Home Life Style Tiny bikinis for big bottoms, bold rather than cheesy floral prints, and shorter shorts (but no bottoms). Here are the… Summer Style Rules for Mediums

Tiny bikinis for big bottoms, bold rather than cheesy floral prints, and shorter shorts (but no bottoms). Here are the… Summer Style Rules for Mediums

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Shift dress, £59, whitestuff.com

If, like me, you’re a middle-aged woman with a medium-sized body (I’m between 14 and 16), you may be approaching the summer months with a familiar feeling of unease.

Covering clothing has been put away; Others are coming out that reveal much more. But fear not, here are the tricks I’ve learned in my two decades as a fashion editor, so that your wardrobe flatters and suits your shape, no matter the weather.

Hems should reach the knee.

Shift dress, £59, whitestuff.com

It may be leg season, but you should carefully consider the length of your skirts. There’s a suggestion that, after several years of rocking maxis, hemlines are getting shorter this season.

While I spent my 20s and 30s in tunics that skimmed the bottom, the same shape but just above the knee now feels good.

For my middle-aged peers, I would suggest sneakers or a ballerina instead of a heel in this length. Heels can make you feel like you’re trying too hard.

I love Jigsaw’s ruched linen dress in coral, which also nods to this season’s love of the red palette.

Ignore XL label

Top, £65, monsoon.co.uk

Top, £65, monsoon.co.uk

Think about the shape of the clothes on your body, not the size shown on the label.

We all know that there are no standard sizes for clothing manufacturers. Take me: I’m an XL in any French brand, but a 14 in M&S.

So try on different sizes and, when in doubt, always buy a larger size, ignoring the inner voice that says that it is not possible to have that size, since there is nothing less flattering than clothes that are too tight.

Diverts ruffles and folds. They only add volume, and usually where women least want them: on the hips and shoulders.

Don’t be afraid of a small bikini

Triangle top, £15.99 and Brazilian bottom, £9.99, hm.com

Triangle top, £15.99 and Brazilian bottom, £9.99, hm.com

I’m apple-shaped, with no butt and quite a belly, so I opt for the coverage of a tankini.

But, believe it or not, a bikini looks fabulous with a nice big butt! It’s actually more flattering to have less fabric, so resist the temptation to go for big pants.

If you have larger breasts, a halter neck offers the best shape and support, whether in a swimsuit or bikini.

M&S has a brilliant selection and I particularly like their tummy control halter neck swimsuit in dark red and white.

Increase the size of your prints

Floral midi dress, £79, liveunlimitedlondon.com

Floral midi dress, £79, liveunlimitedlondon.com

After several years of channeling Laura Ingalls Wilder in her Little House On The Prairie, it’s time to say goodbye to floral dresses.

While there’s nothing wrong with sticking to those longer, body-skimming lengths, bolder prints and polka dots feel more modern this season, and what’s more, they look great in any size.

Try Whistles’ faded stain-print Imie dress or Lexy London’s honeycomb Tara dress.

Ditch the long-style Bermuda shorts

Washed denim shorts, £55, nobodyschild.com

Washed denim shorts, £55, nobodyschild.com

I’m not going to tell anyone to embrace the trend of butt-hugging shorts that are basically panties, but you shouldn’t go in the opposite direction either. Leave the Bermuda shorts to real Bermuda shorts and opt for a mid-thigh length – your figure will look much more balanced with a little less material.

I pair my shorts with a loose, unlined jacket (try Toast) over a striped Breton t-shirt. If your thighs irritate you, then everyone from Tesco to Skims sells stretchy, smoothing cycling shorts that are invisible under your clothes.

It’s the perfect time to surprise dressed in white

Sarong dress with embroidery, £98, thewhitecompany.com

Sarong dress with embroidery, £98, thewhitecompany.com

If prints don’t appeal to you, then minimalists should opt for the white midi shirt dress from COS and romantics should opt for the embroidered midi tea dress from Boden.

I know it’s tempting to fall back on a trusty black dress, but while a looser-fitting black dress can look like a tent, there’s an optical illusion where a breezy white dress blends into the background.

Worn with a bright lipstick, nothing feels more summery, and the white brightens the face to give the skin a lovely glow.

Skip the sweaty polyesters and opt for cotton. Don’t forget to check the transparency by standing in front of a window before purchasing.

Bra to finish back rolls

Round bra, £95, evelynbobbie.com

Round bra, £95, evelynbobbie.com

Middle-aged and middle-aged women know that fundamentals are key.

In hot weather, a bra that is too tight is torture and creates unnecessary twists in your back. Remeasure yourself every year to avoid lumps in your back.

Advances in bra engineering mean that today even larger cup sizes don’t need a painful underwire. Try wire-free brand Evelyn & Bobbie, whose bras also have wide, seamless straps.

No sleeves, please.

Fit and Flare Dress, £169, hobbs.com

Fit and Flare Dress, £169, hobbs.com

If, like me, you’re one of the legion of women who avoids sleeveless tops, then be sure to stay away from short sleeves, which cut into your arm in exactly the wrong place: where it’s at its finest.

Look for billowy sleeves, raglan, or super flattering bracelet-length sleeves that hit just below the elbow.

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