beach going like an Italian

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I over packed for my trip to the Riviera Romagnola.

I didn’t mean to, but there is really no way that I needed three hats, 5 different bikinis and something like 7 different cover-ups for a measly ten days at the BEACH.

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I was at the beach for God’s sake!  I could have gotten away with wearing the same t-shirt and shorts for all ten days, but the problem is

THAT’S JUST NOT FUN!

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Beach wear marketers all over the world have convinced me that I will feel so much more glamorous if I’m in a big hat, sunglasses, the latest 50s inspired high-waisted bikini, and I accessorize with bejeweled sandals, bracelets, a big necklace and a jauntily tied sarong.

So, as a good fashion lover and marketing victim, I packed all of the things I would love to be seen in, and then, subsequently ONLY wore the things I felt comfortable in.

 

At the beach I did NOT WEAR:

BRACELETS – they leave tan lines on my arm

BIG HATS – The beach wind may blow them off, and I just didn’t have the courage to wear my big billowy hat to the beach

SARONGS – What? And not tan my butt?

BEJEWELED SANDALS – Only flip flops for the beach so that they could be easily shaken out / washed

50s inspired BIKINIS – And not tan my belly?

OVERSIZED NECKLACES – I wouldn’t want anyone to confuse me with someone famous.

 

The year I got pregnant with my son I went to the most luxurious area of Sardinia, the Costa Smeralda on vacation.  There, for some reason, I felt justified in all things GLAMOUR!  I wore my big hats, all kinds of jewelry and all things fabulous.  Please let me know if you’d like to see these looks, I will dig them out of the pre-baby archive!

I’ve written here, about why vacationing in Italy’s Riviera Romagnola on the Adriatic Sea is a perfect family beach getaway.  It does not have the glitz and glamour associated with it as Sardinia, and certainly the beach is no where near as lovely, but if you are looking to actually RELAX at the sea side with kids, this is the place to be.

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That being said, I really DID want to wear my fun beach accessories, so I wore them during lunch walks, post-dinner strolls and aperitivos!

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What I Wore

I wore a Piazza Sempione straw fedora, which I’ve written about here, vintage sunglasses, Asos espadrilles/sandals and a tube dress.

 

 

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This way I was able to feel comfortable at the beach and not over-dressed for the occassion, but I also didn’t miss out on all of the fun of vacation dressing.

 

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I thought I would be able to get away with looks that were slightly more fashionable and packed things like this:

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But alas, the big hats took a back seat to the fedora, and the big necklace was only worn in the evening (see the big necklace in action here!)

 

Italians and Body Image

 

One of the things I find notably different between North American beach going (in general) and Italian beach going is that North Americans talk about swimwear that “hides”, “conceals”, “flattens” and “flatters” and Italians look for the skimpiest, smallest, most absolutely REVEALING bathing suit possible.

 

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Full piece bathing suits, bikinis with extra structure, skirted bottoms, loose fitting shorts…. you will find NONE of those things on an Italian.

 

They JUST LET IT ALL HANG OUT!

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You got fat? Good, tan it?  Cellulite? Great, tan it! Thighs touch? Tan them? Weird belly button, post-pregnancy? Tan that too! Stretch marks? They can be tanned! Rolls, arm pit hair, butt zits, back zits, flab, dimples, creases and big ‘ol pregnant BELLIES….ALL THOSE THINGS CAN BE TANNED.

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So just let it all hang out.

 

A lady with an enormous butt, wears a thong bikini and doesn’t think twice about it.

 

A new mom with weird droopy belly skin, wears a revealing bikini and never sits self-consciously trying to cover herself.

 

Freedom.

 

If you think you can’t wear a bikini because you aren’t “perfect” (me a few years ago) just come to Italy and you will quickly learn that the only difference between you, and the person happily flaunting all that God gave them is the courage to just not care.

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There will always be someone you think has a “better” body than you, and there will always be someone who thinks YOU have the better body. But the person who enjoys themselves the most is the one that never looks in the mirror before heading to the beach.

 

I’m tiny, so it may seem easy for  me to say.  In fact, it is not.  I always workout before beach going, because unlike my Italian counterparts I was raised in North America, where unhappiness in oneself is big business.

A few years ago, I took a look around the beach in the Riviera and realized…. I’m gonna GET OLD.  My skin will sag and my legs with become filled with veins and cellulite.  Menopause will eventually turn me into a square-like dresser shape, and when that happens I REALLY DON’T WANT TO CARE.  I just want to enjoy my old self at the sea side, playing bocce balls and hanging out with other old people that love life.

 

I want to look at a younger, thinner photo of myself and think “I looked great, good thing I enjoyed my youth” instead of “I was so thin, why did I always feel fat? I should have just enjoyed my youth”.

