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Get Swimsuit Sexy: How to Look Good in a Bikini (With Photos)

Flourish tells her teenage daughter that if she's going to wear a bikini, then get one that fits and flatters and wear it with confidence.

We all have imperfections, but don't let yours shake your spirit. Wear your confidence by being proud of your body and strutting your stuff.

We all have imperfections, but don't let yours shake your spirit. Wear your confidence by being proud of your body and strutting your stuff.

Time to Stop Hiding

Goodbye, one-piece swimsuit, and hello sun-seeking, stringy bikini!

This year, you won't be hiding behind an oversized cover-up or bypassing the surf and sand altogether to flee for the mountains. No, siree! The sun, sand, and waves are just waiting for you to swap that one-piece for a teeny bikini.

You've decided you're going to be toned, tanned, and taut, and this year, you're going to totally own the beach. If this is your goal, then here are some tips and inspirational photos to help you in your quest for summertime fun.

1. Select a Swimsuit That Fits and Flatters Your Shape

If you want to look great in a swimsuit, then you have to have the right size, cut, color, and fabric. Select your next bikini by taking your best friend with you when swimsuit shopping. (It's always best to have another opinion.)

For the best experience:

  • Remove unwanted body hair before shopping. This will provide a more realistic preview of what you'll look like in the suit.
  • Work on your self-tan so that you know what color of bikini will look best with your summer skin tone. It's difficult to select a flattering bikini color if you'll be three shades darker by the time you actually wear it.
  • Stop obsessively self-scrutinizing! Remember that the harsh lighting and triple mirrors of the dressing room will detract. Everyone looks better in natural beach lighting. Your friend will tell you if you need to rethink your decision for a two-piece.
  • Never—as in ever—skip the underwear while trying on suits. While it may give you a more realistic idea of what you'll look like on the beach, that's just nasty hygiene. (Yeah, you know why.) And after you buy that bikini, wash it before wearing for the same reason.

How to Find a Bikini That's the Right Cut, Color, Size, and Fabric

Keep these points in mind when selecting a suit:


  • Bikinis are often not the best choice of bathing suit if you have a thick waist.
  • High cut bikinis are an excellent choice for shorter girls, as they help elongate legs.
  • Use triangle tops and halters if you want to draw attention to your bust.
  • Details such as ruffles, ties, and bows also draw attention to a particular area.
  • Consider whether you can actually swim and move about on the beach in your suit. Strapless bikinis have a way of accidentally falling down in the waves. Avoid the embarrassment.
  • Be tasteful and age appropriate. For example, thongs tend to be unflattering even on toned and tanned bodies. Leave something for the imagination. You don't want to be a walking example of "too much information," do you?


  • You can often purchase bikini tops and bottoms separately, thus you don't need to be "matchy-matchy." For example, choose a bright color for the top and black for the bottoms.
  • Use bright colors and patterns to accentuate (e.g., your bust, hips) and darker, solid colors to downplay.
  • If you're fair-skinned, avoid pastels, white and earth tones. These colors are often too close to your skin tone and can make you look "washed out."
  • If you have dark skin, consider selecting vibrant colors to provide high visual contrast. Hot pink and jewel tones can make a big impact, for example.

Fabric: Pay attention to the thickness and quality of your bikini fabric. For example:

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Read More From Bellatory

  • Crocheted fabrics can become heavy when water-logged—not a good look or feel.
  • Avoid shiny, reflective fabrics and metallic-colored accents. Sharks can mistake the glittery effect for that of fish scales. (Shark attacks are an exceedingly rare occurrence, but why take the chance?)1
  • Some fabrics may be thin or become nearly see through when wet. Make sure your swimsuit has sufficient lining. I've seen examples on the beach of dark pubic hair showing through wet swimsuits due to insufficient lining. Gross.

Size: It's so easy to buy the wrong size, as bikini sizing can differ from that of other clothing. (It often runs smaller.) Be sure the size is right. Don't hesitate to choose a larger size. Only you will really know.


  • Consider what activities you'll be engaged in while wearing your bikini. Are you simply wanting to stroll on the beach? Will you be playing volleyball, lifeguarding, running, or engaged in other active water sports? The more active you'll be on a regular basis, the more coverage and support you'll likely want (i.e., think sports bra, tankini style bikinis).

Other helpful hints:

  • To create the illusion of a bigger bust, consider padded tops, tie fronts, and under-wire push ups.
  • If you want to add the look of volume, ruffles make an area look bigger.
  • Bigger busted ladies (larger than a C cup) need to pay extra attention to "security" and coverage issues. Consider an under-wire, wide straps, and a thick chest band to minimize jiggling and fallout. You don't want "the girls" breaking free.
Padded tops and push ups can help provide the illusion of a bigger bust.

