Sunsoaked Janie ruffle sleeve one-piece | Styling You Swimsuit Edition | Swimsuit Confidence

Is this the year you get your body into a swimsuit? (2018 Swimsuit Edition)

Nikki Parkinson Fashion, How to 17 Comments

You’d think I’d be ok with this “get your body into a swimsuit” business, wouldn’t you? After all, I’ve been banging on about swimsuit confidence for years.

This is the sixth annual Swimsuit Edition on this blog and I’d love to tell you that it gets easier, that I’m less critical of the bits that I can get critical about, that I embrace getting in and out of the swimsuits and posing for the camera, that I enjoy publishing the images on the internet for EVERYONE to see.

But I’d be telling a lie. A big one.

So why do I do it, you ask?

Simple. Maybe you’re reading this post for the first time, maybe you’ve read every Styling You Swimsuit Edition that’s come before it and you’re still missing out on enjoying summer to the fullest. Maybe you’re the one who sits on the beach or beside the pool, fully clothed, hot and sweaty, while your family and/or partner makes a splash or body surfs the shore break.

Maybe. Just maybe this post (or last week’s post for our D cup and up sisters) will spark something in you to make this year the year you buy a swimsuit, you put it on and you give zero few f*&ks about doing so.

Ignore the magazines, media and influencers that think you need to do something to your body to make it beach-ready. Not only is your body ready, it’s beach-worthy. You’re worthy of enjoying summer to the fullest. You really are.

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.

I want you remember that our bodies are powerful things. Look after yours and be grateful it gets you out of bed each day. 

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. I’m also featuring swimwear from seven independent Australia swimwear labels to get you inspired this season.

Sunsoaked Janie ruffle sleeve one-piece | Styling You Swimsuit Edition | Swimsuit Confidence

Sunsoaked Janie ruffle sleeve one-piece (loving this khaki colour for a neutral alternative to black)

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. 

2. Take your swimsuit lead from European women. I posted this photo of me on a Croatian beach last year 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.

Bombshell Bay Swimwear The Soft Cup one-piece | Styling You Swimsuit Edition | Swimsuit Confidence

Bombshell Bay Swimwear The Soft Cup one-piece (Bombshell Bay swimwear is sustainable made from a fabric that is made from recycled nylon waste)

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. 

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 16 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 | Styling You Swimsuit Edition | Swimsuit Confidence

Une Piece Original Sexie Rashie (This brand produces amazing shapes that make you feel a little special AND sunsafe)

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.

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

Active Truth zip-up crop and high-waisted bikini brief | Styling You Swimsuit Edition | Swimsuit Confidence

Active Truth zip-up crop and high-waisted bikini brief (my fave activewear brand now makes swimwear so you can be active in the water. The high-waist pants have the same core support as their tights – winning!)

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

Curvy by Capriosca Pinky Peonies Off Shoulder Tankini and High Waist pant | Styling You Swimsuit Edition | Swimsuit Confidence

Curvy by Capriosca Pinky Peonies Off Shoulder Tankini and High Waist pant (Hello beach-to-bar option … when your tankini top looks this good – there are optional straps – you get double duty on any holiday)

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

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.

Lilly & Lime Swimwear high-neck bikini top and full brief | Styling You Swimsuit Edition | Swimsuit Confidence

Lilly & Lime Swimwear high-neck bikini top and full brief (this candy strip is right on trend, you’re supported by an underwire and I like the high neck giving better sun protection than a regular bikini)

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 rashguard | Styling You Swimsuit Edition | Swimsuit Confidence

The Acqua Brand rashguard

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

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.

Modibodi swim

Shade Swim: Newest swimwear brand on the block is this start-up by Brisbane mum, Alyshia Morris, who not only struggled to find a swimsuit she felt comfortable in after the birth of her first child but was also diagnosed with two melanomas at the age of 32. 

Shade Swim

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 in the comments.

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


Location: The Whitehouse, Paddington, Brisbane. Thanks to interior designer Nat Winter for opening up her stunning renovation project to us for this photoshoot.

Photography: The Photo Pitch; Hair and Makeup: Dale Dorning/Arc Creative

Comments 17

  1. Thanks to you I’m back in the water when we go to the beach. We’ve just had two weeks camping at the beach and I swam most days and loved it!
    Your advice to ignore magazines and others who say we have to get swim suit ready is gold. I’m 57 with a tummy and legs that are far from what they once were but I realised no one else gives a toss actually . Thank you so much!

  2. Nikki you are an inspiration. I am a bather wearer so I can play with my kids but I would never be photographed in one. I have ordered from Lilly and lime after reading your D cup blog last week. Can’t wait to get them.
    One question, what size are you wearing in the rashie?

  3. The mere thought of buying bathers is enough to bring me out in a rash but inspired by your post I’m going to give it a go for the first time in more than 10 years. I’m close to 60, just under 160 cms in height and an apple (top heavy, flat bottom, big tum) – what style would you suggest? Some guidance would be wonderful!

  4. Great post, sun protection, body confidence and a great swimsuit are definitely this season. I would love gor you to consider my swim label for next year an aussie designed and made company.

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    1. I’m a size 14 and bought a large in the La Mer. Perfect size and just love it. Not clingy and great in and out of the water

  5. Every year I read this post like a mantra to get me out there, forget the body shaming and enjoy myself. From women everywhere THANK YOU Nikki for your positive outlook and inspiration.

  6. Just ordered with Lilly and Lime. Thanks Nikki for another great uplifting positive post. Lets hope I can pull off the swimsuit confidence when we go to Phuket in December.

  7. I love this, your advice is excellent. We are so much more critical of ourselves than other people would ever be.
    That Khaki colour looks AMAZING on you!

  8. Thanks, Niki, after not wearing a bikini for years due to stretch marks and my age (over 50). I’ve decided to take the European approach, get a good fake tan and try not to give a toss. Any brand suggestions for the flatter chest?

  9. Thanks Nikki for the post – I have a beach holiday looming and need a new swimsuit. As someone who was diagnosed melanoma at the age of 26 (and told to ‘get your affairs in order’ while pregnant too!) I am always on the lookout for something to cover as much of me as possible! Your suggested retailers are just fabulous – now – to pick just one or two swimsuits, that will be the challenge!

  10. Yay for this annual post!
    As I get older the elements of sun protection (especially on the decolletage) and some structure and print for the ability to give me the most confidence cannot be underestimated.
    You got me into an Acqua brand rashie last year, which I recently took on holiday to qualia where it fit in perfectly and now I’m sorely tempted by that off the shoulder suit. I’m choosing protection and fun to keep me by and in the water!

  11. Love this post thanks Nikki! I recently invested in an Acqua brand Rashie and some Lilly & Lime swimmers (first bikini since having my 2 girls – eek!) based on your recommendations from last year and I’m feeling relatively beach ready for a trip to Noosa in a few weeks. Thanks as always for your wise advice!

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