Swimwear, Tried & Tested

Product review: Designers at Debenhams swimwear - (archived)

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I know many women finding the perfect swimsuit or bikini a shopping nightmare. I love swimwear when I find the right piece, but hunting down something well-fitting is on a par with finding the perfect pair of jeans or the ideal winter coat. In short, it’s a nightmare!

Once you’ve narrowed down your basic choices (swimsuit or bikini, skimpy or full-coverage, plain or printed) there are so many other things to consider. Luckily, this season it’s pretty easy to find something for everyone. In last few years more brands have latched onto the fact that not all women are the same size all over, selling bikinis as separates (ideal if you’re big up top or pear-shaped) and increasing the cup sizes and choices of bottoms. The swimsuit is also back in fashion, so those who feel more confident in a one-piece can wear it with no fear of feeling frumpy.

A while ago, Debenhams very kindly offered to send me a piece from their swimwear collection to try. I decided to give the new modern one-piece a go, and opted for a black and white palm print halter swimsuit by queen of the beach Melissa Odabash…

The swimsuit I tried is £40 – not cheap for swimwear but a far cry from the £150+ you’d pay for something from Melissa Odabash’s mainline range. I liked the look of the halter top and was intrigued by the tummy control panel, but I also liked the fact there are loads of accessories and cover-ups to match, because I am all about the pool glam!

This wasn’t my first piece of Designers at Debenhams swimwear. I have a Butterfly by Matthew Williamson bikini and matching kaftan that I love so much I refuse to throw out even though it’s yellowing inside from all the suncream! That bikini’s seen me though a fair few Summers, so I knew to expect a good quality piece.

And that it is. There’s a lot of attention to detail in this swimsuit. The front is fully-lined, and the ‘tummy control’ comes from a powermesh panel that goes from under the bust right down to the crotch. The back is low and not lined, but the fabric is thick enough that even when wet, it didn’t go see-through.

The halter top has textured silver rings to attach the straps to the cups. I’m always cautious of metal trims on bikinis that might get hot in the Sun, but a quick bite (not even kidding) assured me these are plastic and perfectly safe. The cups and empire band are trimmed with shell-style beads, tiny pearls and seed beads, which is a nice touch. Odabash is famous for her zebra print swimwear, and the black and white palm print of this swimsuit is a cool way of imitating that for her cheaper line without just recreating something she’s done before.

Being between two sizes, I often struggle to get swimwear that fits properly. I tend to go for the smaller size to avoid saggy bum syndrome when wet, but sometimes that can mean it digs in around the top of the thighs. Designers at Debenhams pieces are notoriously generous size-wise, so I went for the smaller size in this swimsuit, which fits well. It could perhaps be a couple of inches longer in the body, but apart from that, it’s great. The Tummy Control panel really does seem to smooth and flatten the tummy, too. It doesn’t work miracles – I’m not saying it makes me look a size 10 – but it would definitely be a bit of a confidence booster!

Next up, and probably most important, I should talk about how it holds up in the boob department. I’m not a fan of padded swimwear really (as my friend and I discovered one year, the padding soaks up loads of water meaning you have to squeeze your boobs in a completely non-alluring manner when you get out the pool or you’ll drip for ages!) but they are flattering when you’re sunbathing or sat at the bar. Luckily the ones in this cossie are removable, so I get the best of both worlds. The cups manage to contain my boobs which is a minor miracle, and I suppose a lot of that is down to the support you get from a halter neck. However, I do find I sometimes get a mark on my neck wearing a halter swimsuit or bikini because I tie it too tight in an attempt to hoik up the girls – a lesson to be learned there, I think!

Overall, I’m impressed by this costume and will definitely be taking it away with me in the Summer, though I suspect it’ll become a swimsuit more than a sunbathing suit (I’ve got a retro bikini for that). That said, I’m sorely tempted to get the matching kaftan (down to £28) just in case!

Disclosure: Debenhams sent this swimsuit free of charge for me to review. However, the review is honest and I was not paid to publish it.

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  • Reply Sarah May 7, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    What a lovely swimsuit style! Great in dept review… haven’t seen this particular style at my local Debenhams… hmmm will have to go back and check! :)
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Today Only: Free Delivery at Dorothy Perkins =-.

  • Reply Sarah May 7, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    What a lovely swimsuit style! Great in dept review… haven’t seen this particular style at my local Debenhams… hmmm will have to go back and check! :)
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Today Only: Free Delivery at Dorothy Perkins =-.

  • Reply swimwear for women July 10, 2010 at 2:52 am

    Really a very lovely swimsuit. Great Design. :)

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