Hello, ladies,

Like it or not, swimsuit season is upon us! I know, I know—shopping for bathing suits is awful, and it's usually the reason for the muffled sobs you hear in fitting rooms this time of year. I've been there. Growing up in Miami, I had no choice but to buck up and get over it. I pretty much had no choice but to accept whatever size I was at the moment and go into store after store until I found at least one bathing suit that worked. It was especially awful when I was in high school, and pool parties were as common as movie outings. All of my thinner classmates seemed positively giddy at the thought of showing off their new bikinis and getting tans, while the only emotion I was feeling was dread—at the terrifying thought of having to parade around in my tankini. Opting out was not an option; the social butterfly in me wouldn't have it. So naturally I've become quite the expert in the curvy-girl swimsuit department.

Things to keep in mind when shopping for a bathing suit:

1. Don't expect a miracle

No matter what some brand new swimsuit claims to do, there's no way you're losing three dress sizes with one handy suit—at least not while still breathing or without spilling over the edges.

2. Be open to new options

Try everything on: different colors, different suits, and especially different sizes (who cares what the tag says, buy the one that fits best). Every suit is different, so forget the idea that you can only wear a blue size 14 tankini with halter top, just because that's what's worked for you in the past. Allot plenty of time, arrive well rested and energetic, and dig in—try it all.

3. Keep cut in mind

The best silhouettes for curvy girls tend to be V-necklines and sweetheart cuts. Ruching is a big girl's best friend, and a too-low back will only help to draw attention to back fat.

Some of my favorite bathing suits at the moment are from Old Navy, Lands' End, Newport News, and Evans. Check out their selections and let me know what you think! I just ordered the Embellished V-neck suit from Newport News and can't wait to try it on! Do you have any favorite swimsuit brands? Also, stay tuned for a post on how to accessorize your beachwear (no more frumpy cover-ups)!

-Ashley

YOUR BIG GIRL IN A SKINNY WORLD

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