In years past, I have avoided the beach and the pool because I was too self conscious to wear a swimsuit. Through my journey with Dressing Up, I have realised this; women come in different sizes and shapes and none of them have a perfect body, because there is no such thing. Everyone has insecurities about their body and you can choose to control them or to let them control you. EVERY body is a bikini body and allowing yourself to wear a glam swimsuit and actually enjoy yourself while thinking about how your body FEELS in the sun and sand, instead of how your body LOOKS is liberating.
With this in mind, my mission this summer has been to find swimsuits that will make you feel fabulous and show them to you on bodies I think you'll recognise. It is crucial that women of all sizes and shapes are represented in the media. We are diverse and when you only see one body type on your screens it can make you question if your body is 'normal'. It is, and it's also gorgeous!
On the left below is the beautiful Chloe. She is 5 ft 9, a Size 16 with a 14DD/E bust and is an hourglass shape. Chloe was shocked (horrified?!) when I asked her to do this shoot, but we had so much fun trying on swimsuits (and no one said a single negative thing about their body in the changing rooms - this is key!) and she was eventually convinced.
In the middle is the stunning Rachel (you can stalk her on Facebook and read her blog here - and I suggest you do!). Rachel is 6 ft tall, a Size 18, with a 18DD bust. Rachel is a classic pear shape and wanted a swimsuit that would accommodate her long torso, give her bust support and flatter her bum - actually she said "that my bum won't eat!". Rachel danced in every suit she tried on - love the attitude!
That chick with the pink hair on the right is me. I'm Monique, I'm 33 and a mother of two little people. I'm 5ft 6, a size 16 with a 14D/16C bust and I carry my weight around my tummy (an apple shape). I was looking for swimwear that gave me some tummy support as I have a big pouch over my Caesarean scar and honestly, my bladder isn't what it used to be! So I wanted swim bottoms bigger than dental floss if at all possible.
Your local Farmers store has some seriously high fashion pieces this summer! I was obsessed with this palm print the second I saw it (Rachel and Chloe were just as enthused!) The Lycra is thick but not restrictive and I love that there are so many options to mix and match. Green makes me happy! I also have to shout out to the lovely Farmers shop assistants as St Lukes that put up with us running around their changing rooms half naked all day. Bodies - you've seen one, you've seen them all!
Chloe wears: Zest Resort Palm Print Rash Top (in a size 16), Sizes 8-18, $59.99 and Zest Resort High Waisted Palm Print Brief (in a size 16), Sizes 8-18, $39.99 both from Farmers.
Monique wears: Zest Resort Palm Bikini Top (in a size 16), Sizes 8-18, $39.99 and Zest Resort High Waisted Palm Print Brief (in a size 16), Sizes 8-18, $39.99 both from Farmers.
Rachel wears: Zest Resort Palm Print Halter Neck One piece (in a size 18) Sizes 8-18, $79.99. Available at Farmers in store only.
Something about the colour combo of navy with the bright pop of fluro orange in this suit feels so fresh and young (like me!) I love the mosaic print and navy is so chic. The lycra of this swimsuit is so soft. Best suited for a small - medium bust (I am a C-D). Chloe loved her little shorts and bikini combo, sometimes it's nice to have a bit of thigh coverage and the waistband of the scalloped board shorts is incredibly stretchy. Chloe's mosaic bikini top has fully moulded cups and underwire, so will perfectly accommodate a large bust.
Chloe wears: Zest Resort Blue Mosaic Bikini Top (in a size 16) available in sizes 8-18, $49.99 and Zest Resort Scalloped Board short (size 16, but Chloe could have sized down to a 14 in the waist) available in sizes 8-18, $49.99. Both items from Farmers.
Thunderpants is a New Zealand brand known for it's fantastic soft underwear that fits bums of all shapes and sizes - and now they make swimwear! Constructed in a thick and super stretchy nylon/spandex the fabric is form flattering but comfortable. The top is a soft cup halter and the pants are high waisted and Rachel assures us there is no way they can ride up your bum!
I've been pretty vocal about my love for Kmart, and this years swim range is another winner. I was not convinced about the little skirt on my floral swimsuit but the second I tried it on I loved it. It feels playful while offering a bit of coverage for the top of my legs and the colours are divine. Chloe's black and white suit is so classic and has a moulded cup with adjustable straps. I am such a fan of mixed print so instantly loved the striped and floral 'Tie Front Kaftan' that Rachel is wearing and paired it with a plain black V neck suit with mesh detailing through the body - such a nice way to show some extra skin without actually wearing a two piece.
Monique wears: Skirted One Piece in Large Floral (in a size 16) Available in sizes 10-24, $30 from Kmart.
Chloe wears: Boyleg One Piece in Black Stripe (in a size 14) Available in sizes 8-22, $30 from Kmart
Rachel wears: Black Mesh Insert Suit (in a size 18) Available is sizes 10-24, $30 and Large Floral Tie Front Kaftan (size L/XL) which comes in two sizes, S/M and L/XL, both pieces from Kmart.
BEYOND THE SEA
If you like a bit of retro in your life, Beyond the Sea is for you. Independently designed and made in Australia from the highest quality lycra, fully lined and designed to accommodate women with an ample bust! The sizing is generous and so is the length in the body. And in bigger news - Beyond the Sea is now stocked in the brand new DRESSING UP SHOP which has just opened today! So you can buy the things you love directly from me - you're welcome x
Chloe wears: The Bridget Betty Bikini Set in Tropicana (Size 16DD) $179.95, Available in 3 prints.
Monique Wears: Rita Boyleg Maillot One Piece (in a size 16) $169.95
This post was months in the making and I couldn't have done it without my fabulous team:
Photographer: Nykie Grove - Eades
Hairdresser: Alice from Wonderland Hair and Beauty
Makeup Artist: Natalya Purchase from 30 + and Fabulous
Models: Chloe and Rachel
A huge thank you to my wonderful assistant Rachel Smith, Natalie Stewart for your support and catering and Caren Jasper for allowing us the use of your stunning home!
Don't forget how lucky you are to have a body that does so many amazing things for you - that in itself is beautiful! Spend your summer making memories and choose confidence. The best way to get a swim body, is to put on a swimsuit (and a huge smile!)
Can't wait to see you all in your beautiful swimwear this summer!
Please, SHARE this post and lets spread some body positivity throughout social media!