Surviving ordeal of bikini shopping

Kathryn Kimberley

SPOON, hourglass, triangle, oval, diamond or pear-shaped – every woman needs to wear a swimming costume at some time. And with the holidays here, women everywhere are trying their damndest to get their unique shapes bikini-ready.

But it is no secret – the worst part of the experience is standing in front of the full-length mirror in the changing room, bright lights extenuating every bump, lump and blemish, and a queue of impatient shoppers on the other side of the curtain.

But when choosing a bikini, one needs to choose smart. We can all blame the “unflattering” lights in the cramped cubicle, or the wide-angled mirror, but when you are lying on the beach, sun pelting down on your sunshy tummy, you will be glad that your self-consciousness played the part of harsh critic when choosing that costume.

Edgars in Walmer Park has a wide variety of swimwear. From polka-dot bikinis to full, black costumes for the more self-conscious – there is something for everyone.

The changing rooms are large and air conditioned. Although the mirrors are by no means slimming, the lighting is softer than most of its competitors.

Woolworths at Greenacres shopping centre has a little more space but the light is definitely harsher. Woolies has more variety and their costumes come in all shapes and sizes.

If you don’t enjoy the hustle and bustle of the store at Christmas time, you can make use of the easy-to-access Woolworths website and order a bikini online.

Costumes are available in animal print for the more daring, under-wire for those needing that extra support, tanktini for those with a boyish figure – also advisable if you enjoy running on the beach with your kids – and one-pieces for those wanting to hide a few extra kilos.

If you are like most office geeks and your skin has not met the sun in a long time, don’t opt for a white bikini. You don’t want people to mistake you for a bather on a nude beach in Brazil.

The changing rooms in Foschini in Greenacres are slightly more cramped than other clothing stores. However, the store has more cubicles and therefore the queue moves faster.

Foschini’s bikinis are a little skimpier too. But if you are looking for something girly and soft, then Foschini’s floral prints will do it for you.

Surf Centre in Summerstrand has the hippest brand-names for 2012. Bright pinks, blues and reds are definitely the way to go.

And don’t be afraid to accessorise. The store has the most adorable sandals and sun hats to show off on the beach.

Here are some tips when shopping for your sexy beachwear this holiday season:


  • Stay away from swimsuits with multiple straps. Although pretty, this costume will leave hideous tan lines;
  • Less isn’t always more. No one likes mutton dressed as lamb;
  • There is nothing wrong with draping a sarong around your less favourite parts; and
  • Most importantly, don’t forget the sun block.


PORT Elizabeth women are adamant they would rather face the truth in the changing room than look a fool on the beach.

Most of the women surveyed on Facebook by The Herald said they preferred a “brutally honest” changing room with harsh lighting and a “this is how you really look” mirror.

They said changing rooms with dim lights and flattering mirrors would only leave you red-faced on the beach – and not from too much sun.

On The Herald Facebook page, Bay residents Liz Taylor and Lindsay Jenkinson said their mirrors should be brutally honest. While Andy Jones preferred a little sugar coating, Mooniq Baboo said: “Brutal honesty for me.” 

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