Although summer brings quickly-eaten ice lollies, burn-that-turns-into-tan lines and that well-earned time off of school- it is also a time of self-consciousness for many, with exposed skin and the pressure for a ‘bikini body’. I feel that no-one can be completely free of low self-confidence but these are my tips (or coping strategies) that I use to help feel good in my holiday swimwear.
Body confidence, especially teamed with teenage hormones, is a horrible thing some times. You'll be happily getting ready when you catch your reflection at an unflattering angle and all those 'I feel good right now' feelings vanish.
So, when tossed onto the beach on your holiday, it is a bitch to manage. There is so much pressure to have bikini-ready bodies these days, from scrolling through Instagram to adverts on the telly, that feeling happy in your swimsuit feels near impossible.
However, this year I didn't feel as goddamn awful as before. I decided not to give a shit anymore, to show off my tummy and chubby thighs like they were my best assets. Okay, I still had moments of 'I feel fat' but nowhere near as much as before.
I have never worn a bikini before, always intoxicated by the stress of the body that seems as essential as the top and bottoms. However, a few years ago, I promised that I would one day and this year that happened. Okay, so it didn’t make the blog post and it was a high waisted bikini- not too dissimilar to my swimsuits- but a bikini is was nonetheless.
TIP ONE: Try to care less.
Most the time we seem to assume everyone is watching us, judging us- when really they're thinking about their next ice cream or how to get the perfect tan. You may never completely loose that niggle that tells you all those negative thoughts, but the sooner you believe in the beautiful person you are, the sooner you can feel confident in your own skin.
I don’t think I know anyone who looks hot when thrown into the salty sea waves. The fact is that you can’t look constantly gorgeous, especially when swimming and having… well, a good time. As long as you feel happy and comfortable, you must forget about all that. It is something I always find hard on holiday, everyone does, but letting social pressures stop me is something I’m not okay with.
TIP TWO: Find a few pieces of swimwear which you feel happy in.
Whether it’s the cut-out back, pretty pattern or simply the colour, it is so important to have swimwear which makes you feel confident before you put it on. For me this year, it meant taking three away with me- an old but trusty floral swimsuit, a beautiful monochrome Topshop swimsuit and –for the first time in my life- a bikini, with a yellow lace top and high waisted black bottoms (both from ASOS).
The Topshop swimsuit made me feel like the sassy, beautiful woman I should feel like. It is so flattering with an open back and cut out on the front. I feel in love with the monochrome design and adored the style of the swimsuit. You can also still buy it in store, so I’d really recommend checking it out.
It was so nice to have a go-to swimsuit that I felt 99% brilliant in. When I no longer felt like wearing my bikini or tired old floral number, it offered an option that still made me feel I was rocking it.
So tip 2 would be to get a costume that you feel good in. Try a whole range- not just what you've worn in the past. Dare to show that bit of skin or plunging neckline- you never know, it could be what will make you feel that extra spirt of confidence!
TIP THREE: Get some nice show-off holiday pics.
There is nothing more comforting than seeing a photo of yourself rocking your holiday look. This year, my best friend Ruth actually managed to take some lovely swimwear pics that don't make me cringe at my body- but feel confident in it. It may take a few takes- you may be sucking in like never before- but it will be worth it.
TIP FOUR: Surround yourself with confidence.
Whether it's a friend or a blogger, surrounding yourself with confident people will make you feel better. For me, I am a huge lover of the blogger Hannah Gale who makes you feel bloody brilliant about your body. She is stunning and isn't afraid of having thighs, in fact, she even wrote a post all about swimwear confidence which is worth checking out. Reading her posts on body confidence and outfits remind me how beauty is 101 things- not just the one we are pressured to see.
TIP FIVE: All the accessories.
My final tip is all about completing the look. Poolside accessories can do so much to conceal your salty sea hair and cautious confidence. So throw on your best sunnies, grab a nice big floppy hat and maybe even a sassy sarong. I bought my black felt hat from Primark and adore it. It made me feel beach chic, and also hid my face from many an unprepared-for photo. Maybe it's even the way you style your hair, but those added extras can really help you remember how bloody gorgeous you look.