Whether hitting the beach or relaxing next to the pool, your choice of swimwear either will enhance your style cred or concoct a less than fabulous impression.
The top-tier trends for 2013 are the ubiquitous digital prints. Swimsuits take their cue from street wear apparel - from abstract designs and cityscapes to animal prints and soft florals.
"It's all about bright colors in neons and polka dots this season," said Annerose Adams, Ready to Wear Manager at Dillard's Chapel Hills Mall.
Then there's the vintage-inspired look. Playful and ultra-feminine, this style is back again. The preponderance of high-waisted bikini bottoms are this season's means of injecting a vintage feel into contemporary swimwear design. But if you're ready to get in touch with your inner Grace Kelly, there are numerous 1950s-inspired choices for all-out glam: think curvaceous, shaping and support.
When shopping, make your best choices from the major swimsuit styles:
1. One piece
Swimsuit designers are acutely aware that one style does not fit all and have created numerous one-piece options.
"Accentuate hourglass shapes with the latest one-piece silhouettes, some with hidden tummy-slimmers on the inside," said Sofia Wacksman from Kohl's.
Suits for pear-shaped figures use ruffles or patterns to draw attention to the bust, and suits with molded or padded cups enhance up top, if that's what's needed.
A casual glance around any beach or pool reveals the eternal truth: only a few have the bod for a triangle-top, skimpy-bottom bikini. Just as with one-pieces, designers have jumped to the rescue.
Bikinis can look better than a one piece for those with a large bust and smaller hips, as well as vice versa, since you can purchase different sizes in each. Long-waisted figures fit instantly. If you have short legs, select a block-colored bottom to shift attention upward. Avoid boy-legs: high-cut thighs enhance leg length. If your midriff isn't bikini-worthy, seek a high-waist bottom that goes over your stomach.
Tankinis have a bikini bottom with a top that covers your stomach. A variation is the skirtini, which has a micro-skirt attached to the bikini bottom.
"Tankinis and skirtinis work well for curvy physiques," Wacksman said.
These styles can give the illusion of a longer torso if your bottom is bigger than your top. If you have good shoulders and collarbones, choose a halter top to draw attention away from your derriere. Muffin tops will want to consider the apron tankini, which falls from the shoulders to hips in a straight line.
With thin straps that either crisscross or fit high around the neck, this one-piece variation stays put no matter how active the wearer is.
Form-fitting to reduce any drag for serious swimmers, they aren't the least bit forgiving of figure flaws, especially excess flab.
Athletic styles traditionally have been among the more yawn-inducing, drab suits, but that is changing.
For the toned physique, it's the best way to show off that figure without baring excess skin.
5. Swim dress
If you're not sure about the previous suit styles, swimwear designers have thoughtfully provided another choice: the swim dress.
Banish that vision of Grandma beached next to the wading pool in her ancient, skirted swimsuit.
This season's offerings trade frump for fashion with a splash of colors and contemporary styles.
Some have gathered fabric in the torso to hide stomach issues while others feature flattering V-necks to emphasize a plus of being a plus size.
Don't forget: "Coverups are a little more sophisticated with peek-a-boo lace and crochet this year - doing double duty from beach to barbeque," Adams said.