Padded tops and push ups can help provide the illusion of a bigger bust.

2. Tan Your Body Safely

The look of a tan can give you an attractive, sun-kissed appearance. Being a bronzed beauty, however, can come at a high price.2

While sunshine confers the natural benefit of increased Vitamin D levels, a suntan is the skin's sign that your body has been exposed to ultraviolet radiation. That is, suntans are signs of skin damage, and over time they may result in DNA damage to your skin and an increased risk of melanoma. Tanning beds can result in additional risks, such as the increased risk for cataracts and corneal burns.

Used in moderation, self-tanning products are a healthier option. Research has found the use of self-tanning products to be associated with

  • Reduced sunbathing
  • Fewer sunburns
  • A greater willingness to wear protective clothing in the sun
Even this lady has days when she doesn't feel her best.  No one is perfect, but you can exude confidence with eye contact, a smile and good posture.

Even this lady has days when she doesn't feel her best. No one is perfect, but you can exude confidence with eye contact, a smile and good posture.

3. Confidence Counts

Have you ever listened to the lyrics of the oldies song, "Itsy, Bitsy, Teenie, Weenie, Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini?" Don't be that girl. Wearing a bikini is like wearing your bra and panties in public, but face it: if you're going to wear a bikini, then rock it confidently.

Confidence matters, whether you're on the beach, in the classroom, or at work. If you can't believe in yourself—not only how great you look but how awesome you are as a person—who else can?

Communicate your self-assuredness with good posture, appropriate eye contact, and smiling:

  • Walk tall with your shoulders back and your back straight. Slouching communicates low self-esteem and low energy.
  • Don't cast your eyes on the ground.
  • Using "arm barrier" positions can also communicate a lack of confidence, although you will certainly claim you're doing so because the position is simply "comfortable."3 Examples of arm barrier positions: adopting the "brozen zipper" position (hands cupped across the genital area), crossing your arms over your chest, the "self-hug" stance, and using an object such as a large bag or beach blanket as a type of security blanket.

Be Proud of Your Body, and Have a Body to Be Proud Of

Real women come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Feel comfortable in your own skin.

Real women come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Feel comfortable in your own skin.

Common Body Concerns and What You Can Do

Body IssueDefinitionContributing FactorsWhat You Can Do

Muffin Top or Spare Tire

A roll of fat around one's middle section

Selecting processed and fast-food meals over healthier options. Declining estrogen levels. Increases in adrenaline and cortisol. Cheating yourself out of 7 or more hours of sleep.

Increase physical activity, especially through cardio training and weightlifting. Reduce carbohydrates. Choose meals that are balanced and portion controlled. Manage stress levels. Get adequate sleep.

Stretch Marks

Streaked or striped scarring of the skin, often located on the abdomen, thigh or breast.

Genetics. Rapid growth or weight gain, as with puberty or pregnancy.

Laser treatment. Camoflague the marks with self-tanner. Apply vitamin E oil or a skin cream containing retinol to pink, purplish or inflamed stretch marks. Accept the silvery ones as a rite of passage.

Abdominal Bloating

Intestinal gas that creates swelling and a feeling of fullness.

A diet of rich, salty, and fatty foods. Eating gas-producing foods (e.g., broccoli, salads, beans). Swallowing air.

Stay well hydrated. Choose healthy, low-sugar foods. Minimize salt. Don't gulp beverages or eat too quickly. Avoid using straws and chewing gum. Reduce your stress level. Get moving.

Cellulite (or Orange Peel Syndrome, Cottage Cheese Skin)

Skin that looks dimpled and lumpy.

Lifestyle factors like smoking. A diet high in fat, salt and carbohydrates and low in fiber. High levels of estrogen, insulin and other hormones. Genetics.

Reduce the fat content in cells using exercise and a healthy diet. Use 0.3% retinol cream. Treatments via laser and radiofrequency systems.

Bat Wings (or Bye-Byes)

Jiggly upper arms that lack muscular definition.

Loose skin and loss of muscle tone, often age related.

Bicep and tricep exercises using 5 to 8 pound dumbells.

Cankles (or Calf-Ankles)

Chunky ankles that give the appearance that one's calf extends directly into the foot.

Fluid retention. Genetics.

Chew on parsley, a natural diuretic, or take a supplement of horse chestnut. Engage in calf muscle exercises to add definition. Select wedge shoes rather than ankle-strappy sandals. Opt for laser surgery if you must.

