Costume change

Having recently witnessed the saggy fabric and rippling elastic on my favourite (and only) bikini, and seeing that the UK is finally starting to show signs of having a summer, I have admitted defeat and accepted that I really do need to buy new swimwear.

I’ve never really given this area of my wardrobe much thought – the shame – my holiday shops are last-minute and normally reserved for whichever terminal I am lucky enough to find myself in at the time. So this quickly turned into a mission to find the perfect item of swimwear… accessories of course. Top tip: if you plan to spend most of your time on the beach then pick your swimwear first and work other items around them. You should also aim to have a minimum of two bikinis or swimsuits for a 1-week holiday (pro rata accordingly).

I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised at the choice…….bikini, one-piece, tankini…high leg, low leg, brazilian(!)…shorts, skirts, briefs….halter-neck, bandeau, underwired, padded underwired, balcony – the list went on. And a trawl of the high street revealed that whether you’re into bright vibrant swimwear or a sporty streamlined classic swimsuit, there really is something for everyone and in a style to suit all body shapes.

Follow our guide to find the perfect swimsuit for you.

Pear body shape
Features:  slim shoulders and broad hips. You carry your weight around the hips, bottom and thighs; however you are likely to have a well-defined (and tiny) waist and a fairly flat stomach.

  • Flirty skirt detail balances out wide hips.
  • Halter-neck and tankini styles maximise the bust and broaden the shoulders.
  • Mix and match plain darker bottoms with a bold coloured top, this will slim your lower half and add volume to your upper body.
  • Avoid high-waist shorts-style briefs.

Athletic body shape
Features: A sporty, strong body with few curves. You will normally have broad shoulders and square hips, long arms and legs, a slight waist and a small bust.

  • If you’re small on top look for ruffles, bold prints and cut-out detail (perhaps not all at once), which add curves to a boyish figure.
  • V-shape briefs will give the illusion of curvy hips.
  • Avoid triangle bikini tops.

Hourglass body shape
Features: Upper and lower body (shoulders and hips) approximately in line with each other, you are likely to have a defined waist and fuller bust.

  • Classic bikini with a bra style top (underwired and moulded cups for added support).
  • A well-structured bandeau-style top with a sweetheart neckline will keep your cleavage under control.
  • Full briefs cut high on the leg will lengthen the leg and slim thighs.
  • Avoid briefs with tie sides.

Apple body shape
Features: Generally in proportion, you carry your weight around your mid-section and you don’t have a defined waist. You are likely to have great legs.

  • Look for one pieces with hidden support panels or ruched detailing, which will help create a streamlined silhouette.
  • Tankinis are also good for creating the illusion of curves, but ensure the top reaches [and just covers] the bikini bottoms.
  • Avoid fussy detail or print; instead opt for simple styles and plain colours.

Images from left:

Floozie By Frostfrench Bikini Top £24, Bikini Bottoms £18 – Debenhams (Athletic)
Floozie By Frostfrench Swimsuit £38 – Debenhams (Hourglass)
Ruched Panel Swimsuit, £12 – Heatons (Apple)
Reger By Janet Reger Bikini Top £25, Bikini Bottoms £16 – Debenhams (Hourglass)
Graphic Tankini, £49 – Curvissa (Pear)
Principles By Ben De Lisi Bikini Top £24, Bikini Bottoms £16 – Debenhams (Athletic)
Spot Frill Swimsuit, £32.50 – Marks and Spencers (Pear)
Secret Support Green Swimsuit, £29.50 – M&S Woman (Apple)

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