4 Jul 2012

To Bikini or not to Bikini… that is my question

Ursula Andress in the James Bond ‘Dr No’ bikini…

I do love chatting the girl talk here and I do apologise up front to my male readers and promise to revert to less gender specific topics in the near future… But I have an observation… or a thought that I would love to discuss with you…

Do you think there is an age appropriate moment when the bikini should be relegated to the past?

The reason I ask is that in Europe, from what I can see, there isn’t. The bikini is very much the bather of choice despite age and in many cases despite body… The Europeans are sun worshippers and as such want to bronze as much of their bodies as possible. I understand the Europeans way of thinking… for many, the winters are long and hard so the summer months are the time to soak up the rays, thaw the body and bask in the warmth. Summer in Europe is something you look forward to once the last piece of tinsel is removed from the Christmas tree and something you mourn once that first autumn chill bites in September…

I rather applaud the Europeans for their lack of self consciousness on the beach. I’m not like that… never have been… I always worried about every little non-perfect blimp. Whenever I beach holiday in France I feel the odd man out… because I am not wearing a bikini… the one piece is definitely not de rigueur there… I think I will always wear a one piece because I can’t seem to cross over to a European way of thinking… I would like to… and I may even have bought one or two bikinis in the past… but when I look at myself in the mirror I very quickly decide that some things are best left to the imagination… if you get my drift… For me it is not so much about being age appropriate but about what suits me and what I am comfortable wearing.

Is it a cultural question that goes beyond taste and pride? Are bikinis just the way it’s done in Europe? My European friends all wear bikinis… my Australian friends… one pieces… Or are the Europeans less obsessed with their body shape which means they have the self-confidence to expose more on the beach?

What do you think… should age determine how much we ‘show’ or don’t ‘show’? I like to think that if the body is willing and able then we should have the confidence to wear what we like… Maybe the answer is not so much about ‘appropriateness’ as being in shape… Perhaps our summer goal should be to ‘think’ European…think bikini…

 If you, like me are fond of a classic… try these… here

and as for a bikini… look no further than… here

To bikini or not to bikini… which one will it be?… xv

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78 Comments

Pamela

I admire the European lack of body consciousness. I believe it was the way they were brought up. I guess anyone woman can wear a bikini regardless of their age as long as they feel comfortable and confident in it. But please wear it at the right place I.e on a beach or a swimming pool. I think the next question must be should women at any age go topless on the beach? Anyhow, great topic Vicki!

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Sandra

I am 44 years old and the older I get, the less I care about what people think. When I sunbathe, I don’t do so for anybody’s entertainment, I do so to get a decent tan. Even though I look fairly presentable for my age, it hurts me to see most females feeling conscious of their bodies. Love them, ladies! To all the judgmental people out there I have one thing to say: If you would like to see skimpily clad 20-somethings with perfect bodies, have your wallets ready and visit a gentlemen’s club. Don’t expect that view for free on a public beach. And yeah, I am born and raised in Europe.

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Anita Rivera

Bonjour ma belle,

I totally believe that you must wear what suits you. I do not like to go with the flow that everyone else is drifting by, but rather, I wear what makes me look GREAT. A bikini is NOT one of those things, though I am very small. I will wear a TWO- PIECE but the kind with a cute little skirt for the bottom to flatter the hips and not SHOW the multitude of sins….

GO WITH YOUR BODY SHAPE and YOUR STYLE. In my opinion, the GREATS in fashion wore what made them look good.

I do have to say however, that when I was in Nice, France, THOSE OLDER WOMEN were so toned and slim that if I had skinny hips like that, HELL YA would I wear a bikini!!!!!!!!!!!

Anita

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jeanetteann

Well if I looked like Ursula Andres,definately a bikini, but I don’t so it’s a one piece.
I do think we are a little too wrapped up in our body image here in Aus.
Be like the Europeans I say. Whatever you feel comfortable in is just fine regardless of what anyone else thinks.x

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Bo Tamaki

Ursula with the fine body looks beautiful.She is showing off an incredible body. I am sure she probably looks good in a 2 piece even now.I guess if you don’t care about the aging body and how it looks, you can wear something revealing. Not me. I am definitely not the type. I’ll be under the umbrella with a one piece and a sarong. I don’t care if I am pale either. I have seen the results of too much sun on the body through the years. A little color, yes but no baking..I admire cool colors and patterns on one pieces and lovely sarong fabrics.

