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Swimwear 101.

Everything you need to know to suit yourself perfectly.

I'm not skinny, but I want to wear a bikini. There are dozens of different cuts designed to flatter every body shape. Take an honest friend shopping, and try on everything you fancy. Look for a top with good support and coverage. If a suit is too tight, it can cause the skin to bulge so try a suit a size bigger.

My nightmare is that an immature boy swims past me and pulls one of my bikini strings, and then--poof!--I'm half naked in public. Crazier things have happened. For peace of mind, try sporty styles, like tank-cut tops with boy shorts. It would be impossible for a simple swim-by boy to de-bikini you.

My suits give me, you know, camel toe. That's a lot of information when you're just hanging out at the beach. Go for a classic or high-cut bottom that gives your legs more room to move. Or drop a size down if you notice extra bagging material.

How can I tell in a store if a suit will be see-through once it's wet? Not into white, unlined, knit bikinis? No matter. Put your hand under the suit fabric, and compare the thickness of different suits, says Amy Snyder, president of Poko Pano North America. Then check out the inner lining--to eliminate see-through mishaps, it needs to fit well inside the suit and be tight.

I WANT TO KEEP MY BIKINI LINE COVERED.

Some days, a girl just can't deal with shaving. Your easy solution? Choose boy shorts o a skirted swim bottom.

Surf triangle, $32, and hot short in Strawberries, $33, Venus USA

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When I wear a suit, I feel like my chest bulges at the sides and my waist rolls over the bottom. What's the trend here? Wide straps! String bikini straps won't give the extra support and shape that wider straps will. And suit sizes aren't vanity sizes--if your waist or thighs are spilling out, try the next size up so your bed isn't forced in undesirable directions.

I have two different sized boobs, so even padding doesn't help. Oh, but padding does help. Buy the suit you like best, take a pair of scissors and snip padding on the side with the larger breast. For the record, all boobs are uneven. Our bet is, you're probably the only one who notices.

How can I keep my suit from getting all ratty so fast? Hand-wash your suit in mild dish soap or baby shampoo and cool water. Another quick idea? Pro Heidi Rauch, co-founder of BelaBumBum swimwear, advises wearing your bathing suit in the shower and rinsing off with water for a minute since salt and chlorine can erode elastic and fade color. Then peel it off, squeeze out excess water, and just hang it to dry. Never toss your suit in the washer or dryer.

What's the coolest thing to wear over a suit this year? Tunics are big this summer. You can even wear a groovy belt low on the hips to be extra stylish. Some other favorites are ruffled skirts and terrycloth smock dresses. Looks from India, like a sarong with sequins or mirror detailing, are also hot. Pair with flip-flops and some mellow hoops or small chandelier earrings/and you're a beach babe.

I LOOK LIKE A STICK IN WATER!

Hey, slender girls! Add shape to your body by choosing a two-piece with a ruffled top and a skirted bottom (make sure the bottom sits low so the fabric can help fill out your hips).

Top and bottom, $28 each, InMocean

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Title Annotation:Girl's Life
Publication:Girls' Life
Date:Jun 1, 2005
Words:605
Previous Article:Cute-for-you suits!
Next Article:Pick your perfect swimsuit color!
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