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Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Bikinis? No, Thanks

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Well I seem to have caused a bit of a hoo-hah.

Yesterday, I appeared on ITV1's This Morning programme to debate in the studio the sartorial hot potato of whether women over 50 should or should not wear bikinis... with Nancy Dell'Olio (who is exactly how she appears on screen - lovely but waffy). I was asked to put across the point that women should not be seen in bikinis post-50. Unbeknownst to me, until two minutes before we went live, This Morning were putting a 'worm' at the bottom of the screen that would show who the online audience agreed with - Nancy or I. This was an argument I was never going to win, and, surprise, surprise, I didn't. Only 12% of the online audience agreed with my point of view. A bit disheartening but then one kind Twitter follower reminded me of this Oscar Wilde quote, 'To disagree with three-fourths of the British public is one of the pre-requisites of sanity'.

My argument went like this...

• There should be a cut off point for women to stop wearing bikinis as it's tacky and indecent when they get to a certain age

• Women's and men's bodies do not look as supple or appealing when 50 plus (on the whole) and so to have a clear cut-off point will help

There is a mis-held belief that the more flesh is on show, the more attractive. Well, that's just stupid and wrong. Swimsuits can still make a person look good. In the final episode of Desperate Housewives a few weeks ago, the parting shot of Eva Longoria (arguably one of the most attractive women in the world) was of Miss Longoria in a swimsuit... and she still looked good!

As a nation, we have lost a sense of dignity. The sun only has to show its face for five seconds and suddenly everyone starts shedding clothing like there's no tomorrow. Men walk round supermarkets sans shirts, women start wearing t-shirts and shorts that are eight sizes too small, causing all sorts of horrors, and the ubiquitous flip flop rears its ugly head. And let's not even start on visible bra straps.

Look at the Italians, perhaps one of the most stylish nations (even if they do wear brown shoes with suits): they are used to hot weather and adapt by wearing lighter materials, lighter colours, whilst still maintaining their dignity. Perhaps we should all organise a gargantuan school trip to Milano so we can all take notes?

As I also said on This Morning, many women under the age of 50 do not look good in bikinis and should not be seen in public places wearing such garments. We need to look objectively at our bodies and consider what is going to make them look as good as possible. I do not know why people would not want to look their best at all times. I have a mediocre body. I've got a few extra pounds round the middle and I don't think anyone really needs to see that, so I dress accordingly (in a tight fitting, whale-bone corset).

Before you leave the house, whether for work or for the beach, stop and look at yourself in a mirror!! It's amazing how many people do not!

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