Last year, Kelly Ripa’s husband, Mark Consuelos, posted a photo to his Instagram account of his then-47-year-old wife in a bikini on the beach. She looked amazing, but haters gonna hate. Since they couldn’t shame her well-toned body, they shamed her age instead, saying that she was “too old” to be wearing a bikini. Consuelos clapped back, but those comments reflect a segment of society’s views on what is acceptable for women to wear after a certain age.
“Our society often gives the idea that different things are not appropriate for women when they reach a certain age,” says Jo Jeffery, senior brand communications manager at Figleaves Swimwear, a company with a mission to make all women feel welcome regardless of shape, size, ethnicity, or age. “So rather than wear what looks best, makes them feel great, or gives them confidence, women are instead trying to follow an outdated standard.”
The bikini has come a long way from three tiny triangles held together by string. Today there is a wide array of styles designed to fit and flatter every body type. Knowing what works for you will let you look and feel your best.
“The secret is to find a bikini that works with your shape rather than against it,” says Jeffery, who recommends buying swimwear sold as separates for a customized fit. “The goal is to balance out the body and draw the eye to what you want to emphasize and away from the areas you want to minimize.”
Choose a Suit That Works for You
Here are a few things Jeffrey says to look for when it comes to choosing the right bikini for your body type.
The Issue: Small Breasts
The Answer: Find a top with a little something extra, like ruffles, twists, or a plunging neckline, and keep the bottom simple. You can also try a bra with a little padding for some extra oomph!
The Issue: Big Boobs/Sagging Breasts
The Answer: It’s all about support and lift. Underwire is a great choice for helping you defy gravity, but it’s not the only choice. Many companies now offer bikini tops that come in band and cup sizes, just like your bra. These are an excellent option, because they’ve been designed specifically to work with your shape.
The Issue: Poochy Belly/Love Handles
The Answer: To smooth out love handles and tummy bulges, look for a high-waisted brief with hidden panels that compress and support.
The Issue: Short Torso/Short Legs
The Answer: To elongate the torso, choose a bottom with lower-cut style. To create the illusion of long, lean legs (or play up great gams), a high-cut brief or a fabulous print will do the trick.
The Issue: Big Butt
The Answer: When women are heavier on the bottom, the tendency is to cover with up with more fabric. That tactic can have the opposite effect by drawing the eye to the area you are trying to minimize. Instead, go for something special on top, like a plunging neckline or ruffles, and keep the bottom simple. That way, the eye is drawn up.
Whatever style you choose, add some cute sandals and a healthy dose of attitude and you’re ready to go!