From larger-cup bikinis to modest beachwear, fashion is finally beginning to cater for a range of womens bodies
If theres one thing Sasha Khan loathes, it is shopping for swimwear. Which makes it a strange coincidence that, on the day we speak, Khan has just been bikini shopping. I buy swimwear about once every 10 years, she says. The 23-year-old charity worker from London is flying to Ibiza tomorrow. I always put it off. I hate it. Its like having to go to the dentist or get your eyes tested.
The reason Khan hates bikini shopping is because she is a size 10-12, with a 32FF bust, and few retailers design swimwear for women with relatively narrow backs and larger cup sizes. Khan isnt alone. I heard at least two or three other people in the changing rooms today saying: Oh God, I can never find anything.
It will be a familiar grievance to many women as holiday season approaches frowning at their reflections in starkly lit mirrors as they attempt to wriggle and contort themselves into high-street swimming costumes that seem to be made with no consideration of womens bodies. Its such an emotional drain, Khan says. Even if youve bought something, you always leave feeling deflated afterwards.
Canvassing women about their experiences of buying swimwear on the high street, the feedback was astonishingly negative: tales of bikini bottoms so tiny that most of your rear end is on show, or cut too tight on the thigh so that you can barely get a leg inside them. Taller women find swimsuits are never long enough, so they get a perpetual wedgie. For women who dont fit into the 6-16 range offered by most high-street shops, the choice is limited to matronly control-wear and billowing kaftans the assumption being that plus-sized women are ashamed of their bodies and want to disappear.