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Erica

I’ve been noticing this too, over her in Switzerland. I think the point is that you enjoy the summer sun, so if you can enjoy more of it by having more rays hit you’re middle, then go for the bikini. However, if you’re worried the whole time about how you look, you won’t enjoy it at all. I guess I don’t really have an answer, but I think the question is, “Are you enjoying your summer sun?”

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Francine gardner

I grew up wearing a tiny bottom with string only. When moving to the States, i was ready for a surprise, when invited to a very waspy private beach in Newport (which i became a member of…as i married the boyfriend who took me there), I was wearing my minuscule bottom and my horrified boyfriend came to me with a towel. I graduated to the tiniest bikini for which i became famous on this beach…but who cared? I was young and very thin and athletic.
Unfortunately a couple of years ago I graduated to the one piece chic bathing suit as i have no idea what happened but my body decided to have a mind of its own. In the privacy of my pool, I am back to my young days swimwear… In France, no one cares, women with spectacular bodies would be laying next to very well endowed ladies who in my view should really wear a total cover up. Wished I were no so self conscious… even in France , it is the one piece Eres.

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Sherry

Europeans love their bodies…no matter what they look like. Think of all the great paintings in history and how the bodies of women were predominantly plump and round. I believe that Europeans know our bodies are just the vessel. They seem to be comfortable in how they look, where to us in North America it seems grotesquely out of place and we judge that based on our own body views. And let’s be honest, body image and how we view our bodies here in this part of the world is definitely skewed…and quite often screwed up! Would I wear a bikini at the age I am now? No. But I haven’t worn a bikini since before I had children and once again that’s my own view of how I look but also very old messages received from my mother. Interesting topic!

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Credence@Toddlerisms

I am currently struggling with this question, as it is my first non-pregnant summer in France. While I have not bounced back enough yet to feel really comfortable in a bikini, I am starting to feel ridiculous in my long-skirted swimsuit next to all the ladies in 2-pieces! Like I am MORE conspicuous in my covers-it-all swimsuit than I would be in the darned 2 piece…

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Michelle

Well, from an (ageing – terrible word isn’t it?), woman’s point of view, I have to say this is a bit fascinating. My I-Want-To-Look-My-Best half says that the one-piece is the way to go, without question. My I-Want-To-Live-Life-To-The-Full half says, if the bikini feels fabulous; wear it. Here’s a confession: I have been taking pictures of myself in the mirror, wearing the last (& it will be the last), bikini I bought, in order to remind myself that I mustn’t put on weight :-0. And this is as a result of taking as my role models, the French women who (I am told), ‘don’t get fat’. Well, I looked at those pics recently & decided that the bikini is out. Mind you, since from what I can tell, the inner-upper thighs are the 1st to decline into a sad jellified lost-cause, I wonder if it is worth forgoing the freedom (‘cos that’s what it feels like), of a bikini, just in order to hide the belly (though our back ‘goes’ as well! What is WITH Mother Nature?!). I will mention at this point that I spend 4 hours per week at the gym, & run an additional 20+ km per week. Up hills. But my body is 45 years-old, & as your previous contributor mentioned, has a mind of its own. Stick with a one-piece. Though I do completely understand the European desire to soak up that sun (particularly in the midst of even an Australian Winter). If only we could realise just what we have, to the full, when we – fleetingly – have it.

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The Enchanted Home

Great question….I think similar to the long hair debate……if it works for you then go for it. IF you can carry off a bikini God bless and carry on…….why not? But if you know it doesnt’ suit or flatter you, then why force it? Ditto for long hair, I know a 56 year old who is stunning and has hair halfway down her back, it looks incredible and I cannot imagine her any other way…….its so personal and more about how YOU feel about how you look in it, think we all need to loosen up and do what feels good. Period end of story :)

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Sarah

I try to justify my one-piece this way: less surface area exposed, less risk of skin cancer. Hence, too, the hat. And the longer-than-necessary tunic cover-up. And the over-sized sunglasses. Whether I’m protecting my health or my vanity is open to debate!

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Chicatanyage

despite still having what might be considered a “good figure” I no longer wear bikinis. It just does not feel right at my age I am now more at ease in a one piece. More elegant and more flattering IMO.

