8 of the best tips for buying a flattering bikini

How long have you had your bikinis for? If you are anything like me, then you might not remember the last time you bought one. Because in a world where fashion is fast, cheap and cheerful, (and everyone has insatiable shopping appetites), the one thing that is never usually on my list, is the humble bikini. Until now…
Sure, I have about 20 of the things stuffed in my wardrobe. I like to take two per day on holiday with me. But these are old faithfuls, which I have been wearing for years – they have the sun scorch marks and suncream stains to prove it. Yuck. Also, a lot of them are pre my three stone weight loss, so definitely not the best of fits.
This summer, I decided enough was enough. My fear of buying new bikinis had stemmed from having to actually see myself in a bikini (a hangover from being larger and less self confident), but then my old bikinis were unflattering – and round and round we go. I’ve since toned up, and I had multiple trips to go on this spring/summer, so I grabbed the bikini by the strings and invested…
Black and white bikini by Moontide – a New Zealand swimwear brand
Picture taken at Scott Dunn’s Las Palmeras villa, Mallorca: REVIEW

Luckily, I wasn’t in on it alone. Moontide were kind enough to help me on my quest by sending me a black and white padded bikini (above). Also, South Beach sent another in black and white (below) – which I haven’t worn on holiday… yet. Black is the new black, apparently. I knew a size 12 in Monsoon fits me beautifully, so I chose a jade green style with jewel detail, ordered online, from there, and I braved H&M bikini section (which looks like a tangled jumble sale pile at the best of times), but which was worth it since I found the best fitting bikini top ever. No under-boob squidge or anything.


My gorgeous South Beach bikini
Jewel detail bikini above, by Monsoon
It was a loooooong process… So, I wanted to share what I discovered:
1 Try the bikinis on. 
Sounds simple, but is a must. I bought a size 34DD in the H&M yellow bikini top. The mismatch bottoms were a size 12. I was so pleased that I ordered two more sets in the exact same styles online. Neither of them fit. I do like that you can buy the tops and bottoms separately in most stores now. Brilliant for most of us who are different sizes on top and bottom.
Yellow bikini underwired top and floral mismatch pants, both by H&M


2 Ask a friend’s opinion. An honest one.
A true friend will tell you that a bikini makes you look more tanned when it does, or highlights your under-boob squidge, with the same conviction.
3 Don’t rush. 
Does anyone love looking at themselves in a changing room mirror in a bikini for longer than they have to? Except maybe Elle. But don’t be tempted to rush. Look at what suits you and what doesn’t. I bought loads, spent an entire evening trying them on at home, got my flat mates opinion, then took most back. But kept the stellar ones. Giving yourself time and choice is key.
4 Do to be too swayed by magazines.
Yes, controversial, since my day job means I compile these fashion pages! But again, I’d say that bikinis are like wedding dresses. You don’t know what will suit you until you try them on. If you have short legs, high waisted briefs can pile on the pounds and make you look stumpy. I should know – I was under the false illusion that they would be ‘slimming’ throughout my teens.

Black and white bikini by Moontide – a New Zealand swimwear brand

5 Invest. It is SO worth it. 

I love my Moontide bikini, (above – you can buy Moontide at Simply Beach in the UK), and I have had so many compliments on the fit and colour. It may be a little more pricey than the standard high street, but it is worth investing – this bikini is supportive and flattering. You can feel the superior quality. The curves follow the curves of your body. You know what they say, buy cheap and you’ll buy twice.
6 Find your cut, but choose what makes you feel confident.
Once you find a size and shape that fits you, you might want to stick with what works. String bikinis won’t suit everyone. Cut out swimsuits won’t suit everyone. Sometimes the more you cover up, the bigger you appear. If this doesn’t bother you, then go for it. It’s your body and your self confidence. It’s the experimenting and the trying things on that is key. You might not care about how much flesh you flash, but who doesn’t want their boobs to feel supported?
7 Don’t undersize
Tempted to go for the 12 when the 14 is more comfy? Don’t. A smaller size will make you look bigger. Too-small bikinis cutting into your skin will just give the illusion of muffin top, or boob squidge. Who cares what size it is? Think ‘smooth lines’. I always try to consider this in all clothes shopping.
8 Buy whatever makes you feel happy
I look for colour and print or elegant chic, but always excellent support. That’s my top picks. But the most important thing is that my beachwear makes me feel confident, and happy in the knowledge that I won’t pop out while playing around on my rubber ring. If that makes me ‘beach body ready‘ – then bring it on!
Black and white bikini by Moontide – a New Zealand swimwear brand

Read my travel reviews to inspire your bikini travels…


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