article_how-to-wear-maillots.jpgOne-piece swimsuits or maillots are not as old-fashioned as they used to be. Swimwear designers and retail brands have come up with updated styles that mirror the latest trends and strategic cuts that flatter any body type. The bad news is, this season's maillots are ideal only for lounging, sunset cocktails or pool parties—unless you’re fine with having bad, uneven tan lines.

Here are five things to consider when choosing a maillot:

1.GET RIGHT ON TREND.
Bondage maillots, with straps that de-emphasize bulges yet highlight the right curves, are all the rage this season (check out pieces from Hervé Léger and DKNY). Choose plain colors in neutral palettes for a sophisticated, retro look.

2. PLAY PEEK-A-BOO.
Feeling a little daring? Go for a cut-out maillot. Try them in bright colors such as tangerine, purple, or hot pink.

3. BE A CLASSICIST.
If you're a little apprehensive about showing too much skin, you can always resort to a classic design. Take it from dull to daring by going for two-tone palettes, bold colors, or an all-over animal print.

4. KNOW THE CUT THAT WORKS.
If you're bottom-heavy, opt for a V-neck swimsuit to draw attention away from the hips. If you're big-breasted, a halter or tube top with proper support can minimize the appearance of the chest. If you're petite, scout for a French-cut one-piece suit. It's cut higher on the legs, revealing more leg to create the illusion of longer gams. If you have a big belly, a two-tone swimsuit with a darker bottom half can do wonders.

5. GET THE RIGHT FIT.
Unpleasant bumps and bulges can form outside the suit if you're not wearing the proper size. Always try it on before you purchase.

(First published as "The Fashion Insider" in the "Shopping" section of Marie Claire Philippines' March 2009 issue. Adapted for use in Female Network. Photo from Atonement courtesy of Universal Pictures.)

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