5 things to look out for when choosing a bikini

High50 tells you how to avoid looking like a trussed-up matron

1. Support 

Make sure the top has plenty of support – padded halter necks are best – and beware of bikinis that look too like big matronly bras. Your bikini should look like a bikini and not underwear. Choose halter necks with straps that provide support from the side and avoid straps that come up from the middle of the top as they can give a droopy line. If you want a strapless bikini for sunbathing, find one with optional straps so you can swim easily.  Check that the bikini has enough material at the side to avoid unflattering fall-out.

2. Fasteners 

Avoid bikinis with plastic fasteners at the back – as we become older we become broader across the back and plastic snaps easily, especially after exposure to sea water and chlorine.  If they are plastic, try and go for ones that hook into the material rather than complicated twisty fasteners.

3. Pants 

Don’t be tempted to buy pants that are too big or you’ll look like Bridget Jones on a bad day.  Big pants with high waistlines can and give you muffin top and sag when wet. Avoid complicated strings.

4. Colours 

Avoid neons – too gaudy and teenage. Avoid pastels – too girlie and unflattering to uneven, ageing skintone.  Avoid jungle prints – too cougar.  And never, ever go for coral – if you have to ask why you’re on the wrong site.

5. Strings and rings 

Avoid them top and bottom.  Strings and rings cut into older flesh and can leave unwanted marks (as well as tan marks).  Besides, string ties don’t offer nearly enough support, particularly once they’re wet, and make the bikini too flimsy.

While we’ve had plenty to say about Marks & Spencer recently, we thought we’d see what they were offering in the swimwear department.  We won’t over impressed but found five that we’d happily wear this summer.

We recommend only buying hipster or roll-top hipster bottoms with all of these as they are comfortable and flattering without looking like Granny pants.

Red and blue plunge bikini:  this is our favourite – colourful without being gaudy, comfortable and flattering.

M&S Bikinis Navy top 305

Black and white or navy plunge bikini : this is a good basic with plenty of fabric at the sides and comfortable, sturdy halter-neck ties from the side offering lots of support.

Multiways bikini : though this is a little bit mumsy, we like its versatility

M&S padded ahlter neck amalfi 307Padded halter-neck without wire:  this ties back and front so you never need to worry about fiddly fasteners and can adjust it precisely

M&S Polka dot bikini 305

Plunge polka dot halter-neck with moulded cups