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Linda Hanselman

Not since I was 18. A tankini yes. As the others have said wear what you feel comfortable in and if you are well endowed and want to wear a bikini go for it. I don’t dress for others I dress for myself and I need to be a little less conspicuous.

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Garden, Home and Party

Vicki,
While I so admire women who are so comfortable and confident with who they are they let it “all hang out”, that is not me. I am thrilled that in this day and age I don’t believe there are rules regarding when a woman stops wearing her hair long or a bikini, but rather wears what she’s comfortable wearing. I’ve been a one piece suit woman for the past 25 years and I’ve been very comfortable, however you won’t find me baking anything but pastry in my kitchen! :-) Sun exposure is not a good thing for this redhead.
Karen
Karen

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La Contessa

I left the bikini years ago…………..one piece suits me just fine.The Europeans no matter what the body shape look good to me.Its just the way they do it…………so wear what you feel confident in!I rarely get to the beach anymore or for that matter wear a swimsuit.It’s been years and i’m only 52!Its my legs that have given out on me!The veins have made freeways up and down have had them tended too but they still come back.At some point one realizes one cant do what one use to do!

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Angela

This made me chuckle. We will leave for our vacation on Saturday when we will drive for our first vacation in the south of France. I have always worn a bikini but at “my age” I thought it more appropriate to “cover up” so I have been trawling the stores for a one piece, but quickly gave up. Why do designers put those armour plated cups in swimsuits? My 16 year old daughter, who incidently has a body like I had when I was 16, laughs at me. Anyway, today I got desperate, I tried on my “old” bikinis and two of them will be binned! The third, a still nice black one will accompany me. We had to call at the local post office here in Belgium this morning, when I spotted a lingerie store which sells bikinis/swimsuits, so I ventured in. A very nice, Amazonian looking Belgian lady towered above me (not difficult as I am only 5’4″) and asked if I would like some help. I took the plunge and decided to try on a few bikinis having totally given up on bathing costumes and hey presto I found a beauty. My daughter almost laughed her socks of as the bottom can actually pull up to my waist or rolled over for a more youthful feel (this will be done strictly in private and not on the beach!). I have seen this style in Vogue and Harpers Bazaar recently, a vintage take on the bikini and I am impressed with how it looked but more importantly how it felt. So it seems that the “old fashioned” style as my hip and trendy teenage daughter calls it will be my sunning outfit for this year.

Vicki, I am desperate to come visit St. Remy de Provence whilst on vacation, maybe I’ll bump into you somewhere.

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Keri

I’m young and small, but the bikini is not for me. In the blazing sun here & with dark complexion, I can soak up enough sun in one day to more bronzed than I ought, so something with more UV protection is what I opt for.

That being said, I am with Anita Rivera.. wear the suit that suits you… and will add that I keep location and occasion in mind too.

Keri

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Jeanne McKay Hartmann

Vicki, I think it’s not so much a matter of age as it is confidence – and for me that confidence depends on what kind of shape I’m in. At this point, I don’t even like to peel off my cover up, but I’m working on shaping up and I can tell you that when I reach my goal, I will go bikini shopping – even though I haven’t worn one in years. I think it’s whatever makes you happy – If you feel good in a two-piece, go for it. If a one piece is more your speed, great. The most important thing is to have fun, and don’t invite the body-image worries to the beach (easier said than done!).

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Laura Ingalls Gunn

I think overall Europeans are just less self conscience. When we lived on the island of Crete even the elderly wore teeny tiny bits of material. Then there was the issue of one never siting around in a wet bathing suit. You bring a second. All changes were done in front of God and everybody RIGHT there. Some images I wish I could erase from my mind. :)

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Peggy Braswell

I awoke one AM to find the cellulite fairy had replaced my legs with ones she liked much better, how dare she! Thus the day of the bikini are over for me..it is all that awful fairy’s fault. Happy Tuesday. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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Carla Coulson

That fairy is a menace Peggy you would think she had better things to do! Have fun in whatever swim suit you choose :)
Happy Summer!
Carla x

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Alex

After a glance or two at someone’s body on the beach, most people go back to thinking about themselves. The only bodies that will draw more attention are the spectacular ones. Average bodies? Invisible. Wear what makes you happy.

