I know, I know – the 3rdi is a serious magazine, covering serious business topics and has no room for such frivolities as swimwear. But I’m hoping that the editor will allow for some early holiday season madness and allow me this one concession. Why? Because with this month’s focus in 3rdi being on cooperatives and collaboration there can be few places where there is less cooperation amongst women than at the poolside. This article has been written to empower all readers to feel confident in their swimwear, regardless of body shape and age. And to pass on this new knowledge to other women, surely there can be no better model of cooperation in action than the exchange of such vital knowledge?
THE ARRIVAL – The only way for British women to feel less conspicuous on arrival at their sunny destination is to have a fake tan applied by a professional the day before you go on holiday. I learned this when I went to Jamaica a few years ago and a lady from Aberdeen arrived with a caramel tan that would be impossible to achieve on the North Sea coastline. Her fake tan allowed her to look great from day one and to tan sensibly, rather than stay in the sun too long on the first few days.
Dark colours diminish and light colours accentuate so a tan helps to stop the attention immediately going to those areas that shouldn’t be accentuated. This was very apparent during my holiday in France last year where, contrary to the claims of Mireille Guilliano, French women do put on weight. However, this doesn’t stop them from wearing bikinis as their tanned skin and joie de vivre takes the attention up to their animated faces – confidence is definitely the best accessory for swimwear.
POOLSIDE CUSTOMS – Shapes of swimwear DO make a difference so read carefully and consider what options you will choose.
When deciding what style of bikini top to wear consider your shoulder line and bust size.
Look carefully at your shoulder line and notice if it’s sloping, standard or squared.
Sloping shoulders will be emphasised further by halter necks and strapless tops so if you notice a particular slope avoid these styles.
A standard shoulder line can get away with most straps, just remember to hold your head up and therefore pull your shoulders back while you walk.
A squared shoulder line can wear anything – strapless, halterneck, spaghetti straps or wider straps – so enjoy not having to worry about this area and go for a style that you’ll love wearing.
There’s no ideal size of bust for swimwear – they’re all great! If you have a large bust you’re going to look sexy, a moderate bust will look in proportion and smaller bust can look more youthful.
A larger bust can look gorgeous in a bikini or swimsuit but can be trickier to keep at the right level! Look out for deeper necklines that define the bust but bigger cups that cover the bust and more substantial straps that keep the bust up! Ensure that you can adjust the straps of your bikini to raise your bust making it looking more pert and youthful, as well as lengthening your torso. Straps should be situated on the outer aspect of the bust, not from the middle which doesn’t support the full shape of the bust.
A moderate bust will not have the same issues of a bust that needs support but as our bust starts to head south after the age of 21 the chances are we need a bra that will keep our bust looking pert. Make sure that the band under the bust is tight whether it’s tied or has a clip. If the bra has straps go for straps that can be adjusted, or if it’s a halter neck keep it firmly tied so that the bust is kept in its rightful place.
A smaller bust can be emphasised with triangular shaped bikini tops and subtle inserts that create a more definite curve.
When considering the bottom half of your bikini think of your favourite jeans and where their waistline sits. Chances are this is where your bikini bottom should sit also. For instance I find that clients who carry more weight in their hips or upper thighs feel more comfortable wearing low rise jeans, but clients who carry extra weight in the abdominal area feel better wearing higher waistbands. Similarly the low slung bikini bottom will work with a rounder bottom and bring attention to a slim waist. Whereas a high rise bikini bottom can make slim legs look longer and hold in a less taut stomach. For those of you who think I’m mad to suggest that many of us can wear bikinis you may feel that a tankini is safer option. My only word of caution would be that often the top garments ride up and bring more attention to the abdomen. Yes they can hide stretch marks but often they will bring attention to the very place that we want to diminish (and stretch marks look better once they’re tanned anyway).
THE DEPARTURE – If you’re wary of wearing a bikini the most scary aspect will be walking around – once you’re lying flat wobbly bits can be stretched out, and your eyes are closed or watching behind your sunglasses and wondering why other women around the pool haven’t worked out how to choose a style of bikini that works for their specific figure?! Make sure you have something pretty to wear over your bikini – the days of wrapping a towel round are long gone. If you opt for a sarong make sure that you tie it in a V, slung to the side so that your abdomen is lengthened and a waist is created. Tying it straight across your tummy brings attention to this area as well as cutting your body length in half. A simple strappy empire-style sundress has the power to look chic but is easy to slip on and off. Avoid kaftans that go below the knee, the shapeless long aspect of this garment will be easy to wear but has the “sack of tatties” effect. If you wear a kaftan ensure that it stops above the knee and look for a fabulous bag that has the wow factor – kaftans rarely do.
My final vital tip is to wear a great necklace! To bring the attention away from your lower body and up to your face you can’t beat a necklace and earrings.
Prepare your poolside look now so that you don’t need to give it another thought on holiday. Now you can turn your attention to all those brilliant business articles you downloaded from 3rdi!