Does shopping for a bathing suit really have to induce dread? Not if you go about it with the right attitude.

We've got six tips to make bathing suit shopping not only enjoyable, but even empowering.

1. Start With the Right Attitude

If you begin your shopping trip with a pep talk, a game plan, and a commitment to have a great time, you'll be more likely to wind up with a suit you love than if you go in with a negative attitude.

  • Pick a shopping day when you're feeling good and have plenty of time and energy.
  • Focus on your favorite body parts. Do you have great hips and legs and a pretty bust line? Then who cares if you have a little extra around the middle? Don't let your minor flaws hog the attention. Chances are, no one notices them as much as you do.

Celebrate all the good things your bathing suit reveals. Then, cover up, camouflage, or ignore the bits and pieces you're not thrilled with.

2. Shop Alone

Your best friend, sister, or husband may mean well, but they'll likely have different things in mind when it comes to picking your perfect suit. Very few clothing items make you feel as exposed and vulnerable as your bathing suit. That's why you need to make sure you—and only you—feel good about your choice. Get the suit you love and forget about what anyone else thinks.

3. Choose the Right Stores

Pick stores where you enjoy the shopping experience, where they have a wide selection of suits, and also private dressing rooms. It helps if they also have flattering lightening, but just in case you find yourself under fluorescent lights, keep this in mind: You'll probably wear your suit in natural lighting, which is much more flattering.

If you don't have a great store nearby, shop online. Order several suits in different sizes and styles and return the ones that don't work.

4. Let Your Undergarments Be Your Guide

If you know what kind of underwear you look best in, use that as a clue to the kind of suit you should buy.

  • Choose a top with as much support as your bra and a bottom that covers as much as your underwear.
  • If you prefer a camisole or shapewear to cover your midsection, try a tankini or a one-piece.

5. Grab Two Sizes

When you find a suit you like on the rack, grab the size you think will fit and grab a size larger.

  • Try on the bigger suit size first. It's easier on the ego to switch down a size than to switch to a larger one.
  • Buy the size that leaves you a little wiggle room so you'll feel comfortable without having to tug your suit into place.

6. Wear the Right Accessories

Never try on a bathing suit in your birthday suit. It's unhealthy and against the law.

  • Instead, wear your smallest pair of underwear so it doesn't show under the bathing suit.
  • Try on your bathing suit either barefoot or with sandals to get a realistic picture of what you'll look like at the beach or pool.

Swimwear experts advise shoppers to choose styles, colors, and patterns that enhance their best features and draw attention away from their least favorite ones.

Also, try on this one-size-fits-all bathing suit advice on for size: Please yourself first, buy what you feel most comfortable in, and enjoy your time in the sun. Just remember to wear sunscreen.