Your key to the fashion world.
By Romola Shanbhag
Will you come shopping with me to the mall this afternoon? Shweta came over to ask me. “I want to get a swimsuit, and I would like your opinion as I try these out.”

“I didn’t know you could swim,” I said admiringly.

“I don’t,” she rejoined.”This is a pool party on Saturday.”

“Oh?”I said, my puzzlement increasing.

She grinned at me cheerfully. “Most of us don’t even like to get our feet wet, yaar. These pool parties are just to flaunt pretty swimwear, you know…”

She studied my surprised face with amusement.

“There are the most exciting ranges of swimwear in the market which we girls are dying to wear. And where else can we do it except near water; the swimming pool or the beach? So, we buy these and flaunt these at the convenient pool or beach parties, even though most of us cannot swim for nuts!”

When we visited the mall later in the day, I understood fully well just what she meant. The dress designer shops had stacks and stacks of the most exquisite swimwear. It was a mind-boggling array, and Shweta went quiet crazy trying these on and traipsing before me for my comments.

“Get one for yourself, Anuja,” she coaxed. “We can bring a friend along, and I’ll take you to the party. Come on, choose one …”

I laughed and looked ruefully at my plump midriff. “I will cut a sorry figure. I am not slender like you, Shweta,” I protested.

“Not to worry,” she assured me.  “There are some for every figure and age.”

And, indeed, two-piece there were, and the spandex one-piece I chose made me look inches slimmer and elegant. And I did accept her offer to accompany her and had a great time too.

Although Shweta candidly confessed that she wore swimwear without ever getting into the water, for many others, swimming is a very attractive sports activity. A very enjoyable way of having fun and getting exercise in the bargain.

And why not? The young are super conscious of their fit, slim bodies. And they do like to display these too, and where else, and how else except at the swimming pool, and in those delectable itsy-bitsy clothes?

‘If-you-have-got-it, flaunt-it’ is the new mantra. And no one objects either. Times have changed, attitudes are bolder and more liberal and well, who will object to seeing beautiful bodies both male and female when there is water to swim in close by to give them credibility.

When confronted with the numerous items in the swimwear range, you can be forgiven if your head swims (pun intended). Broadly, you have the one-piece two-piece bikini.

So, can you simply trot off to the shop or troll the net markets to place an order?

The best approach is to consider the different varieties you can choose from.


The sexy bikini

Consider the flimsy, sexy bikini?  First, ask yourself – Do I have the figure for it? Be honest.If you have some trouble spots, here are some tips:

If your bust and tummy are not exactly like Mallika Sherawat’s, try out the tank-top bikini which will discreetly hide the sins of your bosom very neatly.

A wee bit heavy butt? Plump thighs?Opt for the bikini which has a nifty skirt over the mini panty…You will look svelte and fashionable at once.

If you are one of those lucky few who has lovely long legs, trim butt, flat tummy and a perky bosom, be bold and try out the string bikini which uses strings instead of straps. Not for the faint-hearted but the confident girl who will walk withheld high and proud.

Bikinis are two-piece or with hidden seams to join cunningly the top to the bottom.

There are frilly ones which judiciously camouflage the not-too-great parts of your anatomy too.

Now, to come to the more ubiquitous Indian-woman figure, nourished on good desi ghee, sweets and pagodas…are they banished from the swimwear fraternity?

Not at all. There are so many models fashioned just for these women which fit firmly and coyly around their bodies like normal clothing without in any way hampering them in water and out of it.

For women who wish to follow the dictates of their community, there are head-to-toe swimsuits which provide head coverage too.

Polka-dotted, flowered, strung, micro, mini, mix and match, or mono for the sunbathing beauties. There are swimsuits to cater to every shape, purse, occasion and age.

Special add-ons like lounging gowns, sarongs, and jackets to throw over your microscopic attire when you wish to drape yourself engagingly on the pool deck chairs are also there for the asking.

Swimwear has come a long way from prehistoric times when these did not exist at all, as cavorting in the water was mostly in the nude. History saw strange designs like the pub kind, the lower section of it was a very brief V-shaped material in the front which hugged the hips from the rear to reveal pubic hair!

Tankinis and mix-and-match numbers made their debut in the 1990s and then came Speedo’s fast skin series. Mimicking shark skin, even to the ridges and bumps, the suit promised to channel water over the swimmer’s body 3 percent more efficiently than costumes made of the traditional material to optimise certain swim strokes, by compressing some parts of the body and giving freedom to others.

Expectedly, the FINA banned non-textile, non-woven material swimwear in competitions. Called “performance enhancing costumes” it claimed that this hindered the ability to accurately measure athletes’ performance.

The new ruling states that where women swimsuits in competitions should be from shoulder to knee, men’s should cover the area from navel to knee.

Fashion industries are busy raking in the money on their swimwear range, and understandingly so. Their offerings come with clinched waists and constructed bustlines, to mink trimmed ones. And then there are the accessories earrings, bracelets, hats, scarves, sunglasses, bags, et al.

Small wonder, girls like Shweta and me can get well and truly hooked, although we are no Esther Williams or Deepika Padukone who can rule the waters. For us, swimming can wait, swimwear cannot!

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