Friday, April 27, 2012

Swimwear for your skin tone

Just being a realist. I will never look like this in a swimsuit.
Open up any magazine on newsstands right now and I bet you'll find a how-to guide on picking the right swimsuit for your figure. Flip over to the beauty section and you'll probably find a blurb on selecting the right eye shadow to match your complexion. But how do you know what swimsuit will best flaunt your skin tone?

Based on years of non-scientific research, I've compiled some pointers for picking out skin-loving swimwear. Love handles and pear shaped-bottoms? Sorry, you're on your own. But at least I can help you narrow down the color palette.

Myth: Pale girls can't wear white swimsuits

Absolute LIE. Several years ago, I found my favorite two-piece on sale at Target. It's white with super-subtle gold horizontal stripes. I've worn it with a tan, and now without and I still adore it. Adding texture like crochet or stripes to a white swimsuit keeps it from being too blah (or too revealing).

Avoid pastels

Unfortunately, a pale pink swimsuit might make you look a little washed out. Choose a color that is distinctly darker or brighter than your skin color. You may be able to pull off a cool aqua or something similar, but try it on first. Snap a picture with your iPhone in the dressing room. Sounds silly, but it will give you a better idea of how you'll look in pictures.

Myth: If I wear a t-shirt or cover up, I don't need sunscreen

A plain, white tee offers about the equivalent of SPF 4. If your cover up is crocheted or similar, your sun protection will be even less. Plus, what if you decide to go take a dip? A good rule of thumb is to apply sunscreen underneath both your swimsuit and your cover up. Do this and you'll also be less likely to wake up the next morning with an outline of your swimsuit straps on your back.

Jewel tones are usually a safe bet

Fair skin looks amazing in a rich eggplant evening gown. The same logic transfers to beach wear. Try purples, greens, and blues.

A last word of advice from someone who has tried on a lot of swimsuits

Always try before you buy. This may seem like a no brainer, but don't blindly order items from the Victoria's Secret catalog. Swimsuits will not look the same on you as they do on the VS models (at least they sure as hell don't on me). Accept it, move on, and find something that makes you feel your best. If you're uncomfortable, it's always going to show. But nothing is sexier on the beach that a smile, a bottle of sunscreen, and a little bit of self confidence.

Now get shopping! Here are some swimsuits that I love:

Fun brights from
Ella Moss from
Stripes from
One piece from
Michael Kors at


  1. I love the one piece from J-Crew. With my pale skin I am in favor of wearing deep rich colors like that purple.

  2. Awesome tip article! It’s true that everyone always gives you advice on choosing the right swimsuit style for your shape, but this is the first article I’ve seen on choosing swimwear for your skin tone.

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