It’s a cover-up: model wears: kimono £98,

The summer sales may have been  and gone, but don’t panic, says Rebecca Gonsalves – there's still plenty left in the shops for your holiday wardrobe

The fashion industry is often criticised for having little relevance or regard to reality, and the fact that the summer sales have already been and gone doesn’t exactly help prove otherwise. It’s fine for those who stockpile swimwear and sandals at the first sighting of a swallow, but what about those of us who have only just got around to booking a holiday?

While some people bemoan the ever-earlier beginning of the Christmas retail season, surely having to sort through bargain buckets of mismatched teeny bikinis is more frustrating. Luckily, although the spring/summer season is all but over – in retail, if not in meteorlogical terms – there is still plenty in store to stuff into your suitcase.

Whether it’s for the trip of a lifetime or a budget break, pre-holiday shopping tends to encourage a sense of optimism that sees people abandoning their clothing inhibitions and restrictive rules.

Night rider: White and yellow peplum dress £32,

A dress like this  yellow striped ASOS style, that looks garish in the shop will be just right for the sun, and any propensity to spill is forgotten at the sight of white broderie anglaise – even the most formal dresser will begin to loosen up. It’s not surprising; after all, a holiday is usually when we hope to become the best version of ourselves – away from the stresses of our workaday lives.

One shopping choice that is difficult for even the most body-confident of women is swimwear, and this should be approached with time and patience – a quick sweep of the high street on your lunch hour will not do. Take your time, breathe and remember that the stark light of a shop changing-room is actually going to make you feel far more exposed than when on the beach or by the pool.
Sea life: bikini £34,

Try on a range of sizes and be realistic about what styles will best suit your shape: supportive straps for a big bust, sporty styles like Agent Provocateur's cut-out purple bikini for smaller figures, and a one-piece like this version from House of Hackney will beat sucking in your stomach.

This isn’t about how best to make your (insert particular body part here) look bigger or smaller – it’s about enjoying yourself without clutching for a sarong every time you leave your lounger. And who can put a price on that?

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