Swimsuit season has well and truly arrived, and – if you’re anything like me – digging your saggy old cossie out of the drawer, let alone wearing it to strut your stuff poolside, is no joy.
But the days of uncomfortable and uncomfortable swim togs will be a thing of the past if you heed the advice of underwear and swimwear expert Susanna Lorena.
The London-based bra specialist, who previously worked for top lingerie retailer Rigby & Peller and swimwear brand Eras before opening her own shop in west London, says we should buy swimwear like we do underwear, ignoring fads and looking at fit, cut and Comfortable tops the list.
Here, she debunks the biggest swimwear myths and offers tips that will make you more confident than ever in your bikini choices. . .
A big bottom bikini makes your bottom look bigger
Full-embellished bikini top, £35, and brief, £29, story.com
The reality is: the more you cover your bottom, the bigger it looks.
Yes, big bikini bottoms are everywhere and yes, curvy women have been told since the beginning to go for full coverage – but don’t!
Extra fabric means extra inches. Instead, look for skimpy, high-cut bottoms and adjustable side ties that elongate your legs.
Instead of compressing and hiding these curves, show them. You have nothing to hide.
The Marian Mehlhorn Softline one and two piece collection is great for curvy women — it goes up to XXL or size 18.
Gottex is another great option – its Onyx and Liv swimsuit ranges are great for full-chest and tall bodies, and come in square necks, round necks and halter-necks.
Or, if you’re on a budget, high street favorites and other stories have a pair of perfectly cut emerald green bikini bottoms (£29, story.com).
Clear enhancement of patterns
Watercult asymmetric swimsuit, £159, maisonsl.com
Texture swimsuit, £170, wolfordshop.co.uk
I’m partial to a print, but unless it’s subtle and small or cleverly placed, I think prints should be left on your beach cover-up.
The problem with prints in a swimsuit is that they can make you look big. A cut-out or asymmetrical one-piece is a better way to add curves where you need it, or look for a wrap-style one-piece that can cinch at the waist to create an hourglass shape.
Nicole Olivier is a wonderful brand from the South of France and cut-out, asymmetrical styles like Acacia or Alcyone flatter beautiful curves.
Another good option is the Aubade Beach Escape collection.
Small breasts do not require padding
Deep-V swimsuit, £68, boden.co.uk
Thirty years ago maybe, but these days you need a little triangle top to get the most fashion-forward look.
Another advantage of having small breasts is that you can wear a deep plunging neckline so that it is not too revealing. (Head to Bowden for a more deep-V style.)
If you want to add a bit of shape (or hide nipples) every now and then, many bikini tops and one-piece swimsuits have removable foam pads. Crocheted fabrics and ruching also give the illusion of volume to bikini tops. See and/or’s Frilled Floral Bikini Top (£24, johnlewis.com).
Crocheted fabrics and ruching also give the illusion of volume to bikini tops
Push the boundaries with what you are ‘allowed’ to wear – comfort is key. Banana Moon, Abade, Valerie, and Watercult all make triangles and removable foam pads that are good for smaller breasts.
Big breasts don’t need shapewear
Besides being uncomfortable, shapewear swimwear often minimizes your assets—and why would you?
What big boobs need, but a cup, so buy your bikini like you buy a bra.
Big boobs need a cup, so buy your bikini like you buy a bra. Choose a brand like Curvy Kate, Lis Charmelle or Aubed and buy your swimwear by your cup size, not your dress size.
Choose a brand like Curvy Kate, Lis Charmelle or Aubade and buy your swimwear according to your cup size, not your dress size. If you can, get fit for it because, trust me, you’ll look and feel better than ever at the beach.
Black is not always the most slimming color
Navy swimsuit, £260, heidiklein.com
Black can be incredibly harsh against some skintones.
If you want to stick with bold colors, go for softer shades like khaki, navy, brown and burgundy.
And remember: A properly fitting swimsuit will do more for you than any color.
You may have to try a lot before you find something that fits, but that’s okay.
A swimsuit vs. a bikini
Pet Control Ruched Bandeau Swimsuit, £40, next.co.uk
Pet control padded square neck swimsuit, £29.50, MarksandSpencers. com
Obviously a one-piece swimsuit covers your stomach, but if you don’t buy the right style, it can have the opposite effect.
You need a style that accentuates your waist. Usually it’s a wrap swimsuit style or a style we call pin-tuck, where the stitching details make your waist look smaller.
Also use a matte fabric as shiny fabrics make you look bigger.
I love the Marian Melhorn Softline collection, but for a cheaper option, Next has a glorious fuchsia swimsuit with a waist-enhancing ruched detail (£30, next.co.uk), or Marks & Spencer’s Ruched Waist Swimsuit (£29.50). , marksandspencer.com).
Take more than one swimsuit for your vacation
For many of us, your swimsuit is what you wear to the beach all day, every day, and you wouldn’t dream of wearing the same outfit every day for a week.
I recommend two or three options that you can mix and match. No more clinging to damp togs the next day!
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