Rejoice! It’s swimsuit-shopping season! What what? You’re not excited?
Most of us adore going to the beach or lounging by the pool, but we aren’t exactly psyched to shop for swimsuit shopping. Bad store lighting, tummy bulges, self-doubt—they can gang up on you, and the next thing you know you’re sobbing into a glass of pinot grigio in a floor-length caftan.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m leaning on technology to be the remedy to my swimsuit angst, especially since I’ll be heading to Cabo this summer (squeal!). Because while I do make it to spinning once or twice a week these days, it does nothing to offset my pasta habit. I curse the day I taught my 14 year-old to make Carbonara. He makes it for dinner once a week now. It’s a problem.
Okay, inspiration! Here are all the bathing suits and accessories I’m loving this season.[show_lookbook_widget id=”217628″]
In spite of the fact that I look nothing like these lovely models in a bikini, I’m all about the high waisted bottoms, the mix-and-match pieces and lots of stripes this summer (and always). Thankfully, there are resources that will help me find the perfect suit without submitting myself to the torture of the change room… so when on the hunt for the perfect monokini, let some of these killer apps lend a hand.
Dip A Toe
Narrow down what styles and colors might look good with your skin tone and body type. Browse Pinterest for inspiration; the site has swimsuit images sorted into handy categories like “For Big Bust,” “Tankini,” “Cheap,” or “High Waisted.” Or play with ideas at Polyvore, where you can create your own virtual outfit (and share it online, if you wish). Enter “swimwear” in the search box, and then add accessories like hats, sandals and sunglasses.
Take the quiz at Victoria’s Secret’s website, and its Swim Stylist tool pulls out all the suits it thinks you will like. Everything But Water’s Perfect Fit Finder also suggests suits tailored to your body type, and explains why it made the choices with solid advice, like “Tab side bottoms are stylishly low cut but have full coverage in the rear.” Thank you, fit finder lady.
Need more expert advice? Many brands, like Lands’ End and Soma, have live fit stylists you can chat with online. Or try SwimwearSpot, an Android app that goes through the swimsuits available online, and helps you narrow down your shopping choices based on style or brand.
Take the Plunge
For a while, companies like LL Bean were offering virtual models, but they have phased them out. But good news: You’ll soon be using a virtual mirror. These map your body using motion-capture cameras, and create a digital version of you, so you can see how that suit looks without even having to shimmy into it. Virtual mirrors are already being tested in some stores, like Uniqlo in San Francisco. Panasonic introduced a home version at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show that uses a Lumix camera to track your face and projects it onto a mirror-like screen. Virtual mirrors are expected to be available for home use by 2016.
Lounging by the Pool
While you’re waiting on that virtual dress room, here are a few more bathing suit challenges, solved:
My arms… ugh. Your arms are fine, I promise. But if you’re self conscious, try pairing a rash guard top with a bikini bottom. You’ll get SPF protection, have your arms covered and yet still radiate the vibe, “I’m a James Bond scuba vixen!” If you want something less snorkel-inspired, try Mott 50, which makes “swim shirts,” with short sleeve, crop top and long sleeve styles. Also crushing on everything Cynthia Rowley is doing.
The Girls. Simply Beach carries mastectomy swimwear, bra-sizing swimwear, DD+ bikinis, and plus sizes.
Now all you need now is a towel, which, thankfully, tends to be one size fits all.