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Victoria

Having grown up on the Northern beaches of Sydney, now spending most of my time in south west France and currently on holiday in Cyprus, this question has been bubbling in my brain for some time. The Sydney beach almost ‘demands’ bikini bodies to be perfect, or at least gorgeous, and so for a number of years I have been a ‘one piece girl’. Until this summer. Finally I have returned to the joys of the bikini! And I love it. I also adore the fact that European woman seem to have a far more balanced view of their bodies in all of the shapes and sizes – this has made my ‘rentree’ to the bikini much easier!

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Karena

I say wear what makes you feel good!I agree that in Europe and the Greek isles when I traveled more…many people from the colder climates went with little coverage and many topless. It is also possible that Americans (some of us) are more conservative about their dress and bodies in public.

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

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Katherine

Well, I have been contemplating over this problem myself… Being European-born, but living in the U.S., I prefer one-piece. My mother, however, being in her 60-ies, wears a bikini quite comfortably. I guess, genes do not work in this case :)))
I decided for myself that as soon as I bring my tummy to a decent flatness, then I might buy myself a bikini, but as for now – I am still wearing a one-piece swim suit.

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Cathi

My bikini days are over as I wouldn’t feel comfortable in one. But for women that do, I see no reason why they shouldn’t! I have been looking for a bathing suit so this is a very timely post. Thanks Vicki! xxoo

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rawsilkandsaffron

Although I feel your pain in wearing a one piece while I too vacation along the French Riviera, I also envy women any age who are able to wear a bikini and look amazing. You are right mostly Europeans. I wish I could do the same. Bikini, like a pair of jeans, ia ageless, provided it suits the body and is pleasing to the eye.

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Lisa DeNunzio, La Dolce Villa

Quel domage. Over the years, even though my weight is only 109, there has been a lot of shifting. Sometimes I liken my midrif to that of a Shar-Pei. Gravity is not a friend; and so in this instance I revert to my American roots and opt for the one piece.

Brava to the European women who seem to possess the confidence or simply ‘I don’t care attitude’ to wear a bikini. And what about topless bathing? Is that still popular?

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Teresa @ Splendid Sass

Well you won’t catch me in one, but that is my own fault. I love to eat great food, and bikinis and great food do not go together after age 35-40! After my late thirties, I started wearing one pieces and tankinis from time to time. A one-piece is just so much more flattering, no matter what the figure.
Happy Tuesday, Vicki.
Teresa
xoxo

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A Gift Wrapped Life

Ahhh…………..how I miss bikini’s (we call them 2 pieces here) and though for a long time they suited me better than a one-piece, I must say that there comes a time in every women’s life when she just knows it is time to switch over to a one piece. That was about 10 years ago for me. Wearing a bikini should come with plenty of confidence and ease and as soon as it feels different than that……..then off to find the most stylish of one pieces which can be quite elegant and sexy too. Much love XO

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Peggy

At 54, I will not wear a bikini – not because of my age, but because of my body – even though I live in Florida where the “bronze everything” attitude also exists! However, I do wear a skirted tankini, which I love. This year I broke down and bought a high quality suit, and am so glad I did. It really has plenty of support and I believe it will last a long time. I also wear my hair in long layers. :) Sometimes I think about going back to above the shoulder, but I haven’t yet…..

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Wendi

I have just started following your blog Vicki and am enjoying the questions that you pose. I know that my opinion differs from most – we in Canada can, I believe, without doubt take the award for loving the summer. Our winters can be, well let’s just say daunting and leave it at that, although it is not unheard of to have snow well into May. That said, there is the question of good taste and I am sorry, but women and men of “a certain age” do not belong in the attire of the young. Do you remember how we looked askance at those who clung to their retreating youth and how derisive we were of them? Well, now those are us. Not too many years ago, I was on a family vacation in the Caribean where there were a lot of European vacationers too. My sister and I had an on-going contest for the biggest butt in a thong and the biggest gut in a speedo – and trust me, the entrant’s list was a very looong one. Those visuals are still burned into my memory bank…..and not in a pleasant way! Ladies and Gentlemen, there are a lot of very attractive bathing garments that make the beaches a safe spot for the rest of us. Please, behaving in a respectable way does not diminish you and in fact, you can age gracefully and attractively by keeping what is past it’s due date nicely tucked away! Thank you for your consideration of the rest of the beach and sun-loving public!

