"what you see on models is not what you are comfortable wearing"
Selecting the right swimwear for the Asian woman can be challenging for women from South Asian communities. One of the important things on many ladies minds is ‘what shall I pack for the beach?’
Swimwear is no longer just designed for the ultra-skinny size zero woman that you see commonly on the catwalk or model shoots. Designs have come out for every shape and size, increasing women’s confidence to look and feel sexy.
Asian women have requirements not always which can range from modesty to comfort to flaunting the body after all the gym workouts.
So, it’s just bikinis and swimsuits which are available for Asian women to choose from, but a whole range of swimwear.
Swim dresses, tankinis and shape-wear swimsuits can all be considered to give a perfect and even shape. Which can be matched with beachwear like sarongs, kaftans, hats, sandals to complement the beach or resort look.
Asian woman today are becoming more confident in the way they dress, but like all women face the dilemma of what to wear on the beach or in the pool. Shapes, styles and how much of the body to show in public can be problematic for many.
Some Asian women in the UK feel they should not be really seen in swimwear as they are of South Asian roots and shouldn’t be exposing their bodies.
Naina from East London is married into a very conservative family. When she and her husband went away to Cyprus, Naina felt very concerned about wearing a swimsuit for the first time. She said:
“I had never worn a swimsuit before and I cannot pretend that I was not nervous or shy of wearing it in public. Especially, as I come from s very reserved and orthodox family.”
Meera from Bath feels that after having her three children her body hasn’t been the same and is also lacking confidence in swimwear. She said:
“Being a mother of three I’m not happy showing my body off in a two-piece bikini. So, I want something which will be modest and comfortable to wear but also allow me to go swimming or relax on the beach.”
From Sarongs to Tankinis
A great tip to overcome the lack of confidence and still look hot at your chosen hot destination is to combine sarongs, kaftans and swim dresses with your chosen swimwear.
Sarongs are very versatile. They come in various lengths and can be worn in different ways showing off as much or as little as you want.
You can also get sarong fronted swimsuits too. These are a single cut swimsuit with a short saron front added for a more conservative look.
Swim dresses and kaftans can be worn over a bikini or swimsuit for those who feel a little shy and do not want to show off too much of their body.
Tankinis are very popular. The bottoms are more cut and shaped as shorts. The upper part of the tankini gives the look of a top.
However, depending on how you feel everything can be mixed and matched giving a new look every day when you are at the beach or by the pool.
Choosing swimwear can be off-putting due to different body shapes. But this should not be a worry because designers and outlets offer swimwear for all shapes and sizes.
Let’s take a look at some of the options you have when it comes to those Asian curves and different sizes.
Small Waist and Larger Hips
If you are a not overly modest and an Asian woman with a small waist and wider hips, choose a high waist bikini. This style can hide also help to hide love handles. Or you can opt for a high leg style which will add height to your look.
If you are more pear-shaped then a strapped top can be a great choice to give your body a more hourglass look.
For a more modest look choose a swim dress. This will cover your upper thighs and body.
Shameen who has a body shape with wider hips and a small waist, says:
“I do find that high-waist bikinis are the best option for my body shape.”
M&S, Missguided, Warehouse and Top Shop all have great collections of high waist bikinis.
For the non-modest look, if you are big busted then try bikinis with straps and shapes with a deep V.
Having swimwear with underwired styles will help balance and secure your bust.
Bandeau bikinis which are completely strapless are improving in designs for bigger busted women. So, do explore those too.
If you want a more modest look go for a cut-out swimsuit which will cover your bust and tummy. Or you can try the halterneck style of swimwear.
Meena, who is 32DD likes to make sure her choice of swimwear ‘protects’ her assets. So, she needs to be comfortable with both fitting and style. She says:
“I always tend to choose the underwired styles with straps as I feel they are a great look and avoid any wardrobe malfunctions!”
Conversely, if you are smaller busted you can look for padded style bikini to give you a fuller look.
You can choose a very detailed strap or ruffled look which distracts away from the bust itself. Or even try a mix and match approach with an embellished bikini top and a more plain styled bottom.
