Summer is Here…AKA Bikini Season!

Living in Canada is like living near the artic. Winters are cold and long Dec.-March and Summers are short and only hot July-August. And well, that means for us, swimwear fashion starts in February/March, before the spring break where there is a scramble to find a bikini for the “escape the cold” vacations in March. We all want to go south to Cuba, Mexico, Dominican Republic…it’s all fair game to those of us frozen by 4 months of winter and desperate for a chance to thaw out. So let’s do the work of bikini shopping. Yes, the swimwear shopping season is upon us, and hopefully it can be pleasant and hopefully we’ve lost our holiday gut! But alas, bikinis can actually be forgiving to weight gain because they are not that confining. But I digress. Let’s talk about what to look for in the best swimsuit for 2022.

For this article, I have focused on bikinis that are easily accessible from known retail chains in North America. Because nobody has time to wait for an expensive designer bikini bought online to be shipped to home, only to find out it’s not gonna work…And I focused on affordable choices, cuz, girl…we want more than one set and we do not want to break the bank!

Before Shopping: Know thy body, know thy style: There are so many styles of bikinis out there and they all do a different things. Some are more athletic, and offer more support for the breasts, some are skimpier, leaving less tan lines and less support. Bottoms can be boyshorts, thong, tanga, strong thong, classic bikini cut..etc. So there is just so much to choose from. I noticed I didn’t have many string bikinis in my repertoire so for my shopping haul, I focused on this style. The classic string bikini was not always easy to find, so I did deviate slightly from this style by buying suits that were just on the skimpy side. Haha, if I want modesty I would go with a one piece anyway! Knowing what general style I wanted is key to finding the best suit for me! So let’s go try on some bikinis:

H & M: Padded String bikini top and bottom with recycled fabric: $40. CAD

Details: Loved the top with non-removable pads because they don’t move around or crease. The padded cups were also slightly contoured and sown into the top triangles, giving it support and shape. It was a classic side tie string bikini bottom with medium cheekiness. and medium front coverage too.

Colour: A delicate floral print with colours in sweet pastels like lavender, pink and yellow…

Pattern: Not overly floral, it was a very fine pattern, reminiscent of floral pjs once had (sweet but sexy?) I liked the gold jewelry on the ties, made it look more expensive.

Overall fit: Very good string bikini, with enough coverage on both the top and bottom to keep it innocently family, but the frills and the string cut makes it more demurely adult. B+

Aerie Eyelet String Bikini top with bikini cut bottoms $54 CAD

Details: Not sure if a cotton eyelet material is that racy (think country summer dress), but something about using it in a string bikini says naughty! In the past I’ve notice Aerie Swim tended to not be that dishy, but this year, their cups got smaller and excess coverage was shaved off for better lines. Also, the bikini bottoms with this set was slightly cheekier that usual too!

Colour: Not white, not lavender, but light lavender? It’s such a cool toned colour that can compliment any tan. It’s also pale enough to make my skin colour look less ghostly after 6 months of no sun.

Pattern: Solid colour bikini with a subtle eyelet embroidery designs are very pretty, and it also has lettuce edges for a feminine softness about it.

Overall fit: Lovely . The size Small cups were padded, but not overly structured, which I liked. The triangles were not overly big, leaving just the right amount of coverage, while maximizing curves. Good deal and good for pool or beach, it sends out a lounge like vibe. A-

Victoria’s Secret Terry Cloth Halter/Bandeau top bikini with High waisted Cheeky cut bottoms

Form: Supportive bandeau top. The decorative gold buckle in the middle makes for a bit of glam. The addition of the halter straps can add more support and visual interest. It has just the right sized cups, but I went with the xs size since VS Swim sizes seem larger in general. I felt a bit more Bond Girl in this suit. It’s more grown up with less frills. The bottoms are nicely high waisted, while having a modest amount of cheeky.

Colour: love the mid toned lavender! It’s a unique colour and so fun.

Pattern: Solid coloured suits are great, especially when it is made of a different material. The focus is shared with the texture of the terry cloth.

Overall fit: perfect amount of coverage and overall the silhouette of the bikini top is flattering and supportive. The high waisted bottom is good as a way to tame that extra pouch all women have under the tummy and the cheekiness is playful with out be distasteful. A

So there it is. 3 excellent bikini sets for pool, or beach For fashion and fit the Victoria Secret Swim rose above the others a tiny bit. But if I was to look for a classic string bikini silhouettes with ties, it would be the H & M bargain. If it was based on which suit was prettiest, it would be Aerie’s take on Eyelet swimwear! Thanks for reading and happy swim suit shopping!

Spring DIY: 4 ways to uniquely transform your T-shirts

Yay. It’s spring. So…ya…but it’s still cold here in Toronto. *sigh. In anticipation of warmer days, I wanted to keep busy with a few t-shirt DIY’s to get me through the last of the cold gloomy winter, as these days summer only feels far away…but it’s coming! And a great summer basic is the T-Shirt, and knowing that distressed cut up tees are still in, why buy when I can DIY? What I love about transforming these clothings is that it’s super easy, no sewing and wearing them just has got a crafty cool, edgy vibe to them. And when I saw Forever 21 recently had a buy 1 get 1 free sale on all sale items, I wanted to take advantage. Buying really cheap sale clothes to cut up makes sense, since the sale stuff are often pretty boring, they are left over stock after all…and asking for transformation via distressing/cutting! Here are the 4 shirts/shifts that I bought from there and will be cutting up:

My “buy 1 get 1” haul from Forever 21. Let’s start cutting and distressing!

