The Acqua Brand long-sleeve rashguard | The Acqua Brand triangle bikini top and side tie pant | 15 swimsuit confidence commandments {SY Swimsuit Edition 2017}

15 swimsuit confidence commandments {SY Swimsuit Edition 2017}

Nikki ParkinsonFashion 25 Comments

Each summer, if I get just one woman into a swimsuit and into the pool or surf, then my work here is complete. 

Yes, the 2017 Styling You Swimsuit Edition is here. If you’re new to Styling You, I’ve been putting my body on the line on my blog since 2013. Yes, this is the 5th annual Styling You Swimsuit Edition

Does it get easier being photographed in a swimsuit? A little. I’d still prefer to be photographed fully clothed. It IS funny how your mind can be switched around if you force yourself to walk the talk you’ve been talking since this here blog began in 2018.

Last week, in this post, I hopefully warmed you up to the idea of getting YOUR body into a swimsuit. I won’t insist on photos (but feel free to share them if you want to). You also don’t need to go on a 232-day kale-smoothie cleanse. Nor do you need to sacrifice Netflix bingeing for back-to-back gym sessions.

Your body IS beach and pool ready. RIGHT NOW.

Your mind might just be taking a little time to catch up. Like mine did. (And that’s ok, bookmark this post, I’ll be here waiting for you when it has). 

Because YOU DO KNOW that, deep down, it is all the negative self-talk that’s getting in the way of you REALLY enjoying this summer. Don’t you?

Yes, putting on a swimsuit and being seen in public in said swimsuit puts us at our most vulnerable but life is too short to sit on the sand or by the pool and miss out on the water.

I’m no psychologist or counsellor. I’m just a woman who’s grown up with same body issues you probably have. 

I’m a woman who’s looked in the mirror too many times and mentally picked apart too many aspects of my body.

Our bodies are powerful things. Look after your body and be grateful it gets you out of bed each day. 

I’m a woman who’s sick of being bombarded by media images (and I’m talking online as well as old-school) of the so-called perfect body.

Perfection simply doesn’t exist. It’s a fictitious notion at best; a mind-altering attitude at worst. Ditch the quest for it. Stop looking at or following people who post images that make you feel less of a person.

When it comes down to it, for me, it doesn’t matter what kind of swimsuit you wear. All I ask is that you get your body into a pair of togs/cossies/bathers and that you get them wet. In this year’s Styling You Swimsuit edition, I’m featuring eight of my favourites, with a range of styles for everyone.

The SY 15 Swimsuit Confidence Commandments

The first step towards feeling confident in a swimsuit is to find a swimsuit that suits your body and your lifestyle – a swimsuit that is up for the job, so to speak. The 15 Styling You Swimsuit Confidence Commandments below will help you on that path.

1. Calm the voices in your head. These are the only voices you’ll hear expressing their displeasure about your swimsuit wearing. Everyone on the beach and in the pool is too busy with their own internal chatter to even notice you. Sorry to disappoint you on this note.

2. Take your swimsuit lead from European women. I posted this photo of me on a Croatian beach in July wearing a bikini  – read the comments because they back up my thoughts. We could learn a lot from European women and the way they don’t give a toss about what they wear to the beach (that’s if they wear anything at all). Liberating, I tell you.

Lilly & Lime Swimwear Azure Palm underwire halter bikini top | high waisted brief

Lilly & Lime Swimwear Azure Palm underwire halter bikini top (I’m in 36DD) | high waisted brief (I’m in 14)

3. 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.

4. Do not fear the bikini – at any size. It can create the illusion of making you look smaller because less fabric is involved. Try it for yourself in the mirror. 

Lilly & Lime Swimwear balconette bikini top in stripe | full brief in stripe

Lilly & Lime Swimwear balconette bikini top in stripe (I’m in 36DD) | full brief in stripe (I’m in 14)

5. Boardshorts with bathers have the opposite effect of what you think they are doing. Instead of wearing them, make peace with your legs. (If the boardshorts are what it takes to get you in the water, go for it. That used to be me 15 years ago before I started dating my now-husband. He lovingly wondered why I even wore them – they didn’t even look good! I don’t take notice of most of his fashion advice but this is one piece I did heed and haven’t looked back.)

6. 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. I’m loving these one-pieces (pictured below) by Une Piece for more active pursuits. You need to wrangle your arms into them as you would a wetsuit. Once in, the entire swimsuit is so comfortable.

