You've worked hard all year to burn off those extra pounds and get the jiggle under control, and now it's time to show off your rockin' body. But even the best bodies come in all sizes and shapes, so no bikini will look great on everyone. The best way to showcase your bikini bod is with a perfect fit and a little extra attention to your beauty routine.
Find a Fabulous Fit
Bikinis come in several styles and fabric types, so the first thing is to figure out what you need from your swimsuit. Beach bunnies who spend all of their time soaking up the sun can get away with the lighter fabrics and less support that you find in a string bikini. If you intend to swim, surf or play sand sports with any modesty, you need heavier fabrics, fuller coverage and more structured support from both the top and the bottom.
Basic Bottom Facts
Brazilian thongs complement a firm booty, but consider boy shorts if you prefer to stay completely covered. High-cut legs offer a lot of freedom and make your legs look longer, but you will have to do some topiary work to make sure that all you're showing is skin. A rise of 2 inches below your belly button is the most flattering, generally speaking, but you can go higher or lower to suit your own style and comfort level. The bottoms should fit snugly but not cut off your circulation. Buy them too small, and the waistband might roll when you sit or bend, which is every bit as uncomfortable as it is unattractive. If they are too loose, you risk losing them in the water, so don't stress about what size the label says -- purchase whatever size fits the best and flatters you the most.
Taming the Top
Bikini tops also come in a wide variety of fabrics and styles. Fortunately, most swimwear manufacturers and retailers offer a mix-and-match option, which is extremely useful if you are full-breasted with small hips or tiny on top with a lush derriere. Match your top to the level of support and coverage you require. Racer-back tops are most effective for active women, while a teeny string top or bandeau flatters sun worshippers. Halter tops work for both as long as it fastens securely at the back and the neck. To find your perfect fit, start with your bra size if the tops are marked that way, and your blouse size if they are not.
Get Your Glow On
Once you've got your fabulous fit covered, take a few minutes to make sure you'll be putting your best foot forward. A pedicure will remove rough winter skin and get your feet presentable for going bare in sandals in flip flops. Exfoliate all over in the shower or tub with a loofah or scrub and slather on the moisturizer while your skin is still damp so that you'll be soft and smooth all over. Make sure you have enough sunscreen to keep your silky skin glowing softly rather than flaming red.
Handle the Hair Situation
How much and how to remove body hair is purely a matter of personal choice. If you're heading off for a beach vacation, cruise or resort, it can save you some grooming time to let leg, armpit and bikini-area hair grow and have it waxed. Shaving or cream depilatories are always a good option for the faint of heart; if you have very fine hairs, you can simply bleach them. Whatever method you use, take into account the more sensitive nature of bikini-area skin. If you go totally bare there, wait 24 hours before dipping into a pool or salt water of any kind to avoid possible irritation.
- Photo Credit Jim Arbogast/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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