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Princess Tam-Tam Bikini

Mention Princess Tam-Tam to movie buffs and they will immediately regale you with stories of the classic 1935 black and white film starring Josephine Baker, who plays a Tunisian girl introduced to Parisien high society.

Mention Princess Tam-Tam to lingerie fans in the know and they will go into paroxisms of praise about the French range of ultra-sexy underwear. Many of us have bought it online or swooped on one of their gorgeous shops while on holidays in France. In fact, that is one of the noticable features of French fashion shopping -- the number of lingerie shops in ratio to shoe, bag and fashion boutiques. Clearly, French women realise the importance of dressing well, from the first layer out.

The good news for Irish shoppers is that Princess Tam-Tam swimwear is now available exclusively at Arnotts in Henry Street, Dublin. Their white bikini (see overpage) has proved hugely popular this year and you can shop to suit your shape, with bandeau tops or sexy triangles and bottoms that come in boy shorts styles or regular bikini briefs.

Kay Casey, swimwear buyer at Arnotts, reports intense interest in the co-ordinated pieces, such as loose parachute trousers, flattering tunics and co-ordinated pool shoes.

If you like your swimsuit to have a strong, structured feel, I suggest you check out the Gottex summer offerings, which will definitely create poolside or beach drama (see above), and this architectural fashion feel is also evident in the Louis Féraud range, which has fascinating cut-out pieces.

Former actress-turned-celebrity spokeswoman and swimwear designer, Elizabeth Hurley's black bikini is not cheap at €130, but it will a be work of art guaranteed to turn heads. That's for sure. The Miss Sixty swimwear pieces are bright and beautiful, with hot pink prints on black backgrounds.

If you feel you need a little coaxing to get back into swimwear, try Miraclesuits, exclusive to Arnotts. The marketing claim is that you will look 10 pounds lighter when you pull them on and this is reportedly due to Miratax, a patented fabric that has three times more Lycra than fabric in other swimsuits. There are cuts to flatter your legs and give the illusion of slimmer hips.

A little like creating your own pizza to suit your tastes, you can choose a suit to match your body type and play up or down your best and worst features.

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