Camparigirl: I open the drawer that holds my five bathing suits and I honestly can’t decide which one to wear. Memorial Day week-end, glorious weather and my first day at the beach. And my attire choices are all so sad and old. I recycle bathing suits like no other fashion garment, a tad unwisely, but every year I balk at the money needed to buy a decent looking bathing suit. At 20 cheap, cheerful and disposable after one Summer is the way to go; at 50, maybe a little more structure is advisable.
Also, shopping for a bathing suit can be traumatic at best. One would have thought that department stores had gotten the hang of installing flattering lights and slimming mirrors in their changing rooms (some have – shop at Theory and the dim lighting will make you look fantastic!) but, no, every bulge, cellulite dimple is right there, staring back at you in triplicate, daring you to buy that skimpy bikini.
As a former tanning devotee, I still tend to favor two piece suits even if one pieces are generally more flattering. When it’s very hot, the way a one piece can trap sweat is also very unpleasant. I haven’t worn shorts in a good five years now and, if going to the beach, I prefer to cover up in a gauzy dress or a tank top and wrap-around skirt of any length – easy to get in and out of.
I have been scouring the web for some bikinis I might be willing to buy to face the coming Summer: the basic rules were they had to be moderately priced, not too skimpy and a bit structured to hold everything in place. I haven’t willed myself to go into the stores and try them on but I won’t be able to postpone the trip for much longer. Here are my picks with some guidelines on what to look for and what to avoid.
Sofagirl: Last summer I resorted to wearing my underwear as outerwear. My bod is slim – but I have a pigeon chest, which makes my boobs look low slung, and I have horrible drapey thighs and ‘substantial’ (a cosmetic surgeon’s description) calves. So drawing attention to myself on the beach is not something I relish. I am flummoxed by the swimsuit industry: why force us all into S/M/L swimsuits when there are myriad sizes of lingerie out there. Surely the penny should have dropped by now – the 34A girl is not going to fit into the same medium as the 34C girl. Offer us options that match bra size. How hard can that be?
Fashion mag research tells me I should be going for a boldly patterned two- or one-piece that will deflects the eye from the imperfection. Frankly the suit would have to have flashing neon to draw the eye from my thighs. So I tend to go in the other direction. But it is impossible to actually enjoy the beach, look good and cover up completely: as Nigella Lawson learned in her Burkini.
I am not a fan of having my bits on display, so I took to the internet to see what the fashionistas had to say. As with any piece of clothing – there are certain rules that govern what costume suits which body. And the ones suggested by Glamour definitely hit the mark – for bodies across the spectrum.
The Nephew and Nieces were initially mortified by the black bra I wore as a bikini top (which they recognised as being such immediately – given that they are familiar with every single thing I own, they must troll through my cupboards when I am not looking). But no-one else (seemingly) noticed, my boobs got some lift and the rest was covered by a proper swimsuit bottom. I thought it worked pretty well. So we all got over the initial reveal and had some fun. I liked the simplicity of the black and may try replicate it this year.
I have a few personal musts that help make the beach/pool/yacht (ha ha, as if) process bearable:
– A light tan: whether sprayed, self-applied or gently earned through careful sunbathing with high factor SPF (factor 30 minimum for me) – is a one-size-fits-all cure that works for every figure.
– A great pair of statement sunglasses and a big hat: says I am stylish and protected. And neither has to cost a fortune.
– Sun tan cream: always, always, always. Burn looks bad, too dark looks like prune – be smart.
And finally – the ultimate fashion accessory: an ‘I am fabulous’ smile tells everyone you are …. and they will smile right back.
(Images in the public domain. Find more great information at Glamour magazine here)