Une Piece Original Sexie Rashie

Une Piece Original Sexie Rashie in black (I’m in 16)

7. Everyone’s budget for 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. If you’re a regular swimmer, water-runner or water aerobics fan, then you’ll need a chlorine-resistant pair.

Queensland Swimwear Company Chlorine-Resistant one-piece in Jungle

Queensland Swimwear Company chlorine-resistant one-piece in Jungle (I’m in 16)

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

Jets DD/E underwire bikini top | Overlay bikini bottom (rolled up)

Jets DD/E underwire bikini top (I’m in 14) | Overlay bikini bottom (rolled up – I’m in 12)

9. Do however consider enlisting the help of a patterned swimsuit for all kinds of optical illusion tricks – and a lot of fun.

Capriosca Swimwear twist-front bandeau one-piece (I'm in 16 - comes with detachable straps not shown)

Capriosca Swimwear twist-front bandeau one-piece (I’m in 16 – comes with detachable straps not shown) @ Sequins and Sand

10. Want to create an optical illusion around the tummy? Ruching or cleverly positioned fabric folds are a your friend.

Capriosca Swimwear criss-cross one-piece @ Sequins and Sand

Capriosca Swimwear criss-cross one-piece @ Sequins and Sand (I’m in 16)

11. If your bust is a D 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. Lilly and Lime Swimwear are your experts here.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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. These are my fave (pictured below) because they sit more like a t-shirt than a fitted swimsuit. And they look like a t-shirt! 

The Acqua Brand long-sleeve rashguard | The Acqua Brand triangle bikini top and side tie pant

The Acqua Brand rashguard (I’m in XL but L would be best for me now – this was bought last summer); triangle top bikini (XL); side-tie bikini brief (XL) 

15. Don’t put off the swimsuit purchase until the last minute. A hasty shopping purchase is always fraught with danger. Don’t add stress to the swimsuit situation. Plan and purchase in advance now and you’ll be set for summer.

More swimsuit brands to try

Bombshell Bay Swimwear: I’ve loved and featured swimwear from Bombshell Bay in the past. LOVE their landscape prints and they’re back this season. It’s a great swimsuit label for women with a smaller bust. You can even design your own rash vest. Very cool.

Modibodi: Famous for its period-proof and leakproof underwear, this Australian brand is setting out to be the first to offer swimwear with the same benefits. There are two styles – full-piece and binkini.

Sunsoaked: This Queensland-based company has produced its best season yet for sun-safe tops and swimsuits. You’ll also find resort wear with a UPF 25+ rating.

From the Styling You community

Debbie: I have just come back from Europe and the women all wear bikinis regardless of size and shape and they just embrace it. Nobody cares about body differences – they all just enjoy themselves and the beach. Was such a brilliant thing!

Jenny: It’s so true about the internal chatter. We always believe and think others are looking or how we think we look in what we wear. We all need to feel good in our skin first and your amazing inspiration in this Styling You community has certainly helped me. 

Felicity: I’m currently in Thailand and there are such confident woman wearing bikinis on the beach and our hotel. Honestly, no one cares. They look lovely.

Have you got a comment to add below … a comment that will help another woman get into a swimsuit and get wet this summer? Did a previous Styling You Swimsuit Edition help you stop the negative self-talk? Share your story below.

PS. Do you have a fave from the swimsuits I’ve featured above?

* All of the above swimsuits (except for the Jets bikini and The Acqua Brand rashguard and bikini) 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.

Location: Halcyon House, Cabarita | hair and makeup: Dale Dorning (Arc Creative) | spray tan: Loving Tan (medium shade) at G&Co Beauty Boutique 


Comments 25

  1. I love that you are giving confidence to many swim suit shy ladies. I’ve just been swim trekking in Croatia and over there anything goes. Embrace it, get in the water and swim. You’ll feel great. I also go to an Aqua class at Centenary Pool. It’s amazing. All ages all sizes and no one feels shy about getting in. It’s all about having fun. Jump in and enjoy.

  2. I love that you are giving confidence to many swim suit shy ladies. I’ve just been swim trekking in Croatia and over there anything goes. Embrace it, get in the water and swim. You’ll feel great. I also go to an Aqua class at Centenary Pool. It’s amazing. All ages all sizes and no one feels shy about getting in. It’s all about having fun.

  3. I love that you are giving confidence to many swim suit shy ladies. I’ve just been swim trekking in Croatia and over there anything goes. Embrace it, get in the water and swim. You’ll feel great. I also go to an Aqua class at Centenary Pool. It’s amazing. All ages all sizes and no one feels shy about getting in. It’s all about having fun.

