Suit Yourself

Find a Great Swimsuit Without Going Off the Deep End

What do Washingtonians want their swimsuits to do for them? Everything but teach them to tap dance - at least, if the letters I got from Sunday Source readers in search of swimsuit advice are any indication. "Cute" and "flattering" topped most wish lists, but you also sought suits that were supportive yet comfortable, fashion-forward without being fashion-victimy, daring but not too. As one reader put it, "I want to look in the mirror and say, 'Wow!'"

A tall order, perhaps, but I found a number of suits that fit the bill - though one should never expect makeover miracles from a half-yard of strategically placed fabric. (Some styles do work better on certain frames than others, but remember: It's a bathing suit, not a magic trick.) Still, there are many ways to stack the cards in your favor. It all starts with shopping smart. Give yourself a full day to find a suit - don’t try to squeeze it in on your lunch hour. Don't wear granny panties when trying on skimpy bottoms: You won't be able to really see your suit's lines. Be ready to go up a size or two. Many suits are cut small, so if you're a size 8, take an 8, 10 and even a 12 into the fitting room. And be sure to ask about the store's return policy before you buy.

Even if you're planning to spend $25 tops, it pays to try on suits at a high-end store such as Neiman Marcus. You'll probably leave empty-handed, but you'll get to see firsthand what really makes a good fit and which designer cuts flatter you, so you can then seek out similar concepts for less. -- By Suzanne D'Amato

Swimsuit Tips: Read the Live Online discussion transcript

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