A few weeks ago I was invited by Coco Bay swimwear to choose a piece of swimwear, together with an accessory, to wear and write about on Style Guile. Having followed Coco Bay for a while on Instagram and loving the colours of their pieces and the brands that they stocked, I didn't hesitate in saying yes. And then that's when the panic set in. If you're lucky enough to have been gifted something that's lovely, I feel that there's a responsibility to do it, and the brand, justice - which let's face it isn't that easy when it's a bikini.
Before I start, I should say how impressed I was with the service provided by Rosie at Coco Bay. I emailed through my difficulties (28" rib cage but with a semi-decent sized bust) and Rosie put it out to her colleagues for their input. It was clear that there had been plenty of trying on by the team and that they really knew their stock, which was so refreshing. Their recommendations came straight back to me and I was also encouraged to choose several styles to try on at home - and to take my time over it too, which was a nice touch. Also, when I suggested that I would like to try the size 10 top in addition to the size 8 top that I initially requested, it was with me within 24 hours - plus returns are free.
Anyway, as to the bikini, for a top, I chose the bustier bandeau in neon melon from the Sea Folly Miami Stripe Collection. Why? For a start it was under wired, boned and had gripper tape, all of which were said to offer "excellent support", which is rather essential after breast feeding three children.
Effectively the top did all of the hard work for me so I didn't depend on my own assets to make the bikini top work for me in any way, shape or form, which trust me, they wouldn't have done. Covered, contained, supported - yep, that's what I needed and this top did me proud. I did a bit of jumping around in the bikini.....(see, mid-jump!)
...and the top (and the bottoms) stayed well and truly put. For information purposes, there are six different tops in the Seafolly Miami collection so there should be something to suit everyone.
As to the bikini bottoms, there are three bottoms to choose from in the Miami collection and I chose the Miami stripe ruched striped retro style, also in neon melon. As you can see from the above picture, it has a little bit of depth at the side, which for some reason always attracts me. I think it's a safety issue - albeit a psychological one!
The accessory that I chose was the Sea Folly soundwave drummer kaftan from Sea Folly. I'm sure that for those of you who know me, or who have been reading Style Guile for a while, you won't be surprised to hear that I was immediately attracted to its tassels and bright colours. It has a nice wide neckline so it can be worn off the shoulder and it can also be twisted around so that the point of the hem is at the front, just meaning that you can ring the changes a little.
In all honesty I was never quite sure whether there would be a huge difference in the comfort, fabric and fit of a more expensive bikini as opposed to a less expensive one and I always read with huge scepticism the magazine articles trying to persuade me that that three small triangles of fabric had the capability to make something out of nothing.
Having said that I have a Sea Folly swim suit from a few years ago and I have always been impressed with its "pull-in, push-up" capabilities despite being worn many, many times in heavily chlorinated swimming pools. And being of the age that I am and given the assistance that I require, particularly in the underwired/push them up/hold them in department, I have to say that I am definitely a convert. Also confidence plays a huge role in how you feel in a bikini and the thick and supportive fabric really did make a difference relative to some slightly flimsier bikinis that I have worn in the past.
What I would say to anyone who isn't sure, is to thrown caution to the wind and order some bikinis to try at home. There's a great selection of pieces so if neon melon isn't for you, there are plenty of other options. I felt in very safe hands with the team at Coco Bay and as an incentive, the code BETH15 gives you 15% off full price and sale items until the end of August. Anyway, it's certainly something to think about.