Sunday, 29 April 2012

OUTFIT OF THE DAY

Leggings: Dynamite (find it here)
Shirt: American Apparel (find it here)
Scarf: Marche aux Puces Clignancourt, Paris (find a similar one here)
Cardigan: Club Monaco (find a similar one here
Shoes: Ecco (find a similar pair here)

Hey everyone! This is the outfit that I wore yesterday to my friend's movie watching Avengers marathon. Are you guys excited for the new Avengers movie? I love comic book movies and I managed to last through Iron Man, The Hulk, Iron Man 2 and Thor before I reached my movie watching limit :)

I wanted to wear something casual and comfortable because we'd be sitting for so long, so I opted for a pair of leggings. Now, I'd had some initial hesitations about posting this look because people tend to really take the leggings trend and run with it. Let me just say, leggings can be a super cute and comfy look as long as they're worn appropriately. Leggings pants . They don't have the dexterity to handle the everyday life of a pair of pants. When you bend over in even the thickest pair of leggings, they don't properly hold their opacity. And I won't even mention the most obvious problem. But it rhymes with schmameltoe...To avoid these pitfalls, remember to wear a shirt that's long enough to cover the crotch of your pants. Try buying a simple t-shirt in a bigger size, so it has a slouchy, relaxed look and also falls to an appropriate length.

Since the weather still isn't warm enough to go out with bare arms, I threw on my favourite navy sweater from Banana Republic (in my last OOTD I think I said that I bought it at Club Monaco, but I actually bought it at Banana - oops!) and the blue and white scarf that I bought on my trip to Paris a couple of years ago. I actually bought this scarf from the same place where I bought my leather satchel - if you ever get the chance to go to Paris, I would highly recommend stopping by Marche aux Puces Clingancourt!

Have a lovely rest-of-the-weekend!!
Talk soon,
Vi

Thursday, 26 April 2012

MY SKINCARE ROUTINE

Hi everyone! I decided to do a rundown of my skincare routine today, since I haven't really done anything beauty-related in a while. My complexion is pretty straightforward - I have very fair combination skin. Thankfully, I'm lucky enough that I don't struggle with acne or breakouts, but I do have extremely sensitive skin when it comes to the sun. I also have to be careful around my eyes, because my eyes get irritated and infected (gross!) if I don't completely remove my makeup each night. So here's how I keep my skin in tip top shape:
1. DOVE SENSITIVE SKIN BEAUTY BAR (find it here)
If you have very sensitive skin, soap of any kind is probably off limits, but I have to be sure to completely remove my makeup every night to avoid irritating my eyes. Since Dove's soap bar is hypo-allergenic and partly made of moisturizer, it's perfect for the job. Side note: If you find that you get redness and tenderness right at the base of your eyelashes, you may have the same problem as me. The makeup that you don't remove settles in your eyelash follicles while you sleep, causing a small infection. If you make sure that all of your makeup is off before you go to bed, your eyes will be clean and free of irritants all day long.
2. PAMPERS SENSITIVE WIPES (find them here)
Even when you're tired or you get home late, it's really important that you don't sleep in your makeup. That said, makeup removing wipes can be super expensive and they come in small packages that don't last you very long. Instead, I buy baby wipes for sensitive skin - their formula is easy on your face since it's made to be gentle enough for newborn babies, but tough enough to get all the makeup off before you hit the sack. I keep a box of them in my bedside table so that I don't have any excuse not to clean off my makeup - even if I'm already tucked into bed!
3. BIORE MOISTURE LOTION SPF 15 (find it here)
I've mentioned this product before, but I really can't live without it. If you have oily or combination skin, you know how hard it can be to find a cream that moisturizes your skin without leaving a greasy residue. Look no further! This great Biore moisturizer is light and nourishing without any of the annoying oilyness that other products leave behind. I use it after I wash my face in the morning to keep my skin nice and supple. Added bonus: it smells yummy!

