27 Apr 2012
Taking the plunge in non-maternity swimwear
Maternity swimwear… It’s like some kind of initiative test. Firstly I hate shopping for bikinis at the best of times (does anyone love it?), so trying to find something at six months pregnant isn’t about to make me prance around a changing room in glee.
Secondly, maternity ranges tend to be short on choice and mostly online, so it’s not as if there’s a huge amount to choose from. Thirdly, I’m always a bit wary of swimming costumes as they’re often too long or short in the body but don’t feel like flaunting my bare bump.
And finally, a lot of the specially designed ranges seem to cost nearly as much as my flight – which isn’t ideal if I’m potentially going to wear a swimsuit once. To be fair, some of the high street chains like Next and the trusty Figleaves did have some rather lovely tankinis which didn’t cost the earth, but without being able to try them on, I’d got stuck umming, aahing and generally failing to buy anything.
Then up popped Starblu. The company, which does luxury swimwear, isn’t actually a pregnancy range but it’s designed so you can wear the tankinis with a bump as well as hanging onto them for afterwards. Best of all, the fabrics mean that you should be able to stick with roughly the same size as you’d wear normally and while it’s pricier than the high street, it’ll last longer than a maternity version.
So is the reality as good as it sounds? They popped one of their 50s-inspired turquoise Rhodes Tankinis, £45, into the post for me to test.
Despite a six month bump, it stretched happily so there was no revealing gap, while the slightly padded cups made the top more supportive, even without the thin halter-neck straps. And even the white rings on the comfy bikini bottoms didn’t cut in, as I’d worried they might.
There’s a matching Tahiti maxi dress, £49, which also fitted well, although as it’s floaty rather than structured, I did feel faintly like a ship in full sail when I tried it on.
And while I didn’t get chance to test out the tankini in my hotel’s rooftop pool in the Azores, I did take it swimming in a geothermal lake. But that’s a story for another day…