We all remember the controversial "ARE YOU BEACH BODY READY?" advertisement that came out spring of 2015, featuring a slim model wearing a yellow bikini, selling a weight-loss diet supplement. Many people began to slate the campaign (and rightly so!) by altering the advert in multiple ways; a new slogan appeared with "#Each BodyS Ready", others protested the image by standing in a subway beside the billboard in swimwear, displaying a wide range of beach bodies, and even the brand Dove took inspiration by creating their own campaign based around the Beach Body Ready advertisement, again featuring woman of all shapes and sizes. The term Beach Body should not refer to being a lean, toned and slender shape, but instead should relate to everybody, no matter what shape or size, so long as they are kitted out in a swimming costume and hitting the shoreline. Society's unattainable standards of beauty should not come into play when it comes to kicking back in the sun and having fun in the sand. Yet there is an immense pressure put upon woman when it comes to stripping down and getting a swimsuit on, and hitting the seaside, but I wanted to talk about a few ways that I personally feel confident enough in my beach body - enough so to put photo evidence online!
First up, wear the weight that makes you most happiest. Does it really bother you if you don't look like a model, or if your thighs do a little wiggle as you play around in the sand? If for most of the year you are a weight that you are comfortable being, then why change for a few weeks of summer fun, only to slip back to your regular weight? Of course, if loosing a little weight can give you a confidence boost in yourself, you should definitely go for it! But I know that I personally have lost weight in the past to make myself more appealing to society's standards of beauty, and if I am even more brutally honest, I wish I had picked Dominos pizza over endless bowls of green, because the stress and joy that came from loosing the weight honestly didn't change much in my life for the better, and I was just a moody cow from being hungry all the time. I guess what I am getting at is to not get caught up in image, nor quick fix diets just because someone else's ideals make you feel like you should.
Secondly, everyone is in the same boat. We are all self conscious when stripped down to an elasticated suit that bares all of our lumps and bumps. I guess I would be right in saying that most people don't exactly love being in the public eye wearing so little, but the thought of doing it is so much harder than the actual act. Everyone else around you will be thinking about one thing: themselves. We all worry about how we look, making sure there aren't any arm fat rolls sticking out, wedgies, exposed nipples..the list really goes on, so remember that you just have to look after yourself and rock the 'kini! Can you picture your best friend wearing a swimsuit beside you? They look pretty swell, & I bet if they were picturing you the same, that they would think the same onto you. We are all out own worst critics, and those around us will only see the good - that in itself should make you feel more confident.
Thirdly, Suit up and feel fabulous! Finding swimwear with the perfect fit and style will make you feel a hundred times more confident. Take time in researching the different varieties of swimsuits there are out there that reflect your personality. I feel incredibly uncomfortable wearing a low rise, triangle cup bikini - it just isn't my style and I always feel very fidgety - If I wore one then I would spend a lot of my time worrying about exposure. Instead I tend to go for high waisted, full cup bikinis, or vintage-look swimsuits - these suits make me feel great about my style, and flatter my thighs and waist much better. I remember the first suit that really made me feel great, and it was a simple black suit, with the "slimming", figure enhancing fit - I felt a million times better wearing the simple piece than if I had of been wearing the trending design of that summer. This post has been sponsored by Promenade Vintage, and Unique vintage, as they have gifted me the pieces from their SS'16 collection. I am so happy to feature these brands as their swimwear is not only the perfect addition to my wardrobe and 100% my style, but they are fantastic quality and seriously confidence-boosting. I have linked the pieces at the end of the post should you be interested in picking up one of your own. Wearing those suits made the visual aspect of this post much easier for me, as I really felt great about how I looked!
But another idea to think about when covering up in the summer are caftans and chiffon shirts. Sometimes they can get a bit Housewives of the OC, but you can pick up some really cool styles online, and who said you can't wear your dad's office shirts? I personally like black mesh t-shirts as they give a pool-side to pool party kind of vibe which can be fun to style, and super flattering.
And my final idea for if you are suffering quite badly from a confidence crisis and can't quite get the right kick to get going, is to fake it 'til you make it. Tell yourself that you are a bad-bitch who can conquer anything. Hold your head high, walk with intention and soon you will see yourself really coming out of your shell and before you know it, you will feel it too.
At the end of the day, we all just want to make the most of our days on the beach, in the pool or, if we should be so lucky, in a hot tub. You want to be able to feel good, but focus more so on the people who surround you and make having fun your main goal. And should you look back at the summer of 2016 in years to come, you will not remember how many times your bingo-wing wobbled, nor whether or not people were checking out your cellulite, but instead you will recall just how much it hurt from laughing with those around you as you made summertime memories.
For this post I teamed up with a great bunch of ladies; each talented, and beams of sunshine. They rock swimwear like they were born on the beach; and they each exhibited the body confidence that is achievable in everyone.
I had originally planned to shoot this entire post solo, with ambitions to grab a group of girlies down the line for a different body confidence post. Plans changed from being shot in my local run down swimming pool to the Templemore Baths, and after discussing it with Helen McBride, I decided to invite her to join me! Helen is the lady who has her fingers in many many pies, and is the lady behind the roller derby subscription box, Pack Up. You will definitely be hearing about her again as we collaborate this summer on her upcoming project and hopefully on another themed shoot for VENT. She really was captain of the ship for the shoot, and a very empowering and determined woman - I see a lot in that lady that I aspire to find in myself.
Also on the shoot, I was joined by my very close gal pal, and all round great person, Colette. This li'l lady is a secret but very much important part of VENT. Without her, I wouldn't of had any confidence to post any of the posts from 2016 - and I sure as heck would of never done a body confidence shoot. She proof reads everything you see here, and she is forever pushing me and inspiring me to go further. Always willing to help a hand on my artistic projects, she didn't hesitate to join me on this shoot; and I am so glad. Doesn't she look so cute playing around with the life buoy? She was also sporting the most flattering high waisted red and ivory polka dot swimming bottoms, also from Unique Vintage that you can grab HERE.
And finally joining the crew was the absolutely stunning, and equally funny Niamh from H Cup Chronicles. This girl lives and breathes positive body image, and is in fact a brand ambassador for The Body Confidence Movement which pretty much means you HAVE to check her out after reading this post. This girl knows her stuff, and I got such a confidence boost from reading THIS post the night before our shoot together. She is such an inspiration and definitely one to keep an eye on. On set, she rocked every last second - pulling the moves like a total pin-up pro! Niamh wore her own 'kini from Panache Lingerie, but unfortunately it is out of stock at the minute (apparently they restock styles like this every season though).
In this post I am wearing three different vintage style suits. Each made me feel like a million bucks and I love them so so so much. They were from Promenade Vintage Swimwear and they are made with such a flattering cut, and quality materials. Did you see the leopard print velvet one? I just want to hit the hot tub and drink wine in it! Absolutely fabulous. Honestly couldn't recommend them enough!
Finally, I just want to wrap up by giving a huge thanks to Ciara McMullan Photography for joining us and helping me out with my photographs. She is releasing her own set of stunning photography from this shoot on her blog HERE & we will definitely continue to work together on many many more projects in the future. She's just class, and a total and utter geg!
So anyway, if you have enjoyed and found this post interesting, please do let me and the other girls know in the comments or via email! Go forth this summer, in confidence (and in a rocking 'kini!)