Beauty & Fashion

How to analyse the shapes and brands that suit you

Swimwear and beachwear

Since I did my try-on in store there’s been so much press attention surrounding the launch of the new John Lewis own brand swimwear range that I thought I should have a quick look at that too. They’ve had a complete overhaul, changing up 75% of the range with the midlife body in mind. It means there are adjustable straps on a lot of pieces along with ruching, mesh inserts, belts, asymmetry and textured fabrics. The design that every magazine has pulled out is the asymmetric one because it’s so striking and after my happy discovery of the asymmetric top, I had to try it to see what it looked like on a non-model body. So this is what we do in our lunch hours should you ever wonder – which I’m sure you don’t. And we gave the DPD man one heck of a shock when he came through the side gate as usual, only to see Mal taking pictures of me in a swimsuit. Rumours are going to start flying round the village…

I’m starting with the navy striped one and I had to work with the sample sizes that were available so this is a 14 and it’s a bit too big so it didn’t have the supportive properties of the black one that you’ll see in a minute. It’s up to you to decide whether you like it – or maybe we should wait and see if the DPD man ever comes back again!

I can confirm that it’s comfortable and it certainly covers the lower part of your midriff which seems to get more troublesome every year. I feel a bit torn about swimwear at the moment, partly because the Americans on the boat in Thailand were so surprised that I wore bikinis. They explained they automatically stopped wearing them after children but I generally feel more comfortable in them, mostly because I have a long body. Anyway this is a good hybrid option if you’re dithering like me. It’s incredibly good value and as I type, it’s almost sold out in this colourway .

Asymmetric swimsuit navy and ivory stripe

I absolutely love the beachwear that JL have come out with this year. These linen blend trousers are fantastic and I’d wear them any time, not just at the beach because there’s no transparency in the navy. They come in ecru too but they look to have less opacity – still good for the beach though. I’m wearing a medium and I’m giving them an absolute 10/10 and this is where the cut of the swimsuit’s really striking.

Asymmetric swimsuit navy and ivory stripe; Linen blend beach trousers

Here’s the swimsuit in the black colourway which has more stock available at the moment and I think I prefer it on my body without the horizontal lines. This time I’m wearing a 12 and it’s a better fit. I love the textured fabric, it doesn’t feel as hot and clingy as the usual smooth lycra. It has padding at the bust but it’s easily removable if you need less of a boost in that area than I do.

Black textured asymmetric swimsuit

And once again when you go from beach to bar it comes into its own with a simple pair of cotton beach trousers which make such a nice change from a sarong or a kaftan. These are a slightly slimmer cut than the JL ones and you’ll see they have a breezy slit up the side, they come in navy or white as well.

Black textured asymmetric swimsuit; Black cotton beach trousers

And I almost did it – a whole post on neutrals without any colour… but then I saw this. The last piece of holidaywear I want to show you and it could definitely be worn at any time because it isn’t remotely see-through. It’s such a lovely, sunny colour. Once again it’s a breathable linen viscose blend with a tie at the back that would cover a strapless bra and pretty scalloped detail at the hem. It’s also available in a soft sage green and it’s very reasonably priced.

Halter beach dress

So I hope this little study on how to analyse the shapes and brands that suit you has been helpful. The starting point with clothes is your body shape and remember that whatever build or shape you are there’s nothing wrong with you – it’s just a case of finding the shapes, cuts and fabrics that work hard for you. If you don’t look good in something it isn’t your fault – it’s the clothes.

If you want to go deeper into it, here’s a much more detailed post about understanding your body shape and silhouette that I wrote a while ago. In the meantime I thought it would be interesting to finish by asking JL about their current bestselling beauty products and this is what’s flying out for summer.

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