4. NIVEA Q10 PLUS ANTI-WRINKLE NIGHT CREAM (find it here)
I had never really thought about using a night cream until a couple of months ago, but I kept reading about how beneficial it was, so I thought it was better to be safe than sorry. After testing Nivea's Q10 moisturizer, I was pleasantly surprised! It's a lot heavier than a typical day cream, but it's surprisingly non-greasy and it works like a charm overnight. I instantly noticed that any dryness or tightness that I felt in my skin went away after a couple of uses. Now I just rub a little on before bed and I'm ready to go!
5. NIVEA ESSENTIAL CARE LIP BALM (find it here)
There is nothing more irritating that having dry lips. I can't even watch those Subway commercials where that guy tells you about how he lost all this weight on the Subway diet, because I keep staring at his chapped lips. So, in order to avoid a I'm-Jared-from-Subway-esque lip crisis, I use Nivea's Essential Care lip balm. It goes on clear and smooth and leave you with plump, moisturized lips. I put it on before bed and I also carry one in my purse just in case. No muss, no fuss.
 6. DERMAGLOW SPF 70 SUNSCREEN (find it here)
Like I said, my skin is suuuper sensitive to the sun. Two summers ago - even though I wore a strong sunblock - I got a permanent sunspot on my forehead from sun damage (boo!), so I decided to search for a stronger sunblock to beat the heat. The problem is, sunscreens and sunblocks are always so oily and they tend to run underneath your makeup. So I spoke to the dermatologist and she recommended Dermaglow SPF 70 and it worked wonders! I wear this sunblock any day when I know that I will be outside in the sun (so almost every day during the summer) to help protect my skin from any harmful rays. I just rub it all over my face in the morning, give it a minute or two to dry and then apply my makeup right over top. It even stood up to the extreme heat when I was in Greece last summer! If you're sick of sun damage, then this is definitely the product for you! Side note: they also have an SPF 100 version for even more heavy duty protection :)

Wishing you flawless skin!
Talk soon,
Vi

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

OUTFIT OF THE DAY

Shirt: Joe Fresh (find a similar one here)
Skirt: H&M (find a similar one here)
Necklace: H&M (find a similar one here)
Tights: H&M (find a similar pair here)

Hello all! How's your week been going? After working all last week, it felt sooo nice to get back into my own clothes again! This morning I woke up with a stupid head cold (it always seems to be going around this time of the year), but I decided to ignore it and enjoy my day off anyways. I find that getting showered and dressed always makes me feel more human! I went out for lunch with my girlfriends and had some delicious pizza mmmm. Tonight I'm going to see Riverdance with my mom - it's a guilty pleasure of ours :)

I really like the look of an informal button down - it has such a nice clean, comfortable look. I bought this one in a size bigger than I normally get, so that it has a looser, more relaxed look to it. I also cuffed the sleeves for the same reason. Today I finally got the chance to wear my new H&M statement necklace! I had been hunting for one for a while, but I couldn't find one that I liked for a price that I could afford. They were all so pricey! But then the other day I was walking around the store and I saw this one - it was only fifteen dollars and it was gold, which I prefer because it matches the metal in my nose ring. Love me a good deal!

Talk soon,
Vi

Monday, 23 April 2012

HOW TO: SHOP ON A DIME

Hi everyone!! Today's post is all about how to shop without breaking the bank. Because, let's be honest. I'm a student, I'm broke and my student loans aren't about to repay themselves. But the fact is, I really like to shop. Correction, I love to shop. Obviously not in the same way that I love my family (read: pretty close), but clothes make me feel happy, pretty and creative. So instead of selling my organs on the black market to feed my need, I've devised a guide to budget buying. The first three rules focus on how to save money before you leave the house, while the last seven show you how to shop smart. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present ten simple rules to shop by.
Whether or not you're on a budget, you want to cultivate an organized, cohesive wardrobe over time. Think of the 70/30 rule; about 70 percent of your wardrobe should be reserved for classic, timeless pieces. These things could include a well-fitted t-shirt, a great pair of sexy jeans, a tailored blazer or a beautiful sweater. Fill up the rest of your closet (the remaining 30 percent) with fun accessories, trendy items and statement pieces, like a studded dress, an edgy leather jacket or a pair of pink snakeskin pumps.

