Beach Body

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Bikini: Surania (designed by moi!)

Shoes: Mel (similar here

Last year during Full Figure Fashion Week I was lucky enough to meet Gabi Gregg, one of the original “Fatshion” bloggers, and whose blog Young, Fat & Fabulousย directly inspired me to start Frocks and Frou Frou.

Gabi was quite prominent in the media recently after the release of her two-piece swimwear line – affectionately dubbed the “fatkini” – sparked a movement that led to the creation of an online gallery where plus-size women submitted photos of themselves in – shock! horror! – bathing suits.

The visibility of diverse body shapes and sizes in the media is improving, but coming into summer society’s obsession with having a “beach ready” body (i.e. slim, toned, hair-free and tanned) seems to never lose momentum.

I still remember how enraged I was to read this “article” in 2010 by Natasha Hughes of the Sydney Morning Herald. The gist of the piece is that plus-size women should endeavour to camouflage their bodies in public to avoid repulsing other beachgoers. In it, Natasha Hughes asks:ย Who wants to be exposed to someone’s rolls? Where is their sense of style, of decency?

That’s why I was so gratified to see that Gabi’s swimwear line sold out immediately; that the gallery of plus-size beach babes received so much positive media attention; and why I said “yes” when Surania invited me to bare my own “beach ready” body by designing and reviewing my very own “Fatkini”.

Suraniaย is a website that allows you to design your own swimwear and lingerie from scratch. There’s hundreds of options for different styles that you can mix and match, and once you’ve decided on a style you can then cherry pick your very own fabrics from a large library of solids and prints.

They custom-make each order to your personal measurements and despatch it to your door in less than two weeks. And the whole exercise costs less than a new pair of togs from Seafolly.

I went with the “comfort” bikini top, because they recommend it for fuller breasts, and the “culottes” for the bottom because I liked the retro style. I chose a pretty rose-print floral as the base fabric, but threw in a polkadot band on the bikini (because, polkadots). I opted to use my own measurements rather than just choosing a general “size”, and was gratified to see that designating cup-size was an option (since finding f-cup swimwear can be challenging).

Just seven days after I put my order in a box arrived on my desk at work, with my brand-new, personally designed bikini safely packaged in tissue paper inside:

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This is what my order looked like online:

Surania

…and this is what arrived!

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Apart from a slight colour difference in the polkadot fabric it’s exactly how I envisaged it, and it fits perfectly too! The quality of the fabric and the workmanship is excellent – both pieces are lined, and the bikini top has both underwire and adjustable straps.

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So here I am, with a body and a bikini.

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I think that makes me beach ready, don’t you?

118 thoughts on “Beach Body

  1. Wow! Gorgeous design by you and you are def beach ready!! You look beautiful! Love the vintage bottoms, the bold florals and yes to polka dots!!! For some reason this whole post makes me want to cry. I think it’s the fact that bathers and public wearing if them is just so fraught and emotion and judgement driven, and yet this is just so straight forward! Suriana deserves for this to be magnificently successful!

  2. Fabulous! Love it. A good swimsuit makes you feel a million dollars, regardless of size. I found my version this year and for the fist time in nearly 40 years I want to swim!

  3. You have a perfectly gorgeous body in a great bikini! I hope you wear it with pride. I bought my first ever bikini as a 30 year old, and sheepishly wore it on holiday, but now (less than six months later) I am pregnant and losing control of my body, and so wish I’d enjoyed my bikini body more!

    • Hey, bikinis are great for pregnancy, and swimming when pregnant is lovely. – another Jessica, who bought her first bikini after her third child, and wore it also whilst pregnant with her fourth ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Oh, and meant to say first, Lilli, you look fabulous! How great to have a bikini that not only fits perfectly but is also so “you” in style.

        • Still swimming, just not in the bikini – it no longer fits! Boobs fall out and waist has disappeared! Haha.Think I’ll end up in a tankini (must look for one pronto!)

        • Thanks, Jessy! I have to admit that I love swimming, too. I’ve skinny-dipped a few times (scandal!) and the feel of the water sliding over my skin’s so delicious. It’s nice to have a bare midriff so I can get that sensation in public, too!

  4. Pippa is 100% right – actually a trifecta of rightness. You look amazing, Surania has the smarts, and lets not bother giving Hughes any more oxygen. Such a silly billy!

