Of Beginnings and Beyond

Sunday, June 10, 2007

How Not to Look Fat in a Swimsuit

The pitiless three-way mirror. The scary lighting. The unforgiving angles. Swimsuit shopping can be a nightmare. But O's makeover team is on the case: Eight women trade in their unbecoming suits for styles that make them look younger, slimmer, better toned. Steal these survival strategies for your own triumphant try-on. Check out these eight before-and-afters!

Before: A skimpy tankini leaves Sage's midsection bulging; the splashy print makes her bulk up even more.

After: Black always knocks off a few pounds, but this one-piece (Sirena, $37) isn't just safe, it's positively snappy: White bands at the bust capture the eye, moving scrutiny away from her bottom half. "I want to embrace my curves," Sage says. "I don't want to think in terms of 'when I lose 10 pounds' but find what looks good now."

Before: "Boy shorts had just come out. I'm a slave to fashion, so I had to have them," says Thyais - even though her shorts are unattractively tight at the waist and legs.

After: The vivid tank emphasizes Thyais's narrow torso, while high-cut legs on dark brown bottoms make her "thighs seem leaner" (Be Creative top, $48, and bottom, $38).

Confidence trick: Bring a pair of heels when you shop for swimwear - they flatter legs and inspire better posture.

Before: "When I bought this, I was still in a 'fat' state of mind," says Ann, who dropped 65 pounds six years ago. Her suit is too loose, too elderly - and the skirt doesn't work as camouflage (more fabric on hips actually adds inches).

After: "No more grandma suits!" says Ann. Wide-set straps balance her proportions by visually expanding the upper body; narrow stripes add shape at the waist and moderately high-cut legs streamline her thighs (Gottex tankini, $162).

Before: Busy prints are tricky - they can chunk you up. The bottom of Larissa's suit is uncomfortably binding, and the narrow-strapped halter top makes below-the-waist heaviness more obvious.

After: It's a myth that all skirt suits are dreary. This one (Carol Wior, $98) is short enough to flatter thighs, styled like a chic vintage dress, and, best of all, red. (Which brings us to another myth - that big women should avoid brights.) "I'm a plus size, but I love my hourglass shape," says Larissa. The flippy skirt gives her the allure of a 1940s pinup.

Before: An unsexy bra top. A skirt that obscures gorgeous legs. This two-piece is seriously aging, although Linda insists, "Looking older doesn't worry me. At 60 I'm not going to wear a thong!"

After: "There are benefits to not being "full-busted," she says. "No sag." And the freedom to wear a deep, voluptuous vee: This halter-neck (Hermanny by Vix, $172) sets off superb arms and shoulders; light-colored shirring showcases her waist and draws the focus upward.

Before: "I was a tall, chubby girl who got teased a lot, so I used to cover up," Malissa says. "Not anymore!" But the flimsy, zero-support bra is no match for her lush figure.

After: The stylishly open back of this underwire maillot (Keiko New York, $260) has a strap for extra uplift. "I usually go for patterns and colors because I never thought a black one-piece could be sexy. But I was blown away when I saw myself in this - even my legs looked longer."

Before: All that bare midriff does nothing to give Datania's straight-lined body a more nipped-in look. Besides, the suit is too small: The bottoms cut into her hips, and she spills out of the top.

After: Similar pattern (black backgrounds are more slenderizing than paler prints), svelter shape: This maillot (Liz Claiborne, $93) has seaming to mold Datania's torso, plus shirring and a shelf bra for a bust-minimizing effect.

Before: Yan doesn't exactly worry about looking fat, but she's "so flat-chested" that she thinks her bottom is out of proportion. This squared-off tankini top bisects her midsection, making her seem shorter and even less generously endowed.

After: A string bikini (Tomas Maier, $395) is spectacular on Yan, elongating her body, playing up her curves, and showing off slim, athletic legs.

Posted By:CarmelaSolon @ 9:30 PM

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