Bare Necessities is an online store that offers lingerie, swimwear, hosiery, socks, shapewear and layering tees for both women and men across a range of quality international brands. I never tried items from Bare Necessities until the opportunity recently arose to review their swimwear. And this process ladies, has been a humbling experience.
When I review an item for YLF, I put it through it’s paces and then share my thoughts along with photos of me modeling the item. Clothing, accessories and footwear are easy to review and my confidence levels are high throughout the process. But throw in swimwear and I’m a little more shy. Despite my slight apprehension, I agreed to do the review. After all, I bat for Team One Piece and I thought I’d be comfortable seeing myself in a flattering one piece swimsuit on the pages of YLF. Furthermore, hubby Greg would be taking the photos and for that reason alone, I would feel perfectly safe in front of the camera.
So I hopped onto the bare necessities site to choose a few one piece swimsuits. I saw lots of styles that tickled my fancy by great quality brands like La Blanca, Miraclesuit, Panache and Magicsuit. I also saw my favourite swimwear brand Gottex, but was not as excited by any of the styles currently available. That’s okay. I was excited to try a new one piece swimwear brand.
Unfortunately, Bare Necessities does not stock my size in one piece swimwear. The smallest size was 6, and I need a 4 (one piece swimwear is sized differently to clothing). I gave it a bash anyway, hoping that the size 6′s would run small. But they didn’t work.
Now what? Bare Necessities suggested trying tankinis and bikinis because they were sized differently. I was reluctant at first because I don’t fill out a tankini and bikini’s are completely outside my comfort zone. Finally I agreed to browse the bikinis and see how I felt. No harm in looking.
I headed straight to a brand called Freya because I am familiar with their fit, styling and quality. I was able to order my bra size in the top (30D) and an XS bikini bottom. It was a positive start. Before I could change my mind I asked Bare Necessities to send over three cheerful bikinis for review. I chose the Circus swimwear top with classic briefs, the Venetian plunge swimwear top with Latino bottoms, and the Mystere plunge swimwear top with boyshorts. BN also said that they would send me a great tankini of their choosing.
I tried on the swimsuits the minute they arrived. I thought I might lose my nerve if I left them boxed for too long. As I expected, the tankini looked awful because I couldn’t fill it out. That left the bikinis as my last and only option.
Oh. My. Goodness. I HAVEN’T TRIED ON A BIKINI IN 20 YEARS. With a one piece I feel elegant and covered-up in all the right places. What on earth was I thinking? Silly, silly Angie.
Pulling myself together, I thought about how I encourage people almost daily to step out of their style comfort zones. If we don’t do this, how will we ever improve, update and evolve our styles? I must walk my talk. Fit on the bikinis, look in the mirror, and get on with it.
Well, here I stand, a modest dresser, pale as a lilly, covered in varicose veins, and 10 days shy of 41. I would have bet my Valentino handbag that I would never wear a bikini again. After all, they look juvenile and don’t make me feel fab.
But I feel great!
The fact that these photos made it onto our website is a strong testament to the quality, style and fit of these Freya bikinis. My actions speak louder than words. If I felt in any way uncomfortable about my body and the way these bikinis looked, I would have backed out of this review. If the quality did not meet my fussy standard, I’d have spoken up.
The Circus bikini (blue) was the simplest design. I chose it because Greg likes this blue against my skin tone and the micro polka dot pulled at my heart strings. I thought that the white in the pattern would complement my RayBans and its pattern was perfectly denim friendly. The top is soft and really supportive. I didn’t fidget with it at all during the shoot. The briefs, although a little skimpy, were more flattering than I expected.
The Venetian bikini (black) was the most girly of the styles. I am no longer into ruffles, but was somehow drawn to the playfulness of this style and how it matched my wrap. Of all the styles, this one probably fit the best. I enjoyed the fuller Latino bottoms and how the skirt flounced as I moved.
The Mystere bikini (pink) is more retro and pushed up my bustline. I have cleavage! I loved the fit of the boyshorts and the cut of the top is more alluring. I felt a little like Esther Williams in this suit which made me think of my precious late Mum. A comforting thought.
It helped that I chose supportive bra top styles, in my bra size and with adjustable straps. These tops fit better than the bikinis I wore two decades ago. The bottoms, apart from the blue polka dot brief, are fairly covered too. No panty plucking. Plus, I am the queen of cover ups! These are my own swimwear cover-ups and clothes, which worked well with the bikini styles. If I felt like I needed to cover up, I could do so, and do so in a way that was fun and stylish.
I still can’t believe that the review worked out the way it did. My swimwear search with Bare Necessities was a little rocky to start off with, but it ended in a very meaningful way. I’m grateful to Bare Necessities for nudging me to try a two piece. I am still a loyal one piece swimsuit wearer because they make me feel poised and elegant, but I enjoyed the fit, cut, colour and workmanship of these bikinis so much that I’d wear them in a heartbeat on a beach holiday.
I did not feel juvenile and immodest like I had expected to. Instead, I felt pretty fab. BN, your Freya bikinis reacquainted me with a playful style I no longer gave the time of day. Thank you for this lightbulb bikini moment.
UPDATE: Bare Necessities competition now open.
Bare Necessities is very generously giving away a $200 gift card in a competition that we will be launching later today. Be sure to check YLF’s competition section for details.
In the meantime, which bikini do you like best and why? I’ll reveal my preference later on today.