The trick is to keep all of this in mind while you're shopping. What do you need to complete your wardrobe? Is there something that you've had your eye on for a while? Try keeping a wishlist on your phone or in your day book. This will remind you of what you really want to spend your money on and prevent any impulse buys that you may regret later. In short, you can save money by keeping your eye on the prize.
The problem with an unplanned shopping spree is that it can lead to unplanned spending. No matter how badly you want something, you have to pay for it eventually. So ask yourself... 'Can I afford this?' If the answer is anything other than 'yes', move on. This doesn't mean that you can't have it ever, you just can't have it now. Put it on your wishlist and give yourself a couple of days to mull it over. Chances are, it won't seem that great once the fever passes.

Remember, some things are worth going into temporary debt over (houses, children, traveling overseas to de-worm orphaned babies, etc.), but other things just aren't worth it (shoes, bags, a really cute leather dress that you swear you'll wear more than once, etc.)
This rule may seem silly, but it's actually a crucial step towards shopping smarter! If you know your body, understand your proportions and accept the styles that do and don't flatter your figure, you will avoid wasting money on things that you'll never wear. If it fits your body, your style and your budget, then buy it. If it's on sale, but it hangs funny when you try it on - pass. If it looks really cute on the hanger, but it doesn't fit - pass. If it looks really cute on your friend, but doesn't fit - pass.

If you have limited funds (or even if you don't!), you want to conserve your money for the things that matter. So no matter how low the price or how big the sale, don't buy it unless you love it.
Outlets are to recessionistas what mac n' cheese is to grad students. A lifeline. Outlets are stores where manufacturers sell their products directly to the public. They usually contain a small selection of new merchandise and an extensive selection of older products, which are sold at marked-down prices. They used to contain mostly 'oops' items - like batches of clothes that were mis-dyed - but now they are more like extended sale sections.

Outlets are great for several reasons. Firstly, they tend to be grouped together in malls, which gives the frugal shopper a 'safer' place to shop. Secondly, they offer brand name items at discounted prices. For instance, I really love the Banana Republic, J Crew and Club Monaco, but I can't begin to afford their regular prices. Their outlet prices, however, are much cheaper, so I can get the clothes that I want for a price that I can afford.

For those of you who live in the Toronto area, check out these outlet malls (all less than four hours away):
Vaughn Mills, Vaughn, Ontario
Dixie Outlet Mall, Mississauga, Ontario
Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls, New York
If you live in a country that has limited access to your favourite brands, ordering from their online stores can be a tempting option. But be careful - foreign shipping is usually a fortune!! I can't tell you how many times I've found a great deal online only to realize that it's actually a terrible deal once Canadian shipping is added.

So what can you do about it? If you want a certain product but your local store is out of stock or doesn't carry it, ask them to check nearby stores and give you the address of a store that does carry the item. Then just drive over and pick it up, instead of having it shipped to your door. If they don't ship to a store near you, then skip down to rule #7.
As alluring as the quilted black leather of a Chanel bag or the bright red underside of a Louboutin shoe can be, buying brand names isn't always the smartest choice for your closet or your bank account. So before you invest in a brand name piece, consider the quality, use value, fit and style of what you're looking for. Can you find a similar item that looks and feels the same, but costs less? Are you investing in the item itself, or do you really just want to buy the designer?

Take a moment and acquaint yourself with a variety of stores. Check out high street stores and department stores like Zara, Top Shop and Forever 21 before you bust the bank. Chances are that you'll find a similar style that is equally suitable to your wardrobe for a fraction of the designer price. Then, if you really can't find anything that meets your demands, you can invest in the big ticket item with a clear conscience.
When you have your heart set on a piece that you just can't afford, it can be really disappointing. But before you despair, take a gander online to see if you can find a cheaper model. Start by typing the name and make of what you want into the search bar and sift through the sites that pop up. Sometimes, you can find the exact same item second hand for a fraction of the cost. Another great option is sites like Amazon (find it here), that sell items through individual vendors. You can also check out small-scale vendors on Etsy (find it here), who might be making something similar for a more affordable price.

