WARDROBE 101: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SWIMSUIT SHOPPING

Need a new swimsuit for the Christmas break, but youre having a minor meltdown over the thought of shopping for one? Ill have you out of the change room and 
onto the beach in no time!

Taking my new Jets by Jessika Allen '50s gathered swimsuit for a dip in the pool in Bali

ITS a week before Christmas, and my bet is you’re still working through your list of things that need to get done before the festive frolic. Christmas cards signed and sent? Check. Presents bought and wrapped? Check. Menu planned and prepped? Check. Holiday booked and paid for? Check.  

For many in the southern hemisphere this is also the time for the annual pilgrimage to a beach, river or holiday house – otherwise known as the shack. A time for lazy days and long lunches. For swimming and sunning – with plenty of SPF30+ applied! 

But before you head off, check that youve got your bathers at the ready! Or maybe you need to add a new swimsuit to that list!

In an ideal world, we’d all have perfect bodies. Or we’d all be able to find the perfect swimsuit in the privacy of our own homes … in candle light!

Swimsuits are high on the list of clothes we dread buying – shop mirrors can be cruel and the light so unflattering. Sadly, the world – like our bodies – is far from ideal, and the reality is that, come this time of the year, many of us find ourselves standing under harsh fluorescent lighting preparing to expose our flesh that hasn’t seen the sun for months! I know. I had to go shopping for a new swimsuit for my trip to Bali last week and the idea of having to go into store left me with a minor sense of fear and anxiety.

Despite my small panic attack, finding the perfect swimsuit for your body shape is essential for confidence on the beach or by the pool. 

Im a big believer in loving your body no matter what your shape or size. Until, that is, Im the one trying to squeeze my 52-year-old curves into a bikini in the glaringly bright lights of the fitting room. Trust me! It wasn’t a good look! Thats when I ran from the clutches of the itsy bitsy floral bikini into the arms of the gorgeous Jets by Jessika Allen 50s gathered swimsuit. My preference will always be a one-piece that has a built-in shelf bra and sucks you in in all the right places. However, having said that, some bikini styles do work for me. Particularly those with D cups and fuller briefs that some labels are offering now. A favourite of mine is Norma Kamali. So very Marilyn Monroe! 

So if you need to buy a new swimsuit, grit your teeth and put aside plenty of time to try on lots of styles until you find one that works for you. There really is a costume to fit and flatter all shapes and sizes. And every woman needs a swimsuit that gives her the confidence to flaunt her feminine curves and not feast on a packet of Tim Tams!!!

Time to take the plunge! Just dive right in and do it:

1: Go on your own

2: Avoid communal changing rooms

3: Go first thing in the morning 
Not only will you feel fresher, but the changing rooms will be emptier – and you won’t have a lunch-filled stomach to contend with.

4: Fake a tan (if you can) before you go
Nothing looks good on pale, blotchy skin.

5: Don’t scrutinise yourself too much 
in the changing room mirrors 
You want to go home with a costume, not a complex. Hopefully the change room 
will have a full-length mirror. If it doesn’t, find one – or a store – that does. 
Remember to look at your rear as well. If thats not possible in the change room mirrors, 
take a hand mirror with you – just in case – so you can check yourself out from behind. 

6: Wear a thong or bikini briefs 
We should all know this, but you’ll need to keep them on as it is a requirement of the health and safety authorities.

7: Try on a bigger size first 
There’s nothing guaranteed to make you feel fat and frumpy 
faster than too-tight bikini briefs or one-pieces.

8: Be honest about your body 
If you know your tummy can’t stand the attention, cover it up. 
If your breasts are a little saggy, look for a piece that has good bra support. If you know your body and are honest about your shape, it helps make selection a little easier. 

9: Make plenty of time so you can try on lots of styles
Take a good mix of swimsuits and sizes into the changing room so you won’t 
have to attract the attention of the sales assistant while wearing the 
changing room curtain as a makeshift toga!

10: Check that the swimsuit is comfortable
When trying on, bend, sit and stretch to check the swimsuit fits properly 
and is comfortable to move in.

11: How will you be using the swimsuit? 
Think about what you’ll mainly be using the swimsuit for – sunbathing, swimming lengths of your local pool or for sheer glamour – and choose the style that’s most suitable.

12: Don’t be scared of colour 
It may look garish in the artificial light, but sometimes colour beats black every time on the beach, especially once you’ve developed a slight tan.

13: And, finally, as with anything, 
invest in a good brand
You may baulk at the price, but a good swimsuit will last for years
if you care for it properly.

 Do you too hate shopping for bathers? Had any swimsuit shopping dramas? 
Heading away for the holidays? Would love to hear from you.


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