Vintage Inspired – High Street Swimwear

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I hope I’m not getting ahead of myself a little….

After all it is still May and likely to snow at any time (can you tell I have a deep distrust of UK weather?) but I thought it was time to look at swimwear. I actually stayed last week in a place where I required swimwear, all I have is a black and white basic swimsuit bought in a panic a few years ago. Fine, but it doesn’t fit properly. I have a long body and short legs, meaning swimsuits go all “trampoliney” in the small of my back. Over the years I have established there are 3 ways to counteract this:

  • A bikini
  • An adjustable halterneck
  • Some kind of elaborate cut out design

I don;t know about you, but I’m not sure I’d be leaping about like that without straps…..

I don’t often go swimming, but I think that a decent, flattering swimsuit is something I really should have. Last year I wrote almost exactly the same thing, and picked out some gorgeous retro swimwear from Lady K Loves, For Luna, What Katie Did and Mama Maria. Yet inexplicably I still haven’t filled that massive wardrobe hole.


Well, probably mostly price, and the desire to try these things on to make sure they’re flattering enough on my bizarrely shaped body to justify the cost before I fork over the dough.

So, this year I’ve scoured the High Street for some fabulous, flattering and vaguely affordable retro swimwear that I might just pop in store and try on. I won’t lie, it wasn’t easy. The High Street is terrified of swimwear that doesn’t show one of the 3 B’s (Boobs, Belly button, Bum Cheeks) and their insistence on modelling it on women with elbow joints bigger than their upper arms doesn’t help in assessing it’s fit, but still, here’s what I came up with…..

Black Frill One Piece Swimsuit – Topshop £34

I’m not sure how flattering that frill will be, but it’s an adjustable halterneck with low legs and cute frills on the hips. Not only that, but Topshop came up trumps with a cute monochrome high waisted bikini as well. It’s out of stock online, but worth checking in store.

Red Polka Dot Swimsuit Debenhams £34

I’m strangely taken with this with the skirt. It’s a bit like a playsuit you can swim in. I’d need to try it on in case it looked horrendously frumpy on someone with curves, but with a carefully planned retro beach/hot tub hair do and some red lipstick I think it’d look cute.

Wish You Were Here Swimsuit Bravissimo £35

A bit of a twee Cath Kidstonesque print and higher legs than I’d ideally chose, but a good choice if you need adjustable cup sizes.

Tummy Control Halterneck Swimsuit – Ann Harvey @ House of Fraser £30

I like this! Adjustable halterneck, and the rear view on the website shows it COVERS YOUR WHOLE BOTTOM. Thus avoiding your bottom trying to eat your swimsuit when it gets peckish.

Plus, only £30, retro bargainous….

Viva Boyleg Maillot Swimsuit – Seafolly @House of Fraser £95

Ok, ok, so £95 isn’t exactly “affordable” but it ticks all the other boxes and I thought it was cute. So call this is just one to lust over.


8 Responses
  • Fiona - Straight Talking Mama
    May 10, 2011

    I like the last one, sadly my wallet doesn’t, plus can’t even think I’ll be going anywhere to wear said swimsuit so that’s money saved ;o)

  • Helen
    May 10, 2011

    Hahahaha, same here, my favourite one was the last one! Waaaah £95!

    What Katie Did do have a good returns policy if you want to try their stuff on. I have one of their halterneck swimming costumes and it’s fab! The halterneck is quite wide so it’s fairly comfortable.

    I’ve had problems in the past with halternecks where my large boobs would weight down the costume and so the halterneck dug into my neck – it was quite uncomfortable! Doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore – I went to Spain last year and ended up with a leopard print halter neck from the Spanish equivalent of M&S (well, M&S crossed with C&A) and that was quite good but I think it’s cos it had a silicon strip inside it which helped to keep it up! So it wasn’t entirely dependent on the halterneck. It didn’t have stupidly high legs either and covered the bottom, which was impressive for something in such a racy fabric as leopard print!

  • Miss Peelpants
    May 10, 2011

    I love the last one. I just bought a nice gingham one but I’m always on the look out for the ‘perfect’ one, which seems to have eluded me thus far. I like frills and prints to try and ‘pad’ me out in the bust a bit 😉

  • Fashion Limbo
    May 10, 2011

    Oh dear, I love the last one but it’s like so OVER budget for me 🙁
    Thanks a lot for doing this post, I really need some inspiration in the swimwear department, and I’m lusting for a retro-inspired one.

  • Perdita
    May 10, 2011

    I love the Debenhams one!

    I used to swear by sporty horizontal ‘shorts’ at the bottom of my swimmies, having tree-trunk legs. A lady who worked for an underwear shop – in the pub one day, natch- said ‘stop’- either low-cut (but not shorts) or a frill/skirt- the soft line is much more flattering than horizontal-tight shorts. A great style tip- very flattering. But it makes it even harder to find my ideal suit, I tend to love a pretty Tankini although I ADORE a leg frill or skirt and am soo happy to see some affordable ones this year! Thanks Retrochick!!

  • For Those About To Shop
    May 10, 2011

    I love the one with the skirt! I am getting really excited about a retro-inspired swimsuit. I usually wear bikinis, but this year I’m going to try something different!

  • Style Eyes
    May 11, 2011

    I love all the styles especially the polka dots. A shame that I won’t be going on hols this year so won’t be needing one.

  • Old Fashioned Susie
    May 11, 2011

    Haha- I love the last one too!! But like you its not in my price range at the moment- I did see one in Boots that I cant find on the website, it was blue and covered with anchors!! Might have to go and take another look!