Summer 2012 Swimwear Guide: Very cool looks

Whether you’re looking for bold, innovative swimwear design, or are just a fan of the classic itsy-bitsy bikini, you’re sure to find it in this season’s collection. Here’s a guide to the latest women’s swimwear trends, as well as a look at the ultimate poolside accessories.

Retro prints
Think polka-dots, thick stripes and fun frills. Thanks to TV shows like Mad Men and The Hour, the retro glamour of the 50’s is back. It’s also perfect for any body shape and swimsuit style, so whether you’re built like a boy or have overflowing curves, retro prints are perfect for you.

Animal magnetism
It’s a trend that can look just as fabulous as it can frumpy. The key to pulling off animal prints – and looking chic rather than cheap – is all in the execution. Some of the popular trends to watch out for this season are snakeskin, zebra and leopard spots. Always remember that larger prints create a greater surface area in visual terms. If you are looking to flatter you curvy shape, be sure to opt for a smaller pattern as it creates the illusion of a smaller frame. 

All the added extras
Don’t opt for just a plain old swimsuit anymore. This season, demand that little bit extra! Whether it’s a cute frill, a playful ruffle or a cheeky fringe, you’ll be sure to start catching eyes. These little extras are also great for anyone with a small chest, as the optical illusion will create greater volume around your bust.

Block colours
Prints are cheerful and fun, but for a more sophisticated look, opt for block colours. As with everyday clothing, block coloured swimwear is the most flattering to your physique. Just avoid white – unless you’re prepared to part with your modesty.

Cut-outs are a sexy and sophisticated swimwear look. The shape draws greater attention to your mid-section, but the style’s svelte lines do so in a flattering way. If you tend to spend most of the summer in a deck chair rather than in the water, be prepared for some awkward tan lines.  

Poolside accessories
Even the best swimsuit isn’t complete without some accessories – just make sure that your choices complement rather than clash. If you opt for retro prints, complete the look with a Jackie Kennedy inspired headscarf or some classic aviators. Or, if prints are more your style, be bold and mix and match, without going over the top!