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Tess Walls

My grandmother used a phrase “women of a certain age should or shouldn’t.” I hear that whispered in my head when I see a woman “of a certain age” with shorts that are a bit too short or a swimsuit better worn by a younger woman. I want to believe one may do as one feels comfortable, but in the end it just doesn’t sit well with me. As a 50-ish woman, I’m in the best shape I’ve been in since my 20’s, but I just couldn’t pull it off. Here in Texas, there is even strong opinion that teen-aged girls should wear one piece suits. This is where I draw the line. My teenage daughters have beautiful bodies and I say flaunt it while you’ve got it!

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Sophia Twaddell

Vicki, you are articulating such an interesting dilemma — one which I am facing right into as we prepare to head to the beach for 10 days. My 60 year old body is certainly not what it was when I was 45 (skinny as a rail and buff) — but I still long to be tanned all over. I know I should wear a one-piece suit and probably will, but….I see much worse bodies than mine on the beach so I think it is a matter of self-confidence–not age-appropriateness. The other trick is to wear the bikini while tanning supine, but cover up to walk on the beach or back to the house. Like Sherry, I hear the old messages from my mother even now.

Sophia

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Anna

But why should there come an age when we women need to cover up? As a European used to topless sunbathing and two-pieces in France, I don’t understand this “put it away” attitude. There’s nothing offensive about healthy women’s bodies. The flesh becomes looser and goes south and the spider veins come… but that’s life and society needs to just deal with it! If we cover up our flawed bodies we are doing everyone a disservice: feeding the idea that only the under-30s should be ‘allowed’ to show flesh. Keep healthy, keep your weight down and enjoy the sun on your body.

PS. Some years ago, my German friend was sunbathing topless in a public park in the US – she was so used to this being ok in Germany – and someone called the police! In the UK, topless is also a no-no: very immature attitude – and hypocritical as you see topless women plastered all over the media.

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Sara

Over the weekend at a lake in the hot desert of New Mexico I wore my bikini proudly! I am 50, I have a 50 year old body! Not perfect, nor gross. I think that what ever a woman wears, it looks good if she is confident and feels good in her own skin. I enjoy the compliments and I even smirk a bit when I see the men turn their heads. It’s all about knowing what looks good on you and off you. Sorry but, a one piece suit, and a caftan like cover up is just way too hot for this climate. Great topic! But obsessing like Bridget Jones? No.

Sent via http://www.addtoany.com

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Jeanne @ Collage of Life

Let’s see….1985…that is the last time and I know that for sure as I just found a box of old slides and there I was playing Ursula and not looking anything like Ursula. These days…one piece attached to a sarong, in a kaftan, wrapped in a towel like the Queen of Sheba…anyway I can cover up and it is not necessarily because I am avoiding the sun. Say no more. :) Great question Vicki…I was very interested to read everyone’s thoughts and I was not disappointed. I love your idea of a classic…I have my eye on the Bahamas bandeau swimsuit…and I have the perfect kaftan to go with it! :) xx

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Amy Kortuem

I have two suits: a purple one-piece and then just bought a cobalt blue two-piece – not really a bikini, but it has a flattering ruffle along the top edge and a concealing, cute little skirt on the bottoms.

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my notting hill

My solution is the Tankini – love it! Your stomach is not exposed but it gives you the ease of use of a bikini. There are so many styles, you can mix and match tops and bottoms and you can always find something age appropriate. Can you find those in Europe?

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Karen in CT

.. well Vicki … my sister and I disagree on this strongly .. I think it’s not about one’s body image, or age …. it’s ONLY about FASHION and style … when I see a bikini, I think 50’s or 60’s, and that is a justified look for some women …. I’m just not into wearing retro or vintage clothing … it would be like teasing my hair up in a “bubble” or something … the two go together .. bubble hair and bikini … it certainly brings to mind a clear picture, no?

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Jennifer F. - American Mom in Bordeaux

I like you have observed the same thing in France on the Atlantic beaches…Most all women wear bikinis…(great in shape bodies and some not so in shape bodies…). I like you prefer my one piece or a tankini that covers! I have to say that back in the day, as a teenager and college student – when I had a body that could wear a bikini – I too was not always comfortable…I look back now and wonder what I was thinking…oh, to be a size 8 again..I’d even settle for a 10 – but after 3 children and a busy lifestyle, I have a long way to go to return to that slender sleek, thin build..not sure I will ever get there! Anyway, I do marvel at the French women who wear bikinis even though they “hang” out of them…and I have to say unlike American designers who try to make bikinis that “flatter” that older full figure by making fuller bottoms/shorts and tops – the standard European bikini is simply skimpy by comparison. Anyway, I do marvel at all of these women who wear bikinis…maybe it’s the Victorian in all of the English cultures that trip us up…because as women, we should be comfortable with who we are, whatever our shape and size. But sort of like catholic guilt…it’s hard to shake our own culture! Thanks for sharing, Vicki – I love your blog!!

