Swimwear: Know Your Best Fit

Fantasie Guadeloupe Tankini. Image from Fantasie.

As I sit here in drizzly Florida, preparing the Fourth of July holiday… as well as mid-summer here in the U.S., I have been thinking it’s time to review what I’ve learned about shopping for swimwear.

1) It can be a tedious process.

2) Finding a retailer that carries more than one item in your taste range and size is difficult.

3) Knowing your key fit points is key to not driving yourself insane.

I was under the naïve illusion that narrowing my swimsuit searches to wired, full busted lines like Freya, Panache, and Fantasie would solve my swimsuit shopping problems. I had targeted swimsuits like these:

Fantasie Martinique Radiant Orchid Swimsuit. Image from Fantasie.
Panache Tallulah Swimsuit. Image from Panache.
Panache Tallulah Swimsuit. Image from Panache.
Fantasie Guadeloupe Tankini. Image from Fantasie.
Fantasie Guadeloupe Tankini. Image from Fantasie.

But alas, a good fit was not happening. I was getting desperate for a swimsuit when I lucked into a Speedo suit at a local Sports Authority. Having at least one well fitting, attractive suit helped calm me down and reduce the desperation of my search.

What has helped me the most was trying on dozens (literally) of swimsuits from various manufacturers, of the same general type I like…and then recording what I liked and disliked about each style and brand.  This happened during a lucky visit to Dillard’s at Scottsdale Fashion Square last month. What I found was that I need wide, adjustable straps, ample room and support for my chest (without tall wires under the arms and gore), adjustable leg openings, and to avoid tankinis. I do not have to have a wired suit. Odd, but true.

My best fit, ironically, comes from Speedo. Why?

1) Speedo carries a number of swimsuits with wide straps at the front of the suit, and adjustable straps.

2) Speedo suits offer ample room (almost too much in some suits) and support for my chest without squishing my chest into an odd-shaped V – without wires. Note, I am a 38F/FF in U.K. sizing, and a size 14 U.S. in Speedo. I’d estimate you could go to a G/GG in some Speedo suits. Wireless design is great for my short waisted, high-set build because I avoid wires poking me or restricting my breathing while I swim.

3) While the leg openings are not height adjustable, Speedo suits are cut high enough on the Recreation line (they call it Modern or “highest cut”) to not cut into my hips, upper thigh, and buttocks. Overall, the look is flattering and doesn’t crawl, even while engaging in water sports.

4) They make one piece suits which I prefer, since tankinis tend to crawl up over my hips and roll into a tube around my waist…that short waisted thing, again.

So, what’s my top pick of the season? This Shirred Princess cut from Speedo. I am loving every minute I spend in this suit.

Speedo Shirred Brilliant Swirl Princess Cut. Image from Speedo.
Speedo Shirred Brilliant Swirl Princess Cut. Image from Speedo.

Now that I know my key fit points, I look forward to easier swimsuit shopping at online sales (and I may luck into a few at retail stores, who knows…), and I’m even looking forward to swimsuit shopping in 2014!

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