readers ask: dear lucky

Q: I have love handles but love bikinis. Do you have any tips on what would be most flattering? —Heather

Stretch nylon triangle bikini set, $24, victoriassecret.com

A: Dear Heather, 

Cindy Crawford once told me that the ultimate, most-flattering-on-everyone bikini shape is a triangle top and triangle bottom, the latter with side ties. In black. The side ties don’t exactly dwarf your hips, but at least they compete with them for attention, which is no small thing when you’re practically naked. The triangle top pulls up your breasts without underwires (which can look both foundation-garment and overly engineered to me, implying layers of padding beneath).
If you really hate the love handles, you could completely pave them over with the retro, high-waisted-bottoms-with-bra-like-top look. If they just sort of bug you, I have had great success with a darker bikini bottom with a white band across the top: The white band grabs all the attention, sandwiched as it is between your skin and the darker fabric.
With any of these options, generally err on the side of bigger for the top—which makes you look, well, bigger on top—and small for the bottom (to look like you 
have a smaller butt). Obviously, if you’re looking to minimize your breasts and maximize your butt, do the opposite. But note that a too-big bikini bottom looks like a big wet diaper, and 
a too-small top flattens your breasts and leaves them hanging out the bottom.

Stretch nylon bikini bottom, $14, Joe Fresh, 212-366-0960

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