How to Choose Swimwear and Have Confidence at the Beach or Pool

This week I have been thinking a lot about body confidence. Like many of my readers I have lost and gained weight over the years and since turning 40 it’s much harder to lose and much easier to gain. What used to be an hourglass shape is no longer, as my waist has gradually disappeared and it has meant learning to dress differently. Fully clothed in my most flattering shapes it’s ok, but when it comes to the swimming pool or beach, finding the most flattering swimwear can be a nightmare. So for those of you who also lack confidence in choosing swimwear (and by the way I am talking to anyone who has issues with their shape, be it their tummy, a small or large bust or whatever it is you don’t want to submit to scrutiny at the beach) I thought I would give you some tips on how to up your confidence at the pool or beach.

But first I wanted to introduce you to Ashley Graham. If you haven’t heard of her she is a Plus size model – in the US plus size refers to the equivalent of our size 12 (that’s about 90% of us then!) to our size 20. She describes herself as a body activist and was the first plus size model to appear in the Sports Illustrated swimwear edition (although actually I wish she had told them “no thank you”!) It’s not the rather raunchy side of her Instagram account that I love, it’s more the fact that she is completely comfortable in her own skin and doesn’t care if her cellulite is on show (not me being unkind she happily admits it’s there) wouldn’t it be great to feel this good in a bikini? You can watch her TED talk here.

Here are my top tips for feeling fabulous by the pool or at the beach:

  • Do your body prep. Use a body scrub to remove winter’s dry skin, smooth with a luxurious body lotion and add a light tan so you don’t start out completely white (swimwear looks immediately better with a bit of a tan) some of my favourites are Origins Ginger Body ScrubThis Works Energy Bank Body Makeover, St Tropez Every Day Gradual Tan Spray
  • Choose the right size. Lycra stretches but you don’t want to stretch it completely out of shape. If you are conscious of a tummy choose one of the many control swimsuits now available at every price point.

How to choose swimwear, beach body confidence, swimwear for apple shape

Underwired firm control swimsuit

  • If you are a size 16 plus don’t hide in the shadows. Choose a gorgeous swimsuit (below up to size 24) and stylish coverup – if you have slim legs show them off in a short kaftan. And if you want to wear a bikini (below up to size 22) then go for it!

How to choose swimwear, swimsuits for plus size,

Hat// Sunglasses // Swimsuit // Kaftan // Bag // Espadrilles //

How to choose swimwear, swimsuits for plus size,

Hat // Sunglasses // Bikini // Kaftan // Bag // Espadrilles //

  • Choose the right shape of swimwear – if you want to disguise larger hips choose a darker bottom half, to enhance a small bust choose padding or push up shapes or a top with frills, to define a waist choose a swimsuit with waist detail.

How to choose swimwear, beach body confidence, swimwear for pear shapeHow to choose swimwear, beach body confidence, swimwear for column shapeHow to choose swimwear, beach body confidence, swimwear for hourglass shape

Swimsuit for Pear shape // Create a waist on a column shape // Define a waist for an hourglass

How to choose swimwear, Swim wear body confidence, swimwear for a small bust,

Enhance a small bust – Hat // Sunglasses // Push Up Bikini // Kaftan // Bag // Sandals //

  • If you have a full bust choose a swimsuit or bikini that is cup sized. Most brands now sell top and bottoms separately so that you can buy a bikini that is a perfect fit.

How to choose swimwear, Swim wear body confidence, swimwear for a large bust,

Hat // Sunglasses // Cup sized bikini top// Bikini briefs // Sarong // Bag // Espadrilles //

  • Choose your best colours and add fabulous accessories – a big hat and sunglasses ooze confidence and look incredibly chic

How to choose swimwear, Swim wear body confidence, how to accessorise your swimwear

Hat // Sunglasses // Swimsuit // Sarong // Bag // Espadrilles //

If you are heading off to the sun don’t leave your swimwear shopping until the last minute, you need to give yourself time to find the right swimwear that makes you feel fabulous and confident. Or if you would like me to do the work for you why not order my Holiday Capsule Wardrobe service.

Finally if you haven’t done already download my ebook on creating and packing a holiday capsule wardrobe.

How to create and pack a holiday capsule wardrobe


  1. Pam Meyer
    July 8, 2016 / 4:20 pm

    Beautiful outfits! I look forward to seeing your ideas. The variety of looks is amazing!

  2. Georgina
    July 15, 2016 / 12:32 pm

    Great post as usual. Love the colours you’ve chosen.