Get Fit & Look Hot This Summer Using This Bikini Workout

4. Ultimately, It's Not About the Swimsuit

Americans—particular American women—often struggle with how they perceive their bodies. Your choice to wear a bikini puts you in a minority, and although being in that minority could make you feel uncomfortable at times, the reality is that you may not always be able to rock a bikini. (So enjoy being young.)

Consider these statistics related to body image:

  • According to a recent Gallup poll, more than 1 in 4 American women is obese.4
  • The average American woman is size 14.5
  • The U.S. Department of Commerce abandoned the uniform sizing system in the 1980s so that manufacturers could stroke the egos of the American public (and line their own pocketbooks with our vanity). Consequently, what had been a size 16-18 in the 1950s is now about equal to today's size 8. Sizes can vary substantially from one brand to another.
  • Less than 1 in 5 women opt for a bikini.6
  • A survey of 1,000 women by Fitness magazine found that 89% of women who wear bikinis feel most harshly judged by other females.7

While wearing a bikini is guaranteed to get you some attention, keep in mind that ultimately, what really counts is your heart and mind. Are you a good person? What qualities do you have to offer the world? Most certainly, it's more than a sexy body.

Reiterate to yourself your positive features, from intelligence to a sense of humor to your empathy. Hopefully, being healthy and looking and feeling your best should be part of a larger positive self-view. Every bikini-clad beach bunny is someone's daughter.

Reader Poll: Tell the Truth


1Oceana. "Tips for Avoiding Shark Attacks." Oceana. Last modified 2012.

2Evans, Susan. "The Dangers of Tanning Beds." The Dr. Oz Show. Accessed January 19, 2014.

3Westside Toastmasters. "Arm Signals." Accessed January 19, 2014.

4Gallup.Com - Daily News, Polls, Public Opinion on Politics, Economy, Wellbeing, and World. "In U.S., Obesity Rate Stable in 2012." Accessed January 19, 2014.

5Brown, Alyssa. "In U.S., Obesity Rate Stable in 2012." Gallup.Com - Daily News, Polls, Public Opinion on Politics, Economy, Wellbeing, and World. Last modified January 23, 2013.

6Women’s Issues, Advice and Personal Stories. "Women Feel Judged Most by Other Women When They Wear a Bikini." Last modified May 27, 2011.

Enjoy the Beach!

I've got my flip flops and I'm ready for the beach!

I've got my flip flops and I'm ready for the beach!

© 2014 FlourishAnyway


FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 24, 2018:

Hey, Paula, you're not alone. But I love your sense of humor!

Suzie from Carson City on February 24, 2018:

HA!!! F.A. The only way I could "rock a bikini" ever, ever again~~is if I take it down to the creek to wash it!! Just like my last chance to have a "smokin hot body" is to be cremated!! Oh, but thanks anyway!! LOL! Paula

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 24, 2018:

Aye1 - Thank you for your comment.

Aye1 on February 23, 2018:

Hi, came here to get some great tips for different kind of bikinis styles and new trends.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on March 18, 2015:

poetryman6969 - In the name of science, right? Thanks for stopping by.

poetryman6969 on March 18, 2015:

Love the photos of the gorgeous bikinied ladies! You have a lot of detail information on how to get a bikini body too. Upvoted as useful and beautiful.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 16, 2014:

Tori - You should rock a bikini as long as you can. Go for it, girl.

Tori Canonge from North Carolina on June 16, 2014:

I haven't been in a swimsuit yet this year and although I'm in good shape, I still feel all exposed and such in a bikini! Haha. I do have one that I look forward to wearing at some point this summer, but I would like to get a different one. Right now, the one I have is all black and I would like to get at least a top that has some color to it.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 09, 2014:

Audrey - I don't think this is me either. (I'm not 17 anymore.) I do appreciate your reading, however!

Audrey Howitt from California on April 09, 2014:

I think these days are behind me--but it was nice to dream of them for a bit--actually this is a great hub on the subject!!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 07, 2014:

Rajan - Bikinis are only for the young and young at heart! Thanks for visiting!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 06, 2014:

Useful tips and good pics. One really needs a shapely body to carry off a bikini well.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on March 28, 2014:

Tashaonthetown - Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. Summer will be here before we know it!

