03/21/2012 12:01 EDT | Updated 05/21/2012 05:12 EDT

My Little Black Bikini

Every woman knows the little black dress is a wardrobe must-have; it's a girl's best friend and the ideal accomplice to a great night out. Let's bring focus to another must-have item: a chic, elegant swimsuit. Days of boring swimwear have passed -- they now serve as fashion statements. The best part: there are endless styles and designs to choose from.

We tend to generalize, picking one of three styles of swimwear: bikinis, tankinis and one-pieces. What about monokinis you ask? This bikini/one-piece hybrid has a bikini back, but cutouts along the front sides, accentuating curves while hiding any (possible) bloated bellies. What about swim-dresses? This one-piece with a sewn-in skirt is perfect for women who need swimwear to keep up with their activities, from tennis to swimming. Now, let's explore other swimwear. You might be surprised at what best suits your body!

Imagine wearing a gorgeous, white strapless dress accentuating your golden glow, but wait -- your neckline has glaring tanlines! Strapless swimsuits eliminate uneven tans, and most styles have strapless options. Commonly referred to as a "bandeau," a strapless bikini is great for ladies with smaller busts. To add shape and volume to this area, look for a lightly padded top. But if it feels like a cushion, it will look unnatural once wet. For those with a bigger bust, underwire is a must and should be fitted tightly along the back. Not daring enough for bikinis? The classic strapless one-piece suits any body type. Add a sweetheart neckline and channel your own Mae West curves.

A popular favourite for many is halter-top swimwear. Ladies with wide shoulders can wear halters to visually slim down this part of the body. Want some extra cleavage? A plunging halter helps create this look. As for the lady with a stunning back, a halter shows off her assets. Both one-pieces and tankinis have beautiful backless styles while maintaining frontal coverage. Halters are also perfect for all breast sizes; however, bustier women should choose halter swimwear with wider straps and underwire, as they will give more support and keep the girls in place.

For ladies looking to mix things up, plenty of strap styles include vertical and convertible straps and racer backs for more athletic designs. Mix-and-match two-piece suits, your bikini or tankini, and give yourself more options.

Let's not forget the bottoms! Bottoms come in a variety of cuts; French styles cut higher on the leg, Brazilian styles are smaller in the back. Ladies feeling extra confident can sport a thong or G-string bottoms, or a skirt bottom for cute, flirty coverage. If you're wearing a bikini or tankini, you can choose hipster, cheeky or teeny weeny string bikini bottoms!

Categorizing swimwear into three basic categories is easy, but options are endless. Sassy swimsuits are the start to a fun-filled day. The LBD is every woman's fashion staple, and the perfect swimsuit is her vacation staple. Enjoy the waves, beach bunnies!

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