Do you dare to bare?
Is there an age limit on exposing certain body parts?
There is little doubt the way people dress is a form of self-expression.
It’s our way of telling the world how we feel today, or even how we would like to feel.
In our part of the world, we’re fortunate not to be too tightly bound by tradition and for many female residents of the Far North, bikinis are a firmly entrenched part of life.
While women in some parts of the world are forced to cover up, we pride ourselves on the liberty of wearing whatever we choose.
Which brings us to a recent survey of 2000 women that found that seven out of 10 women believe fellow females over the age of 39 should never be seen in a bikini.
The poll conducted by an online shop (admittedly based in the UK, but, as it is on the internet, respondents can obviously come from anywhere) suggested the majority of women feel 40 is the deadline for wearing a two-piece swimsuit, regardless of how modest the design, colour or style.
Presumably then, Elle Macpherson, 49, who is rarely photographed in anything offering more coverage than a table napkin; Kylie Minogue, 44, who though miniscule in stature, still manages to parade an acre or two of flesh; and life-is-one-long-day-at-the-beach Courtney Cox, 48, should all shuffle off, grab their beach towels and cover up, pronto!
So, cairnseye hit the streets to see what local women thought on the subject. Is this an age-old debate, or an old-age debate?
Here are some thoughts:
Heather Cohen, 40-something (Style director Reds Salon & Spa)
My name is Heather Cohen and I have very recently worn a bikini.
I admit this a little red-faced, after reading this new rule, but I must have missed that memo, because I am definitely over 39 – not quite 50.
As I sat by a pool wearing my bikini in Thailand recently, I questioned my judgment.
While I do question the European travellers, I admire how, despite their body shape, they are extremely confident bikini wearers.
Some women over 39 look sensational in a bikini, so my take on this is, it’s not necessarily the age, but if you’ve got the body and the confidence, go for it.
Mo Rowbottom, 47 (part-owner Nunu restaurant, The Rising Sun Bistro and Bar, Numi Ice Creamery and Pantry)
I wonder, is this because younger women feel threatened by older hot mammas out there in bikinis? Are we “over the hill” by 40? Are we supposed to retire from public gaze on the beach?
How many unfit teenagers do we see hanging around shopping malls wearing skinny hipster jeans with flabby white “muffin tops” spilling out? It is not a good look!
Having said that, whatever age, as long as you feel good and proud of your body, any woman can wear a bikini.
I am a fit, healthy 47-year-old woman who does not possess a single one piece bathing suit – only a drawer full of bikinis.
I do, however, bear in mind my mother’s advice: “Always leave something to the imagination.”
Diane Finlay, 53-ish (Writer, event organiser, equities market trader)
I can think of some 25 year olds who shouldn’t. But then who am I to judge?
My personal choice has been a one piece for many years because of scars on my belly. At the moment, I have a lovely little hot pink number with a halter neck and lots of frills. It’s very sexy and most of all I feel good in it.
Society tells us it is wrong to age. We should be pulled in, pushed up, lifted, tucked and sucked until we become something obscene. I am proud of my wrinkles and now almost white hair, because I’ve lived a life and have the scars to prove it. If wanted to put this body into a bikini, it’s my choice, but I’m vain and I like to think I look good for my age, so I wear a one piece.
Loren Gillison, 43 (Owner The Edge Food Store and good food enthusiast)
I believe there is only one thing that can determine if a woman should wear a bikini. It is not age or size. It is confidence. If a woman is confident in her body and confident in her bikini, then she should wear it. With many women, however, confidence comes with age, so perhaps it is the older woman who should be wearing the bikini.
Primary school teacher Cathy Field on why she chose to wear a bikini aged 50, with her diet and exercise tips
I wanted to do this because I liked the idea that it doesn’t really matter what age you are.
I was quite prepared for turning 50 (in June), and found turning 40 worse.
I have been active all my life since I was a kid when I competed in swimming. As you get older, your priorities change, but now that I’m 50, I have a lot more time so I am getting back into it.
My kids are now 18 and 21.
I do Zumba three nights a week, a kickboxing group fitness class three mornings a week and I walk and run on top of that. I like to do something I enjoy every day and find it easier to do exercise then. I’ve never been into the gym. Diet-wise, I don’t out-eat my exercise. I have a little bit of bad stuff every now and then.
On a usual morning I would start with fruit and yoghurt, then a chicken and cheese and salad wrap for lunch, some dip and crackers for afternoon tea, and then a normal dinner, like lasagne and salad or steak and vegetables.
I think with clothes, what you wear as you get older really depends on body type. Fifty is an awkward age. You want to not look too young but also not look like a nana.
If you fit into the young stuff, you have to know what to wear. I usually ask my 21 year old, would you wear this, and if she says yes, then I don’t.
My usual style is casual and I spend a lot of time in exercise gear. We wear a uniform to work and when I go out, it’s casual but dressy, so I might wear jeans and a nice top and heels.
I’m not in a business so I don’t have to wear corporate gear.
I guess what’s different for a woman nowadays is maybe we are more aware of health; keeping fit and being health conscious. It’s about making time for you.
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Fifty and fab: Primary school teacher Cathy Field believes it doesnít matter what age you are. Itís about being fit and making time for yourself.