According to UK style gurus Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine, women should forget our size and discover our shape when searching for the perfect outfit.
Or, with summer upon us, the perfect swimwear. The pair, better known through their television show 'What Not to Wear', have identified what they believe to be the 12 different body types of women in their new book, 'The Body Shape Bible'.
You could be a goblet like Catherine Zeta Jones, a lollipop like Angelina Jolie or a brick like Kim Cattrall. But all 12 of the shapes fall into broader body type categories.
For example, if you have a fuller figure, you're likely to be either a brick, an apple, a cello or an hourglass. If you are fairly straight up and down, you're probably a cornet or a column. If you have a large bust in proportion to the rest of your body, you might be a lollipop, a vase or a goblet. And if you have larger hips than shoulders and a generous backside, you could be a pear, a skittle or a bell. Never is a woman more self-conscious about her body than when in a swimsuit, so it is vital that you learn which body shape you are in order to determine which swimsuit will flatter you the most.
Alana Lindsay, general manager of swimwear boutique Sunburn, says most women are misled in thinking they can't wear the latest swimwear in fashion just because they have larger breasts or a larger bottom. "But you can with separates, which allow you to tailor-make your own swimsuit for your body shape," Lindsay says. If you have a larger bust, an A to E cup fitting top, such as a halter bikini or singlet is ideal. But if you want to make your bust look bigger, Lindsay recommends choosing a top with a booster pad sewn into the garment to add lift and push up your cleavage.
If you're bottom heavy, Lindsay suggests opting for a plain black brief and a bold, patterned top to draw attention to your upper body. "Control pants" fitted with power mesh are designed to suck in your stomach, making them a perfect choice for new mothers. Steer clear of boyleg shorts if you want to make your legs appear longer, but they are a popular option for concealing cellulite on upper thighs. If you're wanting to create a curvier illusion, Lindsay says hipster pants are a better choice than full briefs because they show off more of your hips – especially ones with side ties. For curvy girls, swimwear company Bond-Eye has released a Shape Enhancement range designed to hide those wobbly bits and create a slimmer silhouette using power mesh. The collection includes a contoured one-piece, a contoured underwire bikini top in specialist moulded cup fitting for a C through to F cup, a contoured underwire tankini with powermesh and three powermesh pants options.
If you're really looking to turn heads on the beach, you can't go past Maryan Mehlhorn for unique, bold and feminine swimwear. Her summer range features canary yellow, green and red, and animal prints.