A fabulous resource for the budget-savvy fashionista is group discount sites, such as Zozi (find it here), Groupon (find it here) and Beyond the Rack (find it here). These sites cut deals with companies by providing them with large amounts of business. All you have to do is sign up and you can browse their wares from the comfort of your own home! Last but not least, you can always use your computer to go straight to the wholesaler and see if there is a discounted price when you buy it from the source.
If you're dying for a big ticket item but you can't scrape together the cash to buy it, try asking for it as a gift. Since most people would much rather get you a gift that they know you'll love than something that you'll never use, they'll probably be more than willing to have you pick out your own gift. When I graduated from university, my parents offered to buy me a gift of my choosing and that's how I ended up buying my favourite Tissot watch!

Keep in mind that people have different gift budgets, so if you're nervous that your item might be too expensive for someone, then ask them to give you money to put towards the purchase. People tend to be wary about giving cash because it seems impersonal, but if you show them the piece that you've got your eye on, then they'll be able to connect their cash gift to something tangible. It works out best for both parties, because you get your dream gift and they get to give it to you!
A great way to revamp your look without spending a lot of money is to DIY. Simple accessories, like bracelets, bangles and necklaces are actually quite easy to make. Try covering a cheap bangle with embroidery thread for a whole new look. Check out my "How To: String Bracelets" post for a quick and easy (and cheap!) jewelery overhaul.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can even try making clothes! Start small with a flowy skirt or a simple dress and then move on to more tailored pieces as you gain experience. Your sewing skills will also come in handy when you need to tailor your clothes - but make sure that you buy clothing that only needs a tweak here and there or else it could end up adding up.
Last but not least, there's the duty free store at the airport. While this may sound a little far fetched, you'd be surprised by how convenient it can be. Buying duty free can mean big savings if you live somewhere like Canada where sales taxes are quite high. Even if you don't travel very often, you can have a friend or relative pick up your purchase the next time that they fly. While this may not be the most common way to shop, it's definitely worth thinking about next time that you plan a trip!

Better yet, most airports carry a variety of high end brands and designer boutiques, which allow you to buy items that would normally be very expensive without paying sales taxes. For instance, when I bought my Tissot watch (which was a graduation present from my parents), I bought it in the Athens airport on the way home from my summer vacation and ended up saving a bundle.

If you want more tips and tricks about how to shop on a budget, check out these great websites:
The Budget Fashionista 
The Budget Babe
Frugal Fashionista
Broke and Beautiful
She Finds

Happy shopping!
Talk soon,
Vi

Saturday, 21 April 2012

A LITTLE DOSE OF FASHION

Hi everyone :) Sorry for the lack of posts this week, I've been working back to back shifts at work so I haven't had time to catch up on my posting! I just wanted to do a quick little update to let you all know what's going on and sneak in a little dose of fashion, despite the fact that I haven't worn anything but my uniform for the past five days. I can't wait for school to come, so I can get back to a normal schedule!

I've been seeing a lot of leather bracelets around lately, so I decided to give it a go the other day. Try layering it with other bangles or a watch for a fun, modern look. Have you guys been trying any new looks lately? Send me a picture at lifeofvi.blog@gmail.com and I'll post it here!

Talk soon!
Vi

Monday, 16 April 2012

NATURE WALK AND PUPPY LOVE

Top: H&M (find a similar one here)
 Jeans: Levi's Curve ID (find them here)
Scarf: Joe Fresh (find a similar one here)
Earrings: Joe Fresh (find a similar pair here)
Shoes: Urban Outfitters (find a similar pair here
Watch: Couturier, Tissot (find it here)
Sunglasses: Ray Ban (find them here)

A couple of days ago, my friend Lauren and I decided to take advantage of the lovely spring weather and go for a walk in the conservation area near our houses. I wore my black Levi's skinny jeans (as usual, lol) with a new striped shirt that I got at H&M. I think the key to wearing horizontal stripes is finding ones that are spaced properly. Thin, closely-spaced stripes seem to be more flattering than thicker, bolder stripes. What do you think? 

It was so nice and warm that I ended up carrying my coat most of the time! Since we were going to be doing a lot of walking, I wore my green canvas sneakers for comfort and colour alike. Canvas shoes are a great alternative to ballet flats during the spring and summer, especially if you are going for a more laid back, sporty look.

