Bathing suit shopping is kind of like jean shopping: It can seem like no matter where you look, nothing fits perfectly. Even if you do happen to find a suit that looks OK, the signs that you’re wearing the wrong bathing suit might not be far behind. Since every body is different (and hooray for that, by the way), it might take a little extra effort to find a swimsuit that works for your particular figure. I know it’s definitely taken me more than a few tries and drained money to find a piece that I feel 100 percent comfortable in.
Personally, I love being a shorty (under five-foot, here), but this can make shopping for anything relatively tricky. There are some benefits, of course (read: wearing children’s clothing at times). But with the flat booty my momma gave me, lots of bottoms tend to sag — and in some cases, even fall off — when I’m riding the waves. My bust, however, is a bit larger, thus throwing my proportions off. Luckily, there are way more opportunities these days to buy swim separates.
In the past, I’ve gotten bathing suits that don’t fit me quite right just because they were super cute. But I’ve come to find that "if it doesn’t fit, don’t buy it" is a much better, economic mantra. You’ll ultimately find something that works for you: It might just take a little digging. So, how do you know if you’re wearing the wrong bathing suit? Here are some warning signs.
1. It’s Uncomfortable
Size inclusivity is (slowly) improving in the fashion world. So if you find yourself constantly readjusting your top or bottom to feel comfortable, take it as a wake-up call that this isn’t the suit for you — and trust that you'll find something else. Neither the top nor the bottom of a bikini should be moving around too much, or, on the opposite side, pinching your skin too much. Like Goldilocks, you need a happy medium.
2. There’s Not Enough Support
Just as in your emotional life, support is integral for your bust as well. If your boobs feel uncomfortable because of avoidable sagging, swap for a bathing suit top that has an underwire for some extra support. I myself love the triangle bikini look, but sometimes my boobs need a little help. And that’s when I turn to the underwire option, which works wonders for comfort.
3. Your Bikini Straps Are Digging Into Your Shoulders
This means it’s probably too small for you. Similar to how a bra fits, if your bikini top is pushing down on your shoulders too hard, you’ve got to go up a size. And if you’re seeing the marks from this after just a few hours in a bathing suit? It’s time to find one that feels comfortable against your shoulders. Ain’t nobody got time for strained shoulders.
4. Or The Straps Keep Falling Down
Conversely, this means your bikini is actually too big. Here’s where Goldilocks comes in again: Not too tight, and not too lose, but just the right amount of tug is what you're after. Perhaps the straps loosened up over time, or maybe in the wash, but either way it's time to replace them (if you can), or spring for a new suit.
5. It’s Irritating Your Skin
I've been here before: That lace fabric looks so pretty, but it itches like hell. If you have sensitive skin and are experiencing some type of rash or irritation, it’s definitely a sign that you should find a material that works for you. Nobody wants to be itchy at the beach or the pool.
6. Your Top Band Keeps Riding Up
Believe it or not, this actually means that your top is too big, which is the general rule for bras, too. If you stand in the mirror on your side and see the band riding up, consider going down a size. This should help significantly.
7. Your Bikini Is Hurting Your Neck
This is more for halter-based bikinis rather than the classic bra look, but if it’s straining the back of your neck, it means it’s tied too tightly or it’s too small. The suit may feel OK for the first few hours, but after a full day in it, this pain can become very real. Now’s the time to make a change.
I’m a total sucker for trying to try to adjust clothes so that they fit me. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Say goodbye to pinching, bunching, and general discomfort. Each person has their own unique and beautiful physical qualities, and with a little attention and love, they’ll find the true comfort and attention they need in swimsuit form.