When it comes to swimwear there are no rules, says fashion and beauty editor Katie Wright.
Have you ever wondered, while gazing in a full-length mirror or browsing online stores, what’s the ‘best’ bikini shape for your body? Whether a halterneck or bandeau top would suit you better? Whether you should be wearing high-waisted bottoms, or a side-tie thong?
Well, we’re here to tell you that the ‘ideal’ two-piece is… whatever you want it to be.
In the past, brands tried to convince us that there were rules about what type of swimwear we should wear, according to our body shape.
We were told that padded bikini tops were best for boosting a small bust, that high-cut briefs would lengthen our legs. Larger ladies, it was suggested, should cover up with a full swimsuit or tankini, preferably one reinforced with ‘control’ fabric to suck in any undesirable lumps or bumps. Not any more.
Gone are the days when only certain svelte figures were deemed ‘beach body ready’. Seven years on from the controversial Protein World ad, which asked ‘Are you beach body ready?’, people of all shapes and sizes are answering that question with a resounding YES!
It’s no coincidence that during those seven years, the body positivity movement has gone from strength to strength. Celebrities like singer Lizzo and models Ashley Graham and Tess Holliday are all about self-acceptance and being confident at any size, and they’re inspiring millions of people all over the world.
Platforms like I WEIGH, founded by actor Jameela Jamil are helping amplify the voices of others in the body positivity world, and Instagrammers likeDanae Mercer and Faye Dickinson are here to remind everyone that you shouldn’t ever compare yourself to what you see on social media.
Mercer posts videos revealing how influencers use particular poses and angles to make their waists look thinner and their bums look bigger. Dickinson created the ‘Filter vs Reality’ filter to show how photo-editing apps can give everyone perfect-looking skin, fuller lips, killer cheekbones and even change your eye colour.
If you think you ‘can’t’ wear a bikini because you haven’t got the body of a Kardashian remember that even Kim K makes an effort to show off her best angles in photos, admitting on an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians in 2017: “I always have cellulite on one thigh, and I try and cover it.”
American plus-size model Holliday, who invented the hashtag #effyourbeautystandards as a way to hit back at critics, said she had “never felt more empowered” than when she wore a string bikini for the first time last summer, writing on Instagram: “My entire career started because I didn’t see myself represented, and now, there are so many big girls, and ppl in bigger bodies thriving and it makes me so happy that I was a tiny part of that.”
We’re not saying you have to wear a string bikini, of course. If you love the silhouette of a swimsuit, stick with it. If you feel more comfortable in high-waisted bikini bottoms or a supportive underwired top, go for it.
The point is, you should wear what you want – whether it’s summertime or not. Have you got a body? Then you are beach body ready – don’t let social media, celebrities, or anyone else tell you otherwise.