With summer just around the corner, it’s likely that either you or someone you know has embarked on a radical diet or gym routine in order to get ‘beach ready’ for the warmer months. If you need some motivation to hit the gym, a quick look at this season’s swim wear offerings should get you running for the nearest elliptical trainer.

Top swim wear brands (Seafolly, Jets, Tigerlilly) have released a divine selection of swimsuit options that are sure to get you excited about the coming summer sun.

The trends

This summer, swimsuits are taking on a distinctly retro feel, with boy leg one pieces and high-waisted bikinis taking centre stage. The 2011/12 Jets collection is all about creating a very sexy and sophisticated look. It has a very vintage feel that makes you think of glamorous parties by the pool; think big cat eye sunglasses and hair swept back under colourful silk scarves.

Stand out styles include bold floral prints on strapless one-pieces and chic black and white combinations. There are also high waisted bikinis in black or pink gingham that reference the 1950s and create a modest yet sexy look. The nautical look remains popular this year, but also look for vintage inspired floral prints and cute details like strategically placed buttons, bows and frills to create a look that is both on trend and feminine.

The shapes

The key shapes this season include boy leg styles on one-pieces and bikinis, high waisted bloomer bottoms and the one-piece. Once overlooked, the one-piece has experienced something of a renaissance over the last few years and just keeps on getting better. It is a universally flattering style that in some ways is sexier than a bare-all bikini. It’s great for hiding problem areas like tummies or muffin tops, but perfect for flaunting shoulders, backs and cleavage.

A one-piece with panels of contrasting fabric down the side is a great option. It can create the illusion of curves on an athletic figure, create length on a short body, and is extremely flattering to a more curvaceous figure. High-waisted bloomer styles will help make the most of curves. Pair with a supportive bra-style top to create an hourglass figure and accentuate a small waist. Strapless bandeau bikini tops are still popular and this season we are seeing more strapless one piece styles that are equally flattering. Bandeau tops are better suited to those with a smaller chest and styles with frills, buttons or bows can help to create the illusion of a larger bust.

The colours

When choosing a colour or a print, remember that dark colours can minimise while light and bright colours can give the impression of size and shape. Black and white is a combination that is both classic and flattering, looks equally good on tanned and pale skin. Tomato reds, corals and copper browns work well on sun-kissed skin and are on trend this season. Floral prints are extremely popular but can look a bit Gold Coast if not done properly. A floral print on a darker background is probably the most flattering way to wear this look.

Shopping tips

Shopping for bathers can be a traumatic experience. After months hidden under cosy winter clothes it can be a little confronting to stand under the unflattering glare of a fluorescent globe and witness your pale and lumpy flesh stuffed into a bikini. So to make things a little less distressing, try the following.

• Get a fake tan. Forget about starvation diets and punishing gym regimes, a fake tan is the quickest way to lose five kilos and hides a multitude of sins.

• Take along some moral support. Take along a shopping buddy to act as the voice of reason and remind you that things aren’t as bad as you think.

• Try something new. Give a new style a whirl, it might just surprise you.