I’m off to Rarotonga tomorrow morning. Eight nights in paradise. My brothers wedding celebration. An entire week with my entire family – siblings, parents, step parents, extended family members, long-time family friends. It’s going to be an absolute blast. I can not wait.
It’s also going to be super hot, think 29 degrees at 10pm at night with 91% humidity making it feel like it’s actually 41 degrees. Wooop woop! Add in the Zika Mosquito, which advice follows you should wear long sleeves and pants during daylight hours, and quite possibly I may expire from overheating.
Besides all that, my number one intention for this holiday is to make the most of every opportunity we have to be on the beach, to frolick in the sand and that stunningly clear blue, pure island water. You know, the water that featured in every cigarette ad in magazines when we were kids – crystal clear, turquoise, inviting. Except I won’t be the svelte tanned bunny in a skin tight white lycra bathing suit, menthol smoke in hand.
I have been enduring bathing suits since having kids and sticking to black and dark colours, lots of coverage and shopping only for pure function, forgoing style, sexiness or general attention getting aspects of swimwear.
A few weeks ago I decided it was time to change my outlook on that and to take a selection of swimwear away with me that I felt AMAZING in, that I WANTED to wear, that I didn’t feel the need to COVER UP and that I could comfortably spend several hours in.
My midsection is the main area of concern for me. You may be the same after having babies, or your main concern area may be somewhere totally different. I don’t have a flat stomach (never did even pre-kids) but it now is wobbly and jiggly and all manner of soft, spongey, marshmallowy – you get the idea. It’s the one area of my body that I am very self conscious about. Sure, I have cellulite on my butt and upper thighs, but I’m OK with that. I also have thighs that touch, but I’m OK with that too. My legs are strong and muscular in other places and with a bit of fake tan (I’ll be using Little Honey) I am fine with exposing them.
Determined to get past the cover-up factor, I headed in store to Farmers last week to select a few items that would enable me to achieve my goals of feeling good in togs. After my own shopping experience, I made a list of five top tips that I felt really helped me get in a great frame of mind when selecting my swimwear and I hope they might help you. You may be looking for a two piece and these pointers can still apply to you. I chose to shop one pieces or tankini’s just because I’m not ready to let the world see my wobbly bits, but each to their own.
Let me talk you through my reasoning behind each of my points:
- Prints or patterns are absolutely your best friend when searching for swimwear. They distract and create illusions that distract the eye from anything you are conscious about skin tight lycra highlighting in bright sunshine. Choose a pattern that suits your personality and reflects your style. That may be floral, geometric patterns, spots, stripes or animal print.
- Ruching done right can also hide little lumps and bumps that you want to conceal. Particularly on the side panels of a one piece, rouching can create the illusion that the bumps are actually part of the fabric and this is a welcome feature in my opinion.
- Hidden Shapewear is your best friend. There are some brands that achieve this better than others and you will pay for the technology that provides you with the actual ‘suck in, minimising and shrinkage’ that some brands boast the ability to do. Hidden shapewear also provides you with the confidence that your bits and pieces are all in place and being kept there. I know for me that having that extra support across my abdomen region is really reassuring, especially if I want to run along the beach – you know, gazelle like! (totally joking)
- Good fit is crucial to this entire operation. Don’t try to squeeze into something that is too small and equally, don’t fall into the trap of going up a size if it’s too loose – a swimming swimsuit did not anyone suit. You want to feel comfortable, but not like your circulation will be cut to your thighs. If you are going for a tankini, you may be able to find mix and match sizing to enable you to choose different sized top and bottom. You should feel like your breasts and tummy are being firmly held in place – no booby fall-out and no cutting in across your back. Lots of suits now have adjustable straps which can help immensely in creating a good fit in the upper section. The last thing you want to feel is uncomfortable, in either direction – either too small or too large, so if you need help in the fitting room with sizing, don’t be afraid to ask. The salespeople are trained and there to help with that. Another thing I would suggest is taking two sizes of each of the swimsuits into the fitting room with you and trying them both. I find that I’m often slightly between sizes and it helps to try both so you can tell which is more comfortable.
- Colour. I say this because as I mentioned earlier, I have stuck to black in the past and dark colours like navy because we believe and have been taught that black is slimming. That may on occasion be true, but when you’re wearing a swimsuit, no amount of black is going to hide the reality of what is underneath that super thin layer of lycra, so you’re better (in my opinion) to go for a colour that brings out your best bits – whether that is your eyes, your skin tone, contrast with your hair colour or whatever. Pick a colour that you feel amazing in. If you have a bright pink dress that you love wearing, hunt out a bright pink swimsuit. Or if apple green is your colour, find an apple green bikini. I chose all colour this time (with the exception of the animal print) and I just can’t wait to wear each of them. I want to feel bright and fun and full of life when I’m on the beach in Raro.
I headed in store to Farmers at 10am on a Tuesday morning – best time of day to shop (earlier if you can manage it). Make sure you’ve eaten breakfast and have had your coffee if you need it. Allow an hour. Otherwise you’ll be making a snap decision or getting frustrated and that won’t get a good result.
- Shopping is best done solo at the best of times, but when shopping for swimwear it’s crucial. You need as few distractions as possible. Wear clothing that you can easily remove and get in and out of without issue. I wore a strapless bra, close fitting comfortable underwear, a shift dress which is easy as pie to take off and put on again and a pair of jandals – forget laces, buckles and straps.
- Peruse the racks and look over every single offering before you write it off. Try it all on so you know you don’t suit it. Even if you know you’ll hate the floral one on, give it a try, you might surprise yourself!
- Gather up all your options and take them to the fitting room. Work through your pile of options systematically. I try everything on once and make a definitely no and a maybe pile. Then I discard the definitely no pile out to the sales assistant.
- Then go back to your maybe pile and try them on again. Again, separate them into no’s and maybe’s.
- Then retry the maybe’s and make your final decision.
Here’s what I ended up with after my multiple try-on session from Farmers (as well as some resort wear that I will show you soon). You’ll notice a trend here – rouching, pattern, bright colour, and babe you can bet there is hidden shape wear under there. P.S. they don’t look quite like this on me.
Swimwear above is available via these links:
I can’t wait to show you how these suits hold up on the island. Keep your eye out for ‘real life’ shots of ‘real life me’ in them, on the beach. Until then ~ ciao x
* I received swimwear for editorial consideration. All opinions, as always, are my own.