The ultimate guide to swimsuit shopping

Need a new swimsuit but you’re having a minor meltdown over the thought of shopping for one? I’ll have you out of the change room and onto the beach in no time!

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FOR many in the southern hemisphere, summer is the time for the annual pilgrimage to a beach, river or holiday house — otherwise known as the shack. A time for lazy days and long lunches. For swimming and sunning — with plenty of SPF30+ applied!

But before you head off, check that you’ve got your swimmers at the ready! Or maybe you need to add a new piece to that list!

In an ideal world, we’d all have perfect bodies. Or we’d all be able to find the perfect swimsuit in the privacy of our own homes … in candle light!

Swimsuits are high on the list of clothes we dread buying — shop mirrors can be cruel and the light so unflattering. Sadly, the world — like our bodies — is far from ideal. And the reality is, that come this time of the year, many of us find ourselves standing under harsh fluorescent lighting preparing to expose our flesh that hasn’t seen the sun for months! I know. I had to go shopping for a new swimsuit for my recent trip to Bali and the idea of having to go into store left me with a major sense of fear and anxiety.

Despite my small panic attack, finding the perfect swimsuit for your body shape is essential for confidence on the beach or by the pool.

I’m a big believer in loving your body no matter what your shape or size. Until, that is, I’m the one trying to squeeze my 52-year-old curves into a bikini in the glaringly bright lights of the fitting room. Trust me! It wasn’t a good look! That’s when I ran from the clutches of the itsy bitsy floral bikini into the arms of the gorgeous Jets by Jessika Allen swimsuit (above) or similar here. My preference will always be a one-piece that has a built-in shelf bra and sucks you in in all the right places. However, having said that, some bikini styles do work. Particularly those with D cups and fuller briefs that some labels are offering now. A favourite of mine is Norma Kamali. So very Marilyn Monroe!

So if you need to buy a new swimsuit, grit your teeth and put aside plenty of time to try on lots of styles until you find one that works for you. There really is a costume to fit and flatter all shapes and sizes. And every woman needs a swimsuit that gives her the confidence to flaunt her feminine curves and not feast on a packet of Tim Tams!!!

Time to take the plunge! Just dive right in and do it:

1: GO ON YOUR OWN

2: AVOID COMMUNAL CHANGING ROOMS

3: GO FIRST THING IN THE MORNING
Not only will you feel fresher, but the changing rooms will be emptier — and you won’t have a lunch-filled stomach to contend with.

4: FAKE A TAN (IF YOU CAN) BEFORE YOU GO
Nothing looks good on pale, blotchy skin.

5: DON’T SCRUTINISE YOURSELF TOO MUCH IN THE CHANGING ROOM MIRRORS
You want to go home with a costume, not a complex. Hopefully the change room will have a full-length mirror. If it doesn’t, find one — or a store — that does. Remember to look at your rear as well. If that’s not possible in the changeroom mirrors, take a hand mirror with you — just in case — so you can check yourself out from behind.

6: WEAR A THONG OR BIKINI BRIEFS
We should all know this, but you’ll need to keep them on as it is a requirement of health and safety authorities.

7: TRY ON A BIGGER SIZE FIRST
There’s nothing guaranteed to make you feel fat and frumpy faster than too-tight bikini briefs or one-pieces.

8: BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR BODY
If you know your tummy can’t stand the attention, cover it up. If your breasts are a little saggy, look for a piece that has good bra support. If you know your body and you’re honest about your shape, it will help make selection a little easier.

9: GIVE YOURSELF PLENTY OF TIME SO YOU CAN TRY ON LOTS OF STYLES
Take a good mix of styles and sizes into the changing room so you won’t have to attract the attention of the sales assistant while wearing the changing room curtain as a makeshift toga!

10: CHECK THAT THE SWIMSUIT IS COMFORTABLE 
When trying on, bend, sit and stretch to check the swimsuit fits properly and is comfortable to move in.

11: HOW WILL YOU BE USING THE SWIMSUIT?
Think about what you’ll be using the swimsuit for — sunbathing, swimming lengths of your local pool or for sheer glamour — and choose the style that’s most suitable.

12: DON’T BE SCARED OF COLOUR
It may look garish in the artificial light, but sometimes colour beats black every time on the beach, especially once you’ve developed a slight tan.

13: AND FINALLY, AS WITH ANYTHING, INVEST IN A GOOD BRAND
You may baulk at the price, but a good swimsuit will last for years if you care for it properly.

  Do you too hate shopping for bathers? Had any swimsuit shopping dramas? 
Heading away for the holidays? Would love to hear from you. Ever stylishly yours …

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