Shopping for swimwear in your 30s, 40s and beyond

Facade of Swim in Powerplant Mall, level 2.

Summer is upon us once more and the often dreaded task of shopping for swimwear looms over countless beach babes planning their tropical sojourn. When I was in my 20s, I never hesitated to grab the tiniest bikinis off the rack and try them on. I would wear them with abandon, with as much gusto as my tanning sessions from early morning to lunch and sometimes beyond, if I was feeling daring. Funny how I used to be so critical of every curve in my tummy and thighs when looking back at photos, I wasn’t as big as I thought I was. These days however, I see and feel the difference and notice the changes in my body. I’m also more conscious of dressing appropriately for my age, swimwear included. Now that I’m older and gave up baking under the (more than ever) intense heat, I’ve also gravitated to maillots or one-piece suits. Apart from a sense of security and a free pass from dieting, I think they’re incredibly chic and sexy, albeit in a subtle way. There are a ton of ways to conceal, camouflage and cover up your imperfections and bring out the siren in you without baring it all. Swimwear these days are designed so cleverly, in all colors and prints imaginable, that you’ll be drawn to skip bikinis altogether.

Nothing But Water was my go-to joint for local swimsuits back in the 90s. Launched in 1997, I remember their Robinsons Galleria branch so well that I memorized the stocks. When I joined Summit Media, it would be top of mind for pull-outs come the summer issue production. The shop always had something new to offer: cute print on print separates you can mix and match, straw hats with matching bags, beach towels and interesting cover-ups. With my meager budget, the items were affordable yet sturdy and I never felt guilty about splurging for a new suit every summer. So it was naturally my choice when I thought about doing this feature, they’ve come a long way—20 years this year—and are better than ever. Swim is their flagship store offering imported brands with higher price points mixed in with local favorites in the friendly prices everyone is familiar with. I especially love Anemone, their in-house brand that launched in 2011. Affordable, good mix of trendy / classic and lasts for years!

Owner Dimples La’O met up with me to talk about their expansion and direction of the brand. “I never put anything here I wouldn’t wear myself. I always tell our designer to make things in my size so I can road test them.” The retailer is growing fast with branches in Coron, El Nido and Bohol set to open this year, a wise move following our recent Conde Nast nod for having the No. 1 beach in the world. They’re also opening Swim Villas in El Nido come October, where guests can experience all the island has to offer while sporting one of their stylish swimsuits. Nothing But Water Boracay is doing incredibly well that it was a natural progression.

“Nowadays, women aren’t limited to wearing suits specifically for their body type. The rules are more relaxed, they can wear whatever they fancy as long as it looks good,” says Dimples. Her advice when shopping for a suit? “Be comfortable, be confident and have fun!” After all, isn’t this what summer’s all about?

Read on and find the suit for you, whatever your shape and size. Enjoy summer!

Special thanks to Arcee, Marvin and Analie for assisting. Look for them at Swim Powerplant Mall.

A cute nook perfect for posing and fitting footwear.

A one-stop shop for all your tropical getaway needs!

In love with these prints from Anemone!

Anemone has a line for the kiddos, too.

Summer essentials from Herbivore.

Knowing your correct—and honest!—size is the first step to finding the perfect suit.

I fell in love with this color and the sheer design on the torso. The v-neckline is also super flattering. Any body type will look smashing in this! Teal one-piece by Aerin Rose, P9790.

Add this aqua and white kimono for after hours. Anemone, P1095.

The print of this maillot can double as a top for a night out. I love the strategic cut outs and halter top; it’s so fresh and offers the right mix of support and flashes of skin. Maillot by Aerin Rose, P10,190.

Come lunchtime, cover up with a zippered rash guard that’s easy to wear and take off. Rash guard by Anemone, P3,395.

Wear the suit as a top and pair with lightweight pants. Pants by Sofia, P4,990.

High waist bottoms are all the rage at the moment, get this chic pair by B Swim! Top and bottom, P3,190 each.

If you’re feeling too exposed, top it off with a cropped striped rash guard for a preppy touch. Rash guard from Anemone, P2,850.

Switch it up for cocktails with a halter top with fringe as cover-up. Top from Anemone, P1,195.

A tankini offers overall coverage sans the trouble of putting on a one-piece, if you’re the type who prefers separates but don’t want to expose your midriff. The sexy top also doubles as a clubbing staple for nights out in the city. Top from Anemone, P3,295.

Done swimming? This light cover-up is all you need to look more polished. Tunic, Anemone, P1,095.

