Every May, I go through the same thing. I flip through a dozen catalogs and visit a dozen stores trying to decide which swimsuit I want to buy most. And every year, I carefully select my chosen poolside lounging attire, only to discover that most women at my building’s pool don’t have a clue how to buy a swimsuit.
Tip One: Know what looks good on you. Large chested women can’t wear strapless styles. Boy shorts only look good on those with small rears. Need more tips? Cosmo has one of the better how tos that I’ve seen.
Tip Two: Try the swimsuit on. This seems like an obvious tip, but I meet a lot of women who didn’t try on the suit before they bought it. “Trying on swimwear is torture,” my neighbor told me last summer as she adjusted her too small bra top for the ninth time.
Yes, trying on swimwear is about as much fun as spending the afternoon on the rack. But that doesn’t mean you can just skip it.
Tip Three: If you don’t like the swimsuit in the store, you will never wear it. So don’t buy the swimsuit that will look good when you lose five pounds or the suit that will look better when you have a tan.
In my experience, you almost never lose the five pounds and unless you start fake baking, people who work in an office never get really tan.
So try on different styles, colors and patterns and find the one that you love. Love it in the store, love it on the beach.
Tip Four: Don’t ever spend more than $75 on a swimsuit. I learned this lesson the hard way. Five years ago, I bought a one-piece with cutouts that cost more than I care to admit. I wore it a dozen times or more, but I never felt like I wore it enough to justify the cost.
There are so many companies (H&M, Forever 21, Wal-Mart) producing affordable, trendy swimwear that there is no money to spend a lot of money on a suit. And wouldn’t you rather have a few cute, inexpensive suits than one really pricey one?
Tip Five: Buy a cover up. Even a woman with an amazing body shouldn’t stroll down the streets of Chinatown in a swimsuit and flip flops. (Oh yes, I’ve seen it.) So whether you like a long tunic, a jersey dress or a pair of shorts and a tank, dear Lord, cover up.
Personally, I have a white button down shirt that I stole from an old boyfriend. I wear it with an old J.Crew belt for shape and a metallic sandal. That way I can run some post pool errands without drawing confused stares from passersby.