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The Low Down On Swimwear

Och, we're hurtling towards the holiday season at the rate of knots. Which means it's time for the dreaded annual swimwear post! S.W.I.M.W.E.A.R. not my favourite two syllables but has to be done. We're doing a bit of a tour for the first week or so and then our usual week in the sun. I still don't feel I've mastered the art of daytime wear - let's call it a work in progress but I kind of know what needs to be done on the swimwear front (a dozen sessions in the gym would help but 'cat in hell's chance' springs to mind).

Anyway, if you're heading for the sun and sand this year, you might find my swimwear guide useful. This time, I've broken it up into categories.


Plain, dark coloured bottoms will minimise an area. If you're a pear shape, this is an easy trick to adopt as a plain bottom half will look narrower.
Nb. boy shorts make your hips look wider so as much as you may want to cover them up, don't wear these.

Patterned bottoms will build up the bottom area so perfect for a straight up and down figure or someone with broader shoulders than hips. They will give the illusion of curves.

Side ties will give the illusion of curves at the hip so straight up and down figures can create the 'hourglass'. Ladies with curvy bottom halves might want to avoid anything with hip detail.

High cut bottoms make the legs look longer. Ideal for anyone wanting to lengthen the leg or balance a  long body

Fold over designs tend to sit higher so if you're conscious about your tummy area, try these.

The 1950s style fuller shorts work well on curvy ladies. Someone who has a full bust may need larger coverage on their top half. Wearing teeny weeny bikini bottoms will make you look top heavy so balance this with a fuller bottom half.


Big busted ladies need support. Look for a proper bra shaped top with wide straps and even wired support. If you prefer a halter neck, avoid the spaghetti straps (imagine the strain they're taking and your poor neck will suffer).

Bandau tops make you look wider - ideal for pear shapes who want to balance out their figure. Not particularly flattering for big busted ladies though.

Halter necks are wrong wrong wrong for pear shapes (I could really fall out with Gok Wan about this). The line of the straps narrows the shoulder line making you look wider at the hips than you really are.

If you're flat chested, look for pattern, bright colours and ruffles which will build up this area as will tie fronted tops.


Great for hiding the tummy but the gap between top and bottom will hilight this area so make sure it's your best feature! Ideally look for a longer top to minimise the gap.

Perfect if you're long bodied and prefer swimsuits but find them too short in the body.


Although pattern tends to build up an area, it has the opposite effect across the tummy. A pattern is great for disguising tummy issues. As is a buckle near the bust line as it draws the eyes up and away from the tummy.

And you'll probably see lots of swimsuits with ruching across the middle - perfect for hiding belly fat too.

Side panels in dark plain colours are brilliant for shaving off inches (think optical illusion dress).

If you're not feeling particularly confident, choose a plain dark coloured one piece, accessorise your look with lots of colourful chunky bangles and a beautiful printed sarong. You can pop the sarong over your swimsuit every time you get off the sun lounger which will make you feel better about yourself.


Here's where we get down to the nitty gritty. I kind of follow the body shape rules but take great delight and  make total guilt free decisions when choosing colours and pattern. I mean come on, we're talking swimwear. But if you want to play 100% by the rules, then the type of pattern you wear matters. So fluid shapes such as swirls, florals, spots, paisleys, circles and squiggles are best for curvy ladies. Stripes and geometrics won't lie straight over your curves! Leave these to the straight framed who will also look good in checks, abstracts and squiggles.

As I've already said, a busy pattern is great for disguising a tummy. But it will also build up an area so be careful if you carry you weight across your hips - a pattern will hilight this area.

As always, there's some great finds on the High Street. The bad news is, you need to grab them now as come August they'll all be gone. Well, if you're a size 6 bottom and 34GG top, you'll probably be ok. I'm not a swimwear snob. Ever since spending weeks on end in Spain with the kids over the summer, I've realised that they're not made to last. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to wear a La Perla one piece but let's be practical; suncream, sun, salt water and chlorine are going to do it no favours at all. It would break my heart it would, to ruin it. So, yes I stick to the High Street and I even ventured to Tesco last year. Honestly, my favourite bikini cost me less than £20.

Here are a few that have caught my eye so far this year.

Secret Slimming Palm Print Twisted Front Swimsuit £35.99

I saw this in real life yesterday, it's stunning. The secret slimming panel, ruching across the tummy and vibrant pattern, well let's just say, every little helps!


Disguising a tummy
Larger busts

Dark Turquoise Underwired Bikini Set £33.50 (for the set)

As a rectangle, this is my preferred shape. The feminine cut of the top gives the illusion a womanly figure and the higher cut of the bottoms is excellent for hiding a multitude of sins. The roll top hipsters prevent it from looking frumpy.


Anyone who wants a bit more tummy coverage (it's perfect for hiding the c-section tummy scar over hang!!!)