 

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REASONS TO DRESS

 

 

 

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Link-ups!

Every week I try to link-up my with these fantastic ladies.

Visit their sites for some inspiration & to discover new bloggers!

Momma in Flip Flop’s Real Mom Style, Mama and More and Mother.Wife.Me’s #AllAboutYou, Style Elixir’s Style Sessions, and her Fab Favorites, The Pleated Poppy’s What I Wore Wednesday, My Girlish Whims’ Your Whims Wednesday, Because Shana Said So’s Random Wednesday, Get Your Pretty On’s I Feel Pretty, Perfectly Coutured’s Three-fer Thursday, Her & Nicole’s Lovely Thursdays, The Life of The Party’s Fashion Informant, The Penniless Socialite’s Look What I Got, Rachel The Hat’s Passion 4 Fashion, Mummy’s Got Style’s Fashion Friday, Musings of a Housewife’s Fashion Friday, Vodka Infused Lemonade’s Tres Chic Thursday, Fry Sauce and Grits’ Be You Tiful.

 

 

 

 

  • I just loved your post! Great message, and I totally agree. I will be 46 soon and I am going to wear my bikini. I dont believe we need so many “rules”. I love what you packed, pretty dresses, and casual pieces, comfort and style for your trip. It looks like a wonderful time. You look fab as well 🙂
    from the link up, jess
    please stop by
    http://www.elegantlydressedandstylish.com

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    • Jess, I think it is wonderful that you are 46 and you are going to wear your bikini…WHY NOT!!

      Rules were all meant to be broken as they say and I will definitely be coming by your blog.

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  • I really liked reading your thoughts about how different it is to go to the beach in Italy. I tend to be pretty covered up when I swim (because the tiny sliver of skin of the back of my neck that misses being covered or suncreened will burn and blister and peel, ugh). I’ve accepted the fact that my skin was apparently not made to be tan, I’m such a white girl. 😛
    Better to overpack for a trip than to underpack, right?

    View Comment
    • I’m usually as white as a ghost, but I’ve learned all of the tricks of the trade that Italians use to not get burned. There are rules, no being outside from 12 – 3:30 pm, carrot pills, reapplying lotion but not using anything TOO high (unless of course you are my red-headed son!), and the fact that you CAN tan in the shade (who knew!).

      There are white girls here too, they wear 50+ along with their tiny bikinis!!

      View Comment
  • First, I adore those sandals!! I neeeeed them.

    Second. This is probably one of my favorite posts ever and I think everyone EVERYONE needs to read this – please submit it to a million “mommy’ linkups or basically and all in existence.

    The summer I got pregnant with Florence I was SO self conscious (I was probably still a size zero, had gained 0kilo/0lbs nothing) and like wore a shirt until I peeked around and the old 85 year old grandma I was with whipped off her cover up and sat there in her tiny bikini saggy everything and all. And she looked great. In that carefree, gonna live life way. From then on I just show it all! Ok, not all – my mother in law freaked at tonga one time =).

    Sharing this with everyone I know!

    View Comment
    • If I told you how little these sandals cost you wouldn’t believe me!! What’s your size? Maybe we should do a shoes swap…or is that just gross.

      Thank you for your positive thoughts and vibes about this post….I was a little worried it wouldn’t go over well.

      I was also a self-conscious size 0 pregnant lady….explain THAT. What is wrong with us!!?

      And you wore a thong in front of your mother in law… OH MY GOD. I really want to meet your in-laws based on your descriptions!! This is why I don’t beach vacation with mine!

      View Comment
  • I absolutely love this attitude and I think I should move to the Italian coast right now! I grew up by the beach in the US and from the time I was a teenager I tried to cover the parts that I wasn’t so comfortable with. I’m working on the attitude of being comfortable in my own skin all of the time (even in tiny bikinis).

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  • I love this post! Your hat collection is pretty amazing, all fab. But what you say about letting it all hang out is so true in European countries, so different from here in the UK. I always notice when I’m on holiday somewhere like Spain or Greece that the locals just do not give a monkeys, and people of all ages, shapes, and sizes truly enjoy themselves at the beach. It’s a great attitude. x

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  • I’m sure there’s not many stylish people on the beech. You look great with an amazing variety of bikini’s. Love your fedora and your sandals / painted toes look fantastic!

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  • I love your style Angie! You always look so smart and I love your use of accessories. I am a bit of an oddity when it comes to fashion. I am Italian and I love fashion but I have no fashion skills at all! My mum takes me shopping still because she says my style is terrible and … wait for it … I’m 31! So ridicoulously Italian!

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  • Emma Walker