1. Suit Yourself
The first step toward feeling comfortable in a bikini is finding one that fits your frame. "So many women will buy one they see a celebrity wearing, thinking it'll look good on them too," says Patridge. "But often it doesn't flatter their figure." She recommends going to the store and trying on many different styles to see what works for your body type, skin tone, and lifestyle. "Be open-minded," she says. "Even if you think you know what works on your body, you may be really surprised by the results."
2. Find Your Comfort Zone
Patridge suggests wearing your new suit around the house for a few days until it feels like your second skin. "Or get support and advice from some of your friends by inviting them over for a private girls-only party in the backyard," says Patridge. If you still feel self-conscious, experiment with strategic cover-ups that showcase your best assets, be it toned legs or sexy shoulders. "You can team a gauzy tunic with a bikini bottom," she says, "or flaunt your upper body with a suit top paired with a long skirt."
3. Flex Your Muscles
For an extra boost of confidence before she saunters onto the beach or power-lounges by the pool, Patridge does a quick series of squats and sit-ups. "I like to get the blood flowing to those areas," she explains. "I feel tighter and stronger, and it gives my skin a nice rosy glow."
4. Fake It, Don't Bake It
One glance at Patridge and you know she loves looking golden. "I have olive skin, so if I'm in the sun for even 15 minutes, I turn brown," she says. "But I'm much more aware of protecting my skin from the sun's rays than I was in my teens and early 20s." She gets her "tan" from a can and never leaves home without sunscreen—ones by Lancer Rx, Neutrogena, and Kiehl's are faves. "These products give my skin a smoother look and firmer appearance," she says.
5. Shine On
Another trick Patridge swears by is to rub a little Hawaiian Tropic Oil onto her skin over her sunscreen. "It keeps skin soft and accentuates your muscles," she says. "But you have to be careful not to use too much or you could end up looking greasy!"