How to prevent having a swimsuit disaster

Nothing ruins a summer day quite like a nip slip, losing your bikini bottoms in the ocean, or any other kind of swimsuit disaster. Luckily, these incidents don't have to be an inevitable part of summer fun. You just have to make sure you are prepared. 

From buying a suit that fits, to making sure you look your best, I asked several style experts what their best tips are for avoiding these potential problems. Think of them as your fashion lifeguards — don't dive in until you read these helpful tips! 

Use double-sided tape

Celebrity stylist and media personality Ali Levine says double-sided tape is her not-so-secret weapon against swimsuit wardrobe malfunctions. She told me that it is absolutely essential for certain types of swimsuits. "If the swimsuit is very low cut, you need to tape it down." 

But ordinary tape won't get the job done right. What's the purpose of tape, if it won't stick? Levine says, "Double-sided tape is essential to keep the girls in line, or from falling out. It will be your best friend." 

While you can use regular double-sided tape, a fashion tape designed for this purpose is ideal. There are several brands that make this kind of product and it is pretty easily found at most drugstores. But don't forget, tape isn't foolproof so make sure to check yourself before you wreck yourself, after sitting in the sun all day or taking a dip in the pool. 

Don't be cheap

Stylist Erica Paige thinks that if you're trying to save money on swimwear, you're probably going to have to save yourself from a swimsuit disaster. A bargain isn't exactly a bargain, in the long run. She told me that flimsy fabric just doesn't fit right. "We all see those people at the beach or the pool wearing an ill-fitting swimsuit."

Her solution is to save your dollars elsewhere and spend when it comes to swimwear, "Don't be cheap when it comes to swimwear. There's nothing worse than wearing a swimsuit that suddenly appears see-through when wet. Buying a more expensive high quality suit keeps you from having wardrobe  malfunctions." 

Paige equates high quality of fabric with high quality of fit. "The fabric typically dries faster, and fits better." She also suggests searching for suits that are made from patented anti-odor fabrics. After all, she says, "There is nothing worse than sitting in a swimsuit that holds the musky ocean smell all day."

One size doesn't fit all

Paige also notes that if you're trying on swimwear and you see a label that says "one size fits all," to put it down and walk away immediately — one size does not fit all. 

She suggests that no matter how much you like a swimsuit, you need to really consider how it looks on your body type. She explained to me, "There are dozens of options available that are made to emphasize different areas of the body. If a swimsuit just doesn't fit you, don't buy  it — no matter how cute you think the pattern is. The last thing you want is a bottom that gaps in the front, or a waistband that's too tight."

There are so many options for buying swimwear today. With every size available from petite to plus, there really isn't an excuse to wear something that doesn't fit properly. You might need to try on multiple suits, but eventually, you'll find one that fits and looks great on you.

Make sure you feel comfortable

Confidence is key. If you aren't comfortable in something, or it doesn't fit right, you are bound to feel self-conscious all day long or have a swimsuit disaster. Paige thinks the best way to feel good in swimwear is to go for solids, and think simple. "I personally prefer to stay away from crazy patterns, and I think that simple swimsuits are always the most flattering."

She thinks it is best to choose the right swimwear from the start. Don't tempt yourself and buy something that doesn't really work on your body no matter how much you wish it would. "Buy swimwear that's moveable, breathable, and comfortable! You shouldn't have to worry about adjusting your swimsuit all day."

If your swimwear doesn't accentuate your best assets, Paige keeps it real and suggests being honest with yourself. "If you know that you have a trouble spot, you're only going to feel more self-conscious when you're in a swimsuit."

Check your skin tone for your best look

Swimsuit disasters aren't just swimsuit-related wardrobe malfunctions. Wearing a suit that simply doesn't compliment your natural features can also be a disaster of sorts. Paige suggests thinking about your skin tone and finding a suit that complements it. "It's just like when you're buying a foundation for your face. If you're a yellow undertone, don't purchase a foundation for pink undertones. It doesn't match and it just doesn't look good."

Paige explained that every skin undertone has unique colors that are the most complimentary. "If you have cool toned skin such as pink, red, or blue undertones, it's best to stick to cool tone colors. Think mint, hunter green, maroon, royal purple, and navy blues. If you have a warm tone skin with yellow, tan, golden undertones, stick to deep rich colors whether they're dark or light. Red, dark yellows, burnt orange, white, and even bright colors are more attractive." 

