THERE ARE designers in sunny parts of the globe - Brazil, for example - who know everything there is to know about swimwear. They make bikinis that you could floss your teeth with, and one-pieces designed, not for 20 lengths, but for maximum exposure. What they don't understand is that the inhabitants of cooler climes such as ours catch a chill at the mere thought of a two-piece, never mind a thong. Which is why, perhaps, we in Britain have perfected the art of wrapping up for summer.
In search of some sunshine and warmth, our intrepid team set off for the shores of Jersey, expertly armed with clothes to cover all eventualities. Their starting point was to be a bikini - but only if some kind of freak weather pattern emerged and temperatures climbed to 80 degrees. They didn't. Fortunate then that they also had a suitcase full of denim jackets, pedal pushers, cotton shirts, and cosy zip-up cardigans. And a pair of shiny red wellington boots, just in case.
British summer holidays demand that you too should be a "just in case" packer. As long as you have something warm (cardigan), something cool (bikini, shorts), something comfortable (simple plimsolls) and something to keep the sun at bay (floppy-brimmed hat), happy holidays, whatever the weather, are assured. And if you are planning a break but are too busy to shop - a sure sign you need some time off - turn to our "star buys" on page 44: holiday essentials that you can order by post. !
Left: red hat, pounds 25, by Kangol, from Selfridges, 400 Oxford St, W1 (enq: 0171 629 1234); red bikini, pounds 78, by Joelynian, from Pellicano, 63 South Molton St, W1 (enq: 0171 267 4770); navy zip-up cardigan, pounds 40, from Warehouse, 19-21 Argyll St, W1, and branches nationwide (enq: 0171 278 3491); white pedal pushers, pounds 120, and canvas bag, pounds 59, by Joseph, 26 Sloane St, SW1 (enq: 0171 590 6200)
Right: red viscose shirt with white flowers, pounds 85, by Yen Jeans by Michiko Koshino, from Jones, 13 Floral St, WC2 (enq: 0171 240 8312); dark denim jeans, pounds 55, from French Connection, 99 Long Acre, WC2, and branches nationwide (enq: 0171 399 7200)
This page: dark denim jacket, pounds 55, from French Connection, as before; red-and-white striped bikini, pounds 79, by Nicole Farhi, 158 New Bond St, W1 (enq: 0171 499 8368)
Facing page: navy-and- white striped dress, pounds 24, from Jigsaw, 126-127 New Bond Street, W1 and branches nationwide (enq: 0171 491 4484)
Left: red, white and blue checked shirt, pounds 169, by Eley Kishimoto, from Whistles, 12-14 St Christopher's Place, W1 (enq: 0171 487 4484); denim stretch pedal pushers, pounds 35, from Warehouse, as before; white plimsolls, pounds 35, by Superga at Russell and Bromley, 24-25 New Bond Street, W1, and branches nationwide (enq: 0171 629 6903)
Much of the best mail-order swimwear tends towards the cute and the knowingly kitsch. But then you should never attempt to be serious on a beach - so slip on your flower flip-flops and get into the holiday mood
Two-tone sisal Antik Batik beach bag with pink trim, pounds 18.99, from La Redoute (mail-order enq: 0500 777777)
Baby-blue Benetton bikini, top (DZ5251) pounds 12.90, bottoms (DZ5421) pounds 9.90, from Littlewoods Mail Order (enq: 0800 600400)
Sugar-pink one-piece swimsuit with high-cut leg, pounds 28, from French Connection Buy Mail (enq: 0870 606 3285)
Blue flip-flops with large pink and yellow flowers, pounds 14.95, by Johnny Loves Rosie (mail-order enq: 0171 247 1496)
Short, sugar-pink confetti-print skirt with chiffon frills, pounds 40, from French Connection Buy Mail, as before
PHOTOGRAPHS BY NICOLA KURTZ / STYLING BY HOLLY WOOD