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Suzana Rose Borlovan

When I think of “age appropriate” I cannot take my mind off Helen Merrin who may I say is in her 60’s and fabulous in a bikini.
Fashion is about comfort and feeling good, trying and buying what makes us feel like us, not attempting to be like someone else.
I wear a one piece because that is comfortable for me, whether here in Australia or in Europe and I certainly do not feel like the odd one out. My body is what it is and I am grateful.

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John Tesoriero

Australians always go on about how they own beach culture however when I arrived in Bali and saw the europeans at play I had to take off my hat to their unabashed approach. We are mere prudes in comparison! I say bikinis all the way.

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Victoria

I love these subjects! I just turned 44 last month and, after feeling great in a bikini all through my 30’s, I just don’t anymore. I bought one of those “tankini” things that’s 2 piece but covers like a one piece and I love it.

Being English, I don’t think they’re as teeny bikini’d as Europeans but my dad absolutely refuses to wear an American style bathing suit…which is pretty much shorts! So he wears some very old undies in his pool when he has company and otherwise, he goes bare.

My husband (15 years my junior) loves anything I wear in the pool so when it’s just the 2 of us I do wear a bikini…he’s not there to analyze or judge, to him the less I’m wearing I’m the better:)

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Gretchen

I am saddened, but not surprised, to see so many women say “wear what you like and feel comfortable in…but I’m wearing a one piece.”the same women likely would tut-tut at the 50 year old wearing anything other than that hot, sticky tube of black elastic. I was just at the beach celebrating my 47th birthday. In a bikini. I’m not perfectly fit, but not overweight; I cannot imagine trying to peel off a maillot after a day in the sun and water. If anyone is shocked or upset by seeing my skin, too bad. Im far more offended by the beach goers that don’t clean up after themselves, who shout out to their companions, or who bring the seagulls in hordes because they seek your flaming French fries and other yucky food.

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mimi taylor

I wore a bikini up to my 50th birthday, but my body changed
and I would not dare.

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Maureen

I’m in my fifties, in Canada..go for the bikini, and better yet, topless! I’ve been to France several times and usually just wear the bottom part of the bikini, but visited two naturist beaches as well. Here if I go to a “regular” beach, it’s a bikini, but I prefer the nude beach. I wear a one-piece when I go to the gym swimming pool but can’t imagine wearing all that clammy cloth when I’m outdoors. I don’t sunbathe a lot so I’m not very tanned, I look after my skin and use a beach umbrella. Swimming naked is so refreshing and freeing and I couldn’t care less what anyone thinks, pffttt!

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Maureen

PS I should add, most of the women who visit my nude beach are middle-aged…no perfect bodies, but a lot of pleasure being had!

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mikky

Great topic. I didn`t know that Australians wear more one pieces, that surprised me. With their hot climate I would have guessed they wore bikinis for sure. I think wearing a bikini at older ages is all about attitude and the right bikini. I have seen older women rocking bikinis with bodies that probably would look prettier in a one piece but they wear their bikinis so comfortably that they look great. Whenever I see an older woman wearing a bikini that works she is either going for an elegant look or having fun with it with wonderful colours. I think the thing to stay away from is the utilitarian style and blah colours that is what kills a look. I love to see an older lady with her arms covered in gold bracelets, big sunglasses and a big straw hat and a big smile. Just looking at one of these ladies you think oh what fun this lady must be, the adventures she must have had and the stories she must tell. Same goes for a one piece, I think if you get a suit with more Oomph, leave the speedo styles for the gym pool then you will look pretty. If you haven`t worn a bikini in awhile then the best thing to do is to try on dozens and dozens till you find one you feel you look nice in, then get it home put it on and stand in front of the mirror again when you are alone and really look at yourself to get comfortable with it and it sounds silly but talk to yourself to get all those negative comments that are going to pop in your head out of there! And when you get to the beach or pool, really take a good look at the people, you will see that they are not all models with perfect bodies and you will feel better. The last trip we went on I wasn`t feeling in shape and felt intimidated to go to the pool, but I did that and am glad I did because it was alot of fun and I would have missed out if I let the silly thoughts of I`ve put on some weight people will laught stop me from having fun. Hope you bought a bikini or two and are living it up on a beach!
:)
mikky
http://www.todaloos.com