Glue your back side

While a nip slip is bad, having your bottoms fall off might be an even more embarrassing problem. Luckily, Paige has a great solution. She recommends using "butt glue," which was one of her secret weapons as former pageant contestant. "If you often have a hard time keeping your swimsuit in place, you absolutely need to use butt glue. It is a fabric adhesive that is waterproof, won't ruin your swimsuit, and keeps your swimwear pinned where it needs to be."

Before you start Googling, "butt glue" isn't an actual product, but rather the pageant girl nickname for various skin-safe fabric adhesives. It will prevent disasters and keep you "wedgie" free. Just don't forget that you applied it when you sit down to use the bathroom. 

Consider your body type

Levine thinks that women with pear shapes, large busts, small busts, and athletic or curvy figures may face the biggest challenges in finding swimwear that fits.

If you have a pear shape, Levine suggests balancing out your proportions. "Find good coverage for the bottom half of your body. Avoid boy shorts, thick-banded bottoms and anything that will grab your lower area. Pears also look great in strappy, plunging monokinis. Show off your shoulders and upper body."

For large-busted figures, she suggests making sure your breasts have enough support. "Underwire, thicker support, and molded cups are your best bets. You want to look for bra top styles, halters and anything that gives your chest a little extra TLC and support." She also likes monokini halters for large busted women, as long as they have built-in support.

While small-busted women sometimes feel left out, Levine suggests they can have lots of fun when it comes to swimwear, "You don't have to worry about your girls so much! [You] can wear embellished tops, ruffles and prints."

For anyone who wants to create the illusion of extra lift, she has some tricks. "Go with a suit that has some padding or push up to it. Triangle tops also create the illusion of curves." Levine says women with athletic builds should look for swimwear that shows off their curves. She likes bold prints, monokinis, and tie bottoms with frills for this body type.

Think about function as well as fashion

While Levine generally chooses form over function, when it comes to swimwear, she understands that this isn't always possible. After all, while you can wear the same suit for beach volleyball and sitting out in the sun, the reverse could get you arrested by the beach patrol.

Levine says disasters can be avoided by planning in advance, "Many women forget that a fashion statement, versus going into the deep blue waters, is something they need to think about. When you're sun bathing and relaxing you can have a tiny bikini with a very little bottom, light strings, and sheer fabric."

But when it comes to actually swimming in your suit, Levine suggests putting a little more thought into it. "When you're hitting the water, you want to think about the fabric and how it fits. Unless you don't mind a little nip slip."

Wear the right suit at the right moment

You know when you buy new swimwear how it fits you perfectly — until it doesn't? One day you're pulling up your bikini top and the next day your bottoms feel stretched out. That is probably because you aren't treating your swimwear properly. Swimwear is delicate and must be taken care of differently than your other clothing.

Danielle Pergament of Allure suggests rotating your swimwear if you want keep it in the best condition possible. If you are going away for the weekend or longer, bring more than one suit. After all, you wouldn't wear the same top or underwear every day.

Then there is the hot tub factor. Hot water, chlorine and other chemicals are harsh on fabrics. Pergament suggests having a specific swimsuit you wear just for the hot tub, or simply avoid taking a warm dip in your most expensive suits. She also suggests rinsing your suit with warm water and mild soap (even the soap you use on your body will do in a pinch) as soon as you get inside. Even if you haven't been in the water, sweat and sunscreen can also damage the fabric.

Never put swimwear in the washing machine

The cardinal rule of swimwear care: never put it in the washing machine. The fabric and fit will be ruined, so you're pretty much asking for a swimsuit disaster to happen. Allison Chesky of Real Simple suggests washing all of your swimwear by hand. Use cold water and don't let your suit soak for more than 30 minutes. After rinsing, roll it out in a dry towel to get rid of the excess water. Always dry your swimwear flat. You should also never put your swimsuit in the dryer because it will weaken the elastic, which is a surefire way to create a problem.  

In addition to avoiding the washing machine, Chesky also recommends nixing your regular detergent and choosing one made especially for delicates, or formulated for spandex fabrics. This way you can wash your swimwear thoroughly, but keep the structure intact. If you don't have access to delicate wash because you are traveling, white vinegar can work in a pinch. Just make sure to rinse very well if you don't want to smell like the salad you had for lunch.

Treat yourself

Swimsuit disasters are so easily avoided. If your swimwear doesn't fit right, or you simply don't feel 100 percent confident in what you are wearing, don't feel bad about treating yourself to something new.

Swimwear isn't designed to last forever. Things need to be replaced eventually, and trends constantly change. And, after all, a swimsuit disaster isn't necessarily a nip slip or a rip — it's also not feeling as good as you possibly can in what you are wearing. You deserve to feel like the beach babe that you are!