  5. “… this โ€œarticleโ€ in 2010 by Natasha Hughes of the Sydney Morning Herald. The gist of the piece is that plus-size women should endeavour to camouflage their bodies in public to avoid repulsing other beachgoers. In it, Natasha Hughes asks: Who wants to be exposed to someoneโ€™s rolls? Where is their sense of style, of decency?”

    Are you F*KN serious? A WOMAN wrote THAT? I hope she was shamed. I hope someone has pics of her pooing, and posts them.

  6. Great swinsuit – love it.

    I saw someone’s Instagram (a “fatshion” blogger from the UK whose name eludes me now) saw the best way to get a “beach body” is to put on a swimsuit and get to the beach. Amen to that! Why do people have to judge others for their body and what they choose to swim in – that article you linked is revolting!

    • Yep, it definitely enraged me… and stayed with me obviously! I definitely think all you need to have a “beach body” is to have a “body” people who say otherwise obviously need to stay away from beaches.

  7. Wow! Long-time reader, first time writing a comment. I LOVE this bikini. It’s so cute and looks comfortable. I’ve bought a lot of things you’ve mentioned in your blog over the years and I love trying new things … but I have never worn a bikini. Ever. In my life. I now think I’m ready to try it. Thanks for leading the way ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. That is one fantastic bikini. It’s totally nuts to tell people they have to look a certain way to enjoy the beach! As for tanning, why not just tell people they have to smoke a pack a day to get ‘beach ready’? The health risks are about the same.

  9. Oh wow! You look spectacular! And that bikini (i refuse to call them anything else, why should we have to call them something different just because we’re fat?) Is gorgeous!!

  10. Oh my word, you look fabulous and what a great idea. Even though I don’t swim, I so want a pair of bathers now!! You had me at ‘designating cup size’!!!

  11. You are gorgeous!

    I only just recently plucked up enough courage to buy and wear a bikini… but actually what I did was buy a cheap bikini top and bottom from two different places that vaguely matched so I could accommodate my D cup chest, and worry about my tummy and thighs.

    Just went onto the Surania website and designed and ordered the first bikini that would actually match and fit me! I went with the comfort top and culotte too ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. LOVELY! quick question: did you get the mid or high-rise bottoms? I can’t decide which I prefer, but I like how these look!

  13. Fantastic bikini – suits you. If I wasn’t on a RTW fast I’d totally get myself one of those. Will have to set a reminder for 10 months time! Thank you for sharing and enjoy your togs!

    • Thanks Jan. It was nice to be able to choose florals and prints, rather than having to limit myself to black, black and more black (which is what’s usually available in my size!)

  14. You. Look. FANTASTIC!! I love the print & the style, & I’m so excited that there are actually companies that do more than pay lip service to the “all bodies are welcome” train of thought. Get yourself to a beach ASAP & enjoy the outdoors, you are inspiring me to aim for the same when it’s summer over here!

    • I love it too, Molly. It’s nice to think of clothes being cut to fit bodies, rather than bodies having to be squeezed into poorly fitting clothing. Custom-making FTW!

  15. Lilli,

    You look fab and awesome – ready for some fun in the sun! Thanks for the tip on Surana – it’s been years since I’ve worn a bikini, and that site might eventually just convince me to do it again. You have a wonderful and unique vintage, eclectic style and your willingness to try new things drags boring people like me out of our fashion ruts. Now get out there and soak in the rays (with sunscreen, of course!!)

  16. Lilli, you look fabulous! How nice to have such a gorgeous bikini & have it fit so perfectly. I’m off to check out their website…

  17. You look crazy beautiful! I haven’t worn a swimsuit in years and I feel inspired! I have to show this to my girls. The three of us need to get our curves on. ๐Ÿ™‚
    HUGS!

  18. You look FAB. FABBITYFABFABFAB! Gorgeous! Lili, I’d love to know about some of your fave blogs, fashion and otherwise. Care to share?

  19. Awesome! I love this and I’m already lost on surania website, trying to choose a pretty fabric myself.
    You are soooo beach-ready!

  20. Absolutely Fabulous. You have great style, thank you so much for sharing. I am on Surania’s site RIGHT NOW! A custom made bikini, I’m in heaven.

