Listen up, ladies. Just when you thought it was safe and I’d stop banging on about how to feel great in a swimsuit, I’m back.
I’ve been putting my body on the line – well into a pair of cosies, togs, bathers – for a few years now to compile the annual SY Swimsuit Edition.
I don’t consider it a brave thing but it’s definitely out of my comfort zone to be photographed in next to nothing.
(I do enlist hair and makeup, a spray tan and forgiving light to help the process. And I photograph myself using my Olympus camera, phone app and timer so can play around and check how I’m standing)
See, the thing is, I have this swimsuit soapbox that I like to climb up on each spring-summer in an effort to get every woman out there enjoying the water. And it would be hypocritical of me to get on the soapbox if I weren’t prepared to don a swimsuit – or five – to lead the way to the water.
Life’s way too short to sit on the sand or beside the pool when the heat is on and everyone else is having a splash of a time.
I’m old – and in tune with my own body issues – enough to know that the fun stuff happens in the water and if I want in on the fun then I have to drop my own hang-ups.
And I’d like you to do the same too.
Look away from those magazine covers that suggest you need a bikini-ready body before even so much as stepping foot on the sand.
You’ve got a body. It’s bikini ready. Put one on.
Or put on a one-piece, a tankini or a swim dress. Wear whatever you bloody well like but wear the swimsuit and own it.
Bombshell Bay one-piece swimsuit (I’m wearing XL. I’m in love with this print and the cut of the swimsuit is super flattering. The bust may not have enough support for above a D cup) | Jam Jam sarong @ Sequins and Sand
How to feel great in a swimsuit
1. Calm the voices in your head. They are noisy buggers but they are the only voices who will express any negativity towards how you think you look in a swimsuit. Everyone on the beach and in the pool is too busy with their own internal chatter to critique you. Sorry to disappoint you on this note.
2. Take your swimsuit lead from European women. Ask anyone who’s ever visited a beach in Europe … women of all shapes and sizes don’t hesitate in getting it all out.
3. Don’t give up the search for the best swimsuit for you. There is a swimsuit out there for you. Once you let go of the “imperfections” and embrace the freedom that comes with being able to wear a swimsuit and fully participate in summer, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
Queensland Swimwear Company tankini top (the straps are removable, there is great support in the bust and the ruching and print panel work a treat over the stomach area) and pant (I’m in size 16 in both) | iland.co kimono (maxi length – love this ombre – if you love kimonos, make sure you check out this range)
4. Do not fear the bikini – at any size. It can create the illusion of making you look smaller because less fabric is involved. Try it for yourself in the mirror.
5. Boardshorts with bathers have the opposite effect of what you think they are doing. Instead of wearing them, make peace with your legs. (Or wear the boardshorts if it makes you feel more confident and gets you in the water.)
6. Do consider what you’ll actually be doing in your swimsuit. The needs of someone who regularly body surfs or wrangles small children will be vastly different from those who consider raising a cocktail glass to their lips sufficient exercise for the day.
7. Everyone’s budget for swimwear is different. What I do suggest is that you spend the most your budget can allow if you have your own pool, live at the beach or spend a lot of time beachside over summer. Quality swimwear is made from fabrics that withstands more frequent use.
8. If black makes you feel more confident in a swimsuit – or any piece of clothing – then wear it.
9. Consider though enlisting the help of a patterned swimsuit for all kinds of optical illusion tricks – and a lot of fun.
10. Want to create an optical illusion around the tummy? Ruching is a your friend.
11. If your bust is a C cup and over then do hunt down a swimsuit with support. Just having the girls up where they belong will help with the confidence factor.
Lilly & Lime bikini top and pant (I’m wearing size 36DD in the top and 16 in the pant. This swimsuit label offers a selection of supportive bikinis in cup sizes up to HH. Not all styles go to that cup size and the back size limit is 38 – a size 16. I sized up in the cup to accommodate the smaller back size. Love the print and the shape of these pieces) | Island Jade kimono cape (from Sequins and Sand)
12. Don’t be afraid of shopping online. It really does take away the whole change room angst because you get to use your own mirror at home and control the lighting. Look for companies with return policies that allow you to buy, try and decide with hassle-free returns.
13. Don’t be afraid to seek out help from a bricks-and-mortar swimsuit specialist retailer, either. Staff in these stores are trained – much like a trained bra fitter – to get you into a swimsuit you’re happy with.
14. Rash vests have come a very long way. They offer sun protection but they also can look good too. I don’t hit the beach in summer without one.
15. Do invest in swimwear cover-ups. I find these help boost my swimsuit confidence but also (depending on the fabric) help with sun protection.
Capriosca long rash vest (I’m in size 16 – love that you can use the ties at the side to make this shorter or longer to suit), bikini top and pant (I’m in size 16 in both and am totally in love with this print. The bikini top offers incredible support) – from Sequins and Sand | Carolyn Unwin hat (this is the second hat I’ve bought from Carolyn – she makes to fit my big head!)
So tell me, how’s your swimsuit confidence? Share your battle of the bathers.
Location: (my balcony during a storm last week) Anantara Seminyak Bali
Hair and Makeup: Yenny Gunawan
* All of the above swimsuits and cover-ups were gifted to me for editorial consideration. I’ve featured them because they work for me and they might be brands and styles you would like to explore for your body shape and size.
Independent online swimwear and beachwear company Sequins and Sand this summer continues its #CossieConfidence campaign and I’d love you to get on board with. #CossieConfidence is aimed at empowering women to get into a cossie/swimsuit/bathers/togs – and sharing that look with the hashtag so that more women find the confidence to enjoy our summer lifestyle to the fullest.
Check out all the fabulous women on our Hello Me trip to Bali this week. Sequins and Sand kitted us out with our cossies and we couldn’t resist a pool shot. Typical Aussies, we mostly spent time in the pool in the morning when it was in full shade from the hotel!
More swimsuit confidence love
Robyna May for Champagne Cartel: Wear a bikini this summer … or don’t
Kirsten and Co: How to feel good in your swimsuit this summer
Styling Curvy: Bikini confidence at any age