The number of swimsuit styles has exploded, and so have the number of design innovations. These added features have helped make swimsuit shopping a little bit less of a chore because now you have an easier time finding a suit that looks good on you.
Rather than just putting out a piece of flimsy fabric, manufacturers have realized that women of all body types need to own a swimsuit, so they've added extra support in areas that could use the help. Wider straps and built-in bras give those with larger chests more support in ways that accentuate and lift the bust. Silicon edging helps keep underwires in place.
Extra fabric can help and hide problem areas. Ruching, a sewing technique that creates a pleated or ruffled look, can help skinny girls add some curves. Shirring the sides of a swimsuit creates volume with either small gathers along the side seams, or by pulling some strings sewn into the layers of fabric to cinch it. This can help disguise your stomach, if it's not as flat as you'd like it to be.
Less fabric can also work in some women's favor. A one-piece suit with cut outs in it can prevent the "muffin top" effect that you might get with a bikini. Conversely, if you've worked hard for that body, cut outs can also show off your most sculpted areas.
Swimsuit fabric itself has also gotten high-tech. It's well known that springy nylon and spandex fabric is great for swimsuits because it can stretch as you move. The Spanx swimsuit, named for its gut-compressing undergarment counterpart, has a compression mesh liner that sucks it all in for you. Slendertex fabric also helps create a more toned look along your torso.
Even though men's suits aren't as varied as women's, theirs also have design features that can be more flattering. Flat waistbands create a slimmer profile and can look more forgiving than a bunchy elastic waistband. Adding snap fronts, Velcro and buttons also helps maintain clean lines.
All of these features can help you look your best at the beach. The hard part now may be figuring out how many swimsuits your closet can handle.