering looks for hourglasses.

- Go for less. These lucky ladies can pull off the skimpy suits many others can’t.

Don’t:

- Wear a one-piece with a high neck, which will flatten out women with larger chests.

Plus size

Do:

- Focus on buying a suit with good support, like halter-style tops and underwire cups.

- Wear suits with tummy control and ruching.

- Many designers are focusing on fabrics for built-in contouring.

Don’t:

- Buy something that’s uncomfortable. You want to feel held in but able to enjoy a fun day at the beach.

Everyone

Do:

- Look for retro-inspired styles inspired by Esther Williams and Marilyn Monroe.

- Make a bold fashion statement regardless of your shape.

Don’t:

- Buy a suit unless you feel fabulous. You don’t want to be tugging or readjusting all day.

Cover-ups

One of the most important accessories to a swimsuit is the perfect cover-up, but you don’t have to look like you are covering up.

- Flowy and sheer fabrics are best.

- Tunic tops with embellishments and embroidery are a great option, but make sure to pick something in a looser fabric.

Don’t buy your tunic too big, and don’t choose one with too much fabric. It shouldn’t look like a mu mu.

Be clever in covering up where you need with as little fabric as possible so your swimsuit look is still airy and light for summer.

One of my favorite cover-ups is a short sheer mesh wrap. It covers just enough to look like you are not trying to hide and still looks sexy and chic.

This column was written exclusively for The Forum.

Ajit Berg is a former personal shopper for Barneys New York in Beverly Hills. She and her husband, Chris, live in Fargo with their daughter. Ajit can be reached at abergfashionista@yahoo.com