Beryl and Jane go to the beach

Jane and Beryl find that there is one particular item of clothing that makes a WOACA's heart sink like no other, and this garment is the bathing-suit. Even the perennially optimistic Jane and Beryl know that into the changing room goes a woman in her prime, and out comes a woman reeling with the shock of having seen her thighs lit by a 100 watt light bulb. Is the answer to pay more, or wear more?

Jane and Beryl go undercover to check out the expensive cossy versus the budget alternative.

Miracle Suit £175

This is the most expensive suit Beryl has ever bought and it is the much famed so called 'Miracle Suit'. These claim to make a woman look 10lbs lighter. Beryl can only say that she is still waiting for the miracle. The reason that she was drawn to it however was the fantastic patterned fabric that just happens to go very well with her olive skin. Although brilliantly constructed and offering great coverage, there is a hint of the Joan Collins about it, that Beryl hasn't quite come to terms with.  
Nine out of ten.

Swimsuit Seafolly £99

Jane succumbed to this Seafolly suit last year and oh, the joy of it! The advantage of the expensive costume is that there is more structure about it - more wires, more bones, more fabric - which all adds up to a better fit and a more corseted shape. This style is replicated year on year so is always available in a different fabric design. 
Nine out of ten.

Laura Ashley Suit £45

The purchase of this suit was inspired by a scene in the film Hitchcock where Helen Mirren who plays Alma Reville the film director's wife and collaborator rebelliously buys a pricy red swimsuit over a less expensive black one. Wearing a bright colour always makes Beryl feel more confident and whats good enough for Alma...  Beryl's small proviso is that she does not really like the halter neck - or cheese wire as Jane and Beryl like to call it - as it tends to give her a headache.
Eight out of ten.

M&S £39

As usual, M&S do things like this very well for the money. This structured suit has neat individual cups for the bosoms, and a frill for fandango coverage. Lovely colour, nice pattern, good pulling-in power on the stomach; it's only fault is the cheese wire neckline, although obviously that's not a problem for those with less tittage.
Eight out of ten.

Swimsuit £26, sarong £16, plimsolls £22, bag £38 all Next

Jane is always a sucker for Maggie Thatcher's blue - if not her politics - and this Next swimsuit is a corking colour. She felt that her bosoms put on a few pounds with this style but this may be a misapprehension about their usual size on her part. The ruching over the tummy was a strong point however, and for the £28 price tag this was a pretty good option. 
Seven out of ten. 

Vintage suit £16

A great vintage suit is a rare find. In her twenties Beryl used to go night-
clubbing in a black, 1950s boned version with a ruched bottom. (Sadly those days are no more, says Jane. Not a bit of it, says Beryl, who is going again next week). A lot of well constructed and flattering suit for £16.
Seven out of ten.

Swimsuit £12, ASDA.

Beryl tries on a tummy control suit in ASDA. Ok lets face it, it's not doing much of a job. Beryl likes the nostalgic ice-lolly design, which she thought was 'Fab', but thinks that ASDA could have put the lovely popsicles on the back as well as the front. Perhaps £12 for a swim-suit is just not enough lolly.
 Jane favoured the ditsy dots on the black and white version, but while she rather liked the balcony bra top, was not going to let the great British public see the tummy results. 
Five out of ten. 

Jane and Beryl are huge fans of more clothing on the beach rather than less when their confidence is low - or if the sun is very hot in Jane's case, English rose that she is - they just cover up. A beach dress is always scrunched up in the bottom of their capacious bags... 

Ghost dress £120, hat Accessorize £17

This spotty hat always caused a stir on the beach, and Jane loves nothing better than a stir. Approached by a charming French photographer once in Cornwall, her daughter aged 16 pouted for the camera: 'Non, non,' he said in a charming Gallic accent, 'I want a picture of your Maman.' (probably for a copy of the French equivalent of Saga magazine, but still...).

 Beryl is pictured in a very moulded cupped bikini by the marvellously named Marvan Mehlhorn £108, which bears little relationship to the size and shape of her actual breasts. She worries that the effect is a bit Joan Sims in Carry On up the Khyber, and therefore rarely wears a two piece. Beryl finds that over the years the two pieces of her bikini have grown exponentially, to a point where there seems little point in trying to keep them apart.  Here she is employing the tummy camouflage of a 'beach skirt' (East £75) Is that a thing? (It is now). And a cardi for the back fat.

Zare top, this season £39

Is Jane going to the beach as the Punch and Judy tent? No, but she loves this shirt from Zara which would make an ideal beach cover up when the sun goes in, and let's face it, that's about 95% of the time in Britain.  

Bowed leather pool slides £13 TK Maxx

Ahh... tea by the sea. Beryl bought this tunic in Italy for 10 Euros, proving that the expensive beach wrap is not necessarily for our WOACAs. Happy Days. 

Next week, Jane and Beryl find outfits for the hustings. Jane and Beryl are available for shopping adventures and consultations. You can contact them via blog comments.


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