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A new breed of swim designs that look modern and confident are just right for that stay-at-home holiday WORDS BYVICKY PEPYS CATWALK PICTURES BY CHRIS MOORE

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There's some quirky new words currently being bandied about - instead of going on 'vacation' people are talking about a 'staycation'. And about the Britwave - staying at home rather than visiting far flung shores. When thinking of a British holiday we suddenly develop a brisk attitude and shiver at the thought of sunbathing turning into desperately-seeking-shelter. As the wind picks up or the heavens open, who grabs a wisp of chiffon as a cover up? We automatically reach for the cardigan, the blanket, the jean jacket - or the biker leather if we're really on trend. When thinking home-shores, lush tropicals and animal prints seem sadly out of place. They are still there - hanging, waiting and still immensely popular. They put us in holiday mood and show no signs of fading away. But what's this on the horizon? A new breed of swim designs that look modern and confident and just right. Solid colour and structure just happen to have returned at exactly the right time. Some pieces are evocative, 50s and 80s inspired, some futuristic. Most require grown up styling with gladiator high wedges, lots of bling and hair 'up'. Most can be glammed
up sufficiently to be poolside posing possibilities - but maybe not swimming. More design detail and care is evident these days; we know that technological weaves can squeeze us in (check out the Miracle suit on Figleaves.com) and point of sale material reminds us at every turn that this costume has inbuilt 'shelf ' support, double layer tummy control and concealed bra fastenings within pieces that look so laid back and effortless. A few rules to be remembered: If you've got an enviable figure then by all means make us envious and buy a bikini. A 'tankini' - another of those quirky words - is very useful for quick changes and doubles up as a controlled vest top but if slightly too small may ride up and good heavens no, might possibly roll! A structured swimsuit is by far the most flattering and if a classic design will last season after season. Do take care if swimming in a chlorinated pool to thoroughly wash after every use; chlorine just 'eats' those fibres away and rinsing only isn't enough. And don't spend a fortune
on a cover-up - this is a garment designed to be soaked and scrunched up and crushed in the bottom of a beach bag. Spend your money on structure and style and slip on shorts and a cardi to nip for an ice cream. You can bear it for this year and maybe next. The bejwelled kaftan destinations may beckon but they'll have to wait. Surely a 'staycation' is a good thing; why travel when we've got some of the best beaches here in the UK - and some of them here in the North East? We have some of the biggest and the best, the most secluded and the most private, even if we get visitors in droves (www.visitnorthumberland.com). And with the barbecue summer promised by the Met Office, you know it makes sense;

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