Bathing suit shopping is the ultimate love-hate experience. You love looking at one adorable style after the next but hate the pressure of choosing the cut that will best flatter your features. If your thighs are the area you wish to downplay, your bathing suit bottoms can quickly go from frenemy to bestie with a little fashion 411 -- from adjustable styles to savvy color and fabric choices, plenty of options exist to provide the most body-beautifying bang for your buck.
Go for a Cut Above
It may seem like an oxymoron to show more of your thighs, but stylists agree that a higher-cut swimsuit is your best bet. "InStyle" fashion director Cindy Weber Cleary advises steering clear of boyshorts, which can make a body appear squat. Look to a mid- to high-cut bikini brief to add length to your legs.
Take Advantage of Altitude Adjustment
Make your two-piece bottoms as individualized as possible by nabbing a style with adjustable strings. This nifty trick allows you to customize the ties to the right level of snugness so that the sides don’t cut into your thighs. String ties also let you position the height of the leg opening of your suit bottoms, making this style a win-win.
Be Smart About Colors, Patterns and Extras
Dark colors are famously slimming, so choose bottoms in dark shades like black, plum, navy or burgundy; avoid splashy prints, white and shiny metallics. If you long for color or patterns, save that for your bikini top; bright hues or geometric or animal prints upstairs pull the focus upward. Borrow a stylist’s secret and add embellishments up top -- think jewels, an interesting ruffle or a sexy bandeau cut -- to keep the attention where you want it and away from where you don’t.
Make Some Strategic Choices
Not all fabrics are created equal. Look for double-lined, sturdy fabrics in a matte finish to both visually minimize the area and help keep things in place. Experiment with compression swimsuits to see which work for you; some may lift your bottom to lengthen your leg line, while others could cut into your thighs. Choose bottoms with slimming details such as a foldover band, full rear coverage, side gathers or ruching.
Skirt the Issue
Most style experts agree that thigh-length skirt suits should be avoided because they skew matronly and actually draw more attention to the thigh area. But if you love the look, an asymmetrical micro-skirt preserves the leg line while offering just a bit more coverage to keep you confident. Don't forget sarongs -- tie a cute wrap around your hips when you're not in the water for the best of both worlds.