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Friday, May 31, 2013

Oh, the Joy of Swimsuits...

"Between being totally naked and breaking the law, a bathing suit is a real bargain!" ~anonymous

Oh, goodie, goodie! It's time for bathing suits!! 

Why are you rolling your eyes at me? That's not very enthusiastic of you. 

Some of us get so touchy about running around in what amounts to little more than glammed-up underwear and feeling totally over exposed.  I know I'm repeating myself, but in case you're going there, there's absolutely nothing wrong with the way your body looks, so don't start with me. I'm not interested in hearing it. I want to hear what fun you had in the water, how wonderful the sand felt between your toes, how relaxing it was to listen to the kids playing…(or not, as the case may be,) how good it was to have that margarita by the pool with your friends…  

Now that we've gotten to the proper frame of mind, lets work on getting you in a suit that works best for you, and will make you feel as good as you look. 

First a few design line rules. The name of the game is balance- we look our best when we look visually balanced. It doesn't matter how tall, short, thin, fat, big boned, skinny hipped, narrow shouldered or whatever-imagined-flaw-you-can-dream-up you are- if you pay attention to a few simple rules to visually balance what you've got, you've got the foundations for looking great at the pool or on the beach. And everywhere else for that matter- but we're talking swimsuits today.

If you want to de-emphasize a horizontal element, use vertical elements. And vice versa. Let's say your hips are wider than your shoulders. To visually balance this figure, use predominantly horizontal elements up top and vertical elements on the bottom.  Below is a somewhat over-simplified visual explanation. I used the above type figure as it's probably the most common one, and a two piece- the suit that inspires the most anxiety.
This is 'imbalanced- it's the opposite-
vertical on top and horizontal on bottom.
This is 'balanced'- horizontal on top,
(more) vertical on bottom.

See? It's pretty simple. If some aspect of the actual design of the suit isn't horizontal/vertical enough for you, think about finding one with pattern that also emphasizes what you want- stripes or seams, for example.

This simple truth also applies to embellishments- keep them where you want emphasis, and going in the direction you want emphasis. 

Now on to color; unless you're going to the Playboy Mansion, you probably won't wear as much in the way of makeup or accessories when going swimming. So it's best to be less adventurous with color- stick with your very, very best color if possible, and err on the side of caution with print and contrast. When you're dressing for a normal day you can compensate for a brighter color or bolder pattern by wearing slightly bolder makeup- when in a swimsuit this usually isn't much of an option, so keep that in mind. Don't want a too bold color or pattern washing your coloring out. Unless of course you look your best in bright colors- then just be very sure it's a color that looks great on you when you're not wearing any makeup. 

At this point it's all to easy to just grab the BIGGEST t-shirt you can find to throw over your suit when you've had enough sun, and whatever bag fits your (also un-thought-out) towel. That's where it all fails. (This is my downfall, unfortunately.) Try seeing this as an entire 'outfit,' just as you do with your day-to-day clothes. Nice if you can have a few of these 'ensembles.' Have a hat that compliments the suit, maybe some matching sandals, and bag.  A cover-up that you feel good about going into a restaurant in, that also looks good with the suit. If you have budget considerations, try to do one 'ensemble' per year, perhaps.  And you can always buy a very simple suit and create different 'ensembles' around it- a black bathing suit, and a blue cover-up and sandals, and another cover-up in a black and silver pattern with a black and silver bag, etc.

The point is, make getting dressed to go swimming as much fun as you can, and another opportunity for self expression. Why not? It's another opportunity to feel great…

Happy Dressing!