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A beautiful space

Take Helen Miren for instance. I saw a photo of her looking absolutely fab in a bikini. I think it is a case of wear what you are comfortable in. It’s all about feeling great and if you don’t feel great in one avoid them. SA x

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Things That Inspire

I must admit, I have always been a one piece girl, even before three pregnancies made that a requirement versus an option!

Interestingly enough, my three girls are all one piece girls too. I think we are in the ‘Kate Middleton’ camp of ladylike modesty (plus we are all fair skinned red heads, so covering as much skin as possible is good for the health).

Have a wonderful week-
Holly

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simone

Great post Vicki!! I have read all the responses above and found them so interesting, some great opinions & replies.

Where we holiday each summer in the south of France, the Europeans almost all wear bikins – and some go topless too. What I love most is that many of these women are 40/50/60+ and many do not have the “perfect” body…they do however have style and confidence and clearly feel beautiful and comfortable in what they are wearing. I love that the French & Italian grandmothers who sit next to me on the beach wear bikinis, it’s fabulous!!

There is one particular woman who I notice every summer – she could be 70 years old, I am guessing she lives locally as she seems to know lots of people, she arrives on the beach late afternoon most days, she is “curvy” and she always goes topless. She is generally surrounded by people and she oozes confidence. I am full of admiration for her.

I read a Nora Ephron quote last week that I love which went something along the lines of “put a bikini on at age 26 and don’t take it off until you’re 34”!! It made me smile but it’s so true….I should have appreciated it and worn it more :)

I now wear a one piece or sometimes a tankini….I would wear a bikini but don’t have the figure for it at the moment – I do think they look fabulous though and wish I could wear one. I feel confident in myself but know I can’t carry it off right now.

I live in hope!! XX

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Glamour Drops

What an outpouring of conflicted thoughts this topic has unleashed! Yes, do, no, don’t. Interesting that you have linked it to Australian versus French. (And I am going to break your assertion because I wear both. Just to be contrary!)

I would segregate it this way though – because I think whether it looks good or not depends not so much on the woman’s figure, but on the way that said woman carries herself. On a fuller-figured woman, or on a wispy thing, to me the right cut of swimwear – bikini or one-piece – can look amazing if it is worn with elegance, class and style. And age, and body perfection, I think, has little to do with it.

So wear what you love wearing, and wear it with grace! x

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L Sorensen-Jolink

No, I do not think that there is “an age-appropriate moment when the bikini should be relegated to the past.” I completely agree with you that it is not so much about being age appropriate but about what suits the wearer and what s/he is comfortable wearing. (This does, or at least should, apply to men as well as women.) As for myself: I wear a swimsuit in order to swim (in public), and so I wear the swimsuit that allows me to move best and most comfortably in the water: a Speedo racing suit! Relax and have fun!!! Leslie, at the lakes, rivers and ocean beaches of the Pacific NW of the US.

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Dianne

My hairdresser is a very big young woman who wears a bikini to the beach and here attitude is “if you don’t like what you see, then don’t look”. I really admire her attitutde and her confidence. I am older and feel more comfortable in a tankini but I feel we should stop being so judgemental towards others.

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thyme (Sarah)

Heck! I just walk on a European beach or a beach in South America…and I feel svelt and totally thinner than I thought I was moments before. I say, let it all hang out, while I gape and guffaw. I know, often I don’t have THAT much hanging out so it does wonders for my self esteem!

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Donna De Luca

I adore the way Europeans feel at ease with their individual body shapes however for me it is “Le One Piece”. I would not want to spoil the day for the other beach goers by appearing in anything less!!!!!

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Debbie McMillan

I think a lot of Australians and Americans are of the opinion that a women over the age of 40 should cover up regardless of how fit and good she looks for her age. I personally think that if a women regardless of her age feels confident and comfortable wearing a bikini than she should. There are attractive 2 pieces that are quite flattering so it’s not like you have to be afraid that you’re showing bits you dont want to.

