Immaculate deception

PUBLISHED: 12:31 15 June 2009 | UPDATED: 15:17 20 February 2013

Enjoy summer with the right swimwear

Enjoy summer with the right swimwear

Jane Garner tells you how to highlight the good and disguise the bad when you're selecting swimwear.

Jane Garner tells you how to highlight the good and disguise the bad when you're selecting swimwear.




electric blue




any shade of pink


black with a little white

pure white





floral - hand drawn to painted


metallic sheen

jewel and bead trims


small bow ties

silky fabrics


halter necks


swimsuit front/bikini back

beach dresses - maxi or mini

hip skirts

dressy tankinis

boy pant bikinis

ruched seams

deep plunge necklines

bandeau bikinis

Buying swimwear is all about deception and determination. Deceiving yourself and others and having the will to track down the very best shape to suit your body.

Somehow women who care enormously about the fit and look of their lingerie lose their sense of style when it comes to finding the perfect bikini or swimsuit. Sometimes because they buy before they try!

Think of that flat cardboard doll little girls used to dress up with outfits that 'clipped' onto the front? The hunt for swimwear should start with much the same principles. Instead of looking in the mirror and criticising all the 'bad' bits you're about to expose to the world, draw a simple outline of yourself.

Then concentrate on making the most of what you do have, rather than what you don't.

Consider your favourite shapes in underwear and what makes them 'first out of the drawer' choices. Underwired or pre-formed cups? Deep sided shorts or skimpy briefs? What neckline flatters your dcolletage - a deep V or a squared cami cut with minimal straps?

Then ponder the options only swimwear provides. Those tweaks and twists, hidden support and control panels, and thoughtful cuts designed to aid your disguise. Beautifully draped silky soft fabric is not, as you might imagine, glamorously positioned merely to indulge your inner goddess, it's one of the best ways to hide lumps, bumps and a lining that keeps everything smooth. Bandeau tops are good for a smaller bosom, halter neck straps widen shoulders.

Be very, very, very careful with bikini bottoms - a disaster waiting to happen if you're not absolutely honest about the size and shape of your nether regions. Remember, horizontal lines add width, diagonals deceive. And you don't need maximum coverage for maximum benefit. Equally there are few less attractive sights on a beach than a woman who has to adjust her bikini bottom every five minutes...

What you plan to do in your swimwear is also of paramount importance. Pool swimmers have a whole different set of requirements. In fact if you plan to expose your swimwear to chemically treated water, even on holiday, look for chlorine resistant fabrics. Plus, these days, there are UV resistant materials in some collections. Even 'fashion' swimwear is subjected to some harsh treatment, not least hour upon hour of baking in hot sunshine and a regular coating of sand and sun cream.

To top it all, swimwear must look good and stay put in all the right places while we lie down, sit, paddle, swim and perhaps dive, and (toughest of all) rise elegantly to our feet from a low-slung sun lounger! So DO top it all with something else - a simple sarong to sling around your hips or entire body to protect your modesty. A short beach dress or chic skirt so you're instantly 'dressed' for the stroll back to your hotel room or a drink at the bar?

Better still, opt for a kaftan or one of the new full length beach dresses. Kaftans fall into two distinct categories. Translucent as voile and glamorously beaded, revealing a bikini beneath and possibly belted with a fine tie. Or light but opaque cotton, possibly crinkly cheesecloth, embroidered around the neck and hemlines in a more hippy chic look. The ultimate kaftan for summer 2008 is white, but colours range from delicate pink to warm browns.

And don't forget to complete the outfit with the right accessories. Wearing a necklace is perhaps a tad over the top for sunbathing, so bejewel your feet with sparkly sequinned, intricately embroidered or beaded flip-flop or slides. And while actual heels are an absolute no-no, the higher the angle of your foot, the more shapely your calves, so look out for wedges rather than total flatties.

Go back to the line drawing of yourself and highlight your three best features. Great shoulders? Slender ankles? Long legs? Concentrate on making them look good, then walk tall. If you look as though you're trying to hide something, people will look harder to discover what it is!

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