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Swimwear should suit body, not trends

Swimwear should suit body, not trends, says fashion model Monika Schnarre.

TORONTO — Elegantly clad in all black and peep-toe heels, it's hard to imagine anything could look less than flattering on Monika Schnarre.

But the statuesque former supermodel recently spoke candidly of one swimwear look that wasn't among her best - the boy short.

"I looked back at pictures from the cottage, and it was in a really bright print - and I've got a booty," recalled the six-foot-two Schnarre. "It didn't look good. It wasn't good for me."

"There are skirted options, which I think are really flattering, but that's where someone has to be really honest with you, and say, 'It's not working, Monika. You're really not rocking out the boy short."'

Schnarre said while it's tempting to snap up the trendy new item off the rack, sometimes what's hot doesn't necessarily work for everyone - and that's OK.

"I've always said in fashion, it doesn't matter what the trends are, you should wear what looks best on you, regardless of what's in," she said. "If skinny jeans don't look good on you, don't wear them."

The Toronto-based beauty, who has graced the covers of Vogue and pages of the famed Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, is suiting up once again - this time as the face of a Canadian brand making a comeback.

Following a decade-long hiatus, Sea Queen is relaunching with a new swimwear line designed to fit women 35 and older.

But the 37-year-old Schnarre said the pieces are "not your old lady swimsuits" and that the collection incorporates looks inspired by the runway.

Among the one-piece, two-piece and tankini suits that comprise the line, the swimsuits include bold accents like belts, metallics and exotic tiger and jungle prints.

When trying to find the right size, Schnarre said the focus should be on the fit rather than the number on the tag, which may not match up to what you normally wear in clothes.

"If you wear something that's too tight, it can work in clothing, maybe, but in a swimsuit it's not forgiving, and you don't want any digging into the skin," she said.

"And don't get hung up on the size. If you're a size 6, you might want an 8 or a 10 just because again, you don't want cutting into the skin. It's not flattering."

For those with a larger bust, Schnarre suggests trying out a halter which is adjustable, thus allowing you as much or as little support as you need, while women with a smaller bustline may want a little enhancement in the form of a bra.

Among the features in the Sea Queen line is a built-in bra with malleable moulded cups featuring flexible underwires touted as being able to keep their shape in and out of the water.

For a more boyish figure, Schnarre said ruching can create some curve as well as a beautiful waistline.

And while belts can be a stylish addition, in the case of women who are petite with a slim build, the empire waist may be a better option because it gives the illusion of looking taller, Schnarre said.

"If you're quite short, I think that a belt on the waist would just cut you in half," she said.

"But up here, (it) creates the illusion of a waistline and a longer torso," she added, motioning to a suit featuring the empire waist.

As for accessories, Schnarre likes to infuse a little glamour in her swimwear look by wearing heels around the pool which helps to elongate the leg, in addition to donning a hat and sunscreen.

But she stresses that whatever bathing suit buyers opt to pick up, their focus should be on selecting something that looks great on you - no matter what's considered "in."

"If a one-piece is in, but you look better in a bikini, rock the bikini, it doesn't matter," she said. "It's all about looking your best."

Additional tips on how to flaunt assets, minimize flaws with right swimwear

For a woman with...

A large chest: Look for suits with underwire, soft cups with wider straps for best support.

A small chest: Look for suits with detailing and pattern on top which will give the illusion of a larger chest. Two-piece bathing swimsuits are also a great way to enhance the bust.

Full hips: Try a suit with a skirt to visually even out your line. Printed top with solid coloured bottoms also help draw the eye upward.

A tummy: Look for suits that have a built-in tummy control and those with ruching or a crossover design to help camouflage your midsection.

A short torso: Try a bikini to elongate your body. Two-piece swimsuits with lower cut bottoms give the illusion of a longer torso.

A long torso: Try suits that give you a balance effect. A deeply-cut neckline, higher waisted and higher cut bottoms help make the torso appear shorter.

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