Beach Bum: Choosing Swimwear

11/07/2013 21:01 | Updated 22 May 2015

As I hop around the changing room, trying to get my feet into the correct holes of the bikini bottoms, I curse that I didn't opt for a cottage in the UK, where a pair of wellies and a cardigan would suffice. It's tedious to think that choosing swimwear is so bothersome, when it's really just lycra underwear that will be worn for two weeks a year, before being lost at sea during a holiday fling.

While it's unnerving that strangers will see bits of you that never normally see the light of day, I'm an advocate of ignoring all phrases like 'muffin tops', 'jelly bellies' and 'love handles'. There is no end to this jolly assortment of terminology for female body parts. It's utter nonsense - and if I tried to hide all of my own wobbly bits, I would be sunbathing in a ski suit. And besides, other beach-goers will be far too busy nursing their tequila-sunrise-from-a-vending-machine hangovers to pay attention to anyone else.

There are far more pressing problems when it comes to beachwear, such as selecting a top that won't drift south, or bottoms that won't come off in the pool. It's far too stressful to worry about the circumference of your thighs on the one week of the year when you don't have to think about work or bills. Holidays are for relaxing and really, no one cares. So for me, finding beachwear is about picking something that looks good, makes the best of my body and that is comfortable during my three main activities: lying down, getting up to go to the bar and occasionally swimming.

I really do like the trend for 1950s-style big bottomed bikinis - but, and literally a big but - I learnt to avoid black and white stripes. At all cost. The lovely pair I tried on made me look like a monochrome bumble bee, and I felt a little like I was stuck in one of those crate swings for toddlers. At the cost of making my arse look bigger, however, they did make my waist look smaller. And just to reiterate, my bum requires no other endearing name.

The second contender is the popular, cut-out swimsuit. I bought one of these a couple of years ago and practicality-wise, it kept everything safely under wraps (ie, no escaping bottoms). But that's where the positives ended, I'm afraid. When sat down, my sides splayed uncomfortably outwards like Play Doh, and they're also not great if you tan or burn. Strap-marks are one thing, but after a week, I was an unflattering mosaic of pink and white. I vowed to play it safe with the simple bikini or standard swimsuit - less places to worry about sun cream.

Finally, and sadly, is the tankini. I don't think anyone has worn one of these since 2001 and for good reason. A frumpy, early-noughties mutation of an M&Co vest and pants combination, they have long been banished to the back of shops, next to the goggles and flippers. So all in all, I think the winner here (for me anyway) is the standard bikini. I shall bare my tops, wings, and jellies and snub all nomenclature of self-loathing. I will be far too busy lying face down, next to a large gin, thoroughly enjoying my first beach holiday in three years.


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