I used to write about this very topic every year as part of my former life as a fashion editor.
Every year I would preface the how-to with an acknowledgement about just how awful the whole swimsuit-buying process was.
And every year, a major swimsuit retailer (also an advertiser with the paper I worked at) would write to me to say that the process didn’t have to be awful.
He was right.
The process didn’t have to be awful and in fact his independent chain of swimwear stores did – and still does – a very good job of making it not so awful.
His buyers know how to buy and stock a range of swimwear for all body shapes and ages.
And his staff are trained to help people find a swimsuit they look and feel comfortable in.
But what he didn’t understand – and most probably because he is a male – is that most women, are highly issue-sensitive about our bodies … at the best of times.
Let alone when confined to a change cubicle, under bright lights and stripped down to our knickers trying on skimpy bits of fabric.
Yep, stab me now.
From my experience of styling women of all ages, shapes and sizes, it doesn’t matter if a woman is a size 6 or 26 … we simply never seem to be 100% happy with our bodies.
… but that’s a whole other blog post … or a self development series And one I should probably subscribe to
For the purposes of this post, the aim is to get you into a swimsuit this summer because should you have any desire to hang pool or beachside as the temperature hits melting point, it will become a necessity.
Me? I’ve lived at the beach for 22 years now. That’s 22 years of annual swimsuit buying.
Over the years I’ve built a very large bridge over the fact that I’ll never look like a swimsuit model. Never have and never will.
But I’m not going to let my non Miranda-Kerr attributes get in the way of swimming in the ocean with my family. And show me a swim up cocktail bar … I’m there quicker than the bar tender could whack a paper umbrella in a frozen daiquiri.
I get very matter of fact about the whole process and consider three things:
In recent years, I’ve actually taken to buying my swimwear online.
Now, you might initially baulk at this – as I did at first – but think about it.
YOU. DON’T. HAVE. TO. TRY. THE. SWIMSUIT. ON.
Hello. Tell me that isn’t a better proposition than gazing at yourself from close range in a tiny change cubicle?
Another important thing I’ve learned over recent years is that the more you try to cover up your body in attempt to make it look smaller in a swimsuit, the bigger you actually look.
Less, really is more. I’m not necessarily suggesting you whip on a teeny, string bikini, particularly if, like me, there’s a fair chance said string could become lost under some womanly curves … but before you cover up with a pair of boardies, check whether those shorts are actually doing something for your shape.
I went through a stage of thinking that the boardies trick was a good idea before it dawned on me that wearing a pair of boardies was akin to placing a neon “I look big in this swimsuit” sign on my butt and thighs.
Here are 15 of my favourite swimsuits available this season. I love the retro styling that’s dominating … particularly the higher cut of pant. Don’t be afraid of patterns, either. They really are your friend when it comes to camouflaging the bits we like to, well, camouflage. I’ve included options to suit all shapes and sizes. Click on the caption below each image for a link to buy.
A little note on the Jets You Can collection pieces includes above. Sony Foundation Australia is aiming to raise $15million to build youth cancer centres in Australia. The Jets You Can collection – available exclusively at Katies – aims to raise awareness about the cause. Head in store and donate your old mobile phone to help the fundraising effort.
What kind of swimsuit do you like to wear? What tips do you have to offer other Styling You readers?
Next week … why flowy cover ups are your swimsuit’s best buddies.