The color, style and strategic cut-outs make this maillot one in a million. Aerin Rose, P9,790.

The LBD of swimsuits. Every woman should have this in her arsenal for summer. It’s chic, timeless and ultra flattering. Suit by B Swim.

The criss cross side cut-outs are divine!

This camo / floral suit is a stand out, something you don’t see everyday. The cut-out detail in the front makes it even more unique. Suit from Tavik, P6,980.

This suit uses a special fabric to keep everything in place, leaving you worry-free while frolicking in the beach. Ask for Anemone Control, P3,495, next time you’re in the store.

A dark fabric is always slimming. Go for this lightweight navy tunic from Anemone, P1,295.

Not keen on getting soaked? Don this reversible crop top and high waist shorts while relaxing in the shore. Top from Sofia, P1,890 and bottom from Anemone, P1,495.

Grey is always a classic and classy color. This can’t be more appropriate for the older woman who prefers coverage yet still wants to look on-trend. Suit from Aerin Rose, P9,390.

Pair it with these festive pants and you’re ready to party! Pants, Sofia, P5,295.

Michelle

In head to toe red, THE statement color of the moment.

Michelle is, in fashion standards, no vanilla. In fact, if she were a dessert, she’d be a tropical fruit salad, complete with whipped cream and a big, juicy cherry on top. Her fashion sense is at par with the women I stalk every fashion month online (my favorite de-stressing strat), specifically the Italians with their love for color, print and flair. Upon meeting her by chance at the mall, my radars went on hyperdrive and I had to take a moment to digest all the details in her outfit. I don’t see this kind of styling a lot in Manila, save for fashion events. In a sea of minimalists, this mash-up of textures and attitude was gold. It was as if the editors and bloggers at Vogue.com came to life—at my very own backyard! It took many months for this shoot to materialize as life got in the way. And that Saturday morning I had an hour to capture all of this amazingness; Michelle is a busy girl yet the effort she puts in getting dressed every morning is phenomenal. I was almost sad when we finished; I wanted to linger and analyze every look she wore / ask more questions / ogle at all her trinkets. I had to settle with the final edits to really look at each and every outfit, appreciating the living art right in front of me. When I got home, still high from the shoot, I had to message her that I was in love with her style. Being the non-diva that she is, she texted back, “I’m so flattered!”. I am too, that she indulged me and made time in between work. She was worth the wait.

P.S. I went out and got myself black and white striped pants that night. Scroll down to see what I mean.

What she does Consultant, Suyen Corporation; Co-owner, FRINGY

Personal style

Eclectic, versatile, fun, unexpected, classic but always with a twist

Being exposed to current trends while doing a lot of travel for work and for pleasure have most definitely raised the bar for me, in terms of my personal style. These days I find myself layering a lot, and less “vanilla” type of dressing. 

On appearance and why it matters For me, it’s always equal parts looking good and feeling good.

Her days be like I go to work five times a week, meet all types of people, style them, sell them things that they didn’t realize they needed or wanted. Haha!

Whenever I can and wherever I am, I go hiking. It gives me tremendous joy to experience climbing a mountain, navigate the trails and witness awesome sights!

Favorite designers and shopping haunts

Chanel
Delpozo
Loewe
No. 21
Paul Smith
Assembly
Zara
H&M

Top 5 closet staples

Denim jacket
Crisp white shirt/shirt dress
Oversized blazer
Striped tee
Scarf

Celebrity crush Cate Blanchett

Online surfing

Asos
Mytheresa
Shopstyle

Current uniform Other than loading up on accessories like brooches, earrings, bracelets and scarves, I do not have a “uniform.” I dress according to whoever I want to be on any given day.

Top, skirt, pumps, all Zara; socks, Asos; bag, Off-White; earrings from Chatuchak in Bangkok.

Bomber, Chanel; top, Acne Studios; pants, Zara; clutch, Jil Sander; mules, Gucci; shades, Le Specs.

She’s also the co-owner of Fringy, a shop that specialize on adorable shoe accessories like these! The leather fringe is their latest version of the best-selling style.

Arm candy from Heart & Bolt and Hermes.

These Balenciaga booties, though!

Dress, Zara; brooches, Chanel; booties, Balenciaga.

Pink coat dress, COS; turtleneck, Jil Sander x Uniqlo; denim jacket, Zara; sandals, online find; earrings, Nicole Whisenhunt.

Bag, Cult Gaia.

Dress, Zara; pants, Mango; slides, No. 21; bag, Cult Gaia; earrings, Maureen Disini.