It was also Lauren's puppy's first time in 'the wild'. Olive was so excited to sniff around at all the new plants and she managed to (more or less) keep her cool around all the big dogs that she met :) Check out this hilarious video of us trying to coax her down to the riverbank to check out the water. She was not having any of it.
video 
I'm so happy that spring has finally sprung. It's so nice to see all of the little flowers poking up through the ground after the winter months. That said, we got off pretty easily this winter - I still can't believe how mild it was! Here are some more pictures from our walk. 
Signs of spring everywhere!
Talk soon,
Vi

Saturday, 14 April 2012

OUTFIT OF THE DAY

Jacket: Forever 21 (find a similar one here)
Shirt: Gap (find it here)
 Jeans: Levi's Curve ID (find them here)
 Shoes: Payless Shoes (find them here)
Scarf: Joe Fresh (find a similar one here)
Earrings: Joe Fresh (find a similar pair here)

Hi all :) I'm baking some delicious Easter cupcakes (my family is Greek so Easter is this weekend for us) and I thought that I'd do a quick OOTD post while I wait for them to cook. I'll post a picture on Twitter (@LifeofVi1) when they're done, so that you guys can make them too! We'll just call them spring cupcakes lol. 

This is the outfit that I wore a couple of days ago, when I tackled the sock bun. It's a pretty simple jeans and a t-shirt look, but I thought that it would make for a more laid back outfit post. There really is something so elegant and effortless about a simple top and jeans. Since I was wearing my hair up, I decided to add an extra-voluminous scarf and some dangly earrings to bring the focus up around my face. I also wore my new wedge heels (check out my Spring Trends post here) which I totally copycatted after seeing Kate Middleton wear a similar pair (read: worth approximately $300 more than mine).

The great thing about Payless' shoes (other than the obvious) is that they sell most of their wedges and heels in both normal and wide sizes. If you find that heels dig into the sides of your feet or that soft part right above your toes (ouch!), then head over to Payless and try on a pair of their wide-width shoes. For me, it really makes all the difference.

Happy Easter to anyone who's celebrating this weekend!
Happy weekend to those of you who aren't!
Talk soon,
Vi

Friday, 13 April 2012

WEEK 3: THE SOCK BUN

This Week's Mission: This week's mission was supposed to be false eyelashes, but after several failed attempts I decided to try the sock bun instead and leave the devil lashes for next week. I think I'm going to try individual ones instead of a full set and see how it goes. Wish me luck.

Inspiration: I originally saw the sock bun in a video tutorial on Youtube and, suddenly, everything made sense. I kept seeing all these girls with voluminous, luscious buns, but I couldn't for the life of me recreate the look in my own bathroom. I mean, how hard could it be?! On a scale from one to unmanageably thick hair, I'm doing pretty well, but my buns always looked small compared to those gracing the heads of in-the-know fashion bloggers. And when I did manage to get all of my hair on top of my head, the bun would get all frizzy and slip down throughout the day. Not to mention that bobby pins would disappear into my hair only to resurface days later after repeatedly stabbing me in the scalp. Needless to say, buns were not my thing. But after trying the sock bun today, I can honestly say that I'll be wearing them much more often - it's so easy to do! 

Tips and Tricks: After watching a bunch of tutorials, I kinda played around with my hair until I found what worked best for me. Most tutorials will tell you to start with the sock around the end of your ponytail and slowly roll it down towards your head until you have a nice big bun. Unfortunately, my hair is layered, so this technique really didn't work very well. Every time that I tried to roll the sock down, a thousand little pieces of hair escaped.
Instead, I rolled two socks together to make a chubbier ring (so that the middle hole was smaller and the ring was tighter around my ponytail) and slipped it down around the base of my ponytail. Next, I fanned the hair around the ring to cover the sock and then wrapped the remaining hair around the sock like a normal bun. I tucked the ends under the sock ring and secured it with an elastic. Add a couple of pins to keep everything in place and you're good to go :)

Results: LOVE it! Not only does the sock bun look thick and round, but it stays in place all day long. I didn't have to readjust it at any point in throughout the day and there were no annoying pieces falling out. I'll definitely be repeating this look!

