How to feel more confident in a swimsuit

Nikki ParkinsonFashion, How to 79 Comments

Oh hello first day of summer. I see you, I feel you and I’m not scared by you.

Well, maybe just a little scared. You know how you and I really don’t do the whole humidity thing so well?

My hair frizzes up. My ankles disappear. And I’m at risk of turning into one giant sweaty mess at a moment’s notice.

Those things scare me about summer but something that no longer scares me is the buying and donning of a swimsuit.

If you’re new here to Styling You, you’d not be familiar with my annual sermon about our need to build a bridge and get over ourselves when it comes to fully enjoying the summer months – at the beach or just in your backyard pool.

I don’t want one single woman to miss out while their friends and family splash, swim, surf and STAY COOL while you sit fully clothed on the beach or by the pool.

No-one is going to criticise you for how you look. No-one is even going to notice.

The only person you need to contend with is yourself. Have a good strong talk to her and tell her what’s what.

Because girlfriend, your body IS swimsuit ready.

You have a body. You just need to put a swimsuit on it.


I realise that my sermon may seem a bit simplified and most of us have MANY issues surrounding parts of – or all of – our bodies but if you’re thinking of even dipping your toe into some swimsuit confidence this summer, these 13 tips on how to feel more confident in a swimsuit may help.

Oh, and to walk my talk, the annual Styling You Swimsuit Edition is back. I’ve put myself into five swimsuits and included those below.

Capriosca bikini | Isle of Mine shirt dress @ Sequins and Sand

Capriosca bikini top $79.99 (I’m wearing size 16D/DD; available in size 10D to 18F; ) and pant $59.40 (I’m wearing size 14; available size 10-22)  | Isle of Mine shirt dress $89.95 @ Sequins and Sand

And no, I don’t enjoy shooting these photos but I do feel that with each year, doing the shoot has helped me with my swimsuit confidence.

My hot tip: a spray tan, fancy hair and dappled late afternoon light are your friends.

Queensland Swimwear Company one-piece | iAllure kimono

Queensland Swimwear Company one-piece $149.95 (I’m wearing size 16; currently available in sizes 8-18 the Styling You Shop – the straps are removable – this is such a versatile swimsuit. It also sits well under a sheer kaftan for beach to bar action) | iAllure kimono $99

How to feel more confident in a swimsuit

1. If black makes you feel more confident in a swimsuit – or any piece of clothing – then wear it.

2. Consider though enlisting the help of a patterned swimsuit for all kinds of optical illusion tricks – and a lot of fun.

3. Want to create an optical illusion around the tummy? Ruching is a your friend.

Sirens Swimwear one-piece | Sha-De UPF50 wrap

Sirens Swimwear one-piece $199 (I’m wearing size 16. Available in size 8-20 – love the bra support, stripe illusion and ruching – see tip 8 below for this company’s fabulous shopping option) | Sha-De UPF50 wrap $69.95 (this is a great sun-safe piece to have tucked in your handbag for protecting your shoulders and chest – see tip 11 and 12 for more UPF50 options) 

4. Boardshorts with bathers have the opposite effect of what you think they are doing. Instead of wearing, make peace with your legs.

5. Do not fear the bikini – at any size. It can have the illusion of making you look smaller because less fabric is involved. True.

6. If your bust is a C cup and over then do hunt down a swimsuit with support. Just having the girls up where they belong will help with the confidence factor.

7. Do consider what you’ll actually be doing in your swimsuit. The needs of someone who regularly body surfs or wrangles small children will be vastly different from those who consider raising a cocktail glass to their lips sufficient exercise for the day.

8. Don’t be afraid of shopping online. It really does take away the whole change room angst because you get to use your own mirror at home and control the lighting. Look for companies with return policies that allow you to buy, try and decide with hassle-free returns. Sirens Swimwear offers a Ship the Shop service where you can five swimsuits shipped to you, and you only pay a deposit of the equivalent of one swimsuit price and postage. You try them at home and ship back the ones that you don’t want to keep.

Jets bikini | Kalokeri cover-up @ Sequins and Sand

Jets by Jessika Allen DD bikini top $135 (I’m wearing size 14; available size 10-16); Jets by Jessika Allen overlay bikini bottom $69.95 (I’m wearing size 14 with the overlay up; available size 8-16) | Kalokeri cover-up $159 (I’m wearing M/L) @ Sequins and Sand

9. Don’t be afraid to seek out help from a bricks-and-mortar swimsuit specialist retailer, either. Staff in these stores are trained – much like a trained bra fitter – to get you into a swimsuit you’re happy with.

