Fashion: Glamour on the beach - the essentials

Fatale animal print bikini, �89 and �65, and wrap, �159, at www.maisonlejaby.com.
Fatale animal print bikini, �89 and �65, and wrap, �159, at www.maisonlejaby.com.
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Statement beachwear is the way ahead for summer holidays to sunshine and paradise. Stephanie Smith has advice on what to look out for and how to wear it with style.

Modern holiday swimwear isn’t just for swimming. Actually, much modern holiday swimwear doesn’t seem to have much to do with swimming at all, and appears to far better suited to posing at the pool bar, accessorised with jewellery and statement heels and perhaps a flimsy piece of silk-chiffon, if the wearer is feeling a little body-conscious that day. No need to get wet, just watch for those drips from your iced cocktail glass.

Cachemire cover-up, �159, at Maison Lejaby.

Cachemire cover-up, �159, at Maison Lejaby.

Even if you do intend to immerse yourself in water at some point , is worth bearing in mind that your swimsuit, or bikini or tankini top, could and should be something suitable to wear and work well with shorts, crop trousers, a maxi skirt or sarong-style skirt, so that it earns its rightful place in your suitcase as a true multi-tasker. Choose swimwear that you love and it can be the starting point for your capsule wardrobe planning. Then select statement cover-ups – beach 
dresses, kaftans, wraps and kimonos – to go with it.

With baggage allowances ever decreasing, space in the case is at a premium and every piece must pull its weight, preferably by weighing very little, not creasing and helping to create a variety of effortlessly glamorous outfits to take you from dawn to dusk, looking and feeling amazing.

A beach dress is a must, so make sure you choose one that is lovely enough to impress much further afield than the shore. Beach dresses were originally created as a cover-up to wear over swimwear, wet or dry, on the way to and from a swim. However, their tunic, kimono and wrap shapes were soon recognised to be so easy and flattering that they have become key holiday wear from breakfast to bar, as we enjoy the freedom to be gained from wearing one simple dress all day long.

Kimonos, kaftans and wrap/sarongs are also beach holiday essentials. There’s something rather special about tying a large piece of beautifully printed, flimsy fabric about yourself. It only ever happens on holiday and most of us would feel ridiculous doing it in our own back garden, but when you’re abroad somewhere hot all you need is some embellished silk chiffon, a large floppy hat and a pair of huge shades, and suddenly you’re Kate Moss and Joan Collins morphed into one liberated, glamorous being. If you don’t do it already, try it and see.

Swimsuit, �67.49, www.splash-by-dellaroz.com.

Swimsuit, �67.49, www.splash-by-dellaroz.com.

Back to the suitcase. Three pairs of shoes are more than enough. You can always buy a pair of cheap sandals or flip flops if you need, once you’re on holiday. You need a pair you can walk in, a pair for the beach and pool bar, and a pair for going out at night (although not silly stilettos or teetering platforms – try a wedge, for once in your life). If you choose metallic tones, they will work with everything.

This summer, boho luxe with jewel tones, world traveller influences and Ibiza vibes are ideal for pool lounging, yacht posing and sightseeing, so look for vibrant colour, flattering shapes and a touch of paradise.

Don’t forget your hat, sunscreen and mosquito repellent. Roll on summer.

Primadonna cocktail swimsuit, �169, at Rigby and Peller.

Primadonna cocktail swimsuit, �169, at Rigby and Peller.

Andres Sarda Swim Gisele trikini, ?232.95, at Rigby and Peller.

Andres Sarda Swim Gisele trikini, ?232.95, at Rigby and Peller.

Rihanna Side Split Knitted Maxi Dress (�25.00) at PrettyLittleThing.com.

Rihanna Side Split Knitted Maxi Dress (�25.00) at PrettyLittleThing.com.

Pistol Panties Xanaduo Star Light swimsuit, �199 at www.pistolpanties.com

Pistol Panties Xanaduo Star Light swimsuit, �199 at www.pistolpanties.com

Elastic wrap top, �37; elastic flared trousers, �46. By Laurelle Woman.

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