I take my three year old swimming every week and it is one of my most treasured times – all that up close and personal time with her splashing and giggling away plus lots of cuddles. In all the time I have been taking her, I have not once forgotten her swimming costume in the morning chaos. But I have had the misfortune to arrive at the pool without mine and on that occasion (so horrific was the experience that I have never ever done it again) I had to wear a ‘spare’ costume which was probably left there by someone else – too gross to dwell on. Suffice to say that the result was not a pretty one: an ill-fitting Speedo-type costume which had the shape and amount of support of a plastic bag and which floated around me in a similar fashion while I was in the water. I spent the entire session trying to stop the costume from exposing various parts of my anatomy as it drifted around me like a jelly fish in the water – not so bad if there weren’t an extraordinary number of men for a mid-week activity in the bloody class!
Anyway here is your guide to buying swimwear to strut your stuff in (AKA chase children around with suncream/potties/sausages, be a human pool inflatable and maybe, just maybe even occasionally even lie down and read two words of your book).
Very few of us are Pamela Anderson and can wear the high-legged, non underwired red costume so famously sported by the Baywatch Babe. But what if you are big busted, what then is your cozzie of choice? Well, first off you have to go for support (straps and underwiring) which definitely means Speedo is out. Pammie may have pulled off it without any but then her boobs are not exactly ‘normal’. If you are bigger up top then it is probably best to avoid frills and flounces on the bust which will make them look larger than they are so keep it simple.
Figleaves’ swimwear, like its lingerie, caters for D+ bust cups and this Freya Swim in Navy Deco (£40 for the bikini top and £18 for the briefs) would be a great option with its underwiring and moulded cups to keep you firmly in place.
For a costume then this Tribe Solid Underwired Swimsuit £40 marries the slimming powers of black with some on-trend and fun tribal detailing.
Conversely if you are small of bust then go for detailing or a print up top which will detract from a lack of boobage. Boden’s Ruffle Bandeau Bikini Top £23.60 comes in red and also a classic stripe.
For the pear shaped finding a one-piece can be challenging as the bust doesn’t match up to the bottom half. Again Figleaves comes up trumps with its sized cup styles. This Tuscany Spot Swimsuit £40 boasts under-wiring, tummy control, adjustable halter neck and is available in sizes 30D to 38FF. The contrast band is perfect for keeping the eye line up top. It also comes in navy spot with a jade band.
Bikinis for pears also need to be sized and Boden has a Vintage Cup Size Bikini Top £23.60 which you can pair with its Mix and Match Bikini Bottoms or Shorts £19.50). They do a good range of sizes from 30B to 38DD. This colour blocked style is a lovely, on-trend option and the detail would definitely draw attention to the upper body rather than the bottom half.
If you are more of an apple shape then go for swimwear which makes the most of your boobs whilst adding definition to your waist with some secret support. This Illusion Halter Firm Control Swimsuit £40 from Figleaves is the pool-side equivalent of a smoking hot red carpet dress.
There is also a very similar style for £45 which comes in black, magenta and this lovely blue colour.
If you are blessed with a more Mediterranean complexion then this Venice Halter Swimsuit £35 would be a great colour for holidays. And if it made my bosom half that ample-looking I would be delighted.
For straighter figures, a one piece with a central panel can give the illusion of a slimmer and curvier shape. Boden’s Santorini Swimsuit which comes in a whole host of different colours/patterns (all of which are in the sale at £49.50) is the perfect style. It has tummy control and padded cups, both of which help to create a more hourglass silhouette. Bold prints and details are also the friend of rectangular shapes. Here is the Sailor Stripe.
And the Pattina Green Dotty Tile.
Athletic ladies with broader shoulders should look at halter necklines. Hush has this Halter Swimsuit in the sale for £45 reduced from £70 in this gorgeous turquoise. There is limited stock though.
Alternatively go for something with side ties which will add a bit of dimension and shape to the bottom half and which will balance out the top: Tie Sides Bikini Bottom £19.60 and put it with the Triangle Bikini Top £19.60.
Now if we are talking pure trend then Seafolly has channelled the tribal feel to swimwear this season with its Summer Vibe Slide Tri Bikini Top £47 which you can pair with either their Hipster £47 or Brazilian Briefs £45 (£2 less as there is less material!).
If that colour doesn’t tempt then maybe this blue will.
For designer swimwear, labels like Eres, Melissa Odabash and Heidi Klein won’t disappoint – except if you don’t want to pay several hundred pounds. But then maybe you could argue that it is more important to go for quality when you are basically naked and putting all your trust in one small piece of material. This Melissa Odabash best- selling Zanzibar Halter Neck Swimsuit is at the lower end of the scale at £195.
But then M&S does have a similar style in it’s highly rated Secret Slimming Twisted Front Halter Neck Swimsuit at drum roll…. £25. It also comes in blue.
Oh and one final word, no thongs. Ever.