Yes, It's Possible to Look Great in Swimwear

M&S Swim Suit

The weather is hardly inspiring us to consider beach-weather. And granted, excess winter podge looks it’s absolute ghastliest in winter. But as this season’s swimwear hits the shops, your choices are at their best now. Wait until the warm weather actually hits and you’ll be left with a picked-over selection.

So, deep breath…let's do it. Here's how to choose swimwear like a pro:

KNOW YOUR SHAPE

Have a look at yourself in bra and pants – we’re looking at your silhouette (bust, waist, hips and bottom). Do you have mainly curves or straight lines on your body?

Curvy body

Cut: Main concerns are usually tummy control and bust support. A ‘Miraclesuit’ from Rigby & Peller, or the tummy-paneled plunge-neck from M&S usually work a treat. Look for styles that have ruching over the mid-section, and molded, supportive cups. Pro secret: look for straps with adjusters to customize the fit.

Neckline: Try rounder or plunging necklines. Avoid halternecks if you’re a pear-shape. Rectangular necklines don’t suit curvy busts.

Patterns: Curvier patterns work best, such as spots and florals. Avoid geometrics.

Challenge areas: Full hips? Avoid detailing around the hip area. For full thighs, check where the costume finishes on the leg – the eye will focus there. Look for adjustable sides on the swimming costume that will allow you to lift or lower sides for optimal placement.

Straighter body

Cut: Try a one-piece with detailing around the bust and hips. Or sleek one-piece costumes with a central panel in a darker colour – this creates the illusion of a slimmer shape.

Neckline: Try rectangular, halterneck or asymmetric necklines.

Patterns: Opt for block colours or geometric patterns.

Challenge areas: This body shape looks best in clean, uncluttered styles. Avoid frills and flounces and beware of high-waisted bottoms on bikinis.

Common Swimsuit Blunders

*Straight-cut leg styles – only really flattering on the very long-legged. Higher cut legs give the illusion of longer legs.

*No support – a full bust can pancake without support. Get properly fitted, as you would for a bra. For smaller busts, padded styles work, as does ruching and vertical chevron lines, which give the illusion of more curves.

*Buying on the cheap – swimwear is a case of getting what you pay for. A good costume, well-cared for, will last for years to come, without fading or sagging.

*Not considering your entire look – buy a costume bearing in mind your footwear, kaftan, hat, sunglasses and beach bag.

*Tight-fitting costumes if you’re rounded around the mid-section – opt for a looser fitting tankini style instead.

Get Pool Ready

1. Skin – keep it in good condition. Exfoliate and moisturize. Try REN’s gorgeous Moroccan Rose Otto Sugar Body Polish. Start your routine now to get your skin beach ready.

2. Add some stylish cover-ups (sarongs and kaftans) to your swimwear wardrobe. Check that sunglasses and sunhats coordinate.

3. If your skin is feta-white, try a moisturizer with a hint of self-tan. Or leave it to the professionals: try James Read, who will create the slightest hint of colour to take the edge off winter-white skin.

4. Get groomed – have your lashes tinted, make a waxing appointment, and get a bright pedicure.

These tips are equally good for trying on swimwear, and can make the buying process far less harrowing.