Chic Over 40 Bikini List
I have been invited by Eres, one of my favorite bathing suit boutiques, to a wonderful event called Bikinis and Champagne to be held on Saturday, November 3rd, from 2 – 4 pm at their boutique at 621 Madison Avenue here in New York. I will be signing my book and giving style advice. As winter approaches, I am already thinking about my holiday in the Caribbean. I must admit, buying bathing suits is one of my least favorite shopping experiences. At Eres I always find the right suit because their fit is perfect and they have a wide selection from which to choose, including styles for women Chic Over 40.
From a personal point of view, I have a strange take on bikinis. Perhaps it is not so strange, just more in line with the way I feel when I am in Europe on holiday at the beach. The cultural differences between the beaches in Europe and America are significant, and the effect this difference has on my self-confidence dictates my swimsuit of choice. When I go on my Christmas holiday with family in the Caribbean, I simply would not be caught dead in a bikini. However, for some reason when at the beach in Saint-Tropez, I feel it would look strange if I didn’t wear a bikini, and so I do, and I feel great!
The difference clearly results from the cultural acceptance of women over 40 wearing bikinis or even going topless in Europe. Although, admittedly, this may not always be the prettiest thing to look at, it is beautiful for reasons that are not aesthetic, and displays the confidence these women have that I wish could be found on every beach in the world. The bikini itself has been forever associated with a woman’s willingness to flaunt her body, strut her confidence, and reveal her sex appeal. The bikini liberates far more than just the belly button, it is one of the best examples of how fashion can be a self-expression of confidence and comfort with one’s self.
In a recent post, FIT’s Couture Council Honors Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz, I noted that Alber’s raison d’être is all about seeing the strength in a woman. Whether you are wearing a one-piece or a bikini, the only thing people will really notice is how comfortable you are with yourself. I truly think that French women appear more confident because they are hiding less and being themselves more. The answer is not to hide your body but to cheer for its ability to swim laps or just float. Perhaps a Speedo or form-fitting wetsuit would be conventional, but there is something compelling about an older woman wearing a two-piece swimsuit, not necessarily to display her curves but to underscore her strength.
If the key to fashion is confidence, and the biggest fashion faux pas is insecurity, then it doesn’t matter whether you wear a bikini or a one-piece. At the beach, no one will see what you aren’t wearing; they will only see what you aren’t comfortable with. So instead of working to lose five pounds before Christmas vacation, maybe the key to looking fabulous is to find what makes you most comfortable. Because having self-confidence makes all women look and feel chic, regardless of what they are wearing.
In addition to Eres in New York, some of my favorite Parisian boutiques where you can find great swimsuits are:
231, rue Saint-Honoré
211, rue Saint-Honoré
20, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
10, rue du Cherche-Midi
Also, see my television segment on television on CW11 morning news speaking about bathing suits and my book Chic in Paris. Many thanks again to the following for providing the suits for that spot: Eres, Speedo, Lenny, and J. Mendel.