Fashion: Ready to win on the beach

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If shopping for swimwear fills you with dread, Stephanie Smith has advice on how to find the best confidence-boosting holiday pieces.

just the thought of heading out for new swimwear is enough to unsettle even the most enthusiastic of fashion-shoppers.

For many of us, it’s a depressing experience – the harsh lighting of the changing rooms, the painful struggling into tiny pieces of Lycra, the even more painful realisation that we have left that hopeful regime of exercising, toning and dieting far too late in the season (again).

However, the fact is, there is nothing more unflattering than tatty old faded swimwear that has long since lost its stretch. There comes a point when everyone needs to invest in new togs for beach and pool. We just have to get on with it.

So, I have been researching tips on how to make the best of the swimwear shopping experience.

Tip No 1: Know your size. Easier said than done as swimwear sizes often bear little resemblance to clothing sizes. Don’t feel terrible if you find you need a size bigger than you expected. Measure yourself around and under the bust, at the waist and the hips, and then go to a lingerie and swimwear online retailer such as Figleaves and calculate your sizes using their guides.

Try lingerie and swimwear specialists. There are some excellent independent boutiques about and corsetieres to the Queen Rigby & Peller are in Harrogate. You will probably have to pay more but you will emerge with swimwear that will give you confidence.

Make sure your swimwear fits and doesn’t ride up or gap, so bust a few moves in the changing rooms and check yourself out from all angles.

Clearly, swimwear is to some extent shapewear, and there are certain styles that suit certain shapes more than others.

Draw the eye away from British pear bottoms by striking detail on your upper half – and embellished bikini top or a bright colour

For tummy control there are plenty of wrap and ruched styles with control panels. Just make sure you can get them on and off easily, as this is even harder when wet (amusing as it is for onlooking children).

Wear your beach sandals, shave your legs and apply body toning moisturiser before you head out shopping but do not – I repeat, DO NOT – fake tan. It leaves orange marks. Shop staff will not be impressed.

Floral midi dress, �45, at Dorothy Perkins, in store now.

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