Fashion: Take the plunge with swimwear

Laura swimsuit, �180, at www.million-dollar-mermaid.com.
Laura swimsuit, �180, at www.million-dollar-mermaid.com.
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Heading for winter sun or planning your big summer break, now is the time to get your beach-perfect kit together. Stephanie Smith takes a look at what’s hot.

Form versus function is usually the problem when it comes to swimwear, as anyone who has ever struggled in and out of a miraculous suck-it-all-in swimsuit with super-shaping panels and reinforced stretch lining soon finds out.

Rocha tankini, �44, and pants, �19, from www.panache-lingerie.com.

Rocha tankini, �44, and pants, �19, from www.panache-lingerie.com.

It’s exhausting and body-contorting enough when the swimsuit is dry, but when it’s wet, it’s actually dangerous. Don’t try it standing on hard flooring or near sharp surfaces.

Control swimwear has its place, however, helping to flatten and smooth and so on. Many styles take the form of a tight reinforced lining with an overlayer of lighter ruched fabric – be careful of this in the spa pool, because bubbles can get trapped between the two layers and inflate, and that can be quite disturbing, both for yourself and for anyone in there with you. Far better, if you can, to find a one-layer piece with light stretch, and maybe a crossover twist style at the bust – flattering, pretty and hopefully won’t get you into too much trouble.

Consider going retro this season with swimwear. They knew a thing or two in the olden days about how to make the most of all shapes on the beach or at the poolside. Look for a classic style of swimsuit or bikini top with sturdy straps flowing into a V-neck, and if you can find one that curves in at the bust, in a glamorous bombshell fashion, so much the better. A cross-over back can give added support, while a halterneck creates cleavage and support. Ruched detail across the middle is often an option and it works well with this sort of style and look.

A strapless swimsuit can create a flattering shape for smaller busts and balances the shape, so it’s worth a try. If you’re looking for something a bit different, Million Dollar Mermaid is a new brand inspired by the heat of east coast Australia and the cool of east London in bold designs combining contemporary appeal with a retro feel. Unable to find a swimsuit to fit her 5ft 10in frame, designer Bernadette Collins decided to create swimwear available in different lengths, which means it’s a 
great brand to check out if you tend to find that swimsuits are too short in the body.

Sacrum swimsuit, �165, and bikini, from �65, at www.million-dollar-mermaid.com.

Sacrum swimsuit, �165, and bikini, from �65, at www.million-dollar-mermaid.com.

The kaftan tunic dress is your best friend on the beach, especially if you are a beach-to-bar sort of holidaymaker. Look for crinkle-pleated pieces in jewel-bright colours, sumptuously embellished with sequins and beads, for a look that’s straight off the catwalk.

This is a season for high shine, so you’ll be needing golden beach bags, sandals and bangles – more is more, so don’t stint. And the best news is, you don’t have to save gold accessories or the beautiful beaded kaftans for your holidays. You can start wearing them now, at home, weather permitting.

Twitter: @yorkshirefashQ

Mauritius hand-painted silk kaftan in aqua and cobalt, �195, at www.lindseybrown.com.

Mauritius hand-painted silk kaftan in aqua and cobalt, �195, at www.lindseybrown.com.

Manhattan lime and sequin kaftan, �225, at www.lindseybrown.com.

Manhattan lime and sequin kaftan, �225, at www.lindseybrown.com.

Tunic available in ivory, orange, dark green, lagoon blue, navy, black, sizes 6 to 22, from La Redoute on 0844 842 2222 and www.laredoute.co.uk.

Tunic available in ivory, orange, dark green, lagoon blue, navy, black, sizes 6 to 22, from La Redoute on 0844 842 2222 and www.laredoute.co.uk.

IN THE SWIM: Blaire bikini top, �32 and bottoms, �18, by Panache from stockists on www.panache-lingerie.com

IN THE SWIM: Blaire bikini top, �32 and bottoms, �18, by Panache from stockists on www.panache-lingerie.com

Rumba Kaftan top, �195, from a selection at www.lindseybrown.com.

Rumba Kaftan top, �195, from a selection at www.lindseybrown.com.

Tweed tailoring features clean lines and pared-back detailing for the coming autumn. Marks & Spencer Autograph coat, �99.

The top coats on the High Street