Advice from a self-confessed beach bum.

The sun is shining… in the Seychelles. Sick of coats, scarves and thermal underwear? Take courage, Spring is only 51 days away. But before you bare the bod, take some advice from a self-confessed beach bum. I made my beach debut two weeks old and within a year caused a scene with this darling cutaway number. Note the bow detail. They don’t make them like they used to, but there’s definitely something for everyone. There are also some definite “don’ts”.

Sun Lover from a Young Age

First things first, let’s get something straight: there is only one hard and fast rule when it comes to beachwear, the rest is advice. The rule is this:

No Budgie Smugglers!

Speedos should only be worn near Olympic-sized swimming pools. Not open for discussion.

The only thing worse than a man in a Speedo is a man in his underwear. For the love of all that’s good and decent in this world, please don’t swim in your tighty-whiteys, especially when the tighty-whiteys are, in fact, white. What ever makes a grown man think swimming in his jocks is a good idea is quite beyond me.

And girls, while we’re on the subject, I’ve yet to see a white swimsuit work. Don’t get me wrong; they look fantastic when sashaying up and down the beach. But are they designed to go see-through when wet and cause public embarrassment? Believe me when I say you couldn’t catch me wet in one!

Grant me leave to state the obvious: swimwear is unforgiving. Every curve, bulge and midnight snack is on display for the entire world to see. So, why, do women insist on wearing bikinis that look like they’ve been fashioned from coloured dental floss? Leave something to the imagination, and wear something you can play volleyball in.

Ok, to recap quickly, no budgie smugglers or tighty-whiteys, avoid white swimsuits and dental floss. Next on the list, make sure your shorts fit. Surely, you ask, this is just common sense. The twenty-one summers I’ve spent on the beach suggest otherwise. Swimwear is unforgiving. The sea has a cruel sense of humour. You do the maths.

Since you are now aware of how to avoid a charge of public indecency (read: nudity), we now turn to accessories.  The rallying cry of stylists everywhere seems to be: “Accessorise.! Accessorise! Accessorise!” As far as I’m concerned the only accessories worth having are a beach bag, a pair of sunnies and a surfboard. No fancy-schmancy chandelier earrings. No costume jewellery. I mean, come on, on the beach? Are you mad? And don’t get me started on footwear. It’s a beach. Go barefoot, or wear flip-flops. Girls, please don’t wear ridiculous heels. It’s just too painful watching you spike your way across the sand like intrepid arctic explorers. It makes long romantic walks on the beach nigh on impossible. Of course, if it’s your intention to sprain your ankle, and adopt the ol’ ‘helpless-female’ ploy, good on you. You’d think the men would’ve caught on by now. Anyhow, if you must accessories, get yourself a hat.

Unfortunately, I cannot squeeze twenty-one years of experience into a single article. Instead, I’ve had to decide what is truly important, what no self-respecting article on beachwear should forget and it is this:

A hairy chest isn’t a license to wear gold medallions.


Siobhan Dooley 

Images – Siobhan Dooley