By: Phoenix Lindbergh

Shopping can be a nightmare especially for those who can't be seen buying anything sexier than a tube sock. Buying swim wear in public, for one, might just be the worst. You've got the nosy bystanders waiting to see what you'd pick out from the rack next, the seemingly judgmental store attendants raising their eyebrows every time you ask for a suit in your size, and the mean stores who decided that a common viewing area or central mirror is better than individual mirrors in each dressing room. It's not only psychologically excruciating but it can also be considered suicide!

Before you get a *serious heart attack* from embarking on your swimsuit quest, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and identify what your assets and "areas of improvement" are. Don't worry, nobody is around to judge you. And everything that you could think of is only between you and the mirror. I suggest picking out a clean mirror in a room with sufficient lighting so you can't miss a single flaw, like a minute dimple or stubborn mass of flab. You are your worst critic, however, you should love your body with all its imperfections because if you don't, who else will?

If you're faced with a little unwanted tummy or belly bump, stay away from complicated suits and stick to the basics. There's a perfectly good reason that God hasn't phased out the one-piece. If you don't even want to think about details too much, a classic black number would do because black is known to conceal a few extra pounds. But there are quite a number of one-piece suits out in the market today which have elegant and snappy bust bands that capture the eye and create the illusion of a slimmer midsection. Printed suits could also be used to your advantage. Narrow horizontal stripes, for example, add shape at the waist while vertical lines pull the torso in opposite directions causing the body to look longer. Two contrasting colors between a suit and its shirrings across the middle of the body will showcase the waist and draw attention upward. I think the Mineral Blue Ruched Satin Swimsuit from Donna Karan New York would look absolutely flattering on any kind of figure. It has ample top support, a slimming ruched detail that runs from the neckline down to lower hip, and adequate coverage for the back and bottom. The best part about it is that it almost looks like a two-piece.

Whether you have a full or humble bosom, the secret to finding the right suit is to look for something with sufficient support partnered by a flattering cut. Deep and voluptuous cuts and halter necks highlight the shoulders and arms while they provide support. Underwire and neck lines that are parallel to the ground puts everything right where they should be. A triangle bikini top can also be quite the winning piece. The Christian Dior Pink Smocked Houndstooth Bikini Top would give the right amount of lift while its herringbone pattern would add just a hint of class.

For dressing up a slightly heavier bottom, avoid anything that would cut through those hips and thighs such as boy shorts and bum-binding style bikinis. Instead, opt for a moderately high-cut bottom which will streamline the legs and make them appear leaner and longer. You will realize that there's really no need for extreme measures such as *laser liposuction* just so you could fit into one. Coral Ruffled Bikini Bottoms from BCBG Max Azria have ruffled trims around the hips and plenty of coverage. If that still doesn't work for you, I suggest you hit the beach in hip and stylish board shorts that aren't too big nor too tight. The lace-up closure band should rest perfectly on your hips and this will let you move and groove anywhere, anytime. All designer pieces mentioned above are available at for your viewing and buying pleasure.

Your body is your blank canvas while the swim suit you put on is your art. Be as creative and as fashionable as you can be, but always put comfort and support first. If you put a suit on and you feel like it's restricting or it doesn't hold anything in their place, then you might as well move on to the next one. Your swim wear will only look breathtaking on you if it fits you right.

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