So in the spirit of my positive life plan, I thought I’d have a few words about the dreaded b-word, and why we ALL should be wearing one if we want to. I’m no expert, but here’s my 40-something guide to feeling fab in a bikini, and why I won’t be rolling out the swimming costumes any time soon!
We’re SO hard on ourselves, aren’t we? I was talking to a friend the other day on how funny it is that you get to your forties and there are certain things you don’t do any more (our examples, hilariously, were turn on your phone camera when it’s on front-facing without seeing about ten chins, and leaning over the bath naked to swirl it when anyone is in the bathroom with you). We always seem to look on the negative aspects of ourselves: ‘my tummy isn’t as toned as it was’ or ‘my thighs are huge’, but never ‘I’m curvy and gorgeous!’ or even just ‘my body works! It’s amazing!’
If you WANT to wear a swimsuit, that’s absolutely fine – I did when we were being filmed at Blizzard Beach for our Disney video as they recommend you don’t wear two-pieces on the rides (it wasn’t that sort of video), but if, like me, you’ve got to that stage when you’d like to but you don’t want to feel self-conscious, I thought I’d tell you my own little journey, along with a few personal rules:
Remember, changing room mirrors are EVIL
There’s something about the downlights in retail changing rooms that accentuate every little lump and bump – but think about it: as every photographer knows, natural light is flattering and gorgeous – it washes out those little imperfections, so don’t assume that what you see in the mirror is what everyone else will see!
Also remember, nobody is scrutinising you
Erica and I had this chat by the pool last week. Think about it: everyone’s probably lying on their sunbed too busy feeling self conscious about their own tummy/thighs/gnarly toes/whatever to give two hoots about what you look like in your bikini.
Pick a style that suits you
See this pic from Lido Beach? I was mortified when this was taken – my thighs look wobbly and the soft bikini top did nothing for my boobs (I know, ridiculous isn’t it? How horrible we are to ourselves?), but I look at it now and think it’s not THAT bad – half the issue is my choice of bikini. I didn’t feel great in it: the bottoms were a bit too tight, causing extra bulge, and the bandeau top wasn’t massively flattering as it kind of squashed my boobs against my chest.
Lesson learned, then. To help you feel confident, go for a style that’s flattering to your good bits! Next time, I’m going for a more bra-type arrangement like this scrummy vintage cup size bikini top from Boden:
OR a halter neck that provides a bit of extra support to keep you looking perky, like this lovely pink Oysho halter bikini top from ASOS:
I’ve also been trying on bikini bottoms in a size larger than I need (not TOO large, they have to stay on while you’re swimming) to avoid any extra bulging. Also, some are cut more generously than others (have a look at the back view of the ASOS bikini bottoms above, they’re pretty, erm… sparse). I remember chatting to hush’s creative director, Mandy Watkins, back when they launched their first swimwear collection (read all about their new season swim and beachwear here), and being so pleased to hear that she had purposefully made the swimwear with good bum coverage, and a good variety of colours to suit all skintones.
If you’re tummy conscious – ones that are slightly higher rise are quite flattering. I’ve just brought these Marks and Spencer striped roll top bikini bottoms and they’re really flattering and comfortable:
Pick a colour that suits your skintone
Funny isn’t it? I wouldn’t be seen dead in neon orange at home, but for some reason I’m attracted to all the colours of the rainbow in swimwear. Having said that – bright neon colours are quite flattering (above is one of my favourites from Boux Avenue – the bottoms are a bit big but that means there’s no squidging, and the top is supportive – add great evening light and an accidentally flattering camera angle into the mix and I can look at it without wincing) but you know what I’m saying – if black washes you out, don’t go for a black bikini – try a more flattering navy or something else – and – I know, I know, changing rooms are horrible, but TRY IT ON! You can always order online, then try on in the privacy of your bedroom.
Do a bit of prep
I talked about body scrubs recently and I find that they really do make my skin look softer and smoother. Add a bit of fake tan into the mix, get some waxing done and lastly:
Smother yourself in sun cream, bung on a bit of mascara, get that bikini on and get out there, lady! You are amazing, your husband/boyfriend/friends/kids/mum love you to bits, you’re in a well chosen, flattering bikini and you’re on holiday! Hold your head up high, strut to that sunlounger and sip a well-earned cocktail. You are gorgeous!