For many of us, the joyous anticipation of a week or two lounging on a beach or sipping cocktails by the pool is dampened by the depressing process of trying to find swimwear that fits well, looks good and covers a multitude of sins. If there’s one garment guaranteed to make you self-conscious about not looking like a Victoria’s Secret Angel, it’s the swimsuit.

Here’s what to look out for to avoid the bikini blues…

Start by selecting a variety of styles and colours, because it’s often surprising how swimwear changes between the hanger and the changing room. Never buy without trying it on and checking the fit from both front, back and sides. Try sitting down, stretching your arms over your head and bending over to pick something up off the floor. If it feels uncomfortable, put it back!

If you’re tall and find swimsuits are often too short in the body, a tankini or bikini can be more flattering. Look for underwired bra styles for support if you have a larger bust and embellished tops if you could use a boost. Take a friend, use a personal shopper or go to a specialised lingerie or department store if you need a reliable second opinion about what flatters.

If you need several bikinis or swimsuits, try and restrict yourself to one or two colours that work well together so you can mix and match pieces without taking up too much packing space. Unless you want strange tan lines, avoid anything with complicated strap work or cut outs until you have a tan.

A matching sarong or an elegant beach cover up can boost your confidence and make you look more polished. Buy a trashy book or two, a great straw hat, factor 50, comfortable but stylish sandals, espadrilles or flip flops, a pair of flattering sunglasses and you’re beach ready!

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