“Somewhere… beyond the sea!”
Beach style: What it is, how to have it and why you need it…
Beaches are a big part of New Zealand culture and our summertime. We are so lucky to be so close to the water, and for many of us we are spoilt for choice of where to go. I am always in awe of the beauty of the New Zealand landscape, but our sun is extreme and I’m all about looking after the health of my skin. I haven’t always felt confident heading to the beach and going swimming since I’m very pale, and burn easily so this summer I’ve been turning that around with my top tips for cute and comfy beach style:
Dress for your Body Shape
Select swimwear that you feel comfy in and works for your body shape - If you have wider hips and/or a larger bust any styles with little skirts built in, and wrap or twist cuts can be very flattering. Think 50’s! If you have wide shoulders and a stronger build go for solid, thick styles like strapless garments and high-cut briefs. Think 80’s! It can take some time finding the right style, so don’t be afraid to put in some time and energy hunting down the right one, but I compare this process to finding a great bra. Investing in a swimsuit that is flattering and supportive as well as one that makes you feel great - will give you an incredible amount of confidence going in and out of the water, regardless of your size. I remember years ago being continuously drawn to bikini sets much to my demise, and discovering to my horror how difficult it was to keep my bikini in place! If you’ve got cleavage, opt for a one piece with adjustable straps or a halter neck if you have narrow shoulders. Many of them have built in support and won’t come loose in the water. Prints and patterns can work well too for girls with curves, particularly thin vertical lines, nautical prints, or large prints. For more slender body types it’s best to go for bold colours, bikini sets, dainty straps, or boob tubes are also great for enhancing the figure of petite busted women.
This is extra important for those who are also very pale. Things like baggy tees or sarongs can help to protect your skin from the sun while also keeping you cool and comfortable. Make sure the hat you bring is suitable for a bit of wind as especially our west coast beaches can be very gusty! Caps are practical but not necessarily cute and also don’t protect the back of your neck. Wide brimmed hats are best, and in combination with sunblock, your favourite sunnies, a good spot of shade and the right time of day you can relax and enjoy yourself without getting burnt.
Go the right time of day
In summertime it’s more practical, comfortable and enjoyable to visit the beach in the morning or afternoon. Try and avoid midday when the sun is high, it’s uncomfortable to see without sunnies in the water, and the sun is the most dangerous. I prefer to go when the evenings are long and the sun often doesn’t set until 9pm, by then there are also less people and less chance of sunburn too! The water is generally a bit warmer and you can really take your time until sunset. Early mornings are great for the early birds too, with the bonuses of less traffic and if you’re early enough - a beautiful sunrise!
Choose the best Beach
Depending on your favourite activities at the beach there are a variety to choose from. For walks, exploring and bringing your pets, the west coast beaches like Bethels and Muriwai are some of the best. Bethells is a huge beach, with caves and rock pools to explore! Although a very windy beach and not ideal for children swimming, it’s sand is black instead of white and home to a variety of native wildlife. If you’re interested in a leisurely swim, the east cost beaches are best. Particularly Orewa beach which is known for being much gentler and safer to swim at, with beautiful picturesque spots of white sand and deep blue waters. It can get very busy around Christmas and New Year though, so get there early to find parking and a great spot in the shade. If you’re after a great place to sunbathe or socialise, the central city beaches are fabulous. Mission Bay is a popular spot that’s great to get an ice cream at the local Movenpick, visit the playground, various bars, cafes and restaurants sitting right close to the waterfront. If you’re looking for a luxury beach holiday destination, Waiheke Island has a beautiful variety of beaches within walking distance of most accomodation on the island. Most larger beaches have smaller bays nearby, that are great if you’re looking to avoid the crowds!
It might make a great picture but bringing your phone or camera can be disastrous at the beach with the water, wind and sand. Getting sand in any technology especially your phone is the last thing you want, and is surprisingly easy to do. Bring a watch instead of your phone to keep an eye on the time, and only wear minimal jewellery that’s water safe. Tote bags with hidden pockets are great too for putting your cards and keys, and since it’s preferable to avoid public changing rooms, I bring a change of clothes I can put on over the top of my swimsuit afterwards. Loose fitting wide waist dresses are the best! They’re easy to pack and put on in public. Good walking shoes are also super handy - my favourites are the super comfy Deuces from Overland that come in a variety of styles, and are cute and practical especially for the large West Coast beaches. Beach life all the way!
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