Making the most of our glorious Canadian summer means putting your bod in a bathing suit (and plenty of sunscreen). To crush the task (and not your self-esteem), how you shop for swimwear can have a major influence. “The fear of not finding something flattering or simply not knowing what styles to look for can be extremely daunting for most women,” says Leah Heenan, owner of Melmira, a long-standing Toronto destination for lingerie and intimates.
But with a few insights, you can direct the situation to a positive outcome. “Rather than getting caught up in the latest trends, focus on finding a style that flatters your figure,” she says. At its core, an amazing swimwear fit is a game of proportions that uses visual illusions to enhance your assets. Here are Heenan’s tips:
If you want to conceal your midsection:
Try a suit with ruching (gathered fabric) to help disguise the tummy and a V-neck to create length.
If you want extra support at the bust:
Look for a swimsuit with a supported bustline to create a long, slimming silhouette—more specifically, a bra-cup-sized design that features underwire, extra banding or side panels.
If you want to give the illusion of a fuller bust:
Create fullness with enhanced padding or fabric details like ruffles. “Be mindful of balancing the amount of fabric on the body to create a continuous effect,” says Heenan. “Less fabric on top than on the bottom can create the illusion of a smaller bust and larger hips.”
If you want to take the focus off your bottom:
To balance out your hips and thighs, choose a style that draws the eye upward, like a swimsuit with a halter neckline.
Know where to shop
Cast your net wide to boost your success rate. “It’s important to find a store with a large selection,” says Heenan. To flip the script on swimwear shopping, Heenan and her team (which includes her three sisters, also co-owners) take the lead, diving into options from the Aussie hitmaker Seafolly or Montreal’s luxuriously chic Shan. “We specialize in fittings and create a spa-like, one-on-one experience,” she says. “Nothing is on display, and your consultant brings several options directly into your fitting room, based on your guidance and their power of suggestion.”
Or, try one of our favourites below.
While the bold graphic catches the eye, the edgy silhouette balances broad shoulders
Ted Baker Supernatural Cut Out Swimsuit, was $189, now $113; tedbaker.com
An underwire bustier with molded cups provides support in floral form, with Mrs. Maisel–era vibes.
La Vie en Rose Bustier Swimsuit, $80; lavieenrose.com
A mirrored print, plunging neckline and curve-boosting trim equal maximum elongation from every angle.
Winners Printed Swimsuit, $80; winners.ca
Asymmetrical lines and savvy colour blocking combine to pull the focus from curvy hips and thighs.
Old Navy One Shoulder Swimsuit, $45; oldnavy.ca
Sheer and opaque panels make for contrast and coverage that enhance an hourglass shape.
Bleu Rod Beattie Mesh-Panel Swimsuit, $139; swimco.com
Next, check out the best Canadian swimwear brands BH editors are obsessed with.