Whether you’re built like a goddess or a troll, the mission in swimsuit shopping is to find a flattering fit that makes you feel comfortable and pretty. The choices are many.

But never mind all that. Spiff up your beach wardrobe with a cover-up. It is the focus of the fashion world this summer.

Give up your ex-boyfriend’s old T-shirt. And the big old towel you wrap around your waist lacks style.

Consider instead a trendy tunic that moved right off designer runways and into stores and magazines this summer. Throw it over jeans on Saturday night and wear it to the beach on Sunday. It is more comfortable than a tight T-shirt and sleeker than a terry wrap. Designers such as Lily Pulitzer and Tory Burch launched the idea, and dozens of other manufacturers adapted it at pared-down prices.

But if you want a tad more cover that will take you to lunch or a party, opt for an eye-catching shift in a pretty print. And a silky, striped blouson top will turn heads when you wear it over white pants or a swimsuit.

The Sundress is the Dress

Summer means dinner under the stars at an outdoor restaurant, a Sunday stop at the ice cream bar or an unplanned weekend trip to visit friends.

The fashion fall back here is the sundress.

It is a high-priority item this summer. With flirty skirts or curvy shapes, it fits the girly-girl mood of the moment. And it is everywhere in stores and magazines.

But the best news is it works for many occasions – even the office with the addition of a cardigan or blazer.

Some have halter tops for a retro twist. Some go bohemian, sprinkled with sparkle or embroidery. Designer versions have high empire waists. Many come in wild floral patterns. Some are in scenic prints.

Prices run the gamut from less than $60 at the Gap to the hundreds on designer racks. Add sandals, colorful flats or shapely pumps and you can’t go wrong.

Just don’t wear one to a job interview.

© 2005, The Kansas City Star.

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.