Shopping for a new swimsuit can be stressful. Whether you have a supermodel physique or you’ve got a little extra fluff, finding a suit that looks cute and makes you feel great isn’t always an easy feat. For most of us, searching for the right beachwear is enough to make you wish that the old-timey bathing costumes with long pants would make a comeback.

Finding the right swimsuit doesn’t mean that you have to drape yourself in a caftan and call it a day though — even if that does have its advantages. Since comfort is one of the keys to being confident, focus on avoiding these common mistakes that will make even the cutest suit a beach disaster.

1. Your Suit Is Too Small

It should go without saying, but a swimsuit that’s too small is not going to do you any favors. Not only are you risking a wardrobe malfunction, but it’s hard to have a good time when you’re losing circulation because of straps that are too tight. Not to mention, it’s never a good look when everything’s stuffed into a suit that’s two sizes too small. Do you really want a muffin top, or to spend the day trying to manage your cleavage or removing a wedgie? Many swimsuit brands tend to run small, so if you are struggling to contain everything in your regular size, trying going up a size or two, or choose a mix-and-match style so you can get the right size for your top and bottom. Your suit should fit snugly, while still allowing you to breathe.

2. Your Suit Is Too Big

A swimsuit that’s too large is just as uncomfortable as one that is too small. If your straps keep falling down or the top is riding up, or the bottoms are loose and saggy, you need to go down a size or invest in a new suit. If you are wearing a larger size because you are self-conscious or want to hide “flaws,” consider a swimsuit designed to enhance your shape and provide more control.

3. Your Suit Is Too Transparent

Are you putting on a show every time you go in the water? Does the bright sunlight bring out more than just your fabulous tan? If your suit is revealing more than you would like, you want to get something else. Light colored suits should have an opaque liner, but even dark colored suits can become transparent. Over time, swimsuits wear out and the fabric becomes more transparent, so check your older suits before wearing to make sure they aren’t showing too much.

4. Your Suit Is Itchy

A suit that looks great on the rack at the store might not be so great once you hit the beach. Some fabrics and trims that look cute, like lace, can turn out to be itchy or uncomfortable once you get to the beach or pool. And even if they aren’t itchy, other details, like buckles, rivets, belts, ruffles, or fringe, can end up driving you crazy when you wear the suit for longer than the few minutes required to try it on. When you’re picking a new suit, consider these details before you make a nonrefundable purchase, and end up stuck with a swimsuit you can’t stand.

5. You Can’t Move Freely

Unless you plan to do nothing but lie still in a beach chair all day — which is totally legitimate, by the way — you want to make sure that you can move around comfortably in your bathing suit. If you only feel like you look great while you sit at a certain angle with your stomach sucked and your chest pushed out, you’re going to be tired and sore before long. Before you buy your swimsuit, think about your normal activities at the beach or pool, and whether you’ll be able to do them comfortably or not.

The best way to find a swimsuit you love is to try on several different styles (and sizes) to find the one that you’re most comfortable with — whether that’s a bikini (the most popular choice) or a one-piece (a growing trend). And regardless of what you choose, wear it with confidence, because when you feel great, you will look great.



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