Selecting The Right Suit Cut For Your Body
By Dr. Stacey Naito, IFBB Bikini Pro
Competition suit designs can vary widely depending on the suit designer, fabric type, body measurements and proportions of the competitor. Though you may be tempted to go the cheaper route and either borrow or rent a suit or purchase an off the rack suit that is not made to fit your particular body, I always recommend having a suit custom made which is cut to your measurements. Trust me, it makes a huge difference when you wear a suit that compliments your body!
Here are some basic guidelines which work for any division in which you compete.
Narrow chest: If you have a naturally narrow chest, make sure the triangle cups are spaced farther apart to give the illusion of a wider chest. You can use a crystal center connector, but make sure it is not too bulky so that the eye goes to the triangle cups and not to the center of the suit top. If you have a crystal pattern on your suit, you should select a pattern which draws the eye up and out, perhaps with lighter colored crystals on the lateral portions of the cups.
Wide chest: If your chest is extremely wide, make sure to select triangle cups which are wide enough to cover your entire breast area. If your breasts are augmented and they sit very far apart, you might want to consider a molded cup which will push your implants towards the midline and create a bit of cleavage.
Large implants: Some competitors have extremely large implants which can be distracting onstage. Your best bet is to select a full coverage top which encases your breasts completely, allowing for no side boob or under boob.
Sagging breasts: Though I am not a big fan of molded cups, sagging breasts will require some support, so molded cups are the best option in this case. Once again, if you have a lot of breast tissue, you need to make sure that your breasts are mostly covered by the suit material and are well supported by the molded cups. It looks very sloppy when a competitor with sagging breasts wears a flimsy triangle top which does not support her. Sagging breast tissue can hang over the ribcage and often obscure any serratus anterior development. Support your girls!
Small breasts: I know that many women feel rather self-conscious if they are very small-chested and usually opt to wear padded suit tops. If you are a small B to a C cup, you can purchase silicone triangle push-up pads which work beautifully in the pockets of a competition suit top. Just make sure that your suit maker puts pockets in the triangles so that you can insert the pads easily. If you are an A or AA cup or completely flat-chested, you might want to have a suit cup design which is fully padded. If you go with this option, make sure that the cups sit properly, neither too far apart nor too close together, since fully padded suit tops can easily look fake if this is not taken into consideration.
Long torso: If you have a long torso, chances are that your leg line is shorter in proportion to your torso. If this is the case, have the suit bottoms cut very high so that they sit at your waistline (unless you are a Bikini competitor, in which case you should have the bottoms sit just above your hip bones). This will give the illusion of a shorter torso and longer legs.
Short torso: If your torso is short, chances are that your legs are either of normal length or quite long. A suit bottom which sits low on the hips, below the hip bones, will create illusion of a longer torso, as will a steeper V-cut in the center of the bottoms. Bikini competitors can select a lower scooped rise in the bottoms to lengthen the torso line.
Wide trunk: If you have a very wide midsection, avoid horizontal cuts on the front of the suit bottoms and opt instead for a V-cut. The sides of the suit bottoms should sit very high to further create the illusion of a nipped-in waist.
C-section scars or saggy abdominal skin: If you have a C-section scar or saggy abdominal skin, choose a slightly higher rise in the suit bottoms to tuck the scar or skin in. Once you add suit adhesive at the contest, you should feel secure in the suit.
Long legs: Choose a suit bottom which sits low on the hips, below the hip bones, in order to create illusion of a longer torso and more proportionate legs.
Short legs: If you have a shorter leg line, have the suit bottoms cut very high so that they sit at your waistline (unless you are a Bikini competitor, in which case you should have the bottoms sit just above your hip bones). This will give the illusion of a shorter torso and longer legs.
Flat glutes: Some competitors have flatter glutes which can be lifted by a suit. Basically, the suit should be cut so that it holds and lifts up most of the glute area. This is usually done with the strategic placement of elastic in the bottoms so that the garment hoists everything up instead of just lying on top of the area.
Narrow hips: If you have narrow hips, you will need to select a suit bottom with a more horizontal cut which will give the illusion of a wider hip line. For a typical V-cut suit bottom, a flatter or wider cut can still be accomplished without losing the standard suit design. For the Bikini Division, you can select a suit bottom which is completely horizontal. If your hips are excessively narrow, you should opt for fabric at the hips instead of crystal or string connectors. However, many ladies who have slightly narrow hips look fantastic with crystal connectors at the sides.
Wide hips: Wider hips are best camouflaged by an exaggerated V-cut and sides which sit about an inch above the hip bones.
When you order a custom suit, make sure to send all your measurements to the suit maker along with photos to help him or her determine the most flattering cut for your body. Make sure to also bring up any body issues or concerns in advance so that they can be factored into the design of the suit.