IT’S that time of year when you are probably gearing up for your summer holiday. Do you dread buying swimwear? If so, you’re not alone.

Getting the most flattering shape for your body is so important and can help to boost your confidence at the pool or at the beach. Here are my hints and tips to finding the perfect swimwear and cover ups for your body shape...


Swimwear for curvy figures

Do you have a full bust and hips with a well defined waist?

If you wish to flaunt your womanly curves, halter necks are a great way to do this. Make sure you get something in your cup size with underwiring and wide straps (if you have extra boobage) for good support. The choice of your swimwear colour is important too. Colourful fabrics are a fun way of attracting attention and can give a more youthful look.

For your cover up, choose a kaftan that nips you in at the narrowest point of your waist to create a shapely silhouette.

I love this Kelly Brook for New Look retro style bikini - made especially for curvy figures like Kelly’s. You can also buy the top and bottom separately. The Heidi Klein kaftan is a tad expensive but it is pure class. The gold embellishment down the centre will elongate your body. The colours in the one piece swimsuit from Gottex are just sensational and will look fantastic with tan. It has control panels that shape the body and smooth curves - what's not to love? The tie dye print will emphasise your small waist. The turquoise kaftan works brilliantly with it. I love the gentle scalloped detail and small elasticated panels at the navel and centre back for a feminine flourish.

Where to buy?

Blue spot longline bikini top £16.99 bottom £10.99  Kelly Brook for New Look

Embellished sheer silk kaftan £280 Heidi Klein at Harvey Nichols

Straw floppy hat £15 Asos

Gold sandals reduced from £65 to £45 Nine West

Contrast panel swimsuit £155 Gottex at Harrods

Beaded kaftan reduced from £115 to £80 John Lewis

Turquoise sandals reduced from £25 to £22.50 Wallis


Swimwear for boyish figures

Are you straight up and down with not much of a waist and small boobs?

Padded tops with horizontal stripes and/or ruffles are the most flattering for you as they will make your bust look fuller and create softness. Fringing is very on trend right now and is a great way to add volume to your upper half. A wide bandeau top would also be suitable for a small bust. A hipster style bottom will make your bum appear more shapely too whereas a string style bikini will show off your slender body. Wearing a darker colour on your bottom can also make your bust look bigger.

For a cover up you could choose a light cotton shirt and tie it under the bust to add extra curves. Or, if you are comfortable with your upper body, you may wish to just choose a pair of shorts as a cover up - especially if you are going to be participating in any sports.

The fringe bikini top will add volume to your bust area and the texture of the All Saints sequined bottoms will add interest to your bottom half. Cover up with a cute crop top in a matching colour. The frill detail on the striped bikini will give the illusion of a fuller bust and hips. They team perfectly with these sexy curve enhancing high waisted shorts - a must have this season. Plus you could easily dress them up for evening with a pair of heels and silk halterneck.

Where to buy?

Fringed bandeau bikini top £18.49 Tilly's

Sequinned bikini bottoms reduced from £45.00 to £31.50 All Saints

Crop t shirt £8.00

Straw trilby £15 Dickins & Jones at House of Fraser

Gold flip flops £29 Vix at Harvey Nichols

Navy Stripe frilled bandeau bikini £16 Fashion Union

High waisted denim shorts £28 Jane Norman

Black rubber sunglasses £98 Ray Bans at Harrods


Swimwear for apple figures

Do you have a bit of a tum but great legs?

A tankini with some extra support at the tummy area is perfect for you. This will give you the coverage you need and you can always roll the top up when you are sunbathing to get your golden glow. Do check the bottom of the top meets the top of the bottoms though. A pattern will also hide any lumps and bumps.

Show off your sexy pins in a straight tunic or shirt with no waist definition. Or perhaps choose a sporty hoody - it will conceal all the right parts.

The pretty floral tankini top has adjustable straps for extra support and comfort. The perfect cover up is this tunic from House of Fraser. It is designed in a traditional Indian style silhouette which is narrower, longer and super flattering. This would look fabulous for the evening with a pair of white linen trousers and some wedges. The lovely aubergine colour of this Marks and Spencer tankini is so rich - a great colour if you have dark hair and dark eyes. The gold detailing makes it look so much more expensive making it a fabulous addition to your summer wardrobe. I have teamed it with this floaty feminine silk tunic with gather detail at the front

Where to buy?

Floral tankini top reduced from £18 to £12.60 bottoms reduced from £13.00 to £9.10 Wallis

Sequinned kaftan East £65.00 at House of Fraser

Pink flower trim sandals reduced from £15.00 to £12.00 Debenhams

Pink cat eye sunglasses £12.00 Asos

Halterneck tankini reduced from £27.50 to £17.00 bottoms reduced from £16.00 to £10.00 Marks and Spencer

Pink tunic £75.00 Phase Eight

Floral sandals £39.00 Accessorize

Crochet trim trilby £5.00 Tesco

See you at the beach...

Susan Baxter is a personal stylist, trained in colour analysis, based in Didsbury, Manchester. Visit 

Follow Susan on Twitter @SusanStylesYou