The halterneck style with the tie at the back of the neck can be used to lift and firm the less ‘busty’ chest giving great shape and cleavage. Do avoid bandeau bikinis if you are very small busted.
Amerjeet who is slim and slightly flat chested feels that she too needs to cover up and doesn’t have the confidence in swimwear, saying:
“As much as other shapes of women have issues with swimwear, so do I! I’m slim and small busted. This makes me very conscious of what I choose to wear to the beach.”
House of Frasier, M&S and Rigby & Peller have swimwear collections with extra padding in bikinis and swimsuits.
Curvy and Plus Size
You should wear what you feel comfortable in. However, if you are super curvy and have an issue about showing your tummy, try a high waist style bikini which will control your waistline but still be comfortable.
Alternatively, opt for a swimsuit for smoother lines or swim dress if you want to cover up more. You can also look at a deep V neckline style which will not focus too much on areas you are not comfortable with.
Influences from the ’50s and ’60s are a great option for a conservative look which now has a slightly modern touch. The cut and style of the swimsuit is a one piece, it comes in various colours and patterns.
Some swimsuits have a lining on the inside to give ‘tummy control’ (shape-wear swimwear) so you can feel and look amazing with a firmer and a flatter tummy.
Those who are super conscious can always go for a dark colour or even black, which can give a flattering shape.
Kulveer who is plus size says:
“Often what you see on models is not what you are comfortable wearing if you are a larger size woman. So, I prefer to wear swimwear I know I can feel confident in but completely comfortable in.”
As an addition, sarongs can be worn under the belly button area. There are also mini sarongs to show off long legs taking attention away from the upper body.
Away from Water
The variety of swimwear has become more important in women’s wardrobes because some want to wear beachwear at any function or event they attend during their holiday around the beach
Many Asian women are not fond of swimming or the water and just want to wear swimwear or beachwear be fashionable at the resort they are staying.
Kavita from Hayes is a very confident woman. She has a curvy body shape and dresses to highlight and compliment her curves. However, Kavita is not a great swimmer and is more interested in looking ‘fashionable’ at the beach resort than to dip into the water. She says:
“I like to wear beachwear which is complementary to my figure but is stylish and comfortable to wear.”
“As long as I look good that is what matters to me.”
More and more high-flying South Asian women from the UK feel the same. Confidence is growing, and like Kavita, regardless of how revealing the swimwear is they want to look like fashion diva’s on holiday.
Some swimwear incidentally is never to be worn near the sea or sand because of their designs.
They are made of flowy material, funky with crystals, beads and intricate details, which are not suitable for the sea or in the pool, but make a fashionista statement ‘I have arrived’ when entering a major party or event.
Indian designers Urvashi Kaur and Shivan & Narresh have bought the swimwear glamour and glitz to the female wardrobe for beach and resort wear.
Their designs can be based upon your own individual personality. Allowing you can make a loud statement or a very subtle statement.
Urvashi Kaur’s creations are a fusion of ethnic and western wear.
Each handcrafted like a perfect oil painting. She uses various fabrics for her collection.
Urvashi likes to experiment and infuses colours and styles of her swimwear collection. This is a sure bet that heads will turn in great envy.
Shivan & Narresh were the first mainstream designer of beach and resort wear in India.
The duos designs and collections have set the bar high. Their signature style is bold screaming sophistication in cut and colour using Italian fabrics.
When it comes to buying swimwear there are many choices from western designers like Rochas, Chanel and Ted Baker.
Shops like H&M, M&S and Primark are great to find what you want for that holiday you have been waiting to go on.
If you want something sexier, give Victoria Secrets a look to see what they have for you.
Do not forget to look online too because you can get some great types of swimwear to suit your body shape and the look you desire, and often at a great price.
Swimwear is becoming more of a wardrobe staple with Asian women. It’s not just about what will be okay, it’s about fashion and style for every shape and size.
Most importantly helping Asian women feeling confident about themselves on a sandy beach, in the sea, in a pool or at that evening party.