This week, the theme for the NZ Style Curvettes Outfit Challenge is Swimwear, so I’d suggest stopping here if you’re squeamish – There are photos of my legs, and they’re not pretty, but if I can get past it, so can you. Haha.
Now, I like to think of myself as a bit of a sun-worshiper. So much so that, 6 years ago, I left the eternal winter of my homeland (Dunedin) to move to warmer climates, which is how I ended up in Auckland.
This summer has been spectacularly warm, but humid as all hell – Great for my skin, but an absolute nightmare for my wild-and-coarse curly hair.
Over summer, I live in topknots and poodles, or, really, anything that will keep my hair piled up on top of my head so it can’t touch my neck.
Look at this for a segue from hair into swimwear!
Beaches aren’t really all that practical for me (I don’t walk so well, so the whole crutches-in-sand thing isn’t really all that conducive to a good time) but I am a huge huge fan of boating.
My inlaws have a really gorgeous boat, and thankfully they’re always keen for a day on the harbour, which works for me!
I don’t always make it into the water, it really depends on whether I’m feeling strong enough to pull myself out again at the other end, but any excuse to have a heap of swimwear, right?
Now, you all know how much I love accessorising everything, and swimwear is no exception. As a plus-sized lass, I get my powers from wearing whatever the fuck makes me feel the most fabulous, because, as we know, that’s the best way to boost your confidence.
For me, the time I need that boost the most is when I’m in my togs, because when my hair is up and my shapewear is off, I’ve got nothing to hide behind, and it can feel pretty exposing.
My number one beach essential is a big loose-weave bag. I have two of these ones, that I got on TradeMe for $10 + Shipping.
I always love rafia or straw bags, but this one in particular is faaaab because sand can’t get stuck in it, and it dries super quickly if you put wet towels or whatever in it. You do have to be careful though, I always get stabbed when my keys poke out through the gaps.
Bags made from natural fibres will always go nicely with whatever you’re wearing, while lending a nice tropical vibe, and I’m alllll for tropical vibes. Plus, you need somewhere to stash your sunscreen!
The next essential is a big ol’ hat.
Just because you’re only going to be taking it off to get in the water, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have something fancy to wear to keep the sun off.
I always try to match my hat to at least one other colour that I’m wearing, because that way it feels less like you’re wearing togs and a hat, and more like you’re wearing a whole outfit. Which seems silly, I know, because you are just wearing togs and a hat, but approaching things from a different viewpoint is often the way to feel more confident about them.
And if you’re worried that you’ll lose your nice hat to the ocean, just buy a cheap one. There are soooooo many hats at Op Shops, and they’re all crazy cheap. This cream one was $3 at Savemart. $3. It’s not beautiful, but at three dollars, I’m willing to sacrifice it to Poseidon if I have to.
The swimsuit above is from K-Mart a few seasons ago.
The top is a good shape, and it has ties at the side so you can ruche it up if you want it to be shorter, which is fab! It has a weird cup-inserty thing which doesn’t have much support though, so I do have to wear a bra with it, but I can put up with that.
The bottoms that it came with were plain black, and low-rise…..now, that doesn’t work for me. At all. Low-rise anything on a tummy like mine is a bad choice, so I also bought a pair of non-descript black hi-rise ones while I was there, which was definitely a good choice, because they go with everything else.
Case in point…..
I’ve got a truckload of random chiffon sarongs and scarves, for the express purpose of wearing over my swim stuff. Feels all floaty, and covers you up without actually being a whole other layer. This one came from a local buy/sell page, and I really like the colours!
I’m all about patterns, but they do attract attention. For me, this becomes an issue when the patterned item is only thinly veiling the part of me that I’m not so fond of, so the beauty of wearing black bikini bottoms is that the age old rule of perspective applies – Dark things look further away / smaller.
And then, because my sarong is printed, and the greens are pretty subdued, I can wear it with crazy bright yellow things, and it all works!
My bag is another opshop bargain, with an open weave, and is big enough to fit a towel in. Plus, you know, it’s yellow so it’s always easy to spot on the beach.
The top is from The Oblong Box Shop, and it’s made from a really lightweight stretchy spandex.
It’s not amazing quality, and I do still have to wear a bra with it, but it makes a damn comfortable top for swimming / lounging around in the sun.
In fact, I have two of them.
