It is body positivity week! There is something that I am passionate about but I know the mere mention of the word can bring some of my friends out in a cold sweat. It is the dreaded.... SWIMWEAR! !!!!
Summer is coming and it is almost that dreaded time. The time to shop for such monstrosities. Okay... it's not that dramatic, but for some of us curvy girls it can feel like it. Whether you are a two piece or coverall type of girl, it is hard to find the perfect swimwear unless you are an ideal size 8 with curves only in the right places.
But, whereever your 'problem' areas are, there is always a solution. And it's not only the beach that we have to worry about. As a Pageant Queen, I sometimes have to do swimwear. Now, often the swimwear round is optional. When I turned up for Mrs Ireland, I noticed that I was the only plus size girl who had opted for that round. When asked, the others (Fiona in Celtic Curves, I'm looking at you here!!) were told they didn't have a bikini body.
Firstly, what is a bikini body!? Rachel from Celtic Curves looks amazing in a bikini and she's not a size 6. It is because she is confident in one. Me? Well, I'm not as much, but I don't mind showing some flesh. Trust me girls, it's not just you who feels scared; even my gorgeous fellow Celtic Curves were nervous before doing our recent swimwear shoot. But there is no need to be. I managed to convince most of the other girls in Mrs Ireland to do that round (even though I had to give Fiona my swimwear and I had to wear my back up). I threw on a beach hat, pearls and shades, I didn't look like the other models in their slinky swimwear, but that didn't matter. I looked different - but still rocked it! It's all about confidence and finding something that you feel good in.
So here is a quick guide!!
First and foremost - get something your comfortable in. If there is an area you dislike, then find a way to hide or distract from it. Personally, my belly hangs over. I often go for a bathing costume with a skirt or tasseling. Oh I hate my over hang!! But I accept it. It's okay to have a least favourite part of your body. It's normal. But it doesn't mean you need to hate your body. You just need to work with your hang ups. Some of the 50's inspired looks are just beautiful and cover in all the right places, without being frumpy.
Get a bust size that fits!
Now THIS is my pet hate. Just because I am large, I do not have a larger bust!! If your like me, I find halternecks work. Also, go for un-padded swimwear. Although that's what I'd like, I find they never fit right. Designers assume that if your big, you have a big bust, and that's not always true! If you have a larger bust, don't feel like you have to do frumpy! Some of the 50's inspired swimwear have thick straps and plenty of support.
Don't feel like you can't show a little flesh just because you are a larger lady!
A low cut or little peephole or even a two-piece can look beautiful if you feel comfortable in it.
Never let anyone make you feel bad if you want to show more flesh than society thinks is acceptable for your size.
I'm a size 22 and my bumps are definitely not in the right places. At one point I lived in Spain, and at the time I was definitely a 1 piece kind of girl. Yet, as I walked on the beach, everyone looked at me. At first I thought it was my size, reverting back to my old insecurities. I stopped, looked around, and realised there were much bigger ladies, so it couldn't be that. Then realized everyone else was in bikinis; most with just the bottoms on. It was a case of spot the tourist in my one piece. It is amazing how different cultures have different expectations and versions of beauty. I automatically thought the staring was because of my size, due to my own hang ups. You will always get the haters in life. But on a beach or in the swimming pool, 95% will be concentrating on swimming, or themselves, and not looking at you.
Express yourself and your style!
Too many girls have amazing style when they are fully dressed, but revert to plain on the beach. Play around, look for the bling, that 50's look, mix of colour, if that is how you normally dress. Just because you are in less clothes does not mean you can't show yourself off. Have fun! There are some beautiful bathers out there now. Shops have finally realised that not all us bigger girls just like plain, sportswear looking swimwear (though that is also fine if it's your style).
Shops like Simply Be and Evans and Yours Clothing have some beautiful pretty swimwear. Also Marks and Spencer and Debenhams go up to a 22.
So get out there and enjoy the sun girls!!
Rhian @ Celtic Curves
Ps. I'm writing this on holiday in a pretty bright swimwear. And I love it!