Monday, 20 June 2011


The beaches beckon, the sun loungers await, the yachts are ready to cast off from their moorings - but are you? The annual agony of picking a swimsuit may also be in view, so here's some advice that might help you become the beach babe you really are!
The ideal would be to have at least three swimsuits, so they can 'rest' in between a day's wear. Include a cheaper swimsuit if you plan to go swimming: salt water and chlorine kill the fabric.
 If you have any lumps or bumps, go for ruching. - on the front if you have a tummy, on the side to camouflage any rolls. If you have a bust, look for makes such as Bravissimo or, my favourite, Gottex. You should be able to find both either in Harrods or Rigby and Peller. It's worth noting that the latter has swimwear available throughout the year for those winter sun breaks. Wolford also now have some lovely swimwear and so does Issa, the Brazilian designer now world famous for Kate Middleton's engagement dress. I think the printed pieces that Issa designs are always very clever as the contrasting prints takes the attention away from the hip.
As to shape, here are my guidelines:
  • The more leg you want to create, the higher the cut
  •  Prints confuse the eye so are ideal for a less than perfect shape - and, as I have said before, the smaller the women, the smaller the print should be;bigger women should go for a bigger print. Have the print on the part of the body you want to diminish. I love the asymmetrical kaftan dress from Pistol Panties at  
  • If you have bust, go for a soft cup so you have support and either a scoop or Deep V neck style and play up your waist. I think a soft short cover-up can even solve any arm issues. Gottex Podium  is one of my favourites for swimwear designs.
  • If you have a small bust, you can take a straight bandeaux or try a two piece with a frill top to add more interest such as one from Chillie at  £31.2
  • If you are pear-shaped, go for a sweetheart or scoop top rather than a V-shape. Also try a two piece with a more eye catching print on top and small bikini even in a solid colour on the bottom to keep the eye looking up. Or try a swimdress style that finishes at your widest point on the thigh. 
  • Avoid halters if you have wide-shoulders and look for a square top or deep V-necks with wide straps.
  • Now add lots of bangles, flat sandals or there are some very pretty raffia wedges around this year. 
  • Chose a wide-brimmed hat - particularly if you are an older lady - big sunglasses and a bright lipstick, and you will look like a movie star!
  • Think about your cover-up. Sarongs are hugely versatile: you can sling them around your waist and create a maxi dress; wrap from front to back, then back again under your bust to make a dress; or bunch from back to the front, twist over and tie behind your neck.
As you tan, so you can wear brighter colours - and don't be afraid of white. A client I took shopping last week is 5 feet 9 inches and very pear-shaped (a size 12 on top and, after three children, a size 16 on the hip). We headed into Anthropologie where we found a sleek cropped denim by Citizens of Humanity with a great high rise which held her tummy in and made bending over not a scary experience  that looked terrific with tunic tops. What was interesting was that the trouser in white lifted her, whereas the blue denim made her look heavy. And the great thing about white - or khaki or mustard - is that they all look good with any of the summer colours and crazy prints.
Men too can struggle; especially if you are trapped in the Speedo or Cargo syndrome...My adice is simple. For a more manly approach to looking great by the pool try one that is either a cropped short style or one to just above the knee.

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