How to Wear a Swimsuit If You Are Not Gigi Hadid

Katie Sturino’s swimsuit picks and tips for summer


For a season that’s all about freedom and junk food, summer certainly seems to have a lot of don’ts: Don’t mix alcohol. Don’t shake your towel out when someone’s still lying down. Don’t leave your house without sunscreen. Don’t pee in the pool. It’s like, Jesus summer, can I live?

But Katie Sturino takes the opposite approach, at least when it comes to the wearing of swim. With every question I asked her (what colors work, what’s off limits, what cuts are bad?) she had a similar answer: there are no rules.

Maybe visual inspiration is the only real “rule” we need. If she can do it, we can do it, sort of like how some people need to watch their friends dive under the water first to prove hypothermia’s a myth before shocking their own crotch.

And so with that, we present:

Katie Sturino’s Non-Guide to All-Size Swimwear

1) The only “must have” is Confidence with a capital C.


Do I look like Hannah Bronfman or Gigi Hadid in a bikini? No. Far from it. However, acting self-conscious shows. People can sense discomfort. I take the opposite approach at the pool, make the above sultry-at-the-shallow-end face and rock what I got.

Although, I am sure there have been times when people want me to cover up…hello, crouching in a bathing suit.

2) A capital C is also for Caftan.


Or K for Kaftan. Who even knows? They’re breathable (but careful: not the silk ones!) and make you look like you’re about to board your yacht.

3) Embrace wetsuits and long sleeves.


I’ve come a long way from my SPF 4 tanning oil days. Long sleeve swimwear (check out Coverswim!) protects your skin from the sun, and wetsuits are simply very James Bond.

4) Wear what works for you, not what’s trending.

That means shapes and colors and patterns. If you want to try a high waist suit, try it, but don’t feel pressured to buy something just because everyone’s wearing it on Instagram. Likewise, don’t avoid something just because you “don’t look like her.” Who knows — a weird cut may end up being your new “thing.”

5) Get support.

I really need chest support to feel comfortable, but I don’t let that stop me from buying a certain suit. If there’s one that I can’t live without but the hold-up sucks, I bring it to my tailor who sews in bra-like cups on the inside.

6) My only don’t:

DO NOT hang out in your wet bathing suit all day!

Follow Katie Sturino on Instagram @the12ishstyle, and check out her website here. Read her story on Melasma Mustaches while you’re at it.

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis


Get more Fashion ?
  • Everytime I see Katie’s style posts this song plays on loop in my head. Damn girl, ya look GOOD.

  • Emily Love


  • I wear a 30FF/G bra, so I can’t pop into my local department store or H&M and pick out a bikini. Anything with proper cup coverage with inevitably have a giant band and minimal support.

    I’ve purchased a $60 Freya bikini top in my bra size online. It was worth every dollar when I was the only confident lady in my group at the beach.

    • Amelia Diamond

      So Freya, noted! Have you tried having cups sewn in? I kind of want to on one of my suits.

    • Jessica Peterson

      Also try FigLeaves. Great line of full bust suits that look good and actually hold things in place. I am 36DD and I can wear a strapless suit from them!! (I know!)

  • Madeline

    That yellow long-sleeve is HOT! Love it, so freaking cool.

  • Kate Barnett

    SO stunning, katie!

  • Marg Cohen

    This is a great article finally something for those who aren’t a Gigi or a Leandra really.. Could you please post more of those? Maybe something about affordable (Comfy) work outfits?

    • Amelia Diamond

      We will definitely do a work one outfit one! Here’s one about shorts (i linked to this in the post but just in case you didn’t see) annddd here’s the one where we intro’d her:

  • Julianna

    Obsessed with the swimsuit in the 10th photo from the slideshow which is also #2 in the post. Help us find it!

  • Stephanie

    This is quickly becoming one of my favorite series (has it reached series level yet?) on the site. Confidence really is key to rocking whatever it is you’re wearing! Katie, you look awesome!

  • Love this so much! Gorgeous pics, Katie!
    xx Lane

  • Caro

    I started singing “Welcome to New York” while reading this. I started with the lyric “And you can want what you want, boys and boys and girls and girls”. This is great.

    Oh my god, I’m just reading Emma’s comment about a song playing in her head too.

  • I think you’re right.

  • Aydan

    The first suit/picture SCREAMS bond girl to me! Love it!

    • Amelia Diamond

      i know i want a zip suit so badly now

      • Sati Marie Frost

        I used to have a bunch but my dog ate them. 🙁 Like 5 or 6 of them. Never ate anything (clothing-wise) other than the zip suits. I guess there’s something good-smelling in the zip fabric?

  • Lua Jane

    Seeing Katie Sturino post is always great. She is awesome. Yellow bathing suit is so gorgeous, but I fear something with sleeves made of spandex would drive me insane on the beach.

    • Amelia Diamond

      The Coverswim stuff is specifically made to be worn on the beach! I have a white one (just the long sleeved tee version).

      • Lua Jane

        It just somehow looks more stylish and sophisticated than a plain bikini 🙂

  • FP

    Question about the long sleeve! (my favorite) Can you pool/lounge at really hot places in this without passing out? Seriously thinking of getting one to take to Palm Springs

  • Jessica Peterson


  • therealdp

    no magicsuit or miraclesuit…EVER.

  • Sati Marie Frost

    Oh, I NEED that white cross-bust halter thing. I think I might have a wardrobe malfunction though, even with the help of my tailor. (And I agree – a good tailor / seamstress is a girl’s best friend. I lucked out – my tailor also does reheeling of shoes and boots, and is the best dry-cleaner I’ve ever used, AND they’re next to a supermarket with

  • wow…

    Great. Beautiful – elegant and noble

    This line of communication throughout the country you have not?


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  • Lorena

    Thank you for this post! My summer just got better because of it!

  • Woman you are so PINNABLE

  • paarepro


  • need that black zip up suit

  • Elke V.

    So much love for this magnificent woman. Keep ‘m coming!

  • Stephanie Nolasco

    I prefer high-waisted bikinis. It’s very pinup-inspired and I feel more comfortable showing some skin on the beach.

  • Kerrith

    She looks amazing in these photos! Great job styling!! I like that there is some higher end beach wear mixed in here. I think the hardest thing is to find higher end fashion that fits plus sizes. I also want to add that I really appreciate these posts. It’s nice to feel included in the conversation, and I realize this is not a blog about plus size fashion, rather a fashion blog reaching out to plus size women. That is very cool. Thanks!

  • Katie doth slay for all of eternity.

  • MilkVelvet

    Girls seriously, I love these articles. They are unabashedly brimming with confidence and it sends out a strong message to anyone. No matter the size, shape or whatever else someone may have issues with. Thank you for doing this!

  • kendra sands

    wait. I need to know where the suits she is wearing are from! I NEED TO KNOW

    • Amelia Diamond

      Credits in the slideshow!

  • Lee Ten Hoeve

    Loving this series.

  • Love these suits! Great picks Katie!

  • Maria Parker
  • Adardame

    Your tailor is awesome!

  • Kat

    Love this post and I’m currently loving kaftans with a “k” at right now