We can’t all be Martha Stewart. Here are my tips for buying a swimsuit | Fashion

Lots of women – me! Hi! — would classify buying a new bathing suit somewhere up there with a smear test and filing a tax return on the Fun Times scale.

The dressing room curtain is always four inches narrower than the door frame. And oh, the shock of your almost naked body displayed under the supermarket lighting. Don’t even get me started on those tacky plastic gusset shields, eminently sensible but somehow so depressing and undignified. Simply put, we can’t all be Martha Stewart — casual in a bathing suit, on the cover of, say, Sports Illustrated.

But you know what’s worse? Not having a bathing suit that fits you. And it’s precisely because I don’t really like swimsuit shopping that I’m the right person to tell you how to make it easier for you and – above all – to end up with the perfect swimsuit for you.

Sure, you might find a 19-year-old influencer doing locker room selfies and “this gorgeous neon lime with keyhole cutouts will definitely make me stand out on the beach!” but, really, how useful is it?

First, I need you to promise me (and especially yourself) that this isn’t an exercise in self-flagellation on your body. Working towards a fit and healthy body is a positive thing; standing in front of a mirror hating yourself is not. It’s almost June and you need a bathing suit that works with the body you have now, not a Sue Gray report on historic cheese crimes.

Then, tighten your focus. I only wear black bathing suits because I’ve found it to be, perhaps unexpectedly, the most flattering color for pale skin. Or maybe you love prints, in which case look for fun prints. Then, before you start looking at new things, if you have old bathing suits at home, try them on. It doesn’t matter if they’re old and scruffy – that’s fine, actually, as it will focus your mind on the basic grammar of what works and what doesn’t. Does a scoop or a racerback balance your proportions better? Do your breasts sit more comfortably in an adjustable halter top or underwire cups?

Remember that when we see a woman in a swimsuit, what our brain evaluates is 85% the woman and 15% the swimsuit. What I mean is: don’t pay extra for what you don’t actually get. These days, many online retailers use a reasonably diverse cast of models. But I find that, for my part, I am always badly wired. As I scroll down a page, my eyes settle on the twenties rather than the woman who really looks like me. So shopping in real stores, despite the tough construction sites, is more efficient for me, because I have to try a swimsuit on myself and I’m not distracted by what it looks like on someone else .

You can get swimsuits that are built like shapewear these days, but more comfortable is a one-piece with fabric that’s ruched on one side or ruched on the midsection, which blurs your midsection in a way that can help put self-awareness at bay – Marks & Spencer have a good selection. Belted bathing suits don’t do you as much service as you might think, I find; but a seam that is between your waist and your breasts will make your legs look longer. Try Boden for that.

If you need a swimsuit that has good bust support, like a bra, look for a cup and strap shape that’s close to the shape of the underwear you find most comfortable. Now is not the time to experiment with strapless balconettes. But you want a unique piece that feels current, because looking dated instantly ages. Don’t panic: power doesn’t necessarily mean keyhole cutouts. A high leg will make a simple piece look more modern than a low, cropped cut. For that, try Mango.

Finding a swimsuit may seem difficult, but if you have a plan, it doesn’t have to be a challenge. And in fact, have a swimsuit that you like to wear? It is indeed gratifying.

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