How to beat the swimsuit shortage

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We may feel brave enough to pull out the Birkenstocks and let our sun-hungry legs see the light of day, but I regret to inform you that many of the best swimwear are already sold out. This dryness only applies if you’re looking for something in the adult swimwear sweet spot: a holy trinity of flattering, affordable fit and a design that fills your heart with joy. The reason for the shortage? Many of us haven’t bought new swimwear for a few years, which is creating a huge surge in demand.

Late deliveries of Boden’s Corsica and Santorini navy swimwear were also due to Covid-related delays in Asia where they are made. The black wrap-front Levanzo in size 10 won’t be available for another eight weeks. My favorite £85 Portofino swimsuit in ivory (with vertical panels to create the illusion of a lean body and slim waistline even after a hotel buffet breakfast) won’t be restocked at all .

I turn to M&S, where it turns out you can buy the Floral Tummy Control Bandeau Swimsuit (£29.50) and the Khaki Scallop Padded Plunge Swimsuit (£32.50), but there is an alert saying “stock coming soon: usually ships within 14 days”. Not very useful if you want a new costume before the weekend. The only way forward is to arm yourself with the exact knowledge of what goes into a “perfect” bathing suit.

First, let go of the idea that a black bathing suit will make you look slimmer. This is often not the case and it does not do justice to many skin tones. Instead, look for styles with vertical panels across the torso. A little ruching is fine, but too much can feel dated, so try a wrap-style top or an underbust bow detail as it draws the eye away from the midriff. Even a pretty neckline will have the same effect – focus on celebrating what you have, rather than hiding what you hate. A detailed print like gingham can also hide bumps and bumps.

If your breasts are larger than a D cup, cup sizes are non-negotiable. When properly supported, you’ll look slimmer and taller – and even if that’s not your goal, you’ll also be more comfortable.

If it’s your lower half that’s bothering you, I feel sorry for you, because fashion loves high legs right now. Lower discounts exist – see below. “For me, a flattering swimsuit is all about support at the top and coverage at the bottom,” says Stella columnist Emily Johnston. “I traded deep cuts on the chest and thigh for underwire and seats that allow me to move without accidentally revealing too much.”

The good news is that swimsuits in your size are available. The bad news is that you’ll have to find it – and fast. I’m clearly not the only woman who wants to take a dip by the pool next week, at least in terms of dress. If you can’t – and who hasn’t left holiday shopping to the last minute at some point – these are the best places to find swimwear that will last beyond summer…

The most affordable

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