So, are you beach body ready? This is less of a question, more of an over-used, rather sly, totally undermining challenge tactic seen on advertising billboards and, these days, marketing emailers and sponsored social media posts, illustrated with an image of a young, beautiful, slim but shapely model who probably is, has been or will be on Love Island.
It’s all designed to make women panic, to induce a feeling of fear that time is running out before that big summer holiday. Therefore we really do have to have whatever diet or sculpting product is being promoted.
Another beach-ready weapon is so-called figure-flattering swimwear, with panels for tummy flattening, bust boosting or supporting, bottom perking and thigh slimming.
I have tried my share of these with varying degree of success. The main problem with hold-it-all-in swimsuits, I have found, is that they are almost impossible to get off when wet. Those secret panels seem to constrict and cling while the ruching bits have a life of their own. I had one swimsuit that was made of a ruched shiny material on the outside and then an inner layer of sturdier, more supportive stuff. Again this was very difficult to get off without performing painful contortions, but far more embarrassing was seeing how it performed in a spa pool – the bubbles made the outer bust panels inflate, which was disconcerting for me and for everyone else in the posh hotel spa pool with me.
To be fair, the swimwear industry does at least seem to be offering alternatives to traditional young and perky swimwear models in its adverts. Valerie Morris-Campbell, 67, has just been revealed as the face of the new JD Williams swimwear campaign. The mum of supermodel Naomi Campbell, and a model and former dancer, she’s not exactly your usual 67-year-old – and still looks pretty perky – but still, 60-somethings modelling mainstream swimwear can only be a good thing.
The collaboration is part of the brand’s commitment to using age- appropriate models in its campaigns and championing age inclusivity in fashion and advertising. Shot in Mykonos, the images show Valerie modelling the summer collection of swimwear and holiday pieces designed to fit and flatter what JD Williams calls “the Midster figure” with hidden tummy panels and ruching.
Valerie Morris-Campbell said: ‘This is a time in my life when I can think about myself more and really do what I choose to do, which is quite empowering. My attitude to posing in swimwear at 67 is ‘why not’. Getting older doesn’t mean you need to cover up when on a beach or on holiday – for me it’s about confidence and feeling comfortable with how you feel and look.”
The collection is available online at www.jdwilliams.co.uk in sizes 10-32.
Meanwhile, Sheffield-based brand Panache has long been an expert at creating flattering and supportive lingerie and swimwear, specialising in D+ pieces (for which it has won awards). Panache stresses the importance of finding the perfect fit and support, taking what it knows about lingerie and applying it to swimwear. Well worth a whirl.
Marks & Spencer’s swimwear range features all the technology that the company has been investing in to make swimwear that looks and feels good, no matter where you wear it. The M&S Secret Slimming range includes post-surgery swimwear for women who have had breast cancer, designed to give comfort, support and confidence with a touch of padding, added stretch and technology to shape and sculpt the figure, plus there is its patented Stay New Chlorine Resist technology so colour and shape do not deteriorate.
M&S gives 10 per cent of the purchase price to Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now.