It’s that time of year when our inbox starts filling up with helpful emails from PR’s tasking “are you bikini ready?” and “do you have the perfect beach body?” The temptation to reply to these inane emails and tell them exactly what I think, is overwhelming, but I refrain, knowing that Tamara from Airhead PR is just doing her job and obviously hasn’t bothered to read our blog, never mind think about the message she is sending out to other women.
Ironically, it’s usually round about now that I do actually start thinking about summer holidays and the possibility of a beach body! What would it be like to be one of those (usually European) middle aged women who strolls around the pool in a bikini, looking fabulous. They are effortlessly stylish and chic in a way I can only dream of. Somehow eclectic and quirky just doesn’t work in hot weather, as the opportunities to be clever with layering and colour and pattern simply aren’t there.
I toy with the idea of eating only dry crackers and miso soup for the next month, and imagine what it would be like not to be the lardy English women in a kaftan and then I wake up and smell the freshly baked croissants and realise that it’s simply never going to happen. As A. I like food (and wine) too much, B. I know very few middle-aged women who are really thin, who don’t have issues with food, or are obsessed with the gym – again not going to happen, and C. I’m too much of a feminist to let the medias view of what I should look like, get in the way of my self esteem.
So just how do you get kaftan ready and plan for a holiday if you are not a perfect size 10 or Donatella Versace (God forbid!) and want to feel good about yourself?
A dramatic pair of sunglasses is the perfect addition to any holiday outfit, add a slash of bright red, orange or pink lipstick for added affect and avoid getting your head in the water when swimming. I have perfected the art of swimming (and I use the term lightly) without taking off my sunglasses or ruining my lipstick, much
to my families amusement and can move effortlessly from pool to lounger with little or no fuss!
If chosen well kaftans are a thing of great beauty (Sandra from Gogglebox is an expert kaftan wearer) and don’t necessarily mean you are relegated to art teacher/textile lecturer status, if you chose well.
It’s best to avoid anything overly ethnic as they can say, recently divorced on a quest to find yourself (or a younger man) – don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking that, it’s just not the look we are going for here.
I’m also not keen on anything too floaty as they can be a bit Jackie Collins does Lucky Santangelo or Liz Taylor getting stick into the gin at 10am. What we are looking for is a flattering cut and tasteful print.
These two from Tory Birch and Isabel Marant may be more money than you would like to spend for whats essentially a big shirt, but trust me, they are good quality fabric, slim line, and have the right sleeve length – therefore work.
Paying a bit more, also applies to swimwear, as investing in a really good swimsuit is a must have for a pain free poolside experience, as much as we would like to, we can no longer get away with three tiny triangles of fabric from Primark.
Shapewear is Gods gift to the middle-aged body and buying at least one shapewear swimsuit along with a couple of slightly cheaper good quality costumes (perhaps in a colour or print) will be all you need to see you through the summer.
Figleaves has a good range and I love the Speedo shapewear from Debenhams. The Sorrento swimsuit from Boden has some clever control panels and hidden moulded cups and comes in a good range of colours.
A pair of of the new seasons flat sandals are another essential for maximum comfort and stylish parading round the pool – but don’t be tempted to try wedges with a kaftan – that’s way too Beverley from Abigails Party to carry off in 2014.
And last but not least, invest in really good spray tan and mani pedi, as good grooming is essential to feel beach ready and kaftan confident.
Don’t be scared of a spray tan, just ask for a light colour and make sure you go to a salon where they do it by hand. The paper pants are enough to make you run naked and screaming through House of Fraser, but trust me it’ll be worth when you pitch your sun bed next to that Italian family!