Bikini Competitors: Do You Need a Custom Suit?

Ask the Bikini Coach
By Gigi Amurao

Hi Coach, Do I really have to get a custom-made suit to do a bikini competition? I can’t really afford one—I’m thinking I’ll get one off the rack, at least for my first show. Does it really matter?

I get asked this question all the time, and to be honest, it really is a personal choice. Since you are asking me, though, my answer is yes! I highly advise that at some point in your competition career you invest in a custom suit that is cut specifically for you and your body type.

Gigi Amurao

As someone who is active on the competition circuit and has judged NPC shows, I can’t stress enough how much presentation matters when it comes to getting ready for the stage. It not only matters, but it counts for about 30 percent of your score. Your presentation is everything—from your posing, tan, hair, and makeup to, yes, even your suit selection. The judges don’t care who makes your suit or what brand it is, but we do pay attention to how it fits and how it accentuates your physique as well as how the color complements your skin and tan.

In my opinion, a suit that is made for you will look so much better than one that is made for a mannequin. Everyone has a different body type; a suit that you buy off the rack almost never fits exactly right and has to be altered in some small or large way. It may be cheaper to buy off the rack initially, but when you have to pay to have it taken in or let out, the costs can add up to as much as you would have paid if you’d gone for a custom suit from the beginning.

Another reason I suggest having a suit made for you, besides the custom fit, is that you can design it however you want. You can bling it out as much or as little as you like. So, basically, you can design it to fit your personality.

When you buy a suit off the rack, it’s usually plain or less sparkly than you would like, and the company makes multiples of each model, so if you think about it, there may be five or six girls on the circuit who decided to buy off the rack and have the same suit as you do. God forbid you end up in a lineup with one of them! Although it’s not the end of the world, the fashionistas will tell you it’s a faux pas to wear the same outfit as someone else at an event.

My suggestion is, if you can save up and buy a custom suit from the get-go, do it. There are dozens—if not hundreds—of suit designers out there who can make you a fabulous bikini that is within your budget.


As long as you take good care of it, a suit can give you years of stage wear.

If, however, if you decide that a custom suit is not in your budget right now, that’s okay as well. Just make sure that whatever suit you do end up buying or borrowing fits you from top to bottom. The suit should lay flat against your skin and not pull tight or look baggy from any angle. Furthermore, make sure the color complements your skin and your personality, that you feel great wearing it and you rock the stage in it.

Just remember that the very best body doesn’t always win in bikini. It’s the overall package and presentation—along with the body—that the judges are looking for, and the suit plays a very big part.

Send your questions to [email protected].

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