65 years ago in May 1946, French car engineer Louis Reard created the ‘modern two piece’, naming it after the ‘Bikini Atoll’ nuclear tests due to the shocking nature of this new revealing attire. Little did he know that his creation would create some of the most iconic fashion images and column inches over the coming years. Little also did he know of the headache that this small invention would create for all of us. Fashions come and go but the one thing that has not changed over these 65 years is the pressure we feel to be the perfect beach goddess (thanks to the Farrah Fawcetts of this world).
For most of us, our summer holiday is the first time we are semi-naked in public (usually on the back of a long cold winter) and it is a daunting prospect. We have seen celebrities get it wrong with their ‘A’ List wallets, perfectly toned bodies and team of stylists so what hope do we have?
As the co-founder of an online beachwear boutique, I spend many an hour guiding customers into the right bikinis to make sure that they go off on their holidays feeling as excited about putting on their beachwear as they would a new party dress. My one challenge, however, is to de-programme the ingrained pre-conceived fashion rules that may work for the purchase of the ‘new party dress’ but can trip us up completely when buying beachwear. They tend to go like this…
A Black Bikini will make me look slimmer
Unless you have a deep Mediterranean tan, Black can be harsh and put against pale flesh is certainly NOT the LBD solution. Grey and brown Bikinis are often kinder and more flattering to paler skin tones.
The more coverage the better
The Boyleg demand comes predominantly from those wishing to disguise a larger bottom. Boylegs may cover but they HIDE NOTHING and should be kept for the keira Knightley figures. Sash and Belted Bikini Pants are much more flattering as they provide detail and distract hence making the bottom looks smaller. Tie-Sides can also lengthen the leg and minimise the bottom.
A ‘White’ Bikini will give me an instant tan
White bikinis should be TREATED WITH CARE. They can look cheap and are a ‘no no’ with a matching skin tone. Therefore to carry it off, fake tan is a must and a pattern, ruching or texture is important to give a classier look.
Prints and horizontal stripes will emphasize my bulges
Unlike clothes, printed bikinis can actually disguise our imperfections, particularly if you mix prints with plains for contrast and work with mixed stripes.
Bandeaus are flattening
Beachwear has moved on a long way in the last 65 years and there are now some very supportive Bandeau Bikinis that use twists in the fabrics and frills to add to the uplifting effect. Surely that is more flattering than tying your halter round your bust to avoid strap lines!
One thing that will never change is that looking good on the beach is all about confidence. Avoid the pitfalls and follow the simple guidelines by choosing the right colours, styles and fit for us and we can all be beach goddesses. Thanks to the pioneering Australian swimwear designers, such as Seafolly, Baku and Ginja, the last few years have seen the most amazing developments in the choice, fabrication, and design of beachwear so we really have no excuse to get it wrong.