A Teacup Debate: The Bikini vs The One-piece
It was an itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot…swimsuit? It doesn’t quite sound right does it? And it is this that sums up my relationship towards the bikini. Bikinis are cool, bikinis are glamorous, bikinis are sexy, and according to the endless photos snapped in The Daily Mail’s Sidebar of Shame, the summer adverts that dominate our screens depicting girl upon girl with perfect beach hair frolicking along the shore, without a care in the world, are what we all should be wearing. But I have always had a very tense relationship with the bikini. Even the phrase, bikini body ready for summer, is enough to make me want to ignore the very thing that would cause such misery. The very thought of stripping down to a waterproof version of my underwear is enough to fill me with an intense fear that I usually only save for having to board a flight or when confronted by my bank balance pre-pay day. I am going away with work in two weeks to Lisbon and we have been told to pack our swimsuits. That alone makes me want to miss my flight. Not only would I be reluctant to see my fellow colleagues stripped down to such a state of undress, I can say with complete conviction that they will also not want to see me like that either. But what is the alternative? The humble one-piece. Even the name alone is a throwback to a time better best forgotten, to a wardrobe of a bona fide frump and to something utterly undesirable. But this is the strangest thing. Is the one-piece really a relic or is it just in need of a rebrand?
The one-piece can be chic, and in a world where girl upon girl will wear a belt as a skirt when going out (good grief, I’ve turned into my mother) the less is more motto can be refreshing. It seems to me that each version of the swimsuit has its merits, and its drawbacks. The bikini – easy to put on and adjust, less obvious tan lines, but and what cannot be underestimated in a society obsessed with body image, is that it is more revealing. And whilst the one-piece can be easily dismissed as the choice for prudes alone, the fact that it hides and sucks in all those unforgiving lumps and bumps speaks volumes. The one-piece also offers the wearer greater security – I like to enter the pool via a running-bomb, and I can do so safe in the knowledge that I won’t accidentally expose myself to unsuspecting bathers nearby.
But surely what actually matters is what the wearer feels comfortable in. I am far more comfortable when in a one-piece. I have worn bikinis in the past and have spent the whole time worrying, the whole time concerned what other people are thinking when in reality, no-one is bothered or let’s be honest, even noticed, rendering my bizarre runs to the pool, dropping the towel at the last minute and jumping in, pointless. Admittedly, I am not at entire ease even in a one-piece, why would I be, but I am far more relaxed and can enjoy myself a lot more. And if you feel the same in a bikini, then that’s great, good for you – I am entirely jealous.