Fashion: How to buy swimwear that fits and flatters

As the holidays begin, Rebecca Siddall and Stephanie Smith have tips on how to make
swimwear-buying less stressful. Plus sales picks.

No two words scare most women quite like “swimwear shopping”, from pale, pasty limbs
to the unflattering changing room lights that many shops seem to insist upon.

However, it is the middle of summer and so the perfect time to grab swimwear
bargains on the High Street. Needs must. Whether your desired destination is
Blackpool or Barbados this year, with the big summer holidays now finally here, what
better time could there possibly be to invest in swimwear that you can actually wear
now, so it won’t have to sit in your drawers for months on end?

Trying on swimwear can be a stressful experience, of course. It comes in an array of
different styles, so it’s essential to know the features and benefits of each
particular one, as some can definitely make you look and feel better than others.

To avoid at least some of the stress, there are a few things that you can do to make
your shopping experience more pleasant and useful.

Don’t leave it. Start shopping now while the shops still have the good stuff. Soon,
all you will be able to find in the bargains corner is a ridiculously bright bikini
top two sizes too small.

Unless you look like a swimwear model, it’s hard to picture what a bikini or
swimsuit is going to look like on you. Knowing your body is definitely the most
important piece of advice when buying swimwear, as the wrong styles may draw
attention to areas of your body you would rather disguise.

Buy now, try later. Most of us will not feel as relaxed in a changing room
environment as we do at home, where we can make use of the space, comfort and
lighting that we work with every day. Just remember to leave the hygiene strip
intact in swimsuit and bikini bottoms, otherwise you can’t return the pieces you
don’t like.

Try, try and try. The style and body shape tips that you can find in the magazines
at this time of year are only a guideline and may not apply to you.

Robyn Caldwell, of online retailer SimplyBeach.com, says: “The most important thing
to remember is that you feel happy and comfortable in your swimwear. Shopping for
swimwear can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start. The best
way to overcome this is by trying heaps of stuff on.

“Keep your options open in terms of style, pattern and fit. For example, if you are
conscious about your tummy, high-waisted bikinis are a perfect middle ground between
swimming costumes and bikinis, which can be extremely flattering for lots of body

Consider taking a friend. An honest one. A second opinion can make all the
difference, especially if you begin the swimwear selection process with the mindset
that everything is going to look horrible. Or take your mum. Most mums can be
brutally honest, even when we don’t want them to be.

Take accessorising seriously. The right shoes, kaftan and sunglasses will enhance
your swimwear look.

Kaftans are the perfect cover- up from beach to bar, and simply choosing statement
necklaces and bangles will add interest and confidence in having a pulled-together,
considered outfit.

Practise standing in front of a mirror so that you know your best postures.
Shoulders back and back straight, and you can make your legs look longer in
photographs by standing at an angle, placing one foot slightly further back than the
other and settling your weight back onto it, so that the forward thigh appears
elongated and more lean. Most of all, relax and feel happy in yourself, no matter
what your size or shape. You’re supposed to be on holiday, enjoying yourself, not
worrying about how you look. Meanwhile, hit those sales.

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