Black Textured Strappy Swimsuit £29.50

A plain black swimsuit with a twist. More Agent Provocateur than M&S don't cha think? Shame the legs aren't cut a little higher though.


Straight up and down figures (columns and rectangles). The cut at the front and straps at the back give it a more womanly feel.

Magic Brushstroke Print Ruched Front Swimsuit £16

An illusion swimsuit - the black panels running down the side are perfect for shaving off those inches


Slimming down the frame

Floral Printed Bikini (various prices)

This bikini comes in a few different variations of style. We'll just concentrate on this one for now. How pretty???


Building up the bust
Inverted triangles (where shoulders are larger than the hips) - the halter neck will help to draw the eye inwards

Freya Zodiac Underwired Padded Bandeau Bikini Top £38

The combination of bandeau top and straps that start in the middle (making an inverted triangle shape) make the top half look wider.


Pear shapes (as the top half will appear more balanced). However, I would swap the bikini bottoms for plain black as you don't want to hilight this area with a pattern.

Black Aztec Bodice Underwired Tummy Control Swimsuit £45

The plain black will minimise the bottom half and the eye will be drawn to the top of the swimsuit which is far more interesting! The orange band around the tummy hilights the waist.


Pear shapes

Navy Mosaic Print Bikini Top £24 Bottoms £16

The wider straps will provide good support for the bust and the fuller brief bottoms balances out the overall look.


Bigger busts

Buffalo Ethnic Printed Blouson Tankini £38

So pretty! I actually love this, it's so different to anything I've ever had. The blousey top hides a multitude of sins without looking frumpy. The plain black bottoms are perfect for minimising larger hips and thighs as the eye is drawn upwards. And as it's a tankini, it's ideal for taller women.


Concealing tummies
Pear shapes
Tall or long bodies

Black Shaping Bikini Briefs £30

Ok ok, passion killers I know but let's have a chat about these. They're tummy controllers, they're very high. But no one needs to know how high do they? Swimwear 365 have dozens of tankini tops that you can pop over to make it look like a bikini. Such as the one above or this one:

Black Ruched Tankini £39.99

In fact you could buy a few tankini tops in different colours to wear over the big pants for a different look each day. They'll give you that little bit of extra hold. Personally I find tankinis much more comfortable than swimsuits.


Concealing tummies

Retailers are already selling out of some sizes eeeeek! Best get my skates on. How about you? Have you already started looking too?

Orthodontist appointment first thing for the son. He was congratulated for diligently wearing those funny elastic bands that aren't dissimilar to wiring the jaw shut. His orthodontist said they'd done the job. I saw a wry little smile on the son's face knowing full well what he was thinking - the fact that he hasn't worn them at all for the last 5 weeks! A point he couldn't wait to share on the way to school.

Lovely lunch with friends and not a drop of alcohol passed our lips. How did that happen? As I was driving over to school at 5pm (someone had a detention - I'm naming no names) it was 17.5 degrees. I predicted this morning on Instagram that I wouldn't need a jacket. I didn't. And that makes me very happy.

A couple of meetings tomorrow and then off to Lord Of The Pies (I kid you not) with friends for an early dinner tomorrow evening. They have Prosecco on tap. And that makes me even more happy.

Did anyone order the white dress? Let me know what you think of it.

Come back again soon.

4 comments on "The Low Down On Swimwear"
  1. I wear a 32J swimsuit,although my bottom half is really a 14 or 16, but I manage. There is a dearth of costumes, especially with tummy control. M & S used to do swimsuits in cup sizes, but decided to start doing these with pre-formed cups - DO I REALLY WANT TO LOOK EVEN BIGGER? - and now don't bother at all. So...I decided to try a tankini, I thought that with a high cut bottom it might work. But how do you get them on and off? It took me ages to get it on, and after 5 minutes of trying to get it off I Had to call for the assistant to help me - very embarrassing. So, as if having to wear a swimsuit were not bad enough, trying to buy one is is also very distressing.

    Any suggestions gratefully accepted.

    Susan D

    1. Susan, I feel your pain. Actually I know what you mean about getting tankinis on and off. I tend to step in to them rather than put them over my head but I think pear shapes might struggle with their curvy bottom halves. What about the Buffalo style one above that's looser. I can't decide if it's a play on frumpiness or a fabulous shape. Really drawn to it though. And, you only have the waist band to wiggle in and out of. Sigh. Swimwear brings out the crabiness in us all doesn't it x

  2. Donna I'm always on the look out for good swimwear, especially as a more mature beach bunny! I love the M&S black one but agree it could look better with a higher cut. My greatest swimwear find last year actually came from, dont laugh...Tesco's. It was a brilliant cut held its shape and looked dare I say it, surprisingly sexy too!! Great post and really informative for all us with beach bod phobia!!.
    Helen xx

    1. Well, I'll join you with Tesco - I had a best buy from there too. So pleased with it. Swimsuit shopping gives me no joy - it's a chore!! x