“There’s nothing worse than receiving something in the mail that’s not what you ordered,” she says.
If you’re going to use size charts, it’s best to have a sewing measuring tape handy. Klodinsky suggests measuring where you want the bikini bottoms to sit: there’s no point measuring your waist if you want them to sit on the hip, for example.
Another way to reduce risk is to look for a brand that does free sizing, such as YouSwim, which promises its pieces will mould to your shape across seven sizes. And if you’re on a budget (or packing light), try a convertible suit, such as Le Buns’ Hadley, whose Hadley set can be worn in multiple ways, including a twisted halter and a one-piece lookalike when paired with its matching bottom.
Finally, a word on swimwear care from Bondi Born founder Dale McCarthy: “Salt, sweat, suncream and chlorine are all very damaging to stretch fabrics … so it’s critical that you rinse your swimwear after each use.” Use cold water and if you need more of a wash, use the mildest liquid detergent on a gentle cool cycle.
Best high-waisted: Don’t overlook clothing brands such as Bec & Bridge and Khloe Kardashian’s Good American, which has put the same inclusive principles it applies to jeans into swimwear. If it’s tried and tested you’re after, then Andie Swim, Seafolly and Tigerlily have mix-‘n’-match separates.
Best for busts: Ask any woman bigger than a D-cup and she’s sure to tell you finding a bikini can be torturous. Luckily Melbourne-based brands The Fold and RAQ have you covered, while Monday Swimwear, by the founders of Instagram account A Bikini A Day, Tash Oakley and Devin Brugman, go up to a G-cup.
Best one-pieces: For the maillot of your dreams, there are two brands you need to know. Bondi Born, which has a zingy yellow (no getting lost at the beach!), and Matteau, whose cuts are as precise as you’d find in a suit. And for something more sporty, try P.E Nation.
Best sustainable: IIXIIST has used recycled fabrics for eight years, even before it was sexy, says founder Rebecca Klodinsky. Also earning a green star is Myra Swim, for recently converting its Bond Girl-esque range to regenerated nylon.
Best active: Whether you’re doing laps or just want extra protection, consider a long-sleeved piece by Duskii or Peony, whose spotted print will make you look at rashies in a totally new light. And if you’re a period undies devotee, Modibodi also makes swimwear.
Best prints: Zimmermann sets a pretty high bar with its retro-inspired florals but Sir the Label’s desert-inspired prints and Sommer Swim’s Greek island vibes get our vote. Liandra Swim, by Yolngu woman Liandra Gaykamangu, has prints named in honour of leading Indigenous women.
Best men’s: Responding to calls for more fun this summer, Speedo’s signature 5cm budgie smugglers come in new cheeky prints (think cockatoos and pineapples). For boardies, switch up from the usual surf brands and try Skwosh or luxury label Commas, whose pieces are sustainable and made in Australia.
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Melissa Singer is National Fashion Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.