How To Choose Your Swim Suit's Style And Fabric For Your Body Type And Skin Tone

Posted on: 14 March 2016


Selecting a swimsuit does not need to be stressful, as long as you follow a few simple guidelines to find the right one. Here are some tips to help you choose the right type of fabric for your swimsuit based on your skin, then choose the right style and cut of suit for your body shape.

Choosing Swimsuit Fabric Based on Your Skin Tone

Light Skin Tone

If your skin is fair and burns easily, you may want to choose a long-sleeved swim shirt, also called a rash guard. This swimsuit top will cover the skin on your shoulders and back, where much of the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays make contact while you are outside. Then, you only need to worry about applying sunscreen on your face, neck, and legs, or add a wide-brimmed hat to your sun ensemble, as your hard-to-reach shoulders and back are already covered. 

Some swimwear today is labeled with its fabric's UPF, or ultraviolet protection factor. This rating was first used in Australia in 1996 to rate clothing's effectiveness against protecting your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays. This includes the protection the weave and color of the fabric provides at keeping the ultraviolet rays from penetrating to your skin. For example, a swim suit with a UPF of 50 allows only 1/50 of the sun's ultraviolet radiation to reach your skin. A white t-shirt only has a UPF of approximately five, which allows one-fifth of the sun's ultraviolet rays to reach your skin.

If you are not sure of your swimsuit's UPF rating, hold the fabric up to the light to see how much light shines through the weave of the fabric. The less light shining through, the higher the fabric's rating. Also, keep in mind that darker-colored fabrics have a higher protection than lighter-colored fabrics.

Dark Skin Tone

If you have a skin tone that is less susceptible to burning and you want to work on an even tan while swimming, or you have been working on perfecting an even tan at the tanning salon, you can choose a tan-through swimwear. This type of fabric contains mesh-like openings that allows up to 80 percent of the sun's UV rays to penetrate through your skin, without the fabric being see-through. 

It is recommended to move the seams of your swimwear around periodically while you are in the sun, as the seams contain several layers of the fabric and are not tan-through as the rest of the swimsuit is. But the areas of your body lying beneath the swimsuit's fabric will continue to accumulate color without having to worry about acquiring any large areas of untanned skin.

Choosing Swimsuit Style Based on Your Body Type

Large Bust

If you have a large-sized chest, you need to look for a swimsuit that has a lot of support. This can include features, such as underwire in the bust area, wide and adjustable straps, sturdy linings or boning in the bust area. You can opt for a suit top that has a high neckline or a halter style with full coverage around the armholes. You can also choose a two-piece, as a bikini top has a support band running across your back to help keep your bust in place.

Small Bust

If you have a small bust, you should select a swimsuit that has busy or eye-catching details along the bust, such as ruffles or fringe, to draw attention to your upper torso. A halter or triangle top with extra padding in the bust area can also help accentuate a small bust.

Plus-Size or Full-Figured

If you are full figured with a large bust, waist, and thighs, you can choose a swimsuit that has the full coverage of a one-piece, but with eye-catching cutouts around your sides to accentuate your waist. Colorblocking patterns on your swimsuit, with large sections of solid color can also accentuate your full shape. Or, select a retro or 1940s-style suit with a high waist or a boxy halter top. You can also try a swimsuit with a ruffled skirt or a swim dress with side ruching to help hide your hips. To find plus-sized swimwear, check out a shop like Zenbah.

Use this information to help you select the right fabric and style of your swimsuit.