Fashion: To dive for – find the perfect swimwear for you

Sporty style - Bikini by Bonprix, �27.99.
Sporty style - Bikini by Bonprix, �27.99.
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Searching for the perfect swimwear? Stephanie Smith has advice on which new season trends are well worth a try.

It’s high time that we stopped seeing our swimwear as a necessary evil.

The V-neck wrap style - Blue swimsuit, �76; blue and white pareo, �50. From a selection at Seaspray.

The V-neck wrap style - Blue swimsuit, �76; blue and white pareo, �50. From a selection at Seaspray.

After all, lots of us actually do need swimming costumes and bikinis fairly often, for beach and pool holidays, for enjoying health spas and simply for regular outings to our local swimming pool, no matter whether we’re exercising, relaxing, or overseeing the children during their Saturday morning splash.

The point is, we might as well have well-fitting, flattering and fashionable swimwear.

And yet, how many of us continue to reach resignedly for a tired and faded old one-piece we’ve had for years, deciding that it is our “trusty” one, even though the stretch has gone and the shape is definitely the wrong type of retro style?

If it’s time for an update, here is our guide to the hottest and most flattering swimwear for 2017, covering the styles, the shapes and the secrets that will help you make a perfect choice.

Leopard print bikini top, �8, and breifs, �8, from Tu at Sainsburys.

Leopard print bikini top, �8, and breifs, �8, from Tu at Sainsburys.

The V-neck wrap-over style swimsuit: Ideal for all shapes but especially for those who want to hide their tummy while also highlighting a curvy shape. The V-neck flatters a larger bust (look out for sturdy straps that curve in from the shoulder, as with the Seaspray one featured here), while the V points down to a central vertical line, so elongating the neck. Pear shapes can also wear one but should consider a slight high leg (and a sarong is a beach-to-bar saviour). This style of swimsuit often has tummy toning panelling in the form of a secret inner control panel. Make sure it’s not too snug, especially if you will actually be swimming – they can be clingy and incredibly hard to get off when wet.

The sporty halter-neck bikini: On-trend for the summer, especially in print and bright trim. The tiny pants version we have here from Bon Prix is really only for petite, slender, or athletic and toned types, although the halter-neck top would suit both larger and small busts. The top is also great as a crop-top, to wear under a white shirt.

The off-the-shoulder one-piece: A great alternative to this summer’s body-conscious one-shoulder styles. The frill version we have here from a selection at Primark is perfect for balancing pear shapes and for wearing with slinky wrap skirts, this season’s flared embroidered cotton skirts and with capris and shorts for sightseeing, but not practical for swimming with any degree of vigour. If you go for a frill, choose one plain colour if you want to avoid looking too flouncy.

The striped bikini: Nautical stripes are always on-trend and are a great idea to try out if you are not usually comfortable wearing a bikini. The wide striped style featured here from La Redoute is good for curvy types with the high waist and contrast colour stripe on the bikini bottoms emphasising the waist, while the halter-neck flatters, supports and narrows a larger bust and shoulders.

Playing with stripes - Stripe bikini, from �29, from a selection at at La Redoute.

Playing with stripes - Stripe bikini, from �29, from a selection at at La Redoute.

You can play around cleverly with stripes to accentuate and minimise your shape. Pear shapes can use wider stripes to boost the bust and team with plain bottoms to give the hips less of a starring role. Vice versa for top-heavy shapes.

The scoop-neck high-leg one-piece: Best for the toned, tanned and confident as this style leaves little to the imagination and offers not a great deal in the way of support. But they can look sporty and fresh, and are lovely teamed with beachy frayed denim shorts.

Be wary of high legs, though. So often are we told that they are meant to elongate the legs, which they do – but often at the expense of hips and thighs, which can look over-exposed and wobbly, even on slim bodies.

And if you find that your swimsuit always rides up, consider that you have a long body (you don’t have to be tall for this) and check out Figleaves.com, which has a range of swimwear with extra length built in.

Frilled swimsuit from a selection at Primark.

Frilled swimsuit from a selection at Primark.

La Redoute
 halter-neck swimsuit with Tummy-Toning Effect
, �59.

La Redoute halter-neck swimsuit with Tummy-Toning Effect , �59.

PrettyLittleThing
Stacey Hot Pink Miami Swimsuit, �18.

PrettyLittleThing Stacey Hot Pink Miami Swimsuit, �18.

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