Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Nice surfwear - not an oxymoron after all

Those who have made my acquaintance will agree that it doesn't take long to work out that I'm not really into most forms of exercise. I lack the requisite self-discipline for running regularly, and I can't bear to part with £60 every month for the privilege of exercising in the tiny sweaty box that is our local Fitness First. Last time I tried Yoga I had to sit out for half the class because I almost fainted. Some forms of exercise are fun and satisfying when only partaken in on an occasional basis. Like horse riding, ice skating, long walks on Hampstead Heath with nice people, swimming in the sea in India when it gets too hot to even consider being anywhere but in the water. All of these