For such small pieces of fabric, swimsuits -- even the tiny two-piece kind -- are astonishingly pricey. However, a few fabulous bikinis that flatter your figure are worth a closet full of ho-hum suits that sag instead of enhance. Fortunately, those old-school rules about pairing tops with their original bottoms have fallen by the wayside. By keeping a few basic guidelines in mind, you can mix and match your two-piece swimsuits to get maximum use out of your investments and create one-of-a-kind pairings that show off your style as well as your silhouette.
Mix a print piece with a solid piece. Choose a printed top or bottom then match it to a solid-hued piece in a color that is in the print. For example, match a floral bikini top that is emerald, aqua and violet with a vibrant aqua bikini bottom. The print half of the match will be what other swimmers notice first, so wear the print on the part of your body about which you feel the most confident. For example, if you have an enviable bust, wear a floral top and a solid bottom.
Mix two solid pieces in related colors. Choose similar shades from the same color family, such as aqua and cobalt blue. Opt for analogous colors, which sit side by side on the color wheel, like scarlet red and amethyst purple. Or, go bold and select complementary colors, which are opposites. A cornflower blue top with a vibrant orange bottom will really pop on a sunny afternoon.
Mismatch two print pieces if you are daring, but be thoughtful about your selection. Choose one print piece that is vibrant and pair it with a print that is subtle. Maintain at least one or two common colors in both prints. For example, take a top that has a red, violet, black and white floral motif and match it with a black and white striped bottom. The striped bottom only contains neutral colors, so the dual-print pairing won't look too busy.
Consider cut when you mix and match. Two-piece suits come in a variety of styles, and you should avoid pairing certain tops and bottoms. If you wear a tankini with boyshorts, the long top and long bottom will create an aesthetic that resembles a Victorian-era swimmer. A tankini would look better with a true bikini-cut bottom, while boyshorts would look good with a halter top.
Evaluate contending pairs in the same light in which you will wear them if possible; colors may vary between artificial and natural lighting. If you are in a store, which obviously prohibits you from walking outside, ask a salesperson if you can walk the pieces to the nearest window to view the colors in natural light.
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Grace Riley has been a writer and photographer since 2005, with work appearing in magazines and newspapers such as the "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette." She has also worked as a school teacher and in public relations and polling analysis for political campaigns. Riley holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in American studies, political science and history, all from the University of Arkansas.
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