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Six of the best swimsuits

1Black and white belted bikini, pounds 29.99. The thick heavy-duty Lycra is reminiscent of wet-suit material, making it the perfect choice for Ursula Andress types. If you don't feel up to baring your bod in a bikini, or strapping a knife to your thigh, this smart design is also available as a swim suit. Knickerbox: call 0171-284 1858 for nearest branch.

2 Animal print bikini, pounds 16.00; sarong, pounds 12.00. Giraffe or Dalmation? We're not sure. The bikini top ties at the neck making it good for strapless tanning. The generous sized, light-weight sarong can be tied at the waist or worn as a turban, Joan Collins style. Marks & Spencer, call 0171-935 4422 for nearest branch.

3 White stretch 'lace' swimming costume, pounds 25.00. Although this got many an appreciative remark, most felt a little worried that their sun-starved skins might out shine the costume. A good scooped back for sunbathing. Marks & Spencer, call 0171-935 4422 for nearest branch.

4 Red floral bikini, top pounds 12.99, shorts pounds 10.99. Forties-style bikini in thick cotton Lycra mix, perfect for instant stomach flattening. Traditional bikini bottoms are also available. Sock Shop, call 01276 63000 for nearest branch.

5 Sunflower swimsuit, pounds 22.99, and matching wrap-around skirt pounds 12.99. Soft cotton swimming costume has thin shoulder straps and very low back for sun worshipping. The wrap-around skirt is a neat alternative to the sarong, and for those who want to be a little more covered up there is also a matching sun dress. Next, call 0116-286 6411 for nearest branch.

6 Floral swim suit, pounds 59.00, and matching mini sarong, pounds 45.00. Deliciously silky Lycra costume decorated with 50s style garlands of roses and gingham, reminiscent of a Cath Kidston's weird and wonderful home accessories. By Paro, from branches of John Lewis, call 0171-629 7711.

Stylist: Rose Hammick

Photographs: Tony Buckingham