It can be an absolute nightmare trying to find beachwear to flatter a more voluptuous figure, but it can be done, and you don't have to resort to a hold-it-all-in black number with scaffolding-like support if it's not your style. Until recently, covering up on the beach usually involved throwing on an oversized t-shirt. Now there are skirts to hide stretchmarks, cellulite and lumpy thighs, tankini tops to hold in tummies and my personal favourite - the kaftan - to hide just about everything.

My first stop is always Designers at Debenhams for Matthew Williamson's trademark drawstring waist kaftans. While last year's butterfly covered one sold for £25 in stores and up to about £60 on ebay, the one from the previous year (longer with hot pink with tropical leaves all over it) was slightly less high profile and still sits in my suitcase for trips to the beach.

This year, kaftans and cover-ups are everywhere, and I found a great bold printed one at Next. It'll skim over curves, but still says "I'm not scared to be seen." It's  £14.99, and can be matched with a bikini top (£11.99) and briefs  (£7.99) or a swimsuit (£19.99).

Swimnext

Over in the good old US of A...

...Lisa Curran is the designer to look out for. Her Caftans don't come cheap (the one shown below is $147 and that's in the sale) but they are hand-embroidered, and definitely look more exotic than the cheap cotton ones you'll find on market stalls!

Curran
Match it up with a classic bikini with a halter top (for some support). This is from Lisa Curran too, at $75 for the top and $68 for the bottoms. Obviously you can find them for much cheaper if you're on a budget - try Go Jane for loads of fashion bikinis with co-ordinating skirts.