Dive in to our swimwear guide

Finding flattering, good quality swimwear that makes you look and feel great is no mean feat, so we’ve done the hard work for you...
Images courtesy of @beachcafeuk via Instagram


For many, swimwear shopping brings a sense of dread. Swimwear is a sensitive garment to shop for, not least because it confronts us with staring at our bodies in changing room mirrors with harsh lighting. Whilst it may seem tedious it really is trial and error until you find the right style for you, as explains Freelance Journalist, Frankie Graddon: “I think it’s really important to feel great in swimwear so that means trying a whole load on and finding the style/brand that feels the best.”

Given there are now so many styles and options to choose from, shopping for swimwear is even more of a minefield. And whilst there’s no right or wrong when it comes to swimwear because ultimately it’s what makes you feel good, we’ve compiled some helpful advice to make the process a little easier, as well as our edit for every budget. As once you find the right style for you, it will give you that new found confidence so you’ll be excited to hit the beach.


Which style should I go for?

Whilst this is dependent on the individual and what you feel comfortable in there are some elements to consider. If you’re self conscious of your stomach, go for a swimsuit – gone are the days of boring (even frumpy styles) as now even those who happily wear bikinis can be seen wearing a one piece. “Swimsuits are super flattering and can make you feel more confident and comfortable.” says swimwear buyer at House of Fraser, Ellie Hare. With the plethora of colours and styles now available they can look fabulous, “everyone wants at least one swimsuit in their swimwear arsenal, look for designs with a control panel for extra confidence.” Adds Hare. If you want the covered up element of a swimsuit but like to tan your stomach, opt for tankini styles that give you the best of both worlds.

With bikini tops, if you’re big busted, you need a supportive style such as a halterneck with thicker straps to give a nice uplift. If you prefer the bandeau style, ensure its underwired with side boning which gives excellent support and a good shape. It also might be worth looking to brands that offer tops in cup sizes that can be bought separately from bottoms to ensure you get the right fit across the bust. As Graddon advises: “Swimsuits and bikinis which are sized in cups rather than just dress size tend to fit better and therefore more flattering and supportive.” If you’re smaller busted, you have more options – from triangle tops to scoop neck styles and less structured bandeau shapes.

Again with bikini bottoms there’s lots of choice – high waisted bottoms suit all shapes and you’ll be surprised how good they can look. If you’re conscious of your figure, we often find that bikini bottoms you can tie yourself are the more flattering option, as you can size them to fit.

One of the troublesome areas with bikini bottoms is often the derrière. Look to medium coverage options such as the ‘Vix Brazillian’ style, which is slightly higher cut, perfect for those who don’t want the whole area completely covered. If you’re after more coverage, opt for ‘full’ styles which ensure none of your bottom is on show.  


Which colours are best?

Colour blocking looks great on swimwear, whilst monochrome is always a failsafe option. Khaki makes a welcome change and is becoming more popular as it compliments tanned skin. Brighter styles can also look fabulous on the beach, as Graddon suggests: “summer is the perfect time to have fun with brights so rather than classic navy or black go bold with a tomato red (which looks great on every skin tone) or hot pink.” If you’re after a printed bikini, stick to stripes, paisley print or polka dot.


Do I need to invest?

If you can afford to then swimwear is the one summer item it’s recommended to invest in, even if that means buying two more expensive options as opposed to four high street. For quality, fit and how they flatter, generally the fabrics in more expensive swimwear is superior to high street offerings, and if looked after as per the care label this swimwear will last you for many a holiday. In addition, those who need more bust support will find it’s often higher end brands who cater to bigger busts the best, offering an extensive range of size options to mirror that of lingerie. We recommend Seafolly and Figleaves who offer a range of styles, and to shop multiple designer brands in one place, look to Beach Cafe. On the high street, Boden M&S and John Lewis & Partners all offer high quality designs at an affordable price. Whilst still not cheap, this is really is a garment that you get what you pay for.


Take a look at our edit of the best swimwear below:


Seafolly Ruched Bandeau Bikini, £103

Melissa Odabash Bralette Bikini, £204

Figleaves Rene Underwired Bikini, £48












Marks & Spencer Bandeau Swimsuit, £30

Boden Calaesetta Swimsuit, £65

Marks & Spencer Tankini, £37