Natasha Pelati from South Africa on March 28, 2014:

Great hub with interesting info and tips. Will try some so that I can get bikini ready before next Summer!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 18, 2014:

Edward - That's an awesome compliment. The source I used for the beaches used a multitude of factors for ranking. I noticed too that no California beaches were in the top rankings. Maine also has some gorgeous beachfronts but they are very rocky. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Ed Palumbo from Tualatin, OR on February 18, 2014:

Drawn by the photo, captured by the writing! Well written with interwoven humor. I observe the West Coast has been somewhat overlooked, but I enjoyed this Hub!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 16, 2014:

Suzanne - Thanks for reading and commenting. Many people would agree with you. It's about priorities.

justmesuzanne from Texas on February 15, 2014:

Voted up and interesting. This isn't even something I think about any more. I haven't gone swimming in years, and if I did I'd just wear shorts and a sport bra. It seems strange to think that this sort of thing is so important to so many people... :/

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 12, 2014:

Minnetonka Twin - So far, in terms of viewership -- let's just say there are a couple of hubs that have always done well since Google discovered them, my one or two most recent, then this one. It's still early, but I suspect the way this might be going haha.

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on February 12, 2014:

I had to hit every button on this well written hub. Love your sense of humor and how the mom in you comes out in this. I thought it was so cute when you said to remember that the beach bunny is someone's daughter. You can see how much work you put into this. Keep us in the know about how this hub does for your experiment. I think you're gonna get tons of hits. Seems so long ago that I was wearing a bikini-my days of wearing them is long gone but hey, what matters is my heart and mind, right? LOL

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 09, 2014:

Kitty - Awesome for you. That's what really counts - how you feel about yourself. Thanks for stopping by.

Kitty Fields from Summerland on February 09, 2014:

Really well-written. Great tips! I know I need to work on a few things before Summer hits but the good thing is that I've learned self-love. I know I'm not going to look like a model but I love myself anyway! :)

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 08, 2014:

Oh, Jo, it is an experiment that is doing well. Thanks for reading.

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on February 08, 2014:

Flourish, this is simply brilliant, you've got the men hooked and the women shopping, perfect. :)

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 06, 2014:

Frank - As long as it's in the name of science. You're a hoot.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on February 06, 2014:

just needed one more look at the photos :) thank you

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 03, 2014:

Crafty - That's a good one! You had me laughing out loud like usual.

CraftytotheCore on February 03, 2014:

Flourish, this Hub should do exceptionally well! I live close to some really famous beaches on the East Coast. One time I went to the beach with family. This was years ago. I was wearing a two-piece. I got caught under the under toe and so did my top! LOL I just remember my aunt throwing a beach towel like a linebacker trying out for football to make sure I had something to cover myself up with!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 02, 2014:

Thanks, Sarojnaagar.

Sarojnaagar on February 02, 2014:

Very Nice Article on Bikini.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 01, 2014:

CelebrateUSA - Thanks for your feedback. Have a great weekend.

Ken Kline from Chicago, Illinois on February 01, 2014:


Truly delightful. Wow! Voted up and awesome. I have like many others the love/hate with the swimsuits. Very inspirational and upbeat - exceptionally well done.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 26, 2014:

Sunshine625 - Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on January 25, 2014:

Quite an informative and entertaining hub! Great pictures and exercise routines! :)

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 25, 2014:

Suzanne - You definitely have a point there. I'd wonder whether anyone folks meet on a beach is appropriate dating material. I like your new verb, "perving." Haha. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on January 25, 2014:

I'm packing a bit of a paunch these days, so bikinis are out for me. But I still have wishful thoughts! Lately I have been wearing one piece swimsuits with little frilly skirts or cute boy shorts on them and they quite suit my body shape. To be honest, I think anyone seriously perving and hitting on people at the beach is not really someone I want to meet! Voted up and funny.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 23, 2014:

Liz - This is a twist for me! I've been analyzing my metrics and wanted to experiment a little with what compels readers. I hope in the end good writing matters. I bet the beaches in CA are beautiful. Thanks for reading!

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on January 23, 2014:

LOL--definitely a twist for you, but extremely well-done! I salute you. As for me, I don't do bikinis, and never have. In fact, I've never owned a 2-piece, bikini or not! I'm much more into being very active, and I don't trust them to stay put!

Hmm...I'm sure there are great beaches here in California, too. ;-) I have, though, been to Coast Guard Beach in MA. ... MANY years ago....

Voted up, interesting and useful. Cheers!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 23, 2014:

Writer Fox - Yes, the mother in me wants to toss these gals a cover-up. Summer will be here before we know. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on January 23, 2014:

I thought I was rushing spring but you are way ahead of me! After looking at some of these pictures, I'm convinced that humans should wear more clothes. Voted up!

dragonflycolor on January 23, 2014: