How to Measure for a Women's Swimsuit

How to Measure for a Women's Swimsuit

AUGUST 8, 2016

by Molly Parker Swimwear Specialist

For some women, swimsuits are the single most daunting clothing item to purchase. Taking your measurements at home makes it easy to shop online for a swimsuit that fits. To choose the perfect swimsuit in the privacy of your own home, start with a cloth measuring tape and an idea of what kind of suit best fits your lifestyle. Take a look at these tips on how to measure for and pick out the right swimsuit.


Black One-Piece Swimwear

Taking Your Measurements

Take a cloth measuring tape, and stand in front of a mirror. Make sure the tape is untwisted and level as you wrap it around your body. Don't tug the tape so tight that it pinches, but don't leave it loose and slack either. The best way to take swimsuit measurements is wearing your underwear.

Don't hold your breath or try to suck anything in, but stand naturally. Measure your bust around the fullest part, making sure the measuring tape is parallel to the floor around the back. To find your natural waistline, bend to the side and notice the crease that forms as a result, usually just below the ribcage — that is your waistline.

Also measure your hips around the fullest part. If you plan to wear a one-piece swimsuit, you may need to take a torso measurement as well. To do this, hold one end of the measuring tape at your shoulder, loop it down between your legs and up your back until it meets the other end of the tape.

American Flag Two-Piece Swimsuit

Choosing the Right Kind of Swimsuit

Taking accurate measurements is only the first part of getting ready to buy a women's bathing suit. You also need to decide just how you're going to use your suit. If you like to swim fast or want to join a swim team, look for a racing suit. These women's bathing suits are typically unlined and don't include any kind of bra.

Swimsuits for use in water aerobics classes or even just for swimming laps are more likely to feature bust support, and they tend to include fairly wide straps. Some women even wear two-piece swimsuits for water exercise, often preferring tankinis or boy shorts. If you're looking for a swimsuit that you plan to wear to hang around the beach or pool just for fun, you can choose any style you want, from a swim dress to the skimpiest of bikini swimsuits, depending on what you feel comfortable in.

Two-Piece Swimsuit

Finding the Right Sizes

Most swimsuit manufacturers provide charts that match your measurements to their sizes. If you find that your measurements fall between sizes, always round up to the higher size unless you're shopping for a racing suit. If your bust and hip measurements put you in drastically different sizes, consider buying swim separates so that you can pair, for instance, a cute bikini or tankini top with a pair of high-waisted swimsuit bottoms or boy shorts that fit you properly.

Blue One-Piece Swimsuit

One-Piece Versus Two-Piece Swimsuits

Choosing a one-piece versus a two-piece swimsuit is a very personal choice. In general, one-piece swimsuits are the right choice if you expect to be active enough that you have a concern about your swimsuit staying in place. One-piece swimsuits and even swim dresses are also good choices for women who prefer a more modest look. Traditionally, younger women tend to enjoy two-piece suits. If you want to show off your body, a bikini is definitely the way to go.

Blue Tankini

Choosing a Swimsuit That Flatters Your Figure

Some women feel self-conscious when choosing swimsuits and want to pick out styles that disguise what they perceive as flaws. In general, opt for bright colors and patterns over any area that you want to enhance, and go for darker solid colors over the areas of your body that you want to minimize. Short-waisted women often find two-piece suits fit better, and women with long torsos may be able to find one-piece suits specifically designed for their body shapes.