Every year before our holiday I ask myself if I should still wear a bikini, and every year I come to the same conclusion, yes why the hell not? But why do I doubt myself in the first place?
Okay so I am petite, small, slim, I am not skinny, I am gently curvy and only 5 ft 2 inches tall.
Here's my worry though - I don't have a flat tummy any more, but I have had two fantastic amazing children and I am quite happy to have compromised a little to have these two in my life.
To be fair I have never really had those elusive abs - maybe as a teenager but that was just my natural figure, certainly in my twenties I was always a little bit curvy around the middle..
And even though I lost a bit of weight two years ago and got back to a more comfortable size for me the abs still didn't appear. I am just not prepared to put the extra work in to get them. I am happy to exercise two or three times a week. I am happy to eat a sensible, balanced diet, most of the time. But I refuse to go to the extremes needed to get a lower body fat percentage that would be needed for me to get a flatter tummy.
And so I choose my clothes to flatter my figure. I like a top that 'skim's, I love a peplum style jacket, I wear a higher waisted jean, I choose dresses that are loser and not too tight - I favour defining my waist rather than the tighter shift dress.
But when I choose a bikini over a swimsuit I am leaving myself a bit exposed.
So why don't I choose a swimsuit instead? - because I'd be too hot, because I like to get a tanned tummy (which looks so much better than a white one), because I hate pulling a wet swimsuit down to go to the toilet. I like to sunbathe and I want to do that in a bikini, I do have swimsuits that I use for swimming and hot tubs in the UK though - the one above is a favourite from Swimwear365.
And when we arrive poolside everyone else is wearing a bikini - whatever shape or size, and mostly we are more worried about ourselves than thinking about what anyone else looks like. In the hot Mediterranean countries, the women wholeheartedly embrace the bikini - young or old, big or small. They ooze confidence!
And there lies the answer - it is confidence that is sexy and appealing. Not what shape or size you are. Just have confidence! Ok I know it's not as simple as that but you get my point!?
But how can I make peace with my body and embrace confidence?
In the most recent issue of the Boots Magazine (free to advantage card holders in-store) Health & Beauty, there is an article all about this (Page 71) and it is all finding a happier middle ground. According to a new body movement called 'body neutrality' instead of forcing ourselves to love something, we need to accept what we have and stop obsessing, So for me, make peace with my tummy and appreciate instead, what it has done/does do for me - and that's it - in short, the middle ground between body bashing and body positivity. Read the whole article if you get a chance, it's good - I tried to find it online, I found the magazine online, but not the article!
So a bikini it is then!
I always treat myself to a new bikini (or two) before my holiday now. For years we holidayed in the UK or with family in France and as the children were younger I didn't get much opportunity to sunbathe. But now they are older we enjoy a lazy two weeks in the sun and that includes lots of sunbathing.
For my peitite shape, the style that works is a tie side bikini bottom and a triangle halter neck. I'm only a 34B so I don't need the support and I find a halter neck flatters my toned shoulders. I used to choose something more padded - so I looked bigger but these days I don;t bother, I am me and I am small!
I asked a few friends for some feedback on bikini wearing and what they think ...
"I'm never really comfortable in a bikini, I feel a bit exposed" but she did go on to say "in reality most people are totally absorbed by themselves (it's true when did you last look at a group photo and notice anyone else but you?) so worrying about what other people, usually strangers who will never meet you again, think is a complete waste of energy" - sound advice!
"I always wear one, who cares" - absolutely brilliant attitude!
"I spend the winter in the sun and every year I think it is time to change to a one piece and every year I give it 'just one more year'" - long may that continue.
"Bizarrely I have become more confident to wear a bikini the older I get ..." - I love this, that is because as we get older we care less what others think and find a new confidence.
I have tried the higher waist bottoms but being so petite I actually feel they drown me and make me look bigger. So that style is not for me. I do struggle to find a big choice of tie-sides but I think that bikini bottoms without the tie are less forgiving and if they are even slightly too tight then they dig in and emphasise any fat that might be lurking. With a tie-side I can tie them a bit loser and they are more flattering, but if you think that style is too skimpy then make sure you size-up in any swimwear! Really don't worry about what the label says - I always buy a 12 in a swimsuit and a 10 in a bikini.
I prefer to order bikini's online and then try them on at home (with a self-tan) and where the lighting is more forgiving than the scary changing rooms.
I have been going back and forth for a few weeks to choose a couple of new ones this year but I think I have finally settled and made a decision.
Next week I will share my bikini finds with you as well as some fabulous holiday accessories and a few suggestions of the best places to buy swimwear all year round.
But first, note to self: be confident / be body neutral!!!
I'd love to know what you think, comment below.
Above I am wearing a navy polka dot swimsuit from Lascana at Swimwear365 with a pom pom scarf as a sarong from Sweet-Bea and flip flops from Vionic.
Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post, I am linking to the products because I love them, my sarong was gifted to me from Sweet-Bea but I was under no obligation to include it in this post. May contain affiliate links.
Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog to inspire you. I am a blogger with a passion for writing about style, beauty, health and fitness with a focus on the over 50's. I am based in Marlow but work across London and the South East.
Subscribe below to receive regular updates by email:
Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties. I share style tips, health and fitness inspiration, I talk about my holidays and days out and I tell you about my beauty regime and my lifestyle. I hope you might pick up a tip or two and get some inspiration!
Join my mailing list (above) for regular updates and don’t forget to look at my social media pages too..