Although we can’t argue that good things come in small packages, we know that there are some sacrifices petite women have to make. We are of course talking about swimwear, and the annual dilemma we face before every summer holiday.
Shopping for petite swimwear can be just as terrifying, time consuming and unfulfilling as bra shopping and we know we aren’t the only ones who have come out of a dressing room with nothing to take to the cash register. Unless tears count. However, we’ve discovered that taking our search from busy, sweaty shop floors with poor, unflattering light to the comfort of our own sofas (complete with copious soothing cups of tea and biscuits when things get a bit traumatic – usually when our size is sold out!) is the only way to save our time and our sanity.
There are several things we look for when it comes to searching for swimwear when you’re petite – and we’re going to let you in on all the secrets. We’ve selected the hottest looks from both petite and normal ranges as the petite size range of swimsuits across all brands is disappointingly small. So depending on your body type, a swimsuit from the ‘normal’ range may suit you if you have a longer torso, otherwise try a petite range swimsuit, bikini or tankini to find your perfect fit.
Stripes and busy patterns to hide your wobbly bits
Stripes always get a big thumbs up not only for petites but for anyone other than a Victoria’s Secret model thanks to the multitude of illusions they create. And the same goes for busy patterns, as they are nicely distracting, so as not to draw too much attention to one specific area of your body. Don’t think you have to hide away in black – bright prints and patterns are much more effective at perfectly disguising a slightly round tum or voluptuous hips.
Be a bandeau babe for no tan lines and a bigger bust
Not only are bandeaus fantastic for avoiding those pesky tan lines, but they’re a must for anyone wanting to enhance the appearance of their bust. For smaller busted petites, bandeaus can come with a myriad of design details, such as twists and bows to allude to a fuller bust. And who doesn’t want that? Go one step further and opt for a boosting bandeau top to add even more oomph!
Ageless one-pieces to elongate and flatter
Many people think that as the age number increases, so should the amount of fabric on your clothes – swimwear included. However, this is actually counterproductive, as more attention is drawn to you and you risk looking even older. The trick is to find something somewhere in the middle of skimpy and frumpy. Don’t be put off by youthful brands or plunging necklines either, as petite swimwear is designed to flatter and elongate all petite frames. That said, neon colours and super high cut legs are best left to the Millennials – unless you fancy re-living your 80s youth!
Tie those sides for longer legs
Bikini bottoms with tie up sides get the biggest tick from us. No need to shop from a specific petite range, as they all do the job of creating the illusion of longer legs perfectly. The tie sides also mean you’re more likely to get a great fit as you can adjust to your body shape. Go wild with your choice of colours and prints – there’s no such thing as a wrong piece!
Cover up and think outside the box
Bored of the usual beach cover-ups? Need to move on from shorts and t-shirts? Shake things up a bit by opting for sheer summery jumpsuits and even maxi kimonos to your holiday suitcase. Yes, we said maxi! Not every maxi will draw negative attention to your petite frame and legs. The right maxi will actually elongate your frame and give you legs for days. So choose cover-ups in hot spring/summer colours to complement all swimsuits and take you from beach to bar.
Cinch the waist for a petite frame
Swimsuits with a cinched in waist or with tummy control material are a godsend for wider frames and mid-ish age, as they create the illusion of a smaller waist and a flatter stomach. There are some amazing options out there so spend some time finding the one that pulls you in but leaves you comfortable. Extra points for swimsuits with halter necks, as they provide the illusion of a longer torso – perfect for all petite beauties!
Go high or go home for bellies and hips
Whether you have wide hips or are battling the bloat, high waisted bikini briefs will be your knights in shining armour. Fold-over briefs with sneaky ruched detailing also have the same figure flattering effect and can disguise a post-pregnancy belly pooch. Go for bold colours and intricate patterns to spice things up and to avoid looking like Bridget Jones. We love mixing and matching bikini tops and bottoms too, which is a great trick to look and feel more youthful and double your swimwear wardrobe at the same time.