Talk soon,
Vi

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

OUTFIT OF THE DAY

 
Dress: La Senza (find a similar one here)
Cardigan: Club Monaco (find a similar one here
Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger Outlet (find a similar pair here)  
Tights: H&M (find a similar pair here)
Watch: Couturier, Tissot (find it here)
Necklace: Forever 21 (find a similar one here)
Bracelets: DIY (see the tutorial here)

Hi everyone! This is the outfit that I wore while I was running errands (I may or may not have slipped a little shopping in on the side ;) this afternoon. It's pretty similar to the one that I posted last week with the blue heart dress, with a few differences. I found this white dress under the strangest circumstances - I was going to a white-themed party a couple of years ago and I needed to find something to wear. The only problem was that it was the dead of winter in Montreal (it's suuuper cold and snowy there), so I was having the worst time finding a white dress. I ended up buying a nightie from La Senza and adding an extra ruffle to the bottom so that it was long enough to wear as a dress. Oddly enough it's become one of my go-to things to wear when I get fashion-stumped!

To spice up the dress, I added a bunch of red and blue accessories. I'm totally loving this navy sweater from Club Monaco. I bought it at an outlet mall (the only way I can afford their clothes on my student budget) a couple of months ago and I haven't stopped wearing it. The little brass buttons are such a nice touch. 

I also wore my red statement necklace from Forever 21 and my DIY nautical bracelets (find out how to make them here). Last but not least, I threw on my red Tommy Hilfiger ballet flats (another outlet find!) to complete the look. Side Note: Speaking of student budgets, Forever 21 is the best place to find cheap clothes that are fun and not completely trash quality. I'm thinking of doing a 'how to shop on a dime' post - would you guys like that?

Today was also supposed to be the day for my "4 Beauty Trends in 4 Weeks" post, but I completely failed at applying my false eyelashes. They looked crazazy! Any suggestions? I'm going back for Round 2 tomorrow - wish me luck!

Talk soon,
Vi

Monday, 9 April 2012

BATHING SUITS FOR YOUR BODY TYPE

As the weather gets warmer and gyms become more crowded, bathing suit season begins its slow approach. If you have trouble finding a flattering bathing suit, then you are not alone. Since so many women have mixed body types, the classic apple, pear, hourglass and boyish/athletic shapes are not always effective. Therefore, I've organized my breakdown into eight different categories to cover a wider range of shapes and sizes; all you have to do is choose a 'top' and 'bottom' shape from a selection of four silhouettes and you're ready to go.

1. FULL BUST: If you have a full bust, bathing suit season brings on the inevitable challenge of finding a swim suit that supports both your chest and sense of style. However, not all large-busted women are built the same. Your frame can vary greatly depending on the size of your underbust as well. To determine the shape of your underbust, look at your ribcage and waist in the mirror. If you have a narrow waist and small ribcage, then you most likely have a small underbust. Similarly, if you have a wider ribcage and a more 'up and down' middle, then you have a larger underbust. A small underbust is the staple of the classic hourglass figure (think of an upside down triangle), while larger underbusts are usually attributed to boyish, athletic or apple-shaped silhouettes.

Now that that's out of the way, here's what you should look for in a bathing suit. The key to flattering a large bust is support. You want to be absolutely sure that your girls are lifted and supported whether you're basking in the sun or playing beach volleyball. No nip slips. Look for suits with built-in support, such as underwires, well-constructed cups and thicker straps. You'll want enough padding to round and shape your bust, but you can feel free to toss out the padded inserts that come with the top. Halters are always a good option if you get stuck.

Choose colours and patterns based on your figure goals. If you want to minimize your chest, stick to darker colours and solids, as well as small patterns. On the contrary, if you want to flaunt what you've got, then play around with colour and pattern. Just remember that support is your number one goal. Use structural details like ruching and tailoring (like in the lavender number below) to de-emphasize a larger underbust or try a string underwire (like the teal top below) that lets you adjust the width of your suit more easily.

Avoid un-supportive string bikinis and bandeau tops. While some string bikinis are reinforced to support a larger chest (check out Victoria's Secret for some more tailored options), most triangle tops don't have the gumption to hold up the girls. It's just not worth the back ache. If you're really dying to try a bandeau top but you have a full chest, try one with halter straps (like the blue and white one above). This will give you the bandeau look with a bit more support for your ta-tas.
2. SMALL BUST: If you aren't well endowed, do not fear - small breasts give you much more flexibility when it comes to bathing suits! Since you don't have to worry as much about support, feel free to play around with different shapes and cuts. Things like ruffles, horizontal stripes and bows will give you a little boost if you're trying to balance out a bigger bottom. You can also emphasize your chest by wearing light colours like blush and white on top.

