Take a deep breath, beach beauty — don’t let insecurity about your bod bum you out. Barring months of sweating it at the gym, you may or may not have your ideal body by the time summer rolls around. But you don’t need a naturally perfect look to present a flawless front while you frolic in the sun — instead, emphasize your best features with a little last-minute style and focus on having fun!
Feel Fit First
Even if your athletic gear got no wear all year, you can still slim down a little just before you hit the beach. Pay attention to your posture — stand up straight to naturally slim your figure and hold your head high in bold, confident form. Hiding only calls attention to problem areas. Also, keep a lid on any bloating to get the flattest shape possible: Avoid salt and dairy before your trip, and drink plenty of water to prevent water retention.
Swimwear for Men
Select a swimsuit that suits the shape you have. Non-baggy board shorts will hide a number of flaws. Avoid novelty shorts, particularly if you are thick around the middle — instead, choose solid, neutral colors that detract attention. Bold prints and flashy colors will instead bulk up a too-slim frame. If you have long legs, wear a suit no shorter than just above the knee to keep from looking too lanky. Elongate shorter legs with a suit no longer than mid-thigh.
Swimwear for Women
Dress to your general shape. Pear body types should wear a patterned halter top and bikini bottom in a solid, dark hue to balance the larger bottom half. Apples should go for a retro-cut full suit with side cutouts to show just a bit of skin. Rectangular shapes look best in halter top suits with busy patterns and ruching that fakes curves, while hourglass shapes can rock high-cut bottoms and V-neck tops with full cups. For a plus-size woman, a deep V-neck and high-waisted bottom is best. For petites, high-cut bottoms can elongate the legs.
Skin and Hair Secrets
The sun and salt can sure do a number on your body — but it doesn’t have to! Moisturize your skin before and after the beach and drink plenty of water throughout the day to avoid that dry, scaly look. Wear SPF-50 sunblock to prevent burning, and spritz your skin periodically with a cooling sunblock to avoid looking sweaty and red-faced. Leave-in conditioner leaves your locks looking sleek all day with none of the usual lamentable windswept mess. If you must wear makeup, make it melt-proof — waterproof mascara, lipstain, gel blush and smudge-proof eyeshadow are key.
All the Extras
Match your accessories to your swimsuit style. For men, simple loafers or deck shoes go with any suit. Throw on a polo shirt with your neutral-colored beach bag and favorite dark or metallic sunglasses for post-beach fun. Women can pick a theme to match their suit, or mix and match as they like. For a full retro look, don big sunglasses, a floppy hat, delicate-looking sandals and a romantic, floaty coverup. To go sporty, wear a sun visor, athletic top and thong sandals or sneakers. Feeling feminine? Sport a sundress over your suit with sandals and pastel sunglasses.
References and ResourcesGlamour Magazine: The Best Swimsuits for Your Body Shape
Best Health Magazine: Five Easy Ways to Look Beautiful in a Bikini
The Guardian: How to Look Good on the Beach
Men's Health UK: Look Your Best on the Beach