I always feel so slinky all in black at the beach, I’m not sure why. I don’t normally love wearing black, but I guess this combo makes me feel a bit more elegant?
The fringed shawl thing is yet another fabulous opshop find, at a staggeringly affordable $0.50, and, you guys, they are everywhere. EVERYWHERE.
I remember being able to buy them at JayJays a million years ago, and it seems that everyone has since donated theirs to the local opshop, because honestly, they are everywhere.
Usually you can find them in the eveningwear sections, or in with the scarves, but either way, totally worth stocking up, as they make a spectacular beach cover-up.
The top is, obviously, another Oblong Box Shop number, and while it has no support whatsoever, the black is really versatile, so it gets paired all the time with my other favourite unintentional swimwear – My City Chic High-Waisted Shaper pants.
Not intended to be swimwear, I bought these pants as shapewear (with a supremely cute matching bra) but unfortunately they’re a super weird length for shapewear on me, so they just sort of got enveloped into my togs drawer.
But that’s the thing. As long as you look after stuff, anything can be swimwear. Like, I wouldn’t recommend wearing the OBS tops to the local pool everyday, for example, because the spandex wouldn’t hold up to the chlorine, but they are perfect for swimming at the beach in. Just make sure you wash the salt out of everything, and you’re away!
I call this my ‘Jackie Collins’ – All leopard and black velvet, with a sweet 1980s tiger face necklace that I’ve had since the mid-nineties, when I begged my mum to buy it for me from a church fair.
This coverup is another KMart job, and it’s fantastic! All fringed and velvety, with a flocked damask print over a really light knit.
I bought it to wear to a Gastby-themed ball, and it’s too cute to be relegated to the costume bin!
But coverups can literally be anything. At all. And I like mine to be cute, and to feel a bit luxe, because then I feel much fancier!
This one, for example, was a bit of a repurposing number – Crafted from a skirt that I bought back when literally everybody had those asymmetric chiffon maxi skirts. You know the ones, with the linings that were never quite the right length, and the weird seam placement? Yeah. Those.
Aaaanyway, I cut the lining out, and tied the short bit up higher. Boom. Beach coverup.
Plus another total score on the hat front. An authentic vintage teal-green straw saucer hat, with satin roses – for a bargain price of $12. Savemart New Lynn, you’ve won me over once again.
But this Bikini set is the true prize item in my swimwear collection. I bought it from City Chic last February, right before Summer turned to rubbish, so I’ve only worn it once (in the photo at the top of this post!) but I plan on wearing it a heap more!
It’s got a really good, high-waisted pant, with ruching in the front and a good wide waistband.
But the real star is the top. It’s got good support, and has wide elastic at the base, so it doesn’t cut in and give me even more lumps and bumps than usual. The ties at the front are adjustable, and can allow for different bust sizes, while the ties at the back adjust to fit different band widths, so you don’t end up with that too-big-and-too-small problem that can come with, well, anything, when you’re a weird shape.
They aren’t selling this print anymore, but there are a whole range in stock at the moment in the same cut, which, honestly, I’ll probably buy too. Purely because of the phenomenal fit of the top.
And, once again, this stellar embroidered straw bag was an opshop find, for a grand total of $4.
I’m all about dolling up my handbags right now, because I have approximately 40,000 nylon scarves, in allllll the colours, so they do a good job of tying my bags into my outfits.
So there you go. Glam beachwear. Sorted.
And just because you’ve gotten this far through reading all my ramblings, I want to share with you an anecdote from my attempt at shooting these photos today….
It was really hot, and I was trying to shoot this swimwear stuff in the lounge at my house.
To get some air-flow, I had the front door open, which is up a flight of stairs, on the side of the house, so can’t be seen from the street.
The postie had already been, and it’s the school holidays so there wouldn’t be tonnes of parents hanging around. All clear, I thought.
I was shooting with my camera on a tripod with a self-timer, which just happened to go off at the exact moment I realised there was a little old lady standing in my doorway, looking both concerned and confused.
She handed me a pamphlet about Jesus, told me that I might find something of value in it, and went on her way, stopping in the driveway to look back at the house and shake her head.
I don’t blame her though. She walked in on someone taking photos of themselves in what looks like lingere.
And, like, how do you explain a sight like this to a stranger? You can’t. So, of course, I just didn’t try to. Haha.
Next week’s theme is ‘White’, which shouldn’t be too hard, right?