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Shopper AlertShopper Alert

Summer time means plenty of opportunities to break out your big, floppy hat—whether it’s at a Kentucky Derby party next month or for staying sun damage-free on the beach. Before you go, take yours to Preppy in Paradise in Fort Myers, which offers monogramming on several items, from golf bags to jeans pockets and phone covers, for a dash of color and personal charm.

—Jennifer Freihofer  


Bathing BeautyBathing Beauty

Cheryl Lampard, founder of Style Matters International, answers your questions each month.

Dear Cheryl,

I am about to go on a Caribbean cruise and intend to spend my days relaxing by the pool. My current swimsuits are not fit to be seen in public, so before I go shopping for new ones, I’d like some advice on the best styles to help disguise my heavy mid-section.

—Laura, Port Charlotte

The thought of stripping down to a small piece of colorful fabric for all to see is enough to fill the best of us with dread. The good news is that designers and manufacturers are really clued up about the challenges facing us, and there is an amazing choice of swimwear for all body shapes.

You’ll want a few pieces in your swimwear collection, so start with a one-piece in a dark color (which doesn’t have to be black): chocolate brown, midnight blue or deep teal are good alternatives and may be more flattering against your skin tone. For your next piece, pick a great color and let the swimsuit do the work—look for super-flattering details such as asymmetrical ruching across the midriff to help cover tummy lumps and bumps, or vertical seaming/piping detail in a contrasting color to visually elongate your torso. A particularly effective style is a one-piece with dark side panels and a shaped central panel in a pop of color, creating the illusion of a slimmer, curvier torso.

Prints can provide masterful coverage across problem areas, but make sure the print is in scale with your body. If you’re petite, the size of the print should be roughly the size of your own fist, whereas a bigger torso is better in a medium- to large-scale print.

Stripes always look fresh and sporty and are great for swimwear, but pay attention to the placement of stripes. Horizontal stripes will appear to add width, so avoid them across any problem areas.

Another great option is a tankini—a life-saver for a full mid-section. Choose a vibrant color or print top that skims over your middle and team it with a solid-colored bottom.

All you need now is a stylish, broad-brimmed hat and some great sunglasses to look wonderful on the waves.

P.S. Don’t forget to send me a postcard! 

Submit your questions for consideration to jenniferf@gulfshorelife.com.

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