TOTALLY WAISTED: (Not an) Itsy bitsy teenie weenie (bikini)

There’s never a good time to think about bikinis. So I’m going to do it now. I go on so few holidays that might require beachwear and have done so much over-enthusiastic shopping, that I’ve acquired a tangle of never-used/too old to use undesirable poly-scraps. If I am to go somewhere sandy this year, I’ll need help.

 To my current wintrified psyche, the spaghetti straps and miniscule triangles of the traditional two-piece are deeply unappealing – like trying to carry everything you need in your hands and not in your handbag (nice image). But I don’t want to wear a swimsuit which is just an all-in-one that’s been randomly holed-out either. The stringy, cut-out designs of recent seasons aren’t seriously meant for the real-life, 3D body and their very existence is an affront to the undeniable bumps and curves of the flesh.

In her 2011 manifesto, How to be a Woman, Caitlin Moran launched a campaign against the prevalence of tiny knickers (among other things), guffawing at the supposed correlation of petite pants with increased ‘hotness’ and labelling the shrinking-knickers trend ‘pantorexia’. The same argument can easily be applied to most bikinis which are too tiny to be practical and too small to be at all comfortable. Since they’re actually outerwear, why are they so often skimpier than what you’d wear underneath your clothes? Urgh.

I don’t want to shroud myself completely, but I would like some proper, cover-up bottoms made with generous quantities of fabric and perhaps in some pretty (leopard) prints that you can pull up to your waist like in the old days.

Recently Florence Welch has been snapped splashing about in big bikini pants and Katy Perry’s long dedicated herself to the 50s silhouette at the seaside. Hopefully their endorsements will increase the choice of bathers on offer on the high street where the ubiquitous two-pieces incline towards the brazenly immodest in style. Supposedly hems rise in times of prosperity, so maybe now is the right time for big bad bikinis to come back for good.


  • See Dolce & Gabbana’s SS12 collection with skirts and shorts that come up to HERE.
  • Beyoncé works proper-pants-chic in the Why Don’t You Love Me? vid.
  • Jets by Jessika Allen is an Australian swimwear label with some generously cut, gorgeously-patterned pieces. It’s pricey, but gets decently discounted in the sales.
  • ASOS & Topshop are doing a few high-waisted bikini bottoms this year. I have doubts about how flattering the cuts will be, but both sites are worth a browse.
  • Cult London retro lingerie brand What Katie Did offer a range of 50s-inspired swimming costumes and bikini sets too.
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Co-editor and co-founder of Pamflet //
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Co-editor and co-founder of Pamflet //

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