The only thing any of us needs to do to be ‘beach-body ready’ this summer is apply sunscreen. But while there’s no perfect body for the beach, there is perfect swimwear for your body. And this year, it’s easier than ever to find that ideal match.
Shape-enhancing swimming costumes have been around for ages, but the range of sizes and styles on offer has been surprisingly limited. Now, the hottest swimwear on the High Street is body-shaping — all the chic one-pieces above use design tricks and state-of-the-art fabrics to pull you in where you need it most.
Zebra side-detail swimsuit, £25, bonmarche.co.uk (left). Right: Blue tie-dye bandeau swimsuit, £18, peacocks.co.uk
I’m a size 10 and I’ve never been a fan of a bikini. Post-children, I’m definitely happiest in a one-piece, and thanks to ever-improving fabrics and cuts, I can now get a clever one that gives just the right amount of squeeze (basically to stop my stomach sticking out further than my boobs).
I don’t want to be constricted, but I like to look a little streamlined. And I’m not alone — 40 per cent of M&S swimsuit sales are of the designs that feature its Magic 360 Tummy Control technology, a hidden layer of mesh which sculpts your shape.
It’s evident in the store’s bestseller, a ruched, navy suit with secret slimming panels and clever chlorine-resistant fabric which ensures it looks new for longer by staving off any unflattering sagging.
But as well as feminine, we want fashionable. The trailblazers when it comes to fashion-forward figure-flatterers are Melissa Odabash and Heidi Klein.
Raspberry Tremezzo one-piece, £260, heidiklein.com (left). Right: Pink contoured swimsuit, £8, asda.com/george
Both labels have ardent celebrity fans: Eva Longoria, Cindy Crawford and Jennifer Lopez favor Odabash while Kate Moss and Jennifer Aniston have been spotted in Klein designs.
Founders Heidi Gosman and Penny Klein say the secret of their elegant swimwear —such as the raspberry strapless number above — is that it ‘does a lot of work behind the scenes’ and draws on 20 years of feedback from customers.
‘Our bespoke honeycomb and ribbed fabrics are known for their sculpting effect on all bodies — no matter the shape or size — and our powermesh lining offers an additional layer of support,’ they say. ‘We also integrate hidden under-wiring and side-boning. We work with the softest Italian fabrics to ensure the swimwear rests on the skin rather than digging in.’
Plunge tummy control swimsuit, £34, next.co.uk (left). Right: High-neck tummy control one-piece, £34, next.co.uk
The Melissa Odabash swimsuit, in yellow, is cut for a silhouette-sculpting fit with its V-neckline, ruched cups with removable pads and chic panel below the bust to define your shape. It is made from 86 per cent polyamide and 14 per cent elastane, giving it a high elasticity content to really hold you in.
If you’re on a tighter budget, try British lingerie brand Pour Moi. Despite its red one-piece, above, having no underwiring, the molded pads and secret support is good for those with larger bust sizes. There’s also a controlling front panel built in across the mid-section, while the tie belt is strategically placed to fit and flatter.
Or there’s Bonmarche’s blue zebra-print one-piece, far left, which has a hidden tummy control panel to keep your silhouette sleek, as well as a flattering wrap front with side-tie detail.
Ruched-side tummy control swimsuit, £36, next.co.uk (left). Right: Samoa wrap-over control swimsuit, £42, pourmoi.co.uk
If you have a bigger bust, look for underwired styles that are available in a wide range of sizes — George at Asda’s bright pink design, now half price at £8, is available in sizes 32B to 38G. The contoured shape includes strategically placed seams not dissimilar to those of a corset. And while the fabric won’t hold you in the same way, it’s designed to trick the eye and make you look taller and slimmer than you really are.
You may not get the high-tech fabric in this one — it’s made from recycled plastic bottles and textile waste, therefore ticking the eco box — but if you don’t want to spend a lot on a swimsuit, you’d be hard pressed to find anything more flattering for less than £10.
Panarea yellow one-piece, £246, Odabash.com (left). Right: Tummy control swimsuit, £29.50, marksandspencer.com
Styling: DINAH VAN TULLEKEN. Pictures: LEZLI + ROSE.
Hair & make-up: Desmond Grundy using Bare Minerals & oroccanoil.
Models: Annika @ Models1 & Apple @ Milk.