10. I understand that everyone’s budget to spend on swimwear is different. What I do suggest is that you spend the most your budget can allow if you have your own pool, live at the beach or spend a lot of time beachside over summer. Quality swimwear is made from fabrics that withstands more frequent use.

11. Do invest in swimwear cover-ups. I find these help boost my swimsuit confidence but also (depending on the fabric) help with sun protection. For cover-ups with a UPF 50+ factor, check out the sun-smart range at Sequins and Sand. You’ll also find a fabulous selection of non-UPF rated pieces for covering up.

12. Rash vests have come a very long way. They offer sun protection but they also can look good too. I don’t hit the beach in summer without one. Check out SunSoaked and Aquacove for a fabulous blend of fashion, function and UPF 50+ ratings.

13. Don’t give up the search for the best swimsuit for you. There is a swimsuit out there for you. Once you let go of the “imperfections” and embrace the freedom that comes with being able to wear a swimsuit and fully participate in summer, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

Bella Bathers one-piece and sarong

Bella Bathers one-piece $145 (I’m wearing size 16 – love how the one-shoulder detail flatters and balances out my hips) and sarong $58



Independent online swimwear and beachwear company Sequins and Sand has created an amazing campaign that I’d love you to get on board with. #CossieConfidence is a campaign aimed at empowering women to get into a cossie/swimsuit/bathers/togs – and sharing that look with the hashtag so that more women find the confidence to enjoy our summer lifestyle to the fullest. Read more about the campaign HERE.

* All of the above swimsuits (except for the Jets bikini which I bought in Noosa in September) and cover-ups were gifted to me for editorial consideration. I’ve featured them because they work for me and they might be brands and styles you would like to explore for your body shape and size.

So tell me, how’s your swimsuit confidence? Have you found your ideal pair of togs for this summer? Share your battle of the bathers.

Comments 79

  1. Woohoo! How we do love your swimsuit rant each year. It’s fantastic! Love it all, especially that Kalokeri cover-up over the black cossie. Speaking of Cossie, thanks for the awesome link to our little mission this summer #CossieConfidence. It’s so very important and we are so very grateful for your support. Thanks Nikki. Much love and thanks. Anita & the girls at S&S. xx

  2. I love that one shoulder look, Nikki. Most of my cossies are Speedos for swimming but I have one more jazzy top and bottom for holidays and lounging. I’m often in cossie but tend to wear a stretchy wraparound thinggy as my legs really are bloddy – much like a podgy baby’s still! So I prefer not to have the cellulite on show generally. Am with you 100% it’s great to not be put off by bad body image, getting into the water and swimming makes me feel so bloody marvellous and I always want to have that… also lounging by pool with cocktail… ahhhh….

  3. You know how much I love you Nikki Parkinson. But apparently I have a little space left in my I Love Nikki cup and it’s just filled up and is positively overflowing with glittery champagne adoration right now after reading this post. You truly are an ambassador for women and I salute you – great tips! You look absolutely gorgeous btw. I’m off to buy that Jets bikini I reckon. Big hugs my friend xxx Champagne Gill

  4. You look gorgeous in all the swimwear. Love the photos. Embracing your body and finding the right swimsuit for you helps with swimsuit confidence I think. I love my Sirens swimwear.

  5. Particularly love the last combo, delicate one shoulder frill with man-eater animal print!

    Great work with this article and the photos. I shared it on Facebook!

  6. Great suggestions Nikki. Another way to gain confidence in a swimsuit is to actually join a swim squad or a fin fit class . I joined one and somehow the focus is on the swimming and not the body in the swimsuit. And you feel so good after the session!

  7. Great post, you look fab! And more than that I agree with the sentiment behind the post. Did you see the pics from the new Pirelli Calender? Amy Schuler and Serena Wlliams both looking awesome!

  8. Nikki, these swimsuits look amazing on you! Unfortunately when it comes to me and swimsuits, well, I just don’t have the confidence I did when I was a lot younger and pre-kids. It’s not my tummy or my boobs, it’s the fact that swimsuits don’t cover my bum and thighs and I hate mine with a passion. I’m a small frame yet I seem to have enough cellulite and stretch marks for two people, all packed on after I had my son. People look at me and think I’m crazy because I do look slim, but once you take the clothes off you can see everything and I hate that. It’s a permanent sarong, kaftan or boardies for me.

