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The Link Up SPECIAL EDITION: Emily’s Ultimate Swimsuit Guide (+ TWO Shaping/Sculpting Swimsuits AND Her Fav Self-Tanning Resources)

I had no intention of showing the internet my body in a swimsuit so much, but it was born out of my own discomfort in being in one (not having the right supportive suits EVER) and figuring if I’m this frustrated by the industry (and the lack of non-model body representation) then others must be, too. I mean, of course. So it’s been 3 years since my first review and we are so happy to report that FINALLY, the smart brands are showing suits in many different sizes and shapes. WAHOO. Not only does this help people of different shapes and sizes make better choices for their bodies, but it just helps normalize the beauty of all bodies and reduces the pressure to look like models with totally unattainable/photoshopped bodies. The more we see cellulite, the less ashamed of our own we are. I’m also SO impressed by the female-founded brands who are changing the industry and making more supportive suits with compression technology to help show off what we love and conceal what we maybe don’t love as much.  

So despite gaining some covid weight, today I’m showing you two last suits (I think) that I find VERY comfortable, flattering, and supportive (as well as rounding up all the posts we’ve done about suits for those of you with different body types) and talk all things spray tan. 

The Sustainable and Sculpting One

Emmi One Piece

A supportive, flattering compression suit (whatever that means to you) that shows off what I’m relatively proud of (for me a supportive boob area) and diminishes what I’m sensitive to (a very soft belly, with a lot of dimples). Lucky for us, the technology of suits has come a LONG way and there are many companies designing suits with this in mind. The compression of the Vitamin A suit is EXCELLENT (FYI the bikinis, which I also tried on, run so small that even the large was pretty tight). I wear an M/8, I’m 5’4” and around 132lbs. The Summersault one-piece suits, same thing – so good. And great news! Summersalt is having a 30% off sitewide sale with code: SALE30. We did a whole review if you want to check them out on a bunch of different bodies.

The Sculpting Corseted One (Designed By A Mom!)

Plungey Swimsuit

Today, what you can see above is the new shapewear suit invented by a mom in Silverlake (where we lived in LA) and it’s GENIUS. Her whole thing is why have shapewear for under your clothes and not for swimsuits! I bought one because I was being heavily Facebook marketed by it and I’m glad I did. Now, one of my best friends tried it on who has a much longer torso and is very small-chested and it didn’t work for her. We decided it’s mostly for people who carry more weight in their midsection and need more boob support. I LOVE it and before this post, I ordered the high-waisted sapphire in “short” Medium just in case we sell it out. That’s how much I stand by these suits.

The Swimsuit Posts

But that’s just my body, so this year and last year we did a few swimsuit posts to help you with other body types find a suit that could work for you (long gone are the days of swimsuit shops where you can try them all on). So let’s start from the beginning…

Active & Modest Swimsuits That Make Me Feel Good (Plus, My Thoughts On Body Image) Plus Some Updated Favorites

This was my first ever swimsuit post where I modeled cute but modest one-pieces (my preferred style). I was real nervous putting my body on the internet but the response was so positive that it kicked off what would be an annual post!

Swimsuit Review (On My Actual Body) – Supportive Swimsuits That Make Me Feel Comfortable, Confident, and Stylish

Same opening photo, different swimsuits. This one is filled with mirror selfies, more affordable options, and a couple of bikinis.

Another Swimsuit Review: This Time On 27 Different Women With Different Bodies & Swimwear Needs

As I said above, my body is just one kind of body. So I hit you all up on Instagram and asked whoever was willing to send in a photo of them in their favorite swimsuit. We were so grateful for the amazing ladies that sent in their photos and gave us some incredible options (my team included!).

Unphotoshopped Women Honestly Review Summersalt’s 3 Bestselling Swimsuits

We got to do a sponsored post with Summersalt to review their 3 bestselling one-pieces and it’s fair to say that we were all impressed! Go take a look and there are a ton of other cute ones on the site.

Where To Buy ALL The Best Swimsuits (Affordable, Black Owned, AND Size-Inclusive) – Because I’ve Been Heavily Insta-Marketed, Believe Me

If you are just looking for a list of great places to find a great new suit, this post is for you!

Now onto getting that summer glow…


I can say without hesitation that I’m an expert in this category. I’m extremely pale as I have shown you before and was called “Powder” growing up. 

When I was a tween I prayed (literally) for the day when I could be tan like other people in the summer and I’m happy to report that God exists:) The difference between me being confident in a suit and me not being confident is having color on my body. I’m not proud of that and I wish I could just be me, but societal beauty conditioning is extreme and often feels irreversible so here we are. Self-tanner is basically foundation for your body that works with your PH to bring out color, and reduces the appearance of cellulite, bruises, veins, etc. Listen I don’t want promote this idea that pale skin isn’t beautiful because it absolutely is or that anything is wrong with cellulite because we ALL have it so it should be 100% normalized despite its lack of representation in the media. I’m just saying that I feel more comfortable in a swimsuit if I have self-tanner on my body and in case you do, too, then here is what I do. 

Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse | Double Sided Luxe Tan Applicator Mitt

I have done (and will do) a custom spray tan from a person (which can last a full week), a spray booth (4-7 days and I prefer the Versa brand of booths so call around), or at-home self-tanning foam/lotion (2-5 days) with varying degrees of success. My hands-down favorite is St. Tropez self-tanner mousse and be SURE to use the mitt. I also love Coco and Eve (get medium unless you are very dark – it makes me SO DARK) and recently bought Il Makiage which doesn’t get on your clothes as much and works more quickly but doesn’t get as tan or stay as long. All self-tanners come off your clothes and sheets but it can be super gross on day one (wear dark and loose). On vacation, I’ll bring my St. Tropez and reapply every night because if you are in the water it will come off pretty quickly. Chlorine will all but take it completely off which is a bummer (you can’t see it in the water, I promise). If you have more natural color and just want it enhanced then you don’t need the expensive stuff – go for L’Oreal or Jergens

Actually, I talked about the St. Tropez self-tanner mousse so much that my team was extremely curious. I decided I would get it for all of them to try and they loved it too. Here it is on Jess and Mallory:

So there you have it. All the swimwear and tanning picks and advice I have. I hope that we can all spend as much time as possible outside and in the water this year, feeling as good as possible. xx

Opening Image Credits: Photo by Veronica Crawford | From: The Fun, Easy To Wear And BOLD Dresses I am Opting For This Summer


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31 thoughts on “The Link Up SPECIAL EDITION: Emily’s Ultimate Swimsuit Guide (+ TWO Shaping/Sculpting Swimsuits AND Her Fav Self-Tanning Resources)

  1. I groaned when I saw the topic of this post. Definitely did not think I was in the mood to think about swimwear or my extraordinarily pale Seattle skin tonight. But I read it anyway, and ended up enthusiastically buying myself a new suit and some tanning mousse. Job well done, Emily. Job very well done.

  2. I want to find a one piece suit with a skirted bottom long enough to come down past my hips, high neckline, and built in bra because my boobs are pretty big and I love support.
    Which pretty much sounds like a swimming dress, but a super cute one. Any suggestions from the audience?

    1. I’ve never tried them but my very cute and stylish mom has one from Lands End. I think Summersalt also has a swim skirt that you can pair with any of their suits.

      1. I have a couple from Lands End and they are high quality that last . They also have the longer suit top
        that is separate and you can buy any type of bottom you wish to go with it including swim shorts. I have ordered from Lands End for years and have never been disappointed. Their customer service is excellent if you want to ask questions before ordering.

  3. You look gorgeous and I appreciate these posts! Vitamin A is a very frustrating brand to buy from if you are a size 10 or up. I usually can comfortably fit into most size large swimsuits. I made the mistake of trying one of their suits on sale last summer and had to try on maybe 12 suits to use the “exchange only” credit to find one suit I could squeeze into. I don’t know if the experience was worth saving the $80 of credit for what it did to my body image. 🙂

    The bikinis even in the largest size do not fit and the fact that you had to buy a size 8 (and there are only two sizes above that) pretty much tells me I’d be sized out of this suit too. I feel so defeated when people say- size up! When you are a size large and the sizes cut off at a 10 or 12 there isn’t much to size up to. I also bought a coverup from them and it fell apart within two wears. Anyway-yay to this post and you but boo to vitamin A.

    1. It’s a bummer that Vitamin A doesn’t have more inclusive sizing. I love that they are a sustainable brand and their suits are durable (I have one from 10 years ago in great shape still), but they are really only made for people size 8 and smaller, since you often need to size up. I hope they expand their sizing.

  4. I bought a TA3 swimsuit last summer ( and it is AMAZING! I’ve never felt so confident in a swimsuit. It s comfortable, their customer service is superior – I’d emailed a question on a Sunday and the founder responded in a couple hours. FWIW, I’m tall with a smaller chest and it fits perfectly. Highly recommend, even though there’s a bit of a sticker shock with the price. But I’d rather I’d rather have one great swimsuit that lasts along time rather than a handful I feel meh about.

  5. The content you have chosen for today’s post is extremely out of touch. I am very surprised to see no mention of the overturning of Roe. You and your team have commented on social issues in the past. Not addressing this at all or sharing where you stand on this issue is frankly irresponsible.

    1. The blog responded to it in the head notes of the Friday post, also Emily has talked about it on instagram. Personally, I feel full up on coverage of this news and I’m glad to have some”normal” posts from this blog.

    2. I understand your frustration. We were all a bit too heartbroken and angry to fully write a post about the ruling over the weekend. That’s not to say we won’t write about it and give resources to help. We will. But since these posts were already scheduled, we thought that this blog could be a momentary break from the news. That’s at least what we felt we needed.

  6. I’m going to say something that makes me sound extremely old, but what happened to butts in swimsuits? Even Summersalt and J Crew’s full-coverage-butt suits are … not, anymore. And high leg! Has everyone had laser hair removal? Do we just no longer care about hair (which would be great, but it takes a min for a Millennial to adjust)?

    1. Oh my god, yes, I’ve had precisely the same experience. I’ve never been especially modest, but I find myself SCANDALIZED by the expanse of buttock most swimsuits expose now. Hello middle age.

    2. I completely agree. The butts have all become much less full coverage. Super annoying for normal mom types!

    3. Yes! Just give us a few options with back coverage! It’s impossible to find suits with coverage.

  7. Just FYI the Insiders app is again broken and didn’t post this for the paying audience. 😕

  8. I’m surprised you haven’t posted anything on the Roe v. Wade decision. Thrift stores, swimsuits and tanning really aren’t foremost on my mind right now.

    1. then maybe don’t go to an interior design blog. everyone can’t be everything.

    2. Pardon the “copy and paste” response from an earlier response:
      We were all a bit too heartbroken and angry to fully write a post about the ruling over the weekend. That’s not to say we won’t write about it and give resources to help. We will. But since these posts were already scheduled, we thought that this blog could be a momentary break from the news. That’s at least what we felt we needed.

  9. Hi, Where did you buy the stunning turquoise wrap with ruffle shoulders you’re wearing in the photo at the top of the page? Thanks, Laura

    1. So glad you found such a wonderful suit and sending all my love in regards to your health<3

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