In at the deep end: How to make a splash with your wardrobe

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You may not be at one with the waves, but your wardrobe can still make a splash, says Gemma Hayward

It's not always a good thing when designers take inspiration from a sporting pursuit (wedge-heeled trainers, anyone?) but this season the creatives have looked towards the beach, the waves and even the wonders of the deep for their latest collections.

The trend for scuba and surf wear first made a splash a few months ago, with the launch of the cruise collections. Stella McCartney's oversized shirts and T-shirt dresses are decorated with tropical prints fit for wear on a Hawaiian beach. Alexander McQueen's McQ has opted for a body-conscious silhouette with skin-tight leggings, mini dresses and jumpsuits finished with zips galore and engineered print stretch tops, all of which wouldn't look out of place on very stylish diving boat.

Alexander Wang and Richard Nicholl, too, have flirted with the trend. Michael Kors has taken a literal view: though made of comfortable stretch wool-crepe, dresses and high-necked swimwear in classic wet-suit patterns are cinched at the waist with a diver-style clip belt.

Swimwear designer Lisa Marie Fernandez has similarly made the most of bringing underwater style to the surface. Her neoprene designs represent scuba chic at its finest. From skimpy metallic bikinis to sleeved, high-necked swimsuits and more that take their inspiration from rash vests, this collection has something for all and the designer makes a killer Lycra dress while she's at it. This season, Fernandez has also collaborated with Peter Pilotto, creating swimwear in more neoprene that showcases the London label's signature digital prints.

The scuba look has of course trickled down to the more affordable high street. All the usual suspects have gone for beach chic in some way or another. River Island has great printed leggings, Asos's cut-away swimsuits are spot on and Hobbs' "surf" dresses trimmed with sporty black piping detail are worth hunting down.

As far as beauty is concerned, it's not difficult to fake the beach goddess look away from the shores. Spritz on Bumble & Bumble's "surf spray" for textured, full-bodied "just-been-for-a-swim-but-I-still-look-great" hair. Wet-look colour for the eyes also adds to the look: MAC's Paint Pots and Laura Mercier's Cream Eye Colour both give the eye a glowing sheen worthy of a mermaid.

Leave the snorkels and surfboards at home, however. The only accessories to be concerned with are bags, shoes and belts. The latter is important to enhance the waist in second-skin dresses. For bags, oversized clutches in bright neon hues cut a dash, all with the obligatory zip fastening.

Flip-flops should be avoided: the look is far to up-tempo for flats. Instead, go for a high-heeled sandal with multi-straps, and make sure it comes in a bold, block-colour too. Oh, and it almost goes without saying, these are for the dance floor, not the sand...

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