Make a splash: Be bold in your bikini
Photography by Daniel Holfeld , Styling by Courtney Smith, Fashion edited by constance harris
While body anxiety is a separate issue, I learnt a long time ago that if you are big-boobed or big-bodied, or both, and dread revealing it, yet at the same time love swimming and sunning and all that, then you have to ensure you get yourself the best swimsuit you can.
I say swimsuit because swimsuits are the most flattering garments. An Irish woman with weight tends to pull and drag at her bikini, hunch her shoulders and walk with fear. She is the opposite to her sensually confident, foreign counterpart.
This is a great year for the swimsuit and even high-street brands such as Tesco have secret-support and tummy-tuck styles. But although I admire what the high street does in terms of price and quality, with swimsuits, as with lingerie, you get what you pay for. Cheap does not last, or do as much. I have examined and worn high-street versions: although the quality is good, it is not as good.
Pay for the best and you will feel the difference on your body and people will notice the difference, too. Which, in turn, affects how you feel about yourself. You won't move like a self-conscious Irish woman. You will start to appreciate -- and reflect outwardly -- your inner goddess.
Arnotts buyer Jane McGann has honed their swimwear department as a destination place for women with big boobs and real bodies, and she is not hole-in-the-wall in her attitude to them. Her buy of Fantasie is excellent, full of fun and drama -- and they do decent briefs in bikinis. Panache is another pretty, larger-cup-size range, as is Pour Moi -- I love its purple and giant polka-dot styles. Freya, too, is good this season.
Miraclesuit, exclusive to Arnotts, flattens the tummy and makes a goddess of your body, and it does this in sexy colours, animal-ish prints and great shapes such as frilled, halter-neck and bandeau styles. The range also features a swimsuit with a kind of tube skirt built in: ideal for the woman who is self-conscious about the tops of her thighs.
But it isn't all about fuller figures at Arnotts. They stock Sunseeker, Emporio Armani's minuscule bikinis and edgy French label, Princesse tam.tam. Also Esprit, which has some cute tie-dye styles and Seaspray, with a natty swimsuit/dress style in purple and white polka dot.
Finally, don't wear black. Black is joyless and screams, "I have issues with my body!" I learnt long ago that if you are voluptuous, which shows a sensual engagement with life and a natural joie de vivre (yeah, I do know how to put a spin on a bit of weight), wear a suit that reflects your passionate nature -- beautifully.
All swimwear, belts and jewellery available at Arnotts, Henry St, D1
Photography by Daniel Holfeld, see www.danielholfeld.com
Styling by Courtney Smith, see www.courtneysmith.ie
Make-up by Caz Barnard at Mac cosmetics, Cape Town, South Africa
Hair by Mitz Bresler Model: Naomi King at ICE model management, Cape Town, South Africa
Shot on location at Seapoint Public Pool, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday Indo Life Magazine