You know that little voice in your head, the one that says, 'It'll be summer soon: put down the yum yum'? Let's call her Cindy (yes I know, I hate her too). We all know how smug Cindy will be on that one day in May where the weather switches from too-cold-to-go-without-a-coat to tights-are-you-mad! So now's the time to contemplate that most wretched of things – the bikini. (Cindy also says it's time to join a gym.)
In an ideal world I'd simply pop onto the Heidi Klein website and order myself two or three perfect-fit £175 bikinis. Job done. Hell, I'd probably order Jennifer Aniston's awesome bod while I was at it.
I have a HK bikini that I bought for £40 in the 2008 sale. It's super flattering and feels secure. A lot of this is due to the tencile strength of the fabric; it's very tightly woven. Thin, floppy bikinis are always unforgiving. Dense fabric holds its shape and keeps your boobs in place, even without underwiring. My bikini is similar to this one but patterned. I love it.
If you intend to go on holiday this year, it's no good waiting until the week before you fly to think about swimwear. All the popular sizes will be gone, you'll be stressed and it doesn't make for a pleasant scene when you start trying to pry the size 10 bottoms off the mannequin. So, what are the bikini options looking like this summer?
The pictures of that annoying Myleene Klass on the beach in Barbados (I cropped her head off, because her face irritates me too much) wearing her black M&S bikini had the desired effect of making me see how very flattering it is; here's the yellow version on their website.
If you're in the market for something girlie, this Floozie from Frost French at Debenhams bikini is gorgeous. I love the pattern and the cut. It also comes in a great range of sizes, from 32A to 38DD. I picked up one of their bikinis in the sale a few summers ago and I was impressed with how well it washed and held its shape. The bikinis are also quite substantial, not floppy pieces of cloth. It depends if you like underwiring though, because they're usually structured.
This cute red Sunseeker bikini would be perfect for those with smallish breasts. The bandeau top is £35 and the bottoms are £24. The top looks quite firm, which I like, although it's hard to tell from a few photos and a bit of film. Plus the model doesn't exactly have anything fleshy to challenge the fabric.
It's even trickier to find a chic and flattering swimsuit than a decent bikini. This taupe and cream bandeau with removable strap from Jasper Conran at Debenhams looks good to me. It has that most patronising of things: 'tummy control'. Always handy but no need to put it on a massive sticker, ok? It's got a good review, which says, 'The quality is excellent, lovely seaming down the front and the legs are not too high. Great fit and control.' It costs £38 but is out of stock online except for sizes 10 and 12. They probably haven't got full summer stock in yet, but if I'd seen another cossie I liked, I'd have used it.
I'm dreaming that I'll somehow afford to go abroad this year. In this dream I am channeling Eva Mendes. Look at her on holiday in Italy: this is a paparazzi shot, not a photoshoot. She's all 'Yeah I wear wedges to the beach and don't look mental when I casually throw on a head scarf'. I shall be the paler, fatter, flatter-bummed version of Eva. Obviously the transformation begins right after I scoff this yum yum.