Fashion with Justine Jamieson
Although we have still got to get over the last of the chilly breezes, summer time is just around the corner.
If you're a beach bum, you will be hanging out to buy your first bikini of the season. In fact the first drops have been in the stores since July to target the lucky tropical holiday-makers.
I love bikinis, just hate trying them on in the well-lit changing rooms. I didn't realise how much "hail damage" my thighs got over winter. Righto, it's off to the gym for last-minute workouts before summer hits in all its flesh and glory.
With bikinis preferred by retailers this summer, start those abdominal crunches.
If you don't feel comfortable showing your middle, a lot of one-pieces are still about.
This summer's designs are full of vibrant sizzling colour such as: coral, hot pink, orange, peach, turquoise, cobalt, purple, bright green, yellow . . . the list goes on.
All these bright colours are great for bringing out your summer bronzed bodies. The other end of the spectrum is another trend of pastel colour.
As for the prints, there are so many to choose from.
Try tropical flower and palm designs, this is a huge summer fashion trend.
Other patterns such as nautical stripes, polka dots, sexy geometric designs and cutesy country-girl checks will be winking at you through the racks this season. You are bound to find a pattern that suits your personality.
What's great about this season's swimsuits is that designers are understanding that most women need a bit of support in the chest department. They're designing styles that fit like a bra, with padding if you need it to create or uplift your bust. Fewer halterneck, string bikinis this summer means no more having to hold on tight when jumping over the whitewash.
Bandeau (strapless) styles are big for smaller-busted women, and there are lots in twist styles, with gathers helping to form the illusion of a bigger bust. Bigger-busted girls, stay away from these styles and opt for the retro-inspired wider strapped halterneck as it has the support you need. Bikini briefs are still the preferred style down below.
Frills and ruffles are everywhere this summer, especially at the hip. Choose frills that highlight what you want to show off or extend.
Lots of bikini tops and one-pieces have fake ties in the middle of the bust, too.
Essentials to wear with your bikini this year are: beautiful white, black or solid coloured matching cotton or chiffon kaftans; large retro 1950s cat's-eye sunnies; a large-brimmed colourful or black straw hat; and of course hard-wearing Havianna jandals.
Be sure to look for pieces with interesting details and choose a colour that suits your complexion to avoid looking boring on the beach.
GETTING IT RIGHT
Pear shape / small bust Use this season's ruffles to your advantage by adding volume at the top half. Ruffles around the bust can make it seem visually larger. You can also use vintage cupped styles with padding to create curves.
Top heavy Use ruffles to your advantage by conversely adding them to the bottom to balance your hips with your bust. Avoid unstructured crochets or string bikinis if they don't offer any support; instead stick to structured styles and halternecks.
Short legs Avoid boy-legs styles and go for high-cut brief instead so as to not shorten the legs further. Also a higher waist will be more flattering than a hipster.
Athletic figures If you're not big on the curves make the most of styles like statement strapping, backless styles and crochet that instead show off a toned physique