Looking For The Best Swimsuits For Women? An Island Girl’s Guide To Swimsuit Shopping

Dreaming of summer? Me too. As we daydream about the upcoming days of fun in the sun and the waves, we might be inclined to browse the internet for the swimsuits that will make up your summer repertoire. I grew up in Hawaii, and my island girl reputation made my swimsuit shopping skills top tier. As an owner of dozens of swimsuits myself, I’ve figured out exactly what I want to look for when shopping for new suits. So, if you’re ready for a summer of wearing swimsuits you absolutely love, keep on reading! I’ve got some tips and tricks to share for finding the best swimsuits for women.

To boob pad or not to boob pad?

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This doesn’t necessarily have to do with buying your suits themselves, but when you actually get your swimsuit, they will likely come with removable breast pads. The question, to boob pad or not to boob pad is a crucial one. Your answer might determine how the suit looks on you and how you feel in your swimsuit! Women with larger breasts often tend to prefer to leave breast pads in their swimsuits for the bra-like support they offer. If you do have bigger tatas, I might recommend keeping them in, because that extra support might also help ensure that a big wave won’t knock your girls out of place. However, if you have a smaller chest, like myself, you might want to opt for removing these boob pads. With my smaller boobs, I often feel like the boob pads look awkward and like you can see the circle or triangle shape of them through the swimsuit fabric on me. Since I know that I don’t like how they look on me usually, I tend to remove the breast pads from my swimsuits before I even try them on. This helps me like how it looks on me when I put it on right away more. Remember, if you do end up removing your boob pads, you can save them for if you choose to re-add them later on.

Ribbed revolution

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I barely buy swimsuits that aren’t made with a ribbed material anymore. Ribbing on swimsuits is one of the first things I look for because it often adds reinforcement to the material. This means the swimsuit will be less likely to stretch, tear, become see-through, or warp on you in the waves. I feel like my ribbed swimsuits are the ones I feel safest from a wardrobe malfunction in. The reinforcement is perfect for even the roughest waves. On top of this, there are tons of styles and colors available with ribbed swimsuits, this isn’t necessarily limiting when it comes to style. 

Butt coverage

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This is another one you really have to consider when purchasing your swimsuit. Think about what level of coverage you’re comfortable with. What level of butt coverage is too much? What level of butt coverage is too little? Knowing where your preferences lie will help you choose a suit that is perfect for you. When shopping online for swimsuits, I also like to estimate that the backs of the swimsuits will look a little bit smaller on me than the model as well, just to ensure the swimsuit isn’t getting outside of my comfort zone. Understanding cuts of bikini bottoms can also help you find what is most flattering on your body as well, so just understand yourself and your preferences so you step out in your swimsuit feeling your most confident.

Lots-in-one suits

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One of my favorite kinds of swimsuit are ones that pack lots of styles into one swimsuit. So, perhaps there are lots of different ways to tie the straps or flip the top or bottom. Reversible swimsuits also fit this category if you want one suit in two different colors. These swimsuits are great if you’re looking for lots of styles on a budget. What if one suit could look like five different ones? Well, they can!


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This is probably the most important tip I have for online swimsuit shopping. Since you can’t assess the quality and try on the swimsuit for yourself, you ought to make use of the reviews available to you online, especially those with pictures. If possible, I try to find someone with a similar body type to me in the reviews to see how the suit I’m looking at fits on them. I make sure to check if it’s loose or tight in awkward places, if the straps look uncomfortable, if it looks like a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen, if it looks see-through at all, if the color looks weird, etc. Going through a picky list when checking reviews helps you make sure this will be a swimsuit you really love!


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When swimsuit shopping, I have the idea of cover-ups in my mind already. If you already have a handful of swimsuit cover-ups available and you don’t want to get any more, keep in mind that you will be wearing these new suits with those cover-ups. Would anything look weird? If not, you’re good to go. If you’re one to throw a t-shirt over your swimsuits, would the ruffled edges on a suit make the t-shirt frumpy and uncomfortable? Would the neon designs of this suit look weird with your boho cover-up? Considering these options help you envision how you would really be wearing this swimsuit practically.

Wide straps

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I don’t tend to buy swimsuits without wide straps anymore, and for two reasons. If you’re tying up your swimsuit for anything other than sunbathing, you’re probably tying your straps pretty tightly so you don’t end up flashing everyone at the beach or pool. However, with thinner straps, this can be SO uncomfortable. I am so over straps digging into my neck or shoulders to the point of being uncomfy or in pain. So, wide straps for the win. The second reason? Wide straps are way less likely to be knocked off your shoulder by a wave than a spaghetti strap, so stay safe, y’all. 

What do you look out for when buying the best swimsuits for women? Let us know in the comments!

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