So much trauma is associated with swimsuits, starting with you appearing in public with large expanses of your body uncovered. • But beyond that — what if you actually want to move around in your suit? How do you find one that works for lap swimming vs. one that's good for a day at the water park vs. another you'll be comfortable in for a day of kayaking? • Unfortunately for our psyches (and our clothing budgets), one suit doesn't fit all occasions. • But having a basic idea of what to look for in construction, fit and style can help lessen the pain. Here are examples of activities on our suit-buying list and shopping tips for finding the best match for each.1. A DAY AT THE WATER PARK: “Wear a suit that fits well and does not need a lot of readjusting,” says David Hacker, vice president of trend and color for Kohl’s department stores. “To make sure this suit stays put, you want it to fit close to the body and not have many dangling strings that may get caught.”
Nike Painterly Striped Tankini Top, $40; Nike Athletic Boyshort Bottoms, $40 kohls.com
2. BEACH SPORTS, VOLLEYBALL, RUNNING: “Wear a suit that is sporty, supportive and comfortable for lots of beach activity,” Hacker says. The suit should allow for easy movement and fit close to the body to keep out as much sand as possible.
Pop Art Shorebreak Top, $54; Pop Art Oceanside Short, $49 athleta.com
3. SURFING, WINDSURFING, SAILBOARDING: More activities for a suit that is sporty, supportive and comfortable, Hacker says. Also, make sure it stands up to a lot of salt water. You want something made of high-tech synthetic fabrics from companies that specialize in sports apparel.
Nike Retro Racerback Bikini Top, $40; Nike Athletic Boyshort Bottoms, $40 kohls.com
4. A FUN DAY ON A BOAT: “A vintage-inspired halter one-piece or tankini suit is great because it’s chic, sporty and just a little bit glam,” Hacker says. To up the glam factor, add a big-brimmed hat and big-framed sunglasses.
Lands’ End Beach Living Paradise Floral Adjustable Halter Tunic Swim Top, $58.50; Beach Living No. 2 Leg Wide Waistband Tummy Control Swim Bottom, $32.50 Landsend.com
5. SWIMMING FOR EXERCISE: “A racerback one-piece that fits close to the body will give swimmers a full range of motion and will limit drag,” Hacker says. Look also for high-tech fabrics such as Xtra Life Lycra, which gives a more lasting fit that resists bagging, sagging and the effects of chlorine.
Lands’ End Colorblock X-back Butterfly Tank, $59.50 landsend.com
6. POOL PARTY, CRUISE, RESORT: Depending on the occasion, wear a suit that fits your body type and personal style, Hacker says. For more coverage, wear a pareo to dress up the suit or shorts to keep the look casual, and a brimmed hat for sun protection and a little more style.
Lands’ End Batik Squares Enhancing V-neck SwimShape Tank, $99.50 landsend.com