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Life's a beach when it comes to the right swimwear


‘Elizabeth’ lace kaftan, €370, Melissa Odabash, Brown Thomas

‘Elizabeth’ lace kaftan, €370, Melissa Odabash, Brown Thomas


Stripping off to step out on the beach is a fashion experience most women dread every summer, so when the American former swimwear model Melissa Odabash turned to designing, her philosophy was clear: to help women “who don't want to stand out on the beach”.

Melissa uses solid colours to flatter and while she underlines the importance of finding the right fit she also recommends you use your skin to your advantage. So what are the pitfalls to avoid as we head for the surf?

“Women make mistakes because they don't know what suits their bodies and they tend to go too big in size because they feel they need more fabric to cover up,” Melissa explains.

Now a recognised expert, who sells in 50 countries worldwide — including Brown Thomas in Ireland — Melissa says “there isn't a body shape I haven’t seen. I know where women want to hide things”.

Offering advice, she says:

If you wear too big a size, you will look like one big piece of fabric walking down the beach. Always go for a smaller size, she cautions, because billowing costumes attract more attention.

Make sure your swimsuit fits you properly, there's nothing worse than saggy pieces... and, by the way, small fit does not mean skimpy!

If you are small busted, go for a top with an accessory in the middle of the cup, like a ring or beadwork —  that always draws the eye more to the centre.

The combination of a ruffle on the top and a ring in the middle will deliver double illusion for the small chested gal.

For the apple shaped woman, Melissa recommends ruching around the stomach in order to give you more silhouette.

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If you are pear shaped, she recommends wearing over-the- shoulder straps tied at the back as this widens the shoulders and has the effect of evening out the hips.

A twisted bandeau style also draws attention away from having little on top and gives the illusion, she says, “of having something”.

While a lot of swimwear interest is currently focussed on the great butt, Melissa's style is not about micro Brazilian bottoms.

Applying her problem-solving skills to beach hang-ups, Melissa has designed the ‘Gorda’ and ‘Brussels’ briefs that have adjustable fold down waists that you can wear higher on the tummy or folded down as you become more confident.

Famous for her beachwear and glamorous cover ups, next month  Melissa launches a swim-sportswear range which should satisfy the requirements of fashion-conscious surfers and water sport enthusiasts.

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