This article has been doing the rounds as an anonymous chain e-mail for some years. Now that it is an amazing 20 years old, I thought it was time to claim it. Tragically, it is as relevant today as when I wrote it.
I have just been through the annual pilgrimage of torture and humiliation known as buying a bathing costume. When I was a child in the fifties, the bathing costume for the woman with a mature figure was designed for a woman with a mature figure. Boned, trussed and reinforced these costumes were not so much sewn as engineered. They were built to hold back and uplift and they did a damned good job.
Today’s stretch-fabric bathing suits are designed for the prepubescent girl with a figure chipped out of marble. The woman with a mature figure has little to no choice. She can either front up at the maternity-wear department and try on floral costume with a skirt and come away looking like a hippopotamus that has recently escaped from Fantasia or she can wander around any run of the mill bathing suit department and try and make a sensible choice from what amounts to a designer range of fluoro rubber bands.
This article appeared in the Herald Sun 11 Nov 1993, The Advertiser (SA) 18 Nov 1993, The Newcastle Herald Dec 1993. Read The Agonising Search for a Swim Suit.