  21. I have been searching and searching for a bikini with “boy shorts” – my favorite bathing suit of all time had them with a bra-style top and I wore it to pieces. Since then, I have only been able to find flirty little skirt styles. Cute and still feminine and they still fit with my personal style, but I prefer the little shorts. You have given me the best option yet! I designed my own at Suriana (though I didn’t place my order quite yet) – I chose a navy blue star pattern with navy + white stripes! Thanks, and by the way, I get excited every time you post something new. Thanks for sharing your life with us. xo

  22. ok. I am 5’4″- 147 pounds and certainly NOT looking as wonderful in my black “blah” swimwear as you are in yours .I am so glad you have posted this gorgeous outfit. I have to copy you ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you xoxo.

  23. I’ve been following your blog since late last year when in desperation with summer looming I googled ‘how to get rid of chub rub’ and your site appeared (loving my Bandalettes, I can wear skirts and dresses again!!!) I check in every few days and get a real buzz when I find a new post ready for me to pore over. I really love this latest one. I live a 10 min walk from the beach and I’ve managed to get through summer without putting on a pair of bathers, however I’m going to Bali for the first time in May and I’m dreading the pool. But after seeing how gorgeous you look in your new bikini, I’m off to the Suriana site to place an order. For a tankini and culottes. I’m not quite brave enough to bare my midriff anymore… :0)

  24. Awesome, eye-poppingly gorgeous – from someone with a similar figure who had given up hope of ever finding swimwear that simply looks ridiculous!
    What a fantastic concept!!

  25. I wept when I saw your post!!!! I’m leaving for Lombok very soon and I have struggled to find bathers that fit my E cuprunnethover girls. I do prefer a tankini with an underwire but I would be happy with a matching bikini with a tankini over the top – sorry I’m just not as fabulous as you to go in a bikini!!! I was sad that its too late for this trip to order but I will get myself something when I return!!

    Why I cried – it looks like that company also do custom bras. Are you telling me I can actually have big boob bras in fabrics that look like they belong to small boob bras??? And I can have a nice matching set??? All my dreams have come at once!!! I cant wait to have some bras that dont look like they belong to my nanna!

    Thank you Lilli for this post x

  26. Lilli you look amazing! I love your style, and thank you for putting yourself out there to show the rest of us that our bodies are not freakish! Other people have thighs too!

  27. You look stunning, Lilli! And thank you, thank you for this wonderful discovery! Will I finally this summer wear a bikini that I love and not something “well, considering… it might do”? It’s not cheap, for sure, but dfinitely worth it ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. You look amazing, and the swimwear looks so well made. Thank you for sharing! I’m really excited to check out Surania, love the idea of being able to create your own designs, and the pricing is reasonable too!

  29. OK, so Lilli? Maybe this will cheer you up – I will be 50 this year and your post actually encouraged me to order both a bikini and a one-piece from Surania. Your F-cups looking so good in that bikini top was the clinch, so hope my Es will be just a nice (even though I’m older!)โ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m a bit shorter than you and the boy shorts would chop my short legs off too much so went for the high-cut bottoms insteadโ€ฆ hubbie is impatient for my order to arrive!! Thanks for all you do.
    Hope this week is a better one for you in Melbourne and being reunited with Suki xx

  30. Yep, it’s confirmed: I have a girl-crush on you ๐Ÿ˜›
    I love what you said about having a “beach body”…my main problem with that (aside from a not-so-tonic body) is that apparently being pale is supposed to be something to be ashamed of. I get it, my legs are so white they could practically be used as a lighthouse, but so what? Why should I hide them? Why does it make me less “cool”? I’ve always ignored what people said and kept wearing skirt and dresses in summer, but I keep getting comments (even from friends) and it really bugs me. I particularly hate the fact that some people refuse to believe that I actually can’t get more tanned: not matter how many times I tell them that my skin is very delicate, and that the high protection sunblock I use not to get nasty erythemas prevents me from tanning, they keep thinking that I don’t “try enough”. I do go out, and I rarely wear something that isn’t a skirt or a dress (even though it’s also a crime wearing them while you’re pale), so what should I do more than that: spending summer roasting on a lounger, risking erythema just to be more “acceptable” in the eyes of arrogant people?

    Gosh, I’m sorry I made such a fuss about it, I perfectly know mine is definitely not a tragedy, but it IS annoying and it’s another example of how stupid this “beach-ready body” obsession is.

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