The Great Summer Cover-Up

It is a myth universally acknowledged that women of a certain age must be in ownership of a summer holiday cover-up.

Whilst there is undoubtedly a need for women, of all ages to veil their swimwear clad bodies when leaving the pool for a drink, this need not take the formless shape of an M and S polyester kaftan. This is for several reasons:

1.) Polyester is a man made fibre. This will encourage sweating and feel uncomfortable in the heat.

2.) Shapeless ‘throw-ons’ are akin to ponchos. ask yourself when you would consider wearing a poncho in everyday life?

3.) Similarly with the garish prints and colours these monstrosities tend to be sold in… When would you ever wear orange or lime paisley in everyday life?

I can can sense your panic…. If kaftans are out, then what do I do to cover myself poolside? With a veritable minefield of varicose and thread veins, cellulite and those extra pounds in need of camouflaging, our skimpiest outfits leave us feeling at our most vulnerable. As Bonk pointed out, ” it’s easy for a middle aged woman to look good in A/W’s coloured overcoat, long boots and tan bag, but stripped of our accessories, we panic.”

Luckily, there have never been more viable alternatives to the Wallis zebra print beaded kaftan… Here are a few:

1.) The Kimono.

Not as ridiculous as it sounds… Kimonos are wonderful for many reasons, but many- the sleeve. Although loose, airy and laid back, it is NOT a batwing – and that, dear readers, is a blessing! Vintage kimonos are relatively inexpensive and come in fine silk or cottons (both natural fibres and therefore much more breathable). They come in a variety of lengths so for those wanting full coverage, go for floor length. They also double up as a dressing gown – or glamorous evening jacket- so invest in one that you love and I promise you will fall for its charm.

2.) The Man’s Shirt

Admittedly, this will not cover below the knee. However, make it oversized and you will be astonished at how flattering and stylish a crisp cotton shirt with sleeves rolled to mid forearm can be. Looks equally good unbuttoned.

3.) A Simple wrap around.

A lovely, thin rectangular cotton scarf can be simply wrapped around your body and tucked into your swimwear straps. The beauty of this is you are able to pretty much choose your print… Think of a faded Liberty print or large check… Very easy and will fall to mid-calf. Failing this, you can tailor make these to suit your required length.

A few extra tips from our recent week in Portugal…

Don’t be tempted to buy ‘big’. Apart from the oversized shirt option, things always look better if tailored to fit/relatively slimline.

Enjoy the sun’s ability to disguise those problem upper arms-  use the opportunity to wear sleeveless maxi dresses without the fear of bingo wings- when it’s hot and you have colour, it’s amazing how comfortable you feel.

Make it easy. You will not bother with fiddly outfits, buttons or trousers etc when in the heat so be realistic and if all else fails, hunt down a simple vest shaped straight maxi dress in a plain colour… These are easy to throw on and surprisingly flattering over the ‘smoothing’ line of your cossie.



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