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