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The perfect swimsuit to flatter on the beach this summer


As you are planning your summer holiday, whether it be a staycation or The Seychelles, let Cheryl Cole be a warning.

The recent photographs of her on the French Riviera, in a studded cut-out one-piece, more lime-tastic than Borat’s mankini, more spikey bits than Ben Hur’s chariot, should be enough to send you scurrying to the safety of a flattering LBS, otherwise known as the Little Black Swimsuit.

If Mrs Cole, with her streamlined silhouette, can’t make a crystal-embellished, fluoro-flash monokini work – no-one can.

The perfect swimsuit is one that is on your side; not a look-at-me horror that will haunt you in a hundred and one holiday snaps for years after.

And the classic, or, occasionally, even quirky, black one-piece cossie/costume is the answer, no matter what your shape.

For a start, black is flattering, slimming, and provides all-over coverage, if you can’t face the thought of baring almost-all in a bikini and your tummy is not even tankini-friendly. Add colour and individual style with your sarong, a straw Stetson, jewelled flip-flops and fabulous shades.

Before you shop, make sure you know what you want out of your LBS and how you expect it to perform. If you’re the active type, addicted to twenty lengths of the pool before breakfast, choose a sporty style with good support and functional straps. Primark’s basic LBS is ideal – and, at £6, a genuine bargain – and it even has a tummy-support panel.

If your planned diet has gone AWOL, the solution could be the Avanti by “Miraclesuit”, which claims to make you appear “10bs lighter in 10 seconds”, and is equipped with detachable straps, hidden underwire and tummy-control.

Styles with a bit of draping at the waist will also disguise wobbly bits and longer leg shapes or ‘skirt’ details hide the tops of the thighs.

If you are well-endowed in the boob department, your best bet is to pick a one-piece which is bra-sized, such as Bravissimo’s Ballet, available in 30D-40FF, or Next Directory’s timeless halter-neck, in 32A-38G cup sizes.

If you have had a masectomy, one of the nicest designs I’ve found is the mesh-top one-piece, by Anita Care, with an elasticated shelf-bra and protheses pockets.

For the smaller-boobed, Figleaves’ one-shoulder Grecian design with removable foam inserts is a great look.

But, avoid plunge-V necks unless you have perfect, pert breasts; nothing looks worse and more ageing than sagging, sunburnt boobs.

Many of the LBS styles available this summer are double-action designs; great for sunbathing and swimming by day and partying by night, with a sarong or harem-trousers. Figleaves’ draped, one-shoulder style with tiny keyhole-cutout, and the gilt-buckled, one-strap, one-piece by F+F at Tesco are both great sand-to-sundown options.

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