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Ann

Oh for me it boils down to the question on comfortability,
if you’re still comfortable rocking a bikini,
age and body figure don’t matter… go ahead and wear some fab bikini. But if you have doubts of wearing one, it will definitely show, just opt for other beach outfits.

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Frédérique

J’ai beau être française, je suis une adepte du maillot une pièce aussi!

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Caroline S

I am 49 this year, still in a bikini and don’t intend on graduating to a one piece in the near future! Literally arrived in Port Douglas today for a mid year break from a very cold Melbourne and only packed a two piece! So I think if you are happy to wear a bikini then do so – at any age!

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Penelope Bianchi

One of my relatives said….”when I was 40 I stopped trying on bathing suits”;
When I was 60 I bought one piece bathing suits that were black and came from the same wonderful place.

I am 65; and I took her advice!

They make you lose 10 pounds!

Penelope

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Alex

Hi Vicki, I loved your post, it made me think about my summers in Costa Brava (in Spain) when I was a child. At the beach you could find all kind of european women, all sort of age and shape, and most of them weared two pieces or even topless… And no matter how old or fat they could be, they looked beautiful to me, mostly because they looked happy. I don’t know if it’s self confidence or just acceptance of our body, anyway, you should wear whatever makes you feel confortable and then, you will look amazing!

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Gauss

I don’t think it’s just a matter of age; I have (American) friends in their 20s who would never, ever wear a bikini in public. I am European, and I can’t understand why you would want to wear more fabric than absolutely necessary at the beach. I only wear a one-piece when I’m swimming (for sports) as it’s sleeker, but I wouldn’t want to cover myself that much on an actual beach!

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Gina

all good bodies should wear bikinis…no matter the age! Some should go to nude beaches and be proud…I myself…wear a cover up towel these days..however…I had my glory days. If you got it flaunt it!

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Sarah

In two words, ONE PIECE for sure! If you have a great body, then by all means, a bikini should be worn… but, for those less than a ’10’ like me, wear a one piece…the people at the beach will thank you! ha – ;))

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BigLittleWolf

To each his (or in this case, her) own…

If one has the body or for that matter, feels à l’aise, why not?

Also a matter of appropriateness to the location… or, if one resembles Helen Mirren…

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Quintessence

Since I am of the blue-white persuasion in the skin department, I am not often exposed at all. I frequently do not even get into a suit since the sunscreen application seems more trouble than it’s worth. Like all fashion, I think a woman should wear what makes her look her best and feel the most confident. Obviously there will be varying opinions on what that may be. I think there is nothing chicer than a sexy maillot but as they say in your part of the world, à chacun son goût!!

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Carolyn Bradford

This will always be the “age old” question I think and one that I often struggle with! However…I agree with Anita and Tina 100%! I feel absolutely, horridly ugly in a one piece and much happier in a two piece…not a bikini…but a two piece with a cute skirted bottom for sure! Maybe when I lose the 10 lbs. I’m wanting to lose…maybe I would wear a bikini in my pool at home…but NOT in public…unfortunately! Love these girl talk posts!

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Christine Hooker

Oh, Oh, Oh…Smiling from ear to ear! The cultural mores vary drastically from place to place but the age-old question of body image remains! Here in Southern California (as Francine Gardner wrote) topless is forbidden…omg…changing in public…de rigueur in France and elsewhere…cause for incarceration or at least a large fine here! I was fascinated by old and young, very large and small, endowed and not on French beaches on first view. I just couldn’t get into that mode. It’s a one piece for me now but a skimpy bikini years ago that would have horrified my own mother had she been aware. Today is her birthday, thinking of her as I write to thank her and my dad for a most wonderful childhood here on the beach…still fraught with body consciousness! Some things just don’t change with age but the camaraderie of the ‘sisterhood of the bathing suit decision’ is comforting!
Signing bonjour with bikini envy!
xoxo, Chris

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Sweet Freak

Agreed, Vicki – it’s all about having the confidence to pull it off. You know what they say… confidence is the sexiest thing going (even sexier than Ursula’s number!).

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Andrea Simpson

Well, I wish we could all post pics anonymously and get people to say “yes or no” ha! Then we’d at least have a 2nd opinion. I do think that it’s all in our heads. I mean really think how much fabric we’re talking about! Is it really covering anything up? No. So, do what you like, wear what you want. You still look 50? Well so what? Better than the alternative, yes? Regards, Andrea

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