What shape are you
STANDING in a harshly-lit changing room, pouring yourself into swim wear and scrutinising pale skin, untoned arms, a jelly belly and yes, a bum that does look big in this.
It's a wonder there's not more than heavy sighs at swimwear department, followed by a soaring sale of all-enveloping Kaftans.
But there's one woman who can help you look like a Goddess on the beach, no matter your shape or age.
Carole Stacey of Cheltenham-based Image Innovators is an image expert, who can sort your wardrobe, make-up and hair, making you feel like a new woman (or man).
She said: "The problem is we only focus on our bad bits. Looking great has little to do with diet or exercise, it's what you wear!
"It's about understanding yourself and your style personality. My core wardrobe isn't that large but I have a lot of accessories. It means I can take something fairly classic and change it a lot."
Her own journey to this business came out of adversity.
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In the 1980s Carole was a single parent with four children aged two - six and finding herself virtually unemployable, she began her own book keeping business which became hugely successful and she was named Business Woman of the Year in 1989.
Three years later an horrific car crash saw her lose her business and home. It was during her lengthy rehabilitation that Carole realised just how you look can affect how you feel.
She said: "I've always been a glass half-full woman and I cared about all these patients I met who had lost all their self confidence, so I started to train in self-image." Carole, is now a style expert for individuals and businesses.
With Carole on side we are going to give you a quick confidence boost for the beach because you really can find the perfect suit to flatter your figure.
The very first obvious fact is that there are very few perfect bodies out there. Everyone has something they are trying to deal with, so let's start with practicalities.
One-Piece or Two-piece Swimsuit
Some of the most beautiful, sexiest women seen on the beach wear one-piece suits, revealing just enough to keep things interesting.
Many suits show more back and less tummy, others a bit more cleavage or thigh. Concentrate on your best assets and conceal the rest. The aim is to balance your silhouette.
If you are a swimmer then choose a one-piece., which doesn't cut into your shoulders, has comfortable, stretchy fabric and doesn't creep up your backside. Forget bikini strings.
Small on Top
� Look for tops with a touch of padding, or an under wire these make the most of a dainty, bust line. Adjustable shoulder straps help even more.
�You can get away with wearing those cute, ruffled tops that are so fashionable and have the only body shape that can wear bandeau tops.
� Opt for separates, where you can choose your top and bottom separately.
Big on Top
You may need some extra support; underwire tops can work well and look great.
� Halter-top bikinis offer more support and a sexy cleavage. Look for styles that are banded around the midriff and can be tied in the back and around the neck. This will give you some lift and will allow you to make adjustments for a personal fit.
� Look for one-piece swimsuits with some structure in the bust, such as soft foam cups or at least, a shelf bra. Wide shoulder straps will also be much more comfortable than thin, spaghetti straps.
� Avoid strapless bandeau tops and those tops that offer minimal coverage.
� Again, order the top and bottom sizes separately.
Short legs or Torso
� Play up your figure by finding a suit that is cut high on the thigh, so they look much longer. If you have curvy hips, then, all the better. This cut will accentuate your smaller waist and give you a flirty look. Ideal for the triangle body shape with short legs.
� You've probably already heard that vertical stripes can visually lengthen the body, so can wearing a solid colour bottom bikini with a printed top because the eye is drawn upward, giving a longer look.
� A solid, one-piece suit with a plunging neckline creates a continual, long appearance and is absolutely, drop dead gorgeous.
� Avoid boy shorts and skirted bikinis as they draw the eye downward and can make you look shorter.
Long Body Shape
Clothes drape beautifully on you and your legs on and on. But, you do need to make sure that you do not look like a bean pole at the beach this summer.
� Go wild with embellishments at the hips and bust line. Rings, jewels, ties and bows are all good for you.
� Try horizontal stripes to give the illusion of a wider body, use them across your bust line for a fuller-looking bust.
� You'll look amazing in this season's neon bright colours.
� If you want a one-piece swimsuit, then choose one with cut out sides. It will break up your long torso, just like a bikini does.
� Cute, ruffled skirts, cover-ups and boy shorts are great for you.
� Avoid vertical strips, high neck lines and dark, solid colours.
No problem, it's not that you don't have a waist; it's that your hips are slim!
� If you don't have many curves, create some by wearing one-piece suit with a high-on-the-thigh cut. A belted waistline on a one-piece will give the appearance of a whittled waist line. So will a curvy seam line that runs down each side of the torso.
� Bikinis are good for you. Add some illusion at the hips with rings, ruffles and bows. If you're small on top, go for a strapless bandeau. Go for dark, solid colours at the bottom and a wildly printed or embellished top.
� Avoid solid-coloured or horizontal striped one-pieces.
You're strong, confident and statuesque...a goddess!
Balance is the key word for you. You will want to play up the bottom of your torso and minimise the top.
� Wear bikini bottoms that have lots of colour and print and also use accents on the hips such as ties, belts and sashes. The new, moderate cut bottom was made for you. Also, wide shoulder straps and square necklines can make you look fabulous.
� Stay away from plunging neck lines, or tiny bikini bottoms.
Plus size figures
Show a little skin in just the right places and you will look super sexy!
� One-piece swimsuits with lace or mesh inserts or a strategically placed cut-out or deep V neckline can really change your image.
� Lengthen your thigh with an adjustable ruching detail at the hip.
� A sheer sarong can you give a little confidence and still look totally glamorous.
� Dark colours, swirling or V patterns are great, try to find a swim-suit that has dark panels down each side of the torso and a floral printed middle.
� Avoid bright neon colours.
Too much Tummy
If you are self conscious about your tummy try wearing a control panel in your swimsuit.
� A one-piece with some draping around the waist or hips can also help to conceal.
� Avoid detail across your tummy
Big on the Bottom
You should go for styles that draw attention to the top half of your body, doing this will play up your top half and de-emphasise your bottom end.
� A moderate bikini bottom with a 3 inch side is ideal for you. For a super effect make sure you wear a solid bottom and print on the top.
� Horizontal stripes on the top will work wonders and balance out your silhouette.
Find your swim wear BEFORE you go
Prices at resorts can be astronomical and you don't want to spend all of your time looking for a suit that fits.
For more information contact Carole Stacey at
www.imageinnovators.co.uk or telephone 01242 681285