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Swimsuit Guide for the Normal Woman
Written by Liz Curell   

black and white suitsuit drawingsEditor’s note: So you’re not twenty anymore. Does that mean you shouldn’t be able to enjoy the beach this summer? Hardly! Liz Curell, owner of Just Cruisin’ Swimwear in downtown Vancouver, answers the most frequently asked questions from those who dread swimsuit season. Follow Liz’s tips to find the right figure-flattering suit for any body, at any age. Enjoy the sun, surf and sand in style this summer!

Q: I just hate the way I look in a bathing suit! Are there any tricks to looking and feeling better in swimwear?

Liz: We all have areas where we’d like to see a few improvements. Go to a specialty swimwear store and ask the clerk for personal service to select a comfortable suit you look good in. Try sunning on your patio or backyard first to get a little colour and get used to being in your swimsuit, then head to the beach with a paperback, cover-up and a snack. Relax and enjoy yourself. Look around: you’ll be surprised at the various sizes and shapes. I guarantee you’ll think to yourself, “I’m not all that bad!”

Q: What is the number-one problem most women have when it comes to buying a bathing suit?

Liz: Many ladies haven’t purchased a suit in a few years, and it’s to be expected their figures have changed. Their departure to a sun destination is quickly approaching and they’re not happy. My advice is, don’t leave your swimsuit selection to the last minute. Go a few weeks before your trip to a specialty store that boasts a great selection in various size ranges and styles. The sizing of swimwear is often different than clothing. A good rule of thumb is, if your bra size is 34, then generally you would fit a size 10 swimsuit. Don’t be upset if your street pants are size 6 to 8 and the swimsuits that fit the best are size 10 to 12.

Q: What should I do if I have a large build but small breasts?

Liz: This figure fits into the “pear” shape category. Choose a suit with an eye-catching print or detailing such as frills above the waistline. A tankini would work, with ruffles or pleats and a simple brief that would slim the thighs and hips. Another choice would be a one-piece suit with a printed bra area and a solid colour at the bottom.

Q: What if my cup size is huge but the rest of me isn’t?

Liz: Zero in on a cup sized bra. A true swim store should have specialty swimwear with cup sizes ranging from D to size EE and up. Look for underwire support and over-the-shoulder straps. Remember to tell the clerk what you plan to use the suit for, as there are different suits for swimming lengths, water aquatics, a holiday cruise or sunny vacation.

Q: I’ve had three children. How can I best flatter a bulging tummy?

Liz: If you want a one-piece suit, ask to see a suit with a tummy control inner lining. A gathered or surplice suit would be the answer here, or possibly a two-piece elongated tankini top over a basic high-waisted brief or roll-top bottom. If the brief is too skimpy, then a skirt with attached panty would work for you.

Q: It’s my thighs that really bother me in a swimsuit. Is there a way minimize the appearance of my thighs with the cut of my bathing suit?

Liz: Try a one-piece suit with an all-around skirt or sheath (skirt across the front), or a boy-leg style that extends slightly down the thigh. Also consider a one-piece with some sort detail or print at the bust line, shifting to a solid bottom area.

Q: I feel like I’m caught between those “cute” surf-style bathing suits that are too young for me and those floral, “old-lady” bathing suits that are too mature. What can I wear to look sexy but sophisticated by the pool?

Liz: Try a one-piece with a deep-V neckline, a sleek bandeau with removable straps, or an ultra-chic one-piece European line of swimwear. A true swim boutique should have several styles they can show you such as ethnic prints, bold or pinstripes, side splicing and more. Also, not all florals are old-lady! Prints can often hide flaws far better than solid colour.

Q: What’s your most important piece of advice for women when it comes to finding flattering swimwear they can feel good in?

Liz: If your body is anything less than perfect, don’t purchase swimwear online. Even with the same manufacturer, we often discover sizes changing from year to year and from style to style. Our best advice is to shop alone and give yourself at least an hour. After trying on a number of suits in various styles, narrow your selection down to two or three swimsuits and ask the clerk for advice.

Liz Curell -

Liz Curell has been a swimwear expert for more than 30 years. Come find your figure-flattering suit at the Just Cruisin’ flagship location, located at 890 Howe Street, Vancouver. Contact 604-688-2030 or visit