Expert Swim Fit Tips

By: Melissa Odabash

We've been wearing Melissa Odabash's swimsuits for years and it's safe to say we are a bit obsessed. We turned to her for some swim suit fit wisdom AND to say thank you for creating an amazing swim suit with Rachel!

‘It’s always summer somewhere’ and I guess it was always inevitable that my favourite season would somehow become related to my work. When I look back at my career I can’t help but think how lucky I was to fall into swimwear modeling, plus Italy was the perfect location to spend my twenties – the men, the food and the cities, it was the time of my life. I worked wherever the shows were, most often in Milan and Paris.

My progression into designing swimwear myself happened really naturally, when I was modeling I’d constantly hear all the technical talk from the designers about cut and fit which helped me understand not only what I was wearing but also what was the most important information from a design perspective. I soon found, whilst modeling so much swimwear - a gap in the market. Believe it or not, there were no bikinis in classic shapes and colours, so I decided to do something about it!

For me, summer always means the arrival swimwear season – whether it’s for a chic beach party, lounging by the pool or something more active, whatever event a woman has, she should be wearing swimwear that makes her feel confident In the past couple of year’s I’d say there’s been a definite rise in demand for one-pieces again. There was a time when all that mattered was getting a tan and everyone wanted itsy-bitsy bikinis, but now because of social media, ‘beachlife’ has become one big catwalk. Everyone is more fashion orientated on their travels and are looking for more striking swimwear to show off. One-pieces have much more scope for different cuts, embellishments and trims, so that’s why I’d say we’ve seen them make a bit of a comeback.

This is what led to my collaboration with Rachel; she wanted to create some statement swimwear to offer to her customers and reached out to me. I really enjoyed the process of working with Rachel and coming up with much more extravagant pieces than I’m used to.

We took heavy inspiration from the runways and felt that statement embellishment was the way forward. The pieces have a very luxurious feel to them and are definitely eye-catching for all the right reasons.  Hot! -  would definitely be the word I’d use to describe the cut of this swimsuit, it shows a lot of flesh yet hides areas that we women may not always be comfortable with.

After all, it’s so important to consider what women will want to wear when designing, as well as how pieces will fit different shapes and sizes. Fit really is the most important thing when buying swimwear, women so often buy things that are too big and then go saggy once they’ve been in the water or buy the wrong styles for their body shape. If you have a small bust, wear a bandeau as this gives the illusion of curves and if you are a pear shape buy something with tie-sides to help break up the hip area, it’s all about wearing what works for you!

TIP: Buy the correct size

Most women always intend to lose weight for summer, so when shopping for swimwear they ask for a smaller size as they hope to fit into it by the time their holiday arrives. But I always say if you’re a size eight, buy the size eight, not the six. I also notice many of my customers go up a size as they want more fabric for more coverage, but actually it’s more flattering to have less fabric aginst your skin; plus if your bottoms are too big, they’re more likely to fall off in the water!

TIP: Prep before shopping
One of my best pieces of advice is to fake tan before you go bikini shopping – Vita Liberata has been my go-to for years. It helps you see how the swimwear will actually look when you are on vacation so you know exactly what you’re buying. I’d also be sure to shave and moisturise, I think it really helps to feel at your best when trying on swimwear, as often us women tend to be very critical of ourselves in the changing room.

TIP: Lighting
When I designed my two London boutiques I was careful to install flattering lighting, but most department stores don’t do this. It’s just one spotlight above your head which makes any body look awful so don’t let it affect your choices or your body confidence! Daylight doesn’t really shine on you directly, so you shouldn’t have this problem on the beach.

TIP: Wear what works for you
There’s no point buying a style when it’s super on trend if it doesn’t suit your body shape! Always make sure to buy what flatters you when it comes to both style and colours – the sales assistants in my stores are very knowledgable and are always happy spend time on finding the perfect piece for every individual. Also, for those less confident on holiday, just make sure to invest in some cover-ups, then you can put that on as soon as you are out of the water and it helps complete your beach look!

Learn more about Melissa:

Shop Melissa Odabash x Rachel Roy swim collab below.
Shop Shop > Swimwear - Rachel Roy and more