The winter may seem like it's lingering on but just like the many winters we’ve endured before, we know for a fact that we are going to blink and it's going to be a full-on South African summer. I say summer because, in Mzansi, only September 1st is the recognized “spring day” after that it’s just summer to most of us. Anyway, summer is also the perfect time for beach and pool parties, which means finding the right beachwear is essential, especially if you are going to be capturing your mojito moments for the socials. The right beachwear goes a long way into making sure you are “summertime fine”.
There was a time - a very long time ago… like before social media was a thing or before we could have ever thought a pandemic would close the beach and lockdowns would restrict people’s movements - when we left our houses and all headed to the beach not necessarily concerned about wearing the “right” clothes. The way we would flood the beach meant nobody cared who wore what. That’s how trends like the one of wearing stoffie (aka tights) and a free ANC shirt (the one with Jacob Zuma’s head was particularly popular) remained acceptable for a number of years.
But then, things changed. We (read Black people) discovered private beaches, AirBnBs and prioritised international travel. Social media also pushed aesthetics to the top of the list and the thing about living for the ‘Gram is that how you look matters. So, biker shorts and oversized shirts at the beach or pool party will never ever be able to cut it again.
A quick look at what is available as appropriate beachwear tells a very obvious tale: There are a lot of options available. We have come a long way from the days of two choices: a one-piece swimsuit and a bikini. This is good because it means you have a choice but it also means you are at risk of finding yourself in a piece of clothing that leaves you feeling “too naked” or “too covered” or simply not flattering when you check yourself in the mirror.
This article is meant to help you narrow down your choices with three very simple tips.
Skip The Body Type Guide - Go For Comfort
As much as most people choose what to wear to the beach using their body shape as a guide, it isn’t the only factor to consider. Society knows nothing about your body or what looks good on you… You do!
You could be shaped like Naomi Campbell and still feel awkward in a bikini despite the world thinking that may be your thing. Likewise, you may be a chubby mommy who isn’t shy to flaunt every inch of your fabulous plus-size body. So if you're comfortable in that bikini (from thong set to high cut, straight to high waist or cut out styled bikinis etc.) go for it, because what truly matters is how you feel in it.
Don’t Hide - Work With What You Have
The thing about beachwear is that essentially… you are in your underwear. It really is no different to walking around in your lingerie (please note that swimming in your lingerie is tacky… and if you want that sexy bedroom vibe in the swimming pool, there are other sexy options available). The point is if you are not the kind of person that “feels good naked” either because you're insecure about one thing or the other, beachwear shopping may be hard because nothing will feel “right.”
Make It A Fashion Show
Well, I know this is not what you'd have imagined you'd find as a tip for selecting that swimsuit but who says you can't have some fun while doing it? I find that what has worked for me before is having my girlfriends with me when shopping for a swimsuit because an extra set of eyes never hurts. It actually makes it more fun because you get to a second opinion about how a certain swimsuit will look on you and if the shop has safe guidelines on how you can try on the swimsuit, you can turn it into a fashion show while trying to get the best fit for you with comfort in mind. You know, girls are all about having fun. Anytime and any day.
Obviously, the first trick is to work on your confidence, once you do that work on “empowering” your insecure points. For example, if you have small boobs, a top with embellishments or ruffles give the illusion of a larger chest. Alternatively, a suit with padding can help to give you a little somethin' extra. Alternatively, big boobs mean an underwired, stronger fabric or double-stitched will give you better support and even more confidence. See... problem solved.