I’ve been waiting to say that for ages. Pack away your jackets and black tights, the heat has finally arrived! I haven’t worn a jacket since March and every time I’ve left the house I have regretted that decision – Hull looks so warm through a window, but we don’t half get some nasty cold winds. Finally I can bear my arms without getting goosebumps!
With summer finally here, it’s time to talk about sun, sea and swimwear. Many women get nervous at the thought of wearing swimming costumes and bikinis, and just two weeks ago I would have counted myself in this category too. However, with a few tips on body confidence and dressing for your shape, being ready to bare all in a bikini is much easier than you’d think.
After losing 30kg/66lbs/4st 10lbs since I last went on holiday (you can read all about how I’ve done it here) and shrinking from a UK size 18 to a size 12, I was in desperate need of some new swimwear. I trawled ASOS for what felt like an age (probably three hours in actual time), trying to find the perfect bikini. I finally fell for two pieces from ASOS’ mix and match contrast bikini range – the Fuller Bust Plunge Bikini Top and the High Waist Bikini Pant. Although I loved the look on the model, my insecurities surfaced when I thought about how the set would look on me. Full of trepidation, I ordered it.
When it arrived just one day later (it arrived on a Sunday, I adore ASOS Premier!) I couldn’t wait to try it on, but I also couldn’t stop thinking about how it would make me look, worrying about how my flabby thighs, Casper the Friendly Ghost pale skin and saggy midriff skin would react to the new bikini.
I shouldn’t have worried at all. I felt like a complete and utter bombshell in it! The plunge of the bikini top suited my soft and squishy 34E boobs perfectly, and the high rise bottoms emphasised my waist whilst hiding the excess skin weight loss has left around my middle. The high contrast combination of black and white looked great against my pale skin, and the sizing was spot on – although I did buy size 14 bottoms instead of the size 12 I usually wear as I was worried about the leg openings cutting into my wide hips. It may not have made my cellulite or stretch marks disappear, but I felt amazing regardless of those ‘imperfections’ – why the hell society has us believe that natural marks on the skin make us imperfect I have no idea, but that’s a whole other issue…
Trying on the bikini made me realise something quite important. Although I don’t have the body of a supermodel, I can look pretty damn good in next-to-nothing if I’m careful about what I pick, and I firmly believe that everyone can ooze confidence if they pick garments they love.
1. Be honest about your size
This one sounds a little bit obvious, but bear with me! You won’t be happy in your swimwear (or any clothes, for that matter) if you aren’t honest about your size. Whether you’re a size 8 or a size 28, there’s no point in trying to trick yourself into fitting into something that isn’t your size. If, for example, you’ve fallen in love with a tankini that starts at a size 8 but you’re a 4, you won’t be happy if you have to pull your bottoms up all the time because they’re too big. Accept that it isn’t for you and move on.
I usually have this problem when it comes to bikini tops and underwired swimming costumes. In the majority of bikini tops, the largest cup size you can buy is a D, or occasionally a DD. That isn’t particularly useful if you have E cups like myself. I used to buy a DD and deal with a bit of overspill, but trust me, you won’t feel confident in the pool if you’re constantly worrying about potential nip slips!
Instead of trying to make your body agree with a piece of swimwear, try to find swimwear that agrees with you. If you have a small waist and large thighs, there’s nothing wrong with sizing up to ensure you get the best fit. Don’t let sizes bother you – sizes are just numbers at the end of the day, and the human body is worth so much more than just a number.
2. Dressing for your shape can make you feel better about your figure, but don’t feel restricted by it!
A lot of fashion programmes and magazines talk about the importance of knowing your body shape. If you are unsure of your body shape and would like to know, you can find a helpful list here. Although shopping for your shape may help you to feel more confident, you should not feel restricted by it. There are no rules when it comes to fashion – you can wear whatever the hell you like. If your body shape apparently suits halterneck swimwear best but you find halters uncomfortable, don’t buy them!
3. Show off the bits you love, but don’t feel pressured into hiding anything
For me, there’s no greater way to boost my confidence than to find a piece of clothing or swimwear that perfectly highlights my favourite asset, my waist, whilst hiding the bits I’m not too sure about. However, no-one has to hide anything they don’t want to! (well, you do have to hide a certain place to avoid being charged for indecent exposure by the police…)
For example, if you have a bit of a pooch (let’s be honest, the vast majority of us do!) but you feel more comfortable in low waisted hipster briefs than swimming costumes that hide it all, wear ’em girl! Don’t feel like you have to cover up. It’s more important to feel comfortable and secure in what you wear than to follow vague rules of fashion at the end of the day.
4. Beware of underwired pieces sized by dress size
Like many other people, I am a lover of a bargain. Hence why I used to buy all of my swimwear from Primark… big mistake. Although I am not writing off Primark or other bargain swimwear completely, you really do need to try it on before you buy it.
The problem with cheap swimwear is that the tops are usually sized using dress sizes rather than cup sizes. Although this isn’t really a problem if you prefer bandeau/wireless styles of swimwear, when underwires come into the mix you are almost certainly guaranteeing yourself a dodgy fit. There’s a bloody good reason bras use band and cup sizes rather than dress sizes – a woman can still be a size 10 regardless of whether she has A cup breasts or F cups! Therefore, you are risking a lot of fit problems if you go for underwired tops made with dress sizes. Instead, find a shop (ASOS do a lot of bikini and swimsuit styles sized by cups rather than dress sizes) that carries tops in cup sizes and pretend you’re bra shopping. You may have to pay a little bit more, but I personally think a perfect fit is worth the extra money.
5. Think carefully about what you like and ignore the model photos.
Think about what swimwear you actually like. Several times on the ASOS website I got lured in by a pretty print, or an interesting neckline… just stop and think for a second. In swimwear it is very easy to feel exposed, and if you aren’t comfortable you won’t feel confident. Underwires or wireless; costume, bikini or tankini; strapless, halterneck or traditional straps; plunge or balconette top; there’s a lot of different options when it comes to swimwear. Shape and style should come first, NOT colour or pattern. That galaxy print strapless bandeau swimming costume may look stunning on the model, but if your puppies have little support will you feel comfortable?
Your body is unique, so don’t worry about sizes or trends, just wear what you feel comfortable in. If a stranger doesn’t like what you’re wearing, do you really care? As long as you feel good, that’s all that matters.
I hope you have found this post useful in helping you choose swimwear for the summer – now get out there and enjoy the sunshine!
Don’t forget to follow Poppy alla Norma on Bloglovin’ so you never miss a post.
Until next time,