It’s one of the hottest trends in swimwear right now, but neoprene can be a tricky beast to master in terms of flattering cuts, regardless of your size or body shape. Locating a fit that’s as attractive as it is practical in chilly water can be like finding the holy grail. Pick the right one though, and it might be the most figure-perfect swimwear you’ve ever owned.

One woman who’s an expert on both swimwear and fashion-forward surf suits is Australian blogger and bikini model (who for the record is a size 12 and therefore far from plus in our eyes, despite the industry label) Bree Warren, who – together with partner Mitch – runs website The Wave Provocateur, where they profile some of the world’s best surfing destinations.

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Bree Warren wears Tigerlily  Credit: The Wave Provocateur

This week though, Warren is in Florida for Miami Swim Week, the biggest and most prestigious swimwear runway event on the global fashion calendar. (To put into context, Miami is to swim fashion what Paris is to haute couture.)

But before that, to celebrate the launch of popular Aussie brand Tigerlily’s first neoprene swim range, Warren took each piece from the collection for a test ride – in the surfer’s paradise of Tahiti no less. Warren is the ideal critic for the range, designed for everything from swimming in water as chilly as 16 degrees celsius to paddle boarding, surfing and even scuba diving.

GRAZIA spoke to her from America on her best tips for picking the perfect figure-flattering neoprene wetsuit or swimsuit for every body shape.

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Bree Warren wears the Tigerlily Tundra Paddlesuit with 2mm neoprene Credit: The Wave Provocateur

What are you doing in Miami right now? I’m going to lots of shows and events. It’s my first time at Swim Week so it’s going to be a really busy. So excited to see all the new collections! I’m also meeting A Bikini A Day girls Tash and Devin to plan some cool things we have in the pipeline. Then I’m heading to Los Angeles for a swim photo shoot in Malibu.

you’re an avid surfer and have bought dozens of wetsuits and neoprene surf suits over the years. What’s your hot tip for picking the perfect one? Choose the right size. Wetsuits are a little like jeans in that they stretch after a few times in the water, so don’t get it too big. You need to buy it so that it’s snug and it keeps the warmth in, but if you buy it ridiculously small then it can be impossible to get out of it when you’re wet. I’ve done this before and the struggle is real when your wetsuit is too small, so it’s a fine line. You have to find the happy medium.

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Bree Warren wears Tigerlily Credit: The Wave Provocateur

What’s the best way to care for expensive neoprene swimsuits? Less is more. Just hang it to dry when you get out of the water. I try to rinse it with fresh water after surfing but don’t do any crazy twisting to dry it because that can ruin the shape. I never put mine in the washing machine and definitely not in the dryer.  

After wearing it, what’s your take on Tigerlily’s first neoprene surf suit range? My favourite thing about it is the print. I love that it’s an extension of the iconic Tigerlily prints and that it looks like a fashion item rather than a wetsuit. I never understood why wetsuits always had to be so boring.

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Bree Warren wears Tigerlily Credit: The Wave Provocateur

Time to make us all jealous. Can you tell us about your trip to Tahiti for these pics, taken by your boyfriend Mitch? I’ll always remember these pics; there are such good memories attached to them. Tigerlily is a brand I grew up wearing and still love wearing now, so to be able to shoot their surf range in such a beautiful place with my boyfriend and my favourite board was amazing. Pretty much everything I love is there in one shoot.

BREE’s 5 top tips for neoprene suit shopping

1. Consider the water The water you will be in is most important thing to keep in mind. The temperature will determine how much coverage you need.

2. Fix on FIT For me it’s always important for it to be flattering and comfortable. I don’t want to have it riding up, cutting in or weird bulges. You kind of just want to put it on and not think about it.

3. shop for SHAPE This is different for everybody, but it’s important to find the best shape for your body. We’re all so different.

4. sport matters Fitness levels and how much you will exert yourself also comes into play when you’re picking your favourite surf suit. I find paddling a little harder with the arm resistance of a wetsuit. While it gets you fitter it also gets you warmer.

5. Your personal style Last but definitely not least, it has to look good and you have to feel good in it. I like that fashion has made it into the water now and if all else fails I just buy what looks pretty.

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Bree Warren wears Tigerlily Credit: The Wave Provocateur

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Bree Warren wears Tigerlily Credit: The Wave Provocateur

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Bree Warren wears Tigerlily Credit: The Wave Provocateur

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Bree Warren wears Tigerlily Credit: The Wave Provocateur

thoughts?