With summer just around the corner, we’re stepping up our bathing suit game, and we’ve enlisted Liane FitzGerald to help us out. Liane is the one-woman team behind Roy Swim, a swimsuit company that aims to create fun, comfortable and quality swimwear. With over nine years of experience as a beachfront lifeguard and DIYer who makes bikinis from scratch, she’s an expert in identifying the best swimsuits for every body type. We had a chance to catch up with her, and now she’s sharing all her tips for looking and feeling good in your swimsuit.

Focus on Comfort + Fit

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Liane’s first recommendation is to find a swimsuit that fits. She tell us, “Comfort is number one. It’s much easier to enjoy your day in the sun when you don’t have straps digging into your sides and neck or plastic closures poking you in the back. Comfort is also directly related to fit. Take your time to make sure the suit you’re going to buy fits you well. Sizing varies so much from brand to brand, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t find the right fit immediately. The right suit should hug you just right — like a good boyfriend! But also — like a good boyfriend — should not squeeze you so tight that you bulge out anywhere.”

Decide on coverage

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Liane emphasizes the importance of finding the right hug because spandex stretches and sags. She tells us that comfort is tied to coverage: “If I had it my way, everything would be cheeky and everyone would be comfortable showing off their bum! But I know that if you pick a suit that bares your bum and that’s not your style, you’re going to spend the whole day at the beach tugging on it and worrying that it’s too revealing. When you try bottoms on, move around a lot to make sure they stay put on your cheeks.” When buying bottoms, Liane has found that most people buy bottoms that are too large, but she says you should actually avoid buying bottoms that are even a tiny bit large, because spandex stretches in the water.

Identify Your Favorite Features

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Liane tells us, “Being in a bikini is about as close as you can get to being naked in public, so its no surprise that bikini season inspires anxiety in a lot of us.” Liane uses positive emphasis when it comes to choosing the right suit for your body. She advises, “Focus on the parts of your body that you love and want to emphasize first and foremost. As a general rule, patterns and unique details will draw attention to an area, while plain, dark colors are best for toning down any area you’re not fond of.”

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So how should you emphasize specific features that you love? Liane suggests that if you love your boobs, but don’t love your hips, you should go for a top with a pattern you’re excited about, and a bottom in a darker color. She tells us, “For girls with gorgeous hips, I really like my strappy, high-waisted bottoms — the vertical division created by the strappy sections minimizes width that you may be self-conscious about.”

Support is important

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If you have trouble finding the right support, Liane suggests looking for structured tops with underwire and some shaping. “Bigger busts need thicker straps, so pay attention to this when you’re shopping, as you don’t want them digging in.” Halter tops can put a lot of pressure on your neck if you’re bigger than a C-cup, so instead, she suggests rocking cross-back styles, which are great for redistributing that pressure.

For petite ladies, it’s a whole different story. According to Liane, “Some people suggest ruffles, padding and other details to distract from small boobs, but this is a stylistic choice. Personally, I think they look great in teeny-tiny bikini tops — the smaller, the better! When you wear a teeny bikini top, the comparison tricks the eye into automatically thinking your boobs are bigger.” For petite ladies, she suggests rocking the strappy bandeau from her collection.

Be Kind to Yourself

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Most importantly, Liane says you should focus on loving yourself and finding your confidence. “My final tip for looking great in a bikini is completely psychological. Be kind to yourself! Your body knows when you’re giving it love or hate, and responds accordingly, whether consciously or unconsciously. You can usually tell how someone feels about their body just by how they hold themselves. Speak kind words to yourself, and you will feel more confident. When you feel confident, you hold yourself in a different way. Confidence is what’s really sexy, and it can’t come from anyone but yourself.” Liane’s advice to love your body and find clothing that makes you feel confident and comfortable is definitely one we can get behind.

What do you look for when you’re shopping for a swimsuit? Hit us up in the comments section!

(Photos via Jon Shoer)