 

 

Finding the perfect glasses

Midway through 39 years old, my eyesight began to falter. I used to have 20/20 vision and proud of it; I could’ve been a pilot, I would always think to myself LOL! My first pair of reading glasses at 50/50 grade broke one day. One of the screws fell out and I also noticed that my vision was blurred despite wearing them. I went to Glorietta Mall to have it fixed at the same shop that I bought the lens from, only to find out that they didn’t have the right screw (I had bought my then no-grade glasses in Macau, a Japanese brand). I tried the other optical shops around the area; none of them had the correct length. Finally, I took a chance and entered Owndays. Their strategic location has heavy traffic, so I knew the spot by heart. I inquired about their reading glasses and a very accomodating man immediately attended to me while swiftly getting my old pair to have repaired. They had the right screw! He told me that changing the lens would cost the same as buying a new pair so I went for one of their lightweight and ultra slim models. My old glasses would weigh my nose down after a bit of wearing because of the material. I was surprised with how light the Owndays pair was, it didn’t put any pressure on my nose at all!

After choosing the frame, I went in to their refraction room to have my grade checked. The in-house doctor also moved fast while answering all my queries patiently. Turns out my grade has increased to 125 and I’m on my way to getting progressive lenses. “It’s the age, that’s normal”, said Doc. I had gotten over the initial shock that I actually needed reading glasses so it didn’t feel like a big deal anymore. The whole process took all of 20 minutes or so and the same time I got my new pair, they handed me my newly repaired glasses, as well! It all felt very First World, TBH. I became an instant fan. I’m very happy with my pair and am wearing them as I type.

I picked their entry level glasses that’s ultra light and slim. Since my face is a combination of round and square, I got a rectangular shape that’s in between narrow and wide. Anything too narrow would be too small and would give my face a pinched look. The slightly angular shape sharpens my soft features while the wide frame also help anchor my cheekbones.

So when I thought about doing a story on finding the right glasses for your face shape, I naturally thought of Owndays. I messaged them on their FB page and a few hours later, someone replied and directed me to their Marketing Dept. Easy, painless and fast response from Cabby, an associate from the H.O; the same impressive service I got in the store. She suggested I do it in their Shangri-La Mall branch, their flagship store and biggest, complete with a lounge. Next challenge was to find models with different face shapes. I called on some girlfriends who very kindly agreed to be shot for nothing (forever grateful!!). Here’s the result of that fun afternoon. Hope you find this feature helpful when the time comes you need a pair. And although this isn’t a paid post, I highly recommend Owndays. You won’t regret it.

I’m a sucker for vertical gardens so naturally, I was drawn to this accent wall. It’s the perfect touch of nature to the minimalist space.

The shop goes deep and at the end of the store is the coffee lounge.

Glasses and shades in every imaginable shape and size!

These models are similar to what I got. It’s so light and slim, like you’re wearing nothing at all. Plus it easily fits into my small collection of mini bags.

Collaborations with brands for the hip customer. A pair exists for every age group and personality.

Get your eye grade analyzed here before purchasing a pair.

This is where you go through a reading test to make sure you’re given the correct lens grade.

The most common face shapes: heart, oval, round and square. It’s very important to know your face shape, not just for eyewear shopping but also for finding the right hat and even for necklines, too.

Leona, Zo and Monica were my models and friends I’ve met through work and the blog.

Zo has a heart shaped face so rounder frames look best on her, with the top part just grazing her eyebrows and the bottom sits atop her pronounced cheekbones. The bottom heavy frames help balance out a pointed chin, while the extended temple design allows for better symmetry.

Leona and Monica arrived in complementing outfits that was totally unplanned!

Monica has an oval face with cheekbones that are just the right proportion, suiting her short pixie cut just fine. This face shape is the most flexible and can get away with almost any style. Her glasses are similar to mine except that it has a slightly bigger frame to accentuate her best features. If you’ve got an oval face, by all means experiment with bold looks! You can get away with it.

Blogger Sujun Neo has a long, elongated face so a narrow frame is the perfect choice. It cuts across exactly in the middle of her face, tempering the length and softening the features. Long faces can get away with the most narrow styles as opposed to a square like me because it doesn’t look too small or not proportional on them.

Leona is combination of oval and heart making it easy for her to shop for glasses when the time comes. A round frame that’s slightly smaller than her face doesn’t overwhelm and balances out her well-defined narrow chin perfectly. Her pair is also a mini version of Zo’s because her face is also a smaller version of a heart.

Happy eyewear shopping!