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Is It Better to Size Down for Bikini?

  • 5 min read

Sizing for a bikini can be a bit trickier than sizing for regular clothing, and whether or not you should size down depends on various factors, including your body type, the brand of bikini, and your personal comfort preferences. So, if you’re asking yourself is it better to size down for a bikini, then here are some considerations to help you decide.

Body Type

Your body type plays a significant role in choosing the right bikini size. If you have a curvier or fuller figure, you may find that sizing up provides a more comfortable and flattering fit, especially in the bottoms. Bikini tops may need to be adjusted according to your cup size. Conversely, if you have a petite or athletic build, you might find that sizing down helps prevent gaps and ensures a snug fit.

The table below provides a general description of body types and what you might consider when purchasing a bikini.

Hourglass Shape

If you have an hourglass figure with well-defined curves, you can often pull off a wide range of bikini styles. Consider high-waisted bottoms to accentuate your waist, and choose tops with underwire or padding for extra support.

Pear Shape

If your hips are wider than your shoulders, consider bikinis with bottoms that have a little more coverage. Opt for tops with embellishments, patterns, or bright colors to draw attention to your upper body.

Apple Shape

If you carry more weight in your midsection, look for bikinis with high-waisted bottoms or tankini tops to provide extra coverage and support. Ruching or draping can also help camouflage the midsection.

Rectangle Shape

If your bust, waist, and hips are fairly evenly proportioned, you have a rectangular body shape. To create curves, opt for bikinis with ruffles, fringes, or detailing on the top or bottom. Bandeau tops can also add the illusion of curves.

Inverted Triangle Shape

If you have broad shoulders and a narrower waist and hips, you might want to balance your silhouette by choosing bottoms with side ties or patterns and tops with wider straps to minimize the appearance of broad shoulders.

Plus Size

Many brands now offer bikinis designed specifically for plus-size women. Look for bikinis with built-in support, adjustable straps, and high-quality fabrics that provide both comfort and style.


If you're petite, consider bikinis with smaller prints and less coverage to avoid overwhelming your frame. High-cut bottoms can elongate your legs, and tops with adjustable straps can provide a better fit.


Brand and Style

Different brands and styles of bikinis may have varying size charts and fits. It's essential to refer to the specific brand's sizing guidelines and reviews from other customers who have purchased the same bikini. Some brands may run small, while others run true to size or larger.

Bikini Fabric

Consider the type of fabric used in the bikini. Some fabrics, like spandex or elastane blends, have stretch and may allow you to size down slightly without sacrificing comfort. However, natural fibers like cotton may not be as forgiving, so you might prefer a truer size.

There isn't a standardized recommendation chart for bikini materials since the choice of material depends on various factors, including personal preference, intended use, and individual needs. However, here are some general guidelines to help you choose the right bikini material.


Spandex is a common material in bikinis because it provides excellent stretch, flexibility, and shape retention. It's ideal for swimwear as it allows for freedom of movement and comfort. Look for bikinis with a significant percentage of spandex for a good fit.


Nylon is lightweight, dries quickly, and is often blended with spandex for added stretch. It's a durable choice for swimwear and is resistant to chlorine and UV rays. Bikinis made of nylon-spandex blends are popular for their comfort and longevity.


Polyester is known for its durability and colorfastness, making it a suitable choice for swimwear that will be exposed to chlorine and sunlight. Polyester blends are often used for swimwear designed for sports or fitness activities.


Microfiber fabrics are soft, lightweight, and quick-drying. While they may not have as much stretch as spandex blends, they are comfortable and can be used for casual or fashion-oriented bikinis.


Neoprene is a thicker material often used for wetsuits. It provides insulation and buoyancy, making it suitable for colder waters. However, neoprene has limited stretch compared to other bikini materials.

Natural Fibers

While less common, some bikinis are made from natural fibers like cotton. Keep in mind that natural fibers may not have the same stretch and quick-drying properties as synthetic materials, and they may not be ideal for swimwear intended for active use.


Coverage and Style Preferences

Think about the level of coverage and style you prefer. If you like a snug, body-hugging fit, sizing down slightly may work for you. However, if you prefer a more relaxed and comfortable fit, staying true to your size or sizing up might be better.

Try Before You Buy

If possible, it's always a good idea to try bikinis on in-store. At Girls with Gems, we have a strict policy where we cannot accept returns or exchanges on swimwear and intimates bought online. The reasons should be self-evident.

If, however, you’re a Sydney sider, then what better way to prepare for summer than taking a field trip to Sydney’s premier shopping district? Our in-store stylists would love to help you experiment with different sizes and/or cuts to help you find the one that suits you best.

Girls with Gems is conveniently located at 5 Transvaal Avenue, Double Bay. The 2028 post code, which is often referred to as Sydney's "mini-Europe," boasts graceful streets, high-end fashion boutiques, and a bustling cafe culture.

If Possible, Mix and Match

While not all products are mix and match, you might be able, dependent on what’s available at any given time in store, to mix and match different-sized tops and bottoms.  There are brands that sell bottoms and tops separately which would, if you’re lucky, get you the best fit for both your bust and hip size. No guarantees here but always worth a look.

Shopping with Friends

Alternatively, because we all come in different shapes and sizes, consider in-store bikini shopping with three or four friends. Some of you would be a little bustier, some a little wider in the hips. The more that join the party, the greater your chance to mix and match with products that sell as one.

Consult Customer Reviews

If, however, you’re struggling for time and an inner city shopping expedition (lol) is off the table, then reading customer reviews and checking for any sizing recommendations from people who have purchased the same bikini can be helpful in making an informed decision.


In summary, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to sizing for a bikini. Many labels offer one size solutions but for these it's essential to consider your body type, the specific bikini style, and your personal comfort preferences.

Trying on different sizes and styles or consulting customer reviews can be your best ally in finding the perfect fit for your body type.

Ultimately, the most important thing is that you feel confident and comfortable in your swimwear!


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