I like summer. I don’t love it like spring and autumn, but the warmer weather does bring about a few of my favourite things like wearing a dress without having to worry about layers; consumption of cold beverages of the cocktail variety (sometimes it’s a mocktail for me because alcohol makes me fall asleep); and heading to the beach for a swim.
But I sometimes get butterflies about the last reason because swimwear season.
I wish I knew what I know now back when I was a teen and scared about strutting my stuff in a bikini. This is what I would have told my 18-year-old self:
You are beautiful! You have gorgeous long legs, a tiny waist and no scars to worry about. Be confident and forget about whether you’re in a size 12 bikini when your friends are in an 8.
I wish I realised how good my body looked before I had children. Isn’t it ironic that I’m more accepting of the size and shape I am now, post kids, even though I have stretch marks, a few extra layers and thigh dimples.
Yet summer is on our doorstep and so enters the season of wearing swimwear to head to the beach or pool. Now, there are so many posts encouraging women of all shapes and sizes and colours to get out on the beach and swim with their kids. That’s great and all, but how do you feel more confident in your swimmers when your body is not what it used to be? Surely no one wants to see that on the beach?
Truth is, no one is going to care about what we look like and if they do, I figure we’re basically never going to see them again anyway.
Sadly it’s easier said than done, so here are my best tips to help you feel more confident in the sun with little on.
1. Do buy flattering swimwear. If you don’t feel confident wearing a bikini, opt for a one piece or a tankini. Don’t worry about what’s on trend at the moment. Buy a swimming costume that suits your body shape because if you look good in it, it will boost your confidence and you won’t worry about whether your boobs are peeking out or if the bottoms will give you a wedgie. Sirens offer a ship to shop where you can choose 5 swimming costumes for a set price so you can try the costumes on in the comfort of your home. The swimsuits have shapewear in them so they can flatten a jelly belly instantly. Other brands to check out are Capriosca Swimwear and Sequins and Sand.
2. Embrace the skin you’re in. I’m very pale and don’t like to apply tan creams because they look fake on my skin. But a fake tan can help with confidence and can give you a healthy glow. No matter what skin colour you are, embrace it and protect it with SPF 50 sunscreen.
3. Stick to a hair removal routine. Whether you wax, shave or laser, make sure your bikini line is smooth. I don’t think any of us are as confident as Miranda Hobbes to display our lady garden in public. For most women, it’s a confidence killer, so stick to a routine so you are ready to bare your underarms, bikini line and legs whenever your swimsuit calls.
4. Focus on fun and your family. The moment I’m in the water with my girls, I’m not worried about what people think of me in my swimwear. I end up focusing on my family and making memories.
5. Realise you’re not alone. Next time you’re at the beach, take a look at the bodies around you. I know this sounds a bit contradictory when I said no one will be looking at you, but watching other people – all shapes and sizes having fun in the sun with little on encouraged me to forget about my body insecurities. If you aren’t into people watching, head to Instagram and follow hashtag #cossieconfidence.
6. Cover up a little. When you shop for your swimmers, choose a matching sarong, skirt or dress to wear until you’re ready to swim. A strategically draped sarong can do wonders for your confidence on the beach. Then if being seen in your swimmers really bothers you, you can perfect your mad dash into the water after you drop your cover up. Works for many!
The moment I’ve taken my beach cover off and have stood at the shoreline with my two-year-old, I’m no longer worried about what I look like. I’m enjoying the cool water at my toes and the giggles from my daughter as the waves lap her shins. I tell myself to remember this feeling to help the next time I’m feeling a little body shy at the beach.
Our bodies are incredible. They help us do a lot of things. And even if we’re not happy with the size or shape we are, I don’t think we need to be going on a crash diet to get our bodies ‘bikini ready’ for summer. Let’s get our attitude ‘bikini ready’ instead.
More on body confidence:
- 21 Clever Ways to Boost Your Daughter’s Self-Esteem
- I Grew Up Obsessed with My Body Image
- After Years of Self-Loathing, I’ve Finally Made Peace with My Body
Images: top – Getty / middle – Rebecca Senyard