  4. Fantastic post Nikki – looking gorgeous by the way!
    And yes you’re so right about that European body confidence, life is for living!
    As someone who historically hasn’t exactly embraced swimsuit season (I can’t even remember the last time I donned a bikini), this is just the inspirational kick up the bum I need, thanks!! xx

  5. Thanks Nikki.. Needed a little reminder…. Just purchased a pair on line and a lovely kaftan to go with it. Ready now. Perth just isn’t quite yet. have a beautiful day and thanks for all you do for us ladies xx

  6. I’m going away next week and I’m pale and have put on a few kgs this winter. Ain’t nothing stopping me getting into the water with my children. Love all these swimsuits. I’ve always been self-conscious of wearing a bikini because of my stretch marks. Great encouragement here to embrace the style that I feel comfortable in, but also a nudge to try something different too. You look incredible Nikki. x

  7. Hi Nikki – I love your swimsuit edition and the way you “talk to us” so uplifting. I am large and always struggled with bathers and body image but with two small boys who love the beach I have needed to get over that. I was in Melbourne from Adelaide last weekend and went to the DFO at South Wharf and the Sunseeker shop was fabulous – I bought three pieces – all in one, tankini top and a long sleeve rashie – all felt perfect and were a size 20. – for others out there similar try the Jantzen brand. There were half price (and I agree spend as much as you can afford) and I walked out with a smile.

    Thanks for caring

    Paula xxx

  8. I think you look amazing, I especially love the criss cross one piece, gorgeous colour on you! Reading your swimsuit post every year, has definitely helped give me the confidence to say ‘**** it’, and get myself onto the beach out of the cover ups! NO ONE cares!! They are too busy worrying about themselves! Its liberating.

  9. I couldn’t agree more with being cossie confident, regardless of your shape & size. Even as a smaller-sized gal (I’m pear-shaped & generally take an 8 up top, 10 on the bottom) I know I’ve had my fair share of body image issues & have felt self-conscious in a bikini before, but that only lasts for about 30 seconds as I know full well it’s all in my head. I even took your mantra of “just wear the swimsuit anyway” & told it to my self-conscious aunt last summer. I really hope she took my advice because there’s nothing wrong with her body at all. Life’s too short to miss out on the water. :o)

    My personal faves from your photos (aside from your great legs) are the orange criss-cross swimsuit, the palm printed one-piece & the black rashie one-piece. I do love a good one-piece but I haven’t found one that looks decent on me yet, so I’m sticking to bikinis for now.

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      I love that you had that talk to yourself! And yes, with different sizes top and bottom, a bikini or tankini is best. That’s why I like a bikini/rashie combo. My bottom is flat so the one-piece I need for my size leaves it flapping in the wind on my behind!!

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  10. Another ‘right on the money’ post Nikki. You know how much this message means to me 🙂 Thank you for getting it out there every year. I know how much it means to you too. And this is not a ‘big girl thing’. So many gorgeous women of all shapes, sizes and ages…yes, even the size 12’s! Here’s to every woman’s cossie confidence. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for showing the way. Thanks Nikki. Anita x

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  11. Fab post, I love alllll the swimsuits but especially the stripey blue one. I think I prefer bikinis showing off our belly buttons 🙂

    Can you recommend any other brands with great adult rash vests? Love love love the one featured but a little out of my price range.

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      Thanks Belinda … I’m mostly a bikini and rashie girl. I can’t recommend any cheaper ones and I’ve not come across any that fit like the Acqua Brand ones do. The one I’m wearing in the photo I bought almost almost a year old and still looks like new. Cheaper lycra will disintegrate more quickly (thus losing its UPF which is my whole point in wearing them) and fit is super important to me. Those two things make the investment worthwhile.

      1. Thanks Nikki – great to hear they wear so well. I might have to splurge, a great way to set a good example for my littlies while staying stylish!

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  12. I recently bought a pair of bathers to visit our son living in Hamilton island as I made a promise to myself that I would go for a ride with him on his JetSki . Much to my suprise my veiny legs didn’t look that bad with a fake tan popped on a throw over and off we went , so at the age of 59 my first ever ride and my first swimmers in 20 years! Roll on summer

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  13. Nikki I couldn’t agree more we all have body issues whatever our size but from having a pool in our backyard I just get in my cossie and get on with it!
    I love all your swimsuits but my faves are the palm print bikini and the black and white one piece.
    You look stunning in them all Nikki Xx

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