From swimsuits to bikinis, here’s our big swimwear guide

Swimsuit and bikini shopping can be a nightmare, and with the hot weather in full swing, our mind has certainly switched over to swimwear season. Whatever your silhouette or size, we’ve compiled our ultimate swimwear shape guide to tell you what to look for when shopping for swimwear this season. Whether you’re set to be a back garden bather or are still jetting off somewhere glamorous (I mean who knows what’s going on with travel?!), we’ve got bikinis, tankinis, swimsuits and everything in between in our comprehensive shape guide.

But this guide isn’t about what ‘suits your shape’, we believe everyone has a swimwear body, we’re here simply to debunk what different styles of swimwear ‘do’. What they enhance, how they cut and the results they give, the rest, really is up to you. We’ll also look at some of the latest trending silhouettes, so that you can make a really informed choice about what you dive into wearing this summer.

Here’s how to make a splash this summer (the puns are probably here to stay).

Plus Size

Plus size swimwear is thankfully nowhere near as tricky as it used to be! From plus size specialist retailers such as Simply Be, to high street heroes like River Island and lingerie specialists such as Figleaves, there are lots of options to choose from. And while it used to be all about covering up, a continually growing body positive movement, largely enthused and emboldened by social media (hurrah) you can now find lots of fashion forward shapes too. So whether you want something supportive and structured or a swim look that shows off your curves, nothing is off the table. Here are a few of our current favourites.

Skirted Swim

Not quite ready to jump into swimwear season? Have you seen skirted swimwear? This is actually a super cute look, especially for those into a vintage, 50s aesthetic. But a really good option too if you want a little more upper thigh coverage. Essentially for the most part it’s a swimsuit with an attached skirt , so you almost get a skater skirt vibe. You can just get swim skirts, that can either be skater style or like tube tops that you wear over the bottom half of your swim look, a great solution if you want to skip the sarong this summer.

Curve Creators and Bust Enhancers

If you’re looking to create curves and give the illusion of a fuller shape across your bust line, these simple style ideas can boost your bust without any padding. Looking for added detail across the chest, such as ruffled tops, knot bust details and statement one-shoulder styles. This silhouette also balances out hips as it creates a more rounded shape on your top half and draws the eye up the body. Off-the-shoulder styles with added ruffle details will also create the illusion of a larger and wider bust line if you’re wanting to add inches.

Torso lengthener

Whether you’re heading to the Olympics or planning to splash about in a paddling pool over the next few months, sporty swimwear is still on the season’s hottest trends. Sporty swim looks utilise optical illusion colour blocking, go-faster stripes, piping detail, racer backs and zip detailing to streamline and elongate torsos, while still creating curves. Vertical stripes will help to draw the eye up and down your body, making you look instantly longer and taller.

Waist definers, the hourglass makers

Evoke your inner Jessica Rabbit and make a statement in your swimwear this season. If you’re looking to create envious curves then try one of these hourglass makers for size. A belted swimsuit helps to create the illusion of an hourglass silhouette as it draws attention to your waist, the narrowest part of your body. If you’re still set on a two piece, then look for belted briefs that sit high rise on the waist to give the same effect.

Bust balancer and fuller bum

If you’re conscious of looking top heavy or simply want to perk up your bum with minimal effort then there are a few easy swimwear styling tips that can make all the difference.

Creating a rounder derriere or fuller hips will balance out bigger busts and is such a simple thing to do. Opt for swimwear or bikini briefs that feature ruching up the centre back, or ruffle or gathering details at the side of the briefs. This will give a fuller bottom half in a flash.

After surgery

We’re seeing a real growth in brands recognising the need to expand their collections into specialist, post-mastectomy swimwear and they’re not ignoring style either. While there are a number of brilliant specialist brands such as Amoena, leading the way, the high street has also stepped up, with brands such as Marks & Spencer and George at Asda creating swim looks too.

Leg lengthener

Use this clever fashion hack to instantly lengthen your legs. A high leg style means your swimsuit or bikini briefs are cut higher up your leg, exposing more of your thigh and hip. This automatically gives the illusion of longer pins. So from slim side bands to thin tie sides, how much thigh you flash is up to you.

More Support

After a little more coverage but still want to dip your toe into the two-piece pond? Then a fifties-esque high-waisted bikini is worth a try. A high waisted brief, paired with a bra style silhouette top offers more support without compromising on style. A style that perhaps gained most of its momentum when it was introduced as the plus size woman’s answer to bikinis, this silhouette is now popular across the high street at all sizes. When you’re looking for more support on top, opt for halterneck or underwire styles as these will give you the lift you require. While there are lots of high street options, checking out lingerie specialists for concealed underwire swimsuits, tankinis and bikinis is a great choice too.

Midriff Smoother

Swimwear is so hard to buy and while social media might make everyone look like they have effortless confidence, just remember that it isn’t always the case. If you’re nervous about slipping into swimwear this season, don’t let that stop you enjoying the summer. Find bikinis or swimsuits that add to your confidence. For midriff smoothing properties opt for high waisted bikini styles that will help hold you in and give you a bit more coverage. Tie front details, or ruching are also great ways of smoothing out your middle without compromising on style.


Of course depending on what stage of pregnancy you are at and how big your bump is, your swimwear needs might be different. Of course swimsuits are stretchy, so if you want to keep wearing old favourites or size up in high street pieces, go for it. Keeping the bump in a bikini, a low rise bikini bottom, sitting under your bump should mean you won’t need to alter your current swim range too much (although you may need a new bikini top). But if you’re looking for some specialist maternity swimwear, here are a few that caught our eye.

featured image: Boden, courtesy of brand

further images: courtesy of brand