If there’s one subject supermodel, style icon, swimwear designer and mother-to-four Heidi Klum is uniquely qualified to give advice on, it’s finding a flattering swimsuit that’s equal parts sensible, sporty and sensational.

So GRAZIA Australia spoke to the 44-year-old founder of Heidi Klum Intimates, best known for its lingerie and sexy swimwear, for her best tips on shopping and shooting the dream summer costume.

Here’s Klum’s BEST swimsuit SHOPPInG advice in her own words

Heidi Klum wearing Heidi Klum Swim

I’VE BEEN MODELLING BOTH LINGERIE AND SWIMWEAR FOR MY ENTIRE CAREER so I’ve tried on everything you can imagine. This helped me really understand what women want and need in a swimsuit. I was able to see firsthand what did and didn’t work for fabrics, cuts, styles, etcetera. I also don’t love crazy tan lines, so I kept the shapes simple [with my collection] and tried to stay away from too many straps everywhere.

“Also, what is made to look good for a picture in a magazine is not always good for real life.”

YOU CAN KEEP IT SIMPLE AND STILL BE STYISH. One piece suits are on trend right now. I’m making them in super fun prints with bright colours and cut-outs that are attractive for women of all ages. Who said one-pieces can’t be just as sexy as a bikini. We also have some really cute high-neck halter tops that have a sportier look which is really in right now with all the athleisure I am seeing in fashion.

Heidi Klum wearing Heidi Klum Swim

I THINK THE THREE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS ARE TO FIND the best style for your body, then make sure you’re wearing the correct size and find something that you feel confident in. The perfect suit for you might be different than the perfect suit for your best friend.

“Being in swimwear is the closest you’ll get to being naked in public so you want to make sure you’re comfortable.”

A LOT OF WOMEN FEEL LIKE THEY NEED TO SACRIFICE FASHION OR FUNCTION when picking a swimsuit. We shouldn’t have to choose one over the other and I really thought about this when I was designing. I want women to get both from each suit in my collection. That can be a colourfully printed itsy bitsy bikini or a solid-colour one piece with little more coverage. Your suit should look great and still be able to hold up against ocean waves, playing beach volleyball or a trip to the water park.

Heidi Klum wearing Heidi Klum Swim

AGES AND BODY TYPES SHOULDN’T HOLD YOU BACK and keep you from wearing what you want. If a 60-year-old woman in great shape wants to rock a bikini, you go girl. Every woman no matter her age or body type is different. I designed the bikini collections to be more mix and match so you can have a halter with a little more support with a string bottom or a string top with a classic bottom.

WHEN YOU’RE TRYING A PROSPECTIVE SWIMSUIT ON make sure it’s not too small or too loose and fits just right.

I THINK WE HAVE SOME GREAT PIECES FOR THE SURFER GIRLS. We made rash guards both with and without sleeves. We have bikini tops that offer a little more coverage and support for hopping on and off of the surfboard.  I think that was most important to me – to create a versatile line for every woman. There is no reason that you can’t have a suit that is both sexy and sporty… they shouldn’t be independent of each other. Can’t we have it all?

Heidi Klum wearing Heidi Klum Swim

WE MAKE GORGEOUS BIKINI TOPS IN CUP SIZES THAT GIVE MORE SUPPORT for bigger bust sizes. There’s nothing worse than getting down to the beach and constantly having to readjust your top so make sure you find the right size for you. We range in sizes from XS to XL and up to a 36E cup size in different styles.

“Halter tops are especially great because they pull up and in to give that extra lift for women who have bigger busts.”

IT’S POSSIBLE TO MAKE YOUR FAVOURITE SWIMWEAR LAST YEARS. I make sure to be super delicate with [it] just like I am with my lingerie. The gentler you are with the pieces, the longer they will last. I hand wash my swimwear usually right when I get back from the beach. I’ll wash it in the shower and let it dry flat and it really makes all the difference. Eventually, a time will come when the suit starts to sag a little in the bum or starts to rip or wear and as hard as it might be, that’s when you know it’s time to part ways.

Heidi Klum wearing Heidi Klum Swim

THERE’S NO GETTING BIKINI READY IN A WEEK whether it’s for a shoot or a vacation. It’s about living a healthy, active lifestyle and taking care of yourself all year. Of course, I love eating burgers and French fries, but most of the time I’m eating fresh and healthy produce. With four kids, we cook fresh every day. I always try to get my cardio activity in. You can see on my Instagram when I post, I’m not always the fastest, but I’m moving and getting my heart pumping.

I’M OFTEN ASKED FOR TIPS ON TAKING A FLATTERING SWIMWEAR SHOT. I know I am lucky as I have one of the best photographers in the world shoot me [for campaigns] and reminds me to suck my stomach in or angle to the side or arch or put my shoulders back, so maybe think of me next time telling you all of this.