If you want to de-emphasize a large underbust, look for plunging bathing suits and v-neck tops. The long, v-shape of the swimsuit will elongate your figure, making your underbust look longer and slimmer. Moreover, the plunging neckline will also accentuate your cleavage so that you don't loose the look of your bust.

It's important to rock your smaller chest with as much pride as a bustier woman would. While you may choose bathing suits that emphasize your bust, feel free to buy a bandeau or triangle top and emphasize your collar bone or waist instead. Think of Kate Hudson and Keira Knightly - both women who fearlessly flaunt their little busts!
Avoid...not much. If you're trying to exaggerate your cleavage then stay away from un-padded string bikini and bandeau tops, since they won't give you any extra help in that department. Otherwise, you can experiment with pretty much anything.
3. WIDE HIPS: Okay now for the bottom half. In order to know which bathing suits will flatter your figure, you have to return to the mirror. Firstly, stand facing the mirror and determine whether you have wide or slim hips. Wide hips will generally give you a rounder shape just below your belly button, while slim hips will give you a more 'up and down' appearance. Next, turn to the side and check out your assets. Do you have a round bum or a flatter bum? Once you've figured out your body type, then you're ready to get started.

Wide hips are a classic feature of the hourglass and pear shapes. You're gonna want to find a bathing suit that flatters your hips, without making you look too bottom heavy. Look for bottoms with little to no waistband, like string bikinis and looped attachments. This will create a higher leg line, making your legs and hips look longer and slimmer.

If you have a full derriere, try bottoms that cut up across your bum to reveal a bit more cheek than the standard bikini cut. While you would think that showing more skin would make your bum look bigger, it actually has the opposite effect. The extra fabric of a swimsuit bottom can give you 'diaper butt', making your butt look bigger than it is. If you want to minimize your bum, stick to dark colours and solid fabrics on the bottom.

If you have wide hips but you need a little boost in the butt department, look for details like ruffles and ruching which will add volume to the area. Be careful not to disturb the line of your leg and stick to the no-waistband rule above. You want ruffles and detailing on the back of the suit to boost your bum, but no added volume around the waistband of the suit, which might accentuate the width of your hips.
Avoid horizontal stripes (unless you want to boost your bum), wide waist bands and high waisted bottoms. If you are trying to downplay a larger bum, stay away from details like ruffles and ruching that add volume to your assets.
4. SLIM HIPS: If you have slim hips - a classic feature of the apple, athletic and boyish frames - you have a lot more freedom when it comes to choosing a bottom. If you are trying to balance out a bigger top half, try bathing suits with thick waistbands (like the red polka dot one below). The width of the waistband will accentuate your hips and add a bit of volume to your bum. If you have slim hips but a full bum (lucky duck!), then look for a bathing suit that shows a bit more cheek. As I mentioned above, it will help accentuate your assets without giving you diaper bum. Slim hips also allow you to get a little more creative with your one-piece swimsuits, but remember to take you bust and underbust into account when choosing a style.

For those of you with slim hips and little bums, give yourselves a boost by wearing light colours on the bottom. Since you don't have to worry about adding volume to your bottom half, try a cute pair of boy shorts. Not only will these emphasize your derriere because of their high cut across the back, they will also help balance out the bottom of your body.

Moreover, slim hips allow you a bit more freedom when it comes to colour and pattern. Play around with horizontal stripes, bold patterns and bright colours. You can also look for details like ruffles and ruching if you want to add more junk to your trunk.
Avoid ... not much. If you want to balance out a bigger top half, avoid minimizing cuts like string bikini bottoms. If you're trying to pump up your derriere, stick to styles that will add volume to your bum like boyfriend shorts and ruffled bottoms.

Hope that helps you beat the bikini heat!
Side note: I just bought some false eyelashes for the third part of our '4 in 4' challenge!
Talk soon,
Vi