Dive into this summer’s hottest swimwear. Lisa Haynes reveals how to hit the beach in style.
The key to a carefree holiday is sunshine, ice cream and ‘the’ perfect swimsuit.
It’s the only outfit you need for basking on the beach or taking a dip in the hotel pool, and gives you sunny feelings the instant you put it on.
Shopping for that wonder bikini or one-piece, however, is no vacation... Sweaty changing rooms, multi-way mirrors and ill-fitting costumes can dampen the holiday spirit.
Two-thirds (66%) of women plan to buy a new swimsuit this summer, according to a recent survey by Lands End. One-pieces came out on top as the preferred swimsuit silhouette, favoured by almost seven out of 10 people.
Whether you splash out on a bikini, tankini or one-piece, take the plunge with beachwear that transforms your body and boosts your confidence.
The beachwear equivalent of the LBD in your wardrobe, one-pieces are swimwear dressing made easy.
Slip into a control swimsuit that aims to skim off a dress size with clever ruching and taming panelling. They might feel more restrictive and structured but there will be no need to breathe in when you’re slurping your super-sized gelato.
A belted swimsuit will flaunt an hourglass shape to the max and make you look instantly cinched in.
But if you hate the thought of exposing your bottom and thighs, look for skirted swimsuits. An extension of the one-piece, there’s an in-built extended frill that covers your modesty and looks retro sexy.
When body concerns aren’t a problem, why not showboat on the beach? Look for statement swimsuits with contemporary cut-out detailing, or a plunging neckline that draws attention to your best assets.
Tankinis are the answer to your prayers if you feel too covered in a swimsuit and too exposed in a skimpy bikini.
A longer top is especially ideal if you’re tummy conscious. Seek out clever suck-you-in panelling for extra body confidence.
Minimise love handle overhang by avoiding bottoms that sit too low on the hips or are too snug in size. A well-fitted mid-rise brief will bring definition to the waist and look more flattering.
Inspired by retro styling, bikini bottoms have risen up the tummy to almost rib height, for another half-way option offering extra coverage. Thigh thinning and hip slimming high-waisted styles are especially suited to bottom-heavy bodies as the eye is drawn to the cheeky exposed flash of flesh just under your bust.
Most high-waisted bottoms, often with tummy toning waistbands, are also versatile enough to roll up or down depending on your mood and how washboard flat you feel your stomach is that day.
Bikini smart set
The beauty of bikinis is that you can play mix and match to your heart’s content. This not only multiplies your swimwear options when it comes to suitcase packing, it also ensures that you get the right sizes for your top and bottom half if they vary.
Experimenting with different colours can also balance out your proportions. If you’re top heavy, wear a darker top and team with light, bright or print bottoms and vice versa for instant figure trickery.
Bikinis are never going to look stylish if sagginess is a distraction. If you’re fuller busted and need extra support, look to brands like Panache (www.simplybe.co.uk), or Jette (www.swimwear365.co.uk) that offer styles with individual cup sizes for fit precision.
If support isn’t an issue, beat tan lines with a strapless bandeau style. Boyish shapes may want to create the illusion of extra curves using frills, ruffles or heavily embellished styles.
Swimwear styling tips
No matter what your chosen style, look for these swimwear shortcuts to make a splash on the beach:
:: Never underestimate the power of ruching. Smart folds and tucks can camouflage your hot spots to make them look more streamlined.
:: Halterneck swimsuits can elongate your body, instantly balancing out your proportions and showing off your shoulders and chest.
:: Steer clear of big, busy prints if you want to look slimmer. Look for beachwear featuring ditsy pretty patterns to scale everything down.
:: Employ colour blocking to create optical illusions. Use contrasting dark and bright sections that draw attention exactly where you want it.
:: Stripes can be a styling godsend. Look for vertical and diagonal stripes that slim your middle and elongate your torso.