  1. Long Beige T-shirt dress with cuffed sleeves:

For this DIY, I wanted to use this shirt as a sleep shirt, long and comfy, no shorts or pants needed to lounge in around the house! But with the thick cuffed sleeves it was not that comfy, or cool looking. So first I cut out the cuffs, for an unfinished sleeve look, and then, cut vertical slits 1 cm wide in the front upper portion and got this:

I like it a lot more now. It’s airy with the slits and so comfy to sleep in. Long enough to wear without sleep pants and not be scandalous!

2. Black tank dress with lace trim:

This dress had all kinds of wrong things going on. It was a thick stiff cotton shift material, the lace trim was too long and not delicate, and the way it hung on me originally was just not flattering. After cutting it up, and doing a “bow tie” tee cut up on the the back, I liked the way it hung a lot more, and it looks more like a party dress now, don’t you think?

“Bow tie” cut up at the back consists of two horizontal cuts and then cinching the material together with another frabric. Super easy and shows off the back…

3. Plain White tee with Pink Trim

I loved the open neck line and soft material of this tee even before I DIYed it. But this tee was still a bit on the boring side, and the big side. I figured that a back weave and side weavings might make it smaller if not more interesting. If you really like this look, it’s easy to find instructions on line on how to do it. It’s actually as easy as braiding hair.

I thought the back/side view of this tee was more interesting, but I did keep the pink collar v-neck trim more visible from the front.

4. Super plain blue pocket tee:

So this t-shirt reminded me of a shirt that an artist/painter might wear in her studio. Loose, flowy, and distressed beyond recognition. But as a new tee, this  shirt wasn’t going to tell that story. So, after sandpapering holes, cutting holes and just destroying the colour of the shirt with bleach, I got a more raggedy worn-in look. Now the shirt tells the story that I might be a struggling artist and this shirt has been destroyed since I use it for art making and everything else the imagination will allow. Kind of cool…

Faded, and with tons of holes, this shirt is just asking to be replaced…but loving that worn in, and careless look.

So after 4 T-shirt transformations, I’m not sure which is my favorite look. Do you have a favorite? Just a note about why I didn’t post instructions on how to do these looks; I wanted this article to be more about being inspired to transform your own clothes in easy effortless ways, but not as a tutorial. But I learned all these techniques online via articles and youtube, so just type in “DIY shirt cut up” and you’ll find all you need to do this too! And other tutorials would probably explain it better than me anyways. Happy Spring DIY-ing!

My favourite clothings from this summer

Summer has long been over, and I survived the hot searing rays, the sticky humidity, and smog in the city.  Now the Fall has officially moved in and made itself home.  A cool breeze is the daily norm, and everything feels calmer.  Now is when I wanted to look back and think about the fashion items I had that made the past summer not only bearable (summer is one of my least fave seasons), but also fun!  So here is my Top 5 list:

#4 My Little Distressed Denim Jacket

In Toronto, summer nights are still a bit nippy sometimes.  When going out to night time shows and parties, I always had my distressed denim in a basic fitted cut, not too cropped or long, but just right.  It went with everything.  I mean everything, dresses, shorts, rompers, pants, leggings.  And because denim is cotton, it was super breathable and comfy.  It also looked so classic and effortlessly stylish.  An all purpose cute denim jacket was my jacket staple.

Simple, cute, and easy to use. What more can you ask for in a jacket?
Simple, cute, and easy to use. What more can you ask for in a jacket?

#3 Basic Cotton Romper

I wore my cotton romper consecutively for days during the real hot times this summer.  It breathed, it was cute, it was functional, and only one thing to put on in the morning.  Fashion heaven!  I mentioned this romper before in an earlier entry.  This is the strapless $10 romper that I sewed straps onto to make it more wearable… I truly “heart” it.

Every day during the hottest days in August, I wore this thing. My kid was sick of seeing it. ha ha
Every day during the hottest days in August, I wore this thing. 

#2 Lacey Kimono

Feminine, and pretty, but casual.  An easy cover-up that didn’t add on too much cover.  This was my lace trimmed kimono.   Blush pink with ivory lace, it is neutral enough of a colour to go with everything, and light and airy enough to want to wear everyday.  If only relationships were this easy to coordinate….

The kimono trend is dying down, but this lacey piece was still a cool cover-up during the summer.
The kimono trend is dying down, but this lacey piece was still a cool cover-up during the summer.

#1 Awesome one-piece bathing suit, second hand.

I am not a huge fan of bikinis.  To be honest, I don’t think it is flattering on any body type or shape.  For me, it’s the lack of support/material of a bikini that makes it a flawed fashion item, and just basically an excuse to show skin. And unless your body is “perfect” (nobody has the perfect body though) any gal can basically feel like crap the minute she puts one on and looks in the mirror.  So when my boyfriend sprung a Labour Day beach trip on me with little notice, I scrambled to find a cute one piece suit, while the trends are pushing the “bikini” idea on girls.

For those of you that don’t live in Canada,  swimsuit season ends in August.  After that, you are left with swim wear duds (mismatched or tacky-looking).  I needed the suit soon so I couldn’t turn to online shopping.  I went to every store that sold swimwear, but couldn’t find a cute, affordable one piece. This was a nightmare that plagued me until the day before the trip when I found the cutest one-piece ever at a second hand store in my neighborhood. It was also only $15.00 and an American Apparel brand.  I liked it for its funky colours and simple design, typical of what makes American Apparel clothes great (if they only were more affordable).  What a find and what a miracle!

Such fun colours! Tangerine red, and navy blue, haltered and just super fitted and cute. I really lucked out on this bathing suit find...
Such fun colours! Tangerine red, and navy blue, haltered and just super fitted and cute. One peices don’t have to look matronly.  🙂

What clothing pieces were you most pleased by this summer?  Because this season is so short here, and summer fashion has all the fun pieces, the sun dresses, skirts and shorts…I really have to make the most of it, and I feel I did!