Editors Update: I have just heard back from an inquiry to River Island about charges on returns – in fact they DO NOT accept returns on swimwear. DO NOT buy the jeweled top or high-waisted bikini bottom below unless you are sure you will keep it. Which, WHO WOULD DO THAT? My apologies!
Have you quit a few bathing suit styles forever? Do you scold them as you shop, “No way buster, not in your lifetime!” But do you also find yourself sighing as you put one leg, and then the other, into your old reliable tankini?
I suggested that if you are ever to experiment with swimsuit fashion, this is the year.
- Designers now offer almost any combinations you can imagine
- Adventurous suits are available at multiple price points
- Online commerce means you can indulge in Blitz Shopping, i.e. order 20 suits, try them on at home (where you don’t have to hop around a too small, mirrored, badly lit, box trying to encase yourself in stubborn nylon), return what you won’t wear.
You might ask, adventurous suits even in midlife? And yes, especially in midlife, if you want. With any luck, we know our shapes. With any luck, we are fond of them, either for their geometry or the good job they have done at any number of things. So we can cover judiciously, expose precisely but jauntily, and enjoy our bathing suits as we do our other clothes.
In any case, we’ll never know ’til we try. A few possibilities.
The Bejeweled Top And Pareo, Taking A Page From 1001 Nights
For the small-busted among us, I highly recommend a sparkly bikini top, here, with a cotton pareo, here. I spent decades in flattering and dignified one-piece suits. Then I went to Hawaii the Christmas after my divorce, alone for Christmas Day, eventually joined by my children. As fortification, I bought a sequined Brazilian bikini. I wore it with a pareo when on land, and felt all kinds of alluring and elegant.
No one seemed shocked in the slightest, and I found my cleavage and ribcage very reassuring.
A High-Waisted Bikini, Palms Optional
We discussed this possibility, last year, because here at Privilege we are nothing if not trend-spotters. Well, in 2014 high-waists are everywhere. While my friend @kidchamp says Not A Good Look, I can’t help but wonder if that’s always true. River Island makes it easy for we Americans, and the citizens of its home territory, the UK, to give it a try, here.
Surfers and teens have made the rash guard both cool and ubiquitous. Well OK then. A long-sleeved tee, in essence, reducing the need for sunscreen? I can work with that, especially in a ladylike tulip print from Madewell.
You had perhaps vowed never to wear a skirted suit. As did we all at the same times as we swore never to own a minivan, never to wear orthopedic sandals, never to be seen in a cloth floppy-brimmed hat. Ah, the hubris of youth. Fortunately, the industry has realized that we might actually want to wear a swim skirt, and we might want to feel stylish while so doing. This ruffled one’s by Gottex, available at Macy’s. They’ve got all kinds of options in all kinds of sizes, ruched, crochet-trim, classic.
Bonus Recommendation #1: L.L.Bean
And, if you’re thinking, “This woman is off her rocker, I WANT MY TANKINI MISSY,” or the equivalent, there’s nothing wrong with that. Good news is that L.L.Bean has stepped up their game. Megan, one of our commenters here, works often in swimming pools. Her recommendation?
Bonus Recommendation #2: A Scarf For Your All Important Neck
In closing, A Note On Style, a fashion blog I’ve been reading, recently recommended wearing a scarf on the beach for extra SPF on the neck. Think about it. Might be too much flapping, might be brilliant. But if you see a middle-aged lady on the beach in Hawaii this winter, all scarfed up, promise you won’t be shocked.
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