Bikini rules for any old bum
Wearing a bikini turns me into a woman I don’t want to be: neurotic, angsty and hyper-pervy of every female in sight.
I’m a shocker at ‘compare and despair’, so all those holidays when I should be enjoying a good book or contemplating a surf are, instead, spent in a ridiculous silent dialogue with myself:
“Are they looking at my thighs? She’s game to go the white; What’s that Miranda Kerr lookalike doing in Bermagui? Sod off back to Mauritius! Who’d have thought four triangles of Lycra could turn me into such a cow?”
If thongs are fashion’s greatest leveller, the bikini is its magnifier of the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. It strips you bare, delivering a flesh fest of bum, belly and boobs, which is peachy if you’re Elle or Gisele, but not so great for the rest of us.
It’s silly, really. Because despite being tastelessly named after an atomic testing site, everything the bikini is designed for is fab. Beaches, hammocks, resort pools, palm-fringed islands, Miss Universe pageants (OK, maybe not there), water parks (er, or there). Places where the raison d’être is to enjoy.
So why don’t we? Why should women shy away from swimming when a dip in the sea is the most delicious thing you can do?
I blame ‘the rules’ – the nonsensical swimsuit buying tips trotted out every year and delivered with such authority, they send all but the most style-sure diving for a sarong. So, drawing on experience (a back-to-front bottoms disaster circa 1993) and an internship at Vogue (OK, that’s a lie), here’s my reworking of the rules when shopping for swimwear.
Rule 1: Apply fake tan and wear your smallest knickers.
It’s bad enough thinking you look awful – no point smelling grim, too. Instead, take rapid-action anti-depressants and laugh uproariously at the Brazilian-brief-over-nanna-undies combo.
Rule 2: Look for flattering lighting and shop before lunch.
Get real. Even on drugs, Bondi and Byron aren’t blessed with soft-focus. Likewise, down a mojito, salt-and-pepper squid and a triple-choc Magnum before shopping because that’s the joy – and truth – of holidays.
Rule 3: Detract from problem areas with frills, patterns and ruching.
Would you draw with red Texta around a pimple? Thought not. Approach swimwear as you would any other item of clothing. Wear classics? Go for a well-structured piece in elegant navy or brown. Adventurous? Try the new Monroe-style bottoms. Bikinis still work for Helen Mirren because she opts for what suits her, rather than fashion.
Rule 4: Cover a big bum with a boy-leg cut.
Androgenous only works on waifs. Go for what Liz Hurley calls an “American brief” – basically, a bigger bottom for bigger bums.
Rule 5: Diamantes, beading and novelty clasps add interest.
And guarantee you’ll emerge from the sea looking less Ursula Andress and more seaweed-strewn barnacle. Snagging yourself on a rock isn’t a good look.
Rule 6: SMS options to your friends when you’re in the changing room.
No mate is going to reply with: “You look like cottage cheese being squeezed out of a condom.” Man-up and make the decision yourself.
Rule 7: Find something you like? Buy two.
Or three. Or 10 even. Save yourself the whole charade for another decade.
Rule 8: St Tropez is the ideal destination to show off your new swimwear.
Life is too lovely to spend it among French women in bikinis.
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