Working it on holiday ... swimwear and cover-ups for every beach to every bar

Beachwear works hard on holiday so you can make the most of balmy days and nights. Fashion Editor Stephanie Smith on dawn-to-dusk, sun-and-sea vacation glamour.

Network Madero Miraclesuit, £155, sizes 10-18, stocked at Next and Figleaves.
Network Madero Miraclesuit, £155, sizes 10-18, stocked at Next and Figleaves.

Even on holiday, there’s no escape from modern multi-tasking. Airline luggage restrictions, technical fabric innovations and an ever-spiralling way of life that sees day and night, work, weekends and our social lives all spill over into each other’s once separate and fiercely guarded terrains… these are the factors that mean that we now expect our beachwear to work hard to earn a place in our suitcase.

Every single piece of beach and pool wear, including swimwear, has to be something that we can re-purpose throughout the day and into the evening. More than ever before, we are seeing statement pieces (especially one-piece swimsuits) to take us from an early-morning dip to late-night dining under the stars.

This is the summer of fun, as far as swimwear goes. There are ruffles, knots, braiding, beading, bold patterns, colour blocking, bright colour and – yikes – crochet swimwear, although I can’t help but think that this is not a look for swimming, far more for posing with a Negroni (the hottest cocktail of the year, according to Tatler magazine, made with gin, vermouth rosso and Campari, garnished with orange peel).

Bohemia tea dress in Midnight, £420, by Hansine at

Stripes and dots are both major SS18 swimwear trends. Take a look at & Other Stories in Victoria Gate in Leeds for colourful, Modernist one-pieces and bikinis. And talking of bikinis, more is definitely more this summer, as high-waisted bottoms come to the fore to provide much of the interest. So, thankfully, G-string and Brazilian cuts are so last decade, but don’t be fooled into thinking that full, high-waist bottoms are always more flattering. Often they are not, as they can actually put extra emphasis on the hips. Pear shapes should look for ones cut slightly lower than the waist with a dip or adjustable fold-over waistband, to create a more flattering upward curved line.

Ruffled swimwear is making a glamorous statement, and has the definite advantage of saving suitcase space by fashion multi-tasking as a top for day or night, simply by pulling shorts, a fluid skirt and cropped jeans over. The same can be said of one-shoulder and Bardot styles.

Classic block colour red and navy are very much on-trend, especially in sleek, contemporary styles of swimsuit. Lacing, eyelets and belts are all popular features of this year’s swimwear. The sporty look sees the return of “proper” swimsuits, ones that you might actually wear to swim 30 lengths at your local pool. Many have vest-style, gym-inspired cuts, while others are like ballet leotards. Choose ones in primary colours and rainbow palettes to make a bold statement.

Sheffield-based lingerie and swimwear company Panache offers an SS18 collection inspired by an eclectic mix of cultural influences, global journeys and escapism. Prints include tropical flowers on white with accents of vibrant coral giving a relaxed summer vibe in the Elle range, while the Nina range has a festival boho flavour with Moroccan tile inspired prints.

Halter dress in Balinese Feather print, one size, in Inky Green. Designed and produced in London and made with bespoke Italian fabrics. It's £265 at

Head of design Debbie Morley says the brand caters for those looking for something contemporary and glamorous, adding that for its July drop of AW18, “Classic navy is the perfect follow on to the red of SS18.”

What you wear over your swimwear is at least as important as the swimwear itself. Kaftans, kimonos, pareo dresses and cover-ups have never been so plentiful or so beautiful.

Hansine is a London-based brand that has outlets in Ibiza, Marbella and Mauritius. It specialises in fluid maxi dresses and knitwear with a modern bohemian aesthetic, perfect for travelling and holidaying, but also rather chic even if you’re just going to next door’s barbecue.

If you like co-ordinating your swimwear and cover-ups, both Figleaves and Seaspray have matchy-matchy looks that are undeniably glam.

Halterneck stripe bikini top, £40, and high briefs, £23, available from July at

And if you have left the “No carbs before Marbs” dieting too late to make a difference, Miraclesuit promises that, when you pull on one of its swimsuits, you will look 10lb lighter in 10 seconds. Worth a try?

Chartreuse onmbre sarong, £55; white swimsuit, £75, by Seaspray at
Panache Portofino balconnet bikini top, £26; and briefs, £19, at
Melissa Odabash pink embroidered kimono, £275, at Harvey Nichols.
Ancient Greek Sandals Apteros leather sliders, £140, at Harvey Nichols.
Rosa Faia kaftan, £62, from UK Swimwear.