Buying swimwear is pretty high up on the list of things that fill me with dread. I mean really, there’s little to enjoy about attempting to squeeze my 40-something mumbod into a small patch of lycra under the unforgiving lights of the fitting room.
So, when the folks at Seafolly Miranda got in touch to tell us about their new Fit is A Feeling campaign, aimed at helping women to feel comfortable and confident on the beach, let’s say I was more than a little sceptical.
I didn’t grow up by the beach. Having migrated to Sydney more than 15 years ago, I still treat bikini-buying as something of a grudge purchase. Believe it or not, there’s not much opportunity for cozzie wearing in the North of England.
YOU LOOK GOOD WHEN YOU FEEL GOOD FIRST
Gisele Bouton is store manager at Seafolly Miranda, when I told her the last time I purchased a good quality bikini was for my honeymoon, SIX YEARS AGO! She urged me to come into store for a fitting. She said: “Everyone has insecurities about their bodies, mums in particular. We want to celebrate and normalise the fact that everyone is built differently, our bodies change and evolve.
“I promise we’ll find you something that will contour and highlight your figure to give you some confidence on the beach. All our designs are fitted on real women, on a multitude of body shapes. Fabrics are tried and tested to ensure they will last without stretching, sagging and fading over time.”
IN THERE LIKE SWIMWEAR
Now, as a family, living in The Shire, we spend more time than ever at the beach, so how could I resist the opportunity to put the Seafolly team to the test. And, anyway, it’s high time I upgraded those daggy board shorts and the K-mart crop top, that are oh-so comfortable, but do nothing for my street cred with the Cronulla Beach crew!
On a freezing cold Saturday morning, I skipped out of the house kid-free, bound for Miranda Fair. I was met by Gisele and her colleague Vicki, both of whom are so passionate and knowledgeable about swimwear. It only took a couple of questions; approximate size, what styles and colours I like, and what I like to accentuate (umm nothing) and hide (err everything), before they were enthusiastically picking out and recommending garments for me to try.
Of course, while this is all happening, I am smiling nervously, all too aware that come try-on time my floppy post-breastfeeding boobs, muffin top and dimpled thighs will be staring back at me.
Armed with an assortment of one and two-pieces, I get ready to get my kit off inwardly cursing myself for not having the foresight to wax and get a spray tan!
TAKE YOUR TIME AND SHINE
“Winter is a good time to buy a cozzie.” Gisele assures me. “The worst thing you can do is wait until there’s a heatwave and attempt to buy under pressure with the kids in tow. An average fitting takes about 40 minutes, so you do need to allow some time to for us to properly evaluate the fit, bring in lots of different options for you to try, and ensure you are truly happy with your purchase. We are also trained to fit pregnant and breast-feeding mums as well as ladies who have undergone mastectomy.”
Let’s face it, Seafolly are known for making high-quality, well-constructed swimwear, and their range is priced accordingly. It’s an investment purchase that, if properly cared for, will take you through this and many summers to come. My advice; def don’t take the kids. Take your time. You simply cannot rush these things.
Working my way through the assortment of lycra goodies, the biggest revelation for me was that I have been wearing the wrong size. “You need your cozzie to be quite firm, with no gathering or puckering to ensure it stands up to wear and tear.” Said Gisele. “If you buy too big it will look sad and saggy in no time.” Then she politely points out that my silhouette is somewhat droopy in the larger size. Urgh!
EEENY MEENY CHOOSE A BIKINI!
I am not gonna lie, I still found the whole try-on process excruciatingly uncomfortable, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much better I felt in swimwear that fits properly and keeps everything where it should be. After trying on a few safe black one-pieces and a daringly racy green bikini with a plunging cleavage, I opted for something in-between, that felt totally me – a navy blue spotty, two-piece with underwired bra, and full-coverage high-waisted briefs.
And, you know what? Sure, I’d prefer to be 15 kilos lighter, with toned abs and boobs that pass the pencil test, but I felt damn good in that not-so itsy-bitsy polka dot bikini. This old body is AMAZING, it’s grown, nurtured and fed two human beings, and if nothing else my experience with the Seafolly ladies reminded me that I need to own my body and be proud of it.
I genuinely cannot wait for the sun to start shining so I can frolic on the beach with my family, safe in the knowledge that I can wrangle the kids without fear of a nip-slip and that my bottoms will stay firmly on my bum in the surf. I’d say my Seafolly experience was a success!
Seafolly is located on Level 2, Westfield Miranda
For more information about the Seafolly Fit is a Feeling campaign, visit: https://www.seafolly.com/au/find-my-fit