  9. I’m never far from a sarong to wrap around my hips when it comes to swimwear season, but you’re right. Nobody’s going to be looking and judging because we’re all worried about ourselves. Onward and offwards 🙂

  10. Things just got a lot hotter and it’s not because today is the first day of summer!! You look absolutely smoking hot!!! It’s my second summer post baby and I’ve bought a new pair of swimmers, one piece but I feel great in them… Love the swimwear you featured xxx

  11. You look fabulous in all of these swimsuits. I’ve just recently purchased that same Sirens swimsuit but in the blue & yellow floral and I LOVE it. Was a toss up between that and the stripes.
    Haven’t been brave enough to go for a bikini in a very long time. I’m a 14G cup (on the smaller side of 14 and the larger side of G) and it’s hard to find things to suit, and that don’t also come with teensy bikini bottoms. So many companies stop at the F cup but that’s it, and the 16F generally isn’t firm enough around my back. Any recommendations would be much appreciated!

  12. This post is so very inspiring Nikki, thank you! You make the thought of bearing oneself on the beach or poolside so much more glamorous and less of a worry 🙂

  13. Wise words Nikki… for getting into swimsuits and getting on with life : ). Love the Capriosca bikini and one shoulder one piece. You are so ready for Summer! x

  14. That stripey swimsuit is a bit fabulous. I’ve never been worried about getting into bathers but I do almost always wear a rashie as I’m so pale I just burn all the time.

  15. Wow I love this post Nikki! I haven’t worn a bikini since I had my first baby nearly 9 years ago but yours look so great, I’m wondering if I should maybe try one again. I generally got for the tankini separates and I need a cup-size top to support my very heavy bust. I’ve always just assumed that they didn’t really make supportive bikini tops and I’ve always hidden my tummy. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll be a bit more brave this summer and give one a go! Thank you for being brave enough to show us that nice swimsuits are for everyone.

  16. I embraced a bright tropical print one piece with breast support and ruching last year and am loving myself in it. We live in a complex with a shared pool so getting over myself and having the confidence to just get in the water whenever it’s hot enough has been really liberating. Given there are a number of young girls getting about in tiny bikinis, no-one bar my husband will be looking at me. And that’s just the way I like it!
    Having said that, I absolutely applaud you in having photos taken in swimsuits. But why not? You look fab!

  17. bangin’ bikini body Nikki! I ditched the boardshorts years ago realising they were doing me less favours than good. My confidence has been growing and I’m finally able to accept, if not like the way I look in my togs. Great post!

  18. Nikki I love all your swimsuits you look wonderful in them all!
    I like a tankini and I also have a black bikini similar to your last pic I will be getting them out and wearing them very soon,great post Nikki Xx

  19. I’m starting to believe you must have magic powers! I’ve been avoiding shopping for new swimsuit for months (ok longer!) but told myself I will go this week. Its not such my size (12-14) but I’m 14E – which is my problem. Thanks for advice I will go shopping for swimsuit – I promise!

  20. you really are a girls advocate! thankyou nikki! <3
    you are looking great! the last shot is very glamourous!
    I might need a new piece this year!
    I love a bit of drapery around my person!
    much love m:)X

  21. You look fabbo Nikki, very toned and feminine! Love the Sirens striped number and the Jetts by JA two-piece. Sea Folly also have some luxe patterns this season, including some two pieces that will stay put in the surf. Thanks for your inspiring post.

  22. I love all the points in this post Nikki – especially about continuing the search.
    It was a real a-ha moment when I finally found the right swimmers for me. Not worrying if I’m about to bust out of my bikini makes such a difference to my enjoyment playing with my girls at the beach.

  23. Love all of these swimsuits! I finally bought myself a proper swimsuit instead of a rash top and board shorts as it actually made me feel more glamorous- it is a black one piece with clever ruching and diamantes on the straps. I cannot swim for six weeks after surgery but fingers crossed we get lots of beautiful sunny days in January!

  24. Fantastic post. Beautiful in all options. I have got over myself this year because it’s just too hot! I brought a bikini for first time in about 15 years. It’s navy( playing safe!!)whereas my one pieces are loud and bright. Cheers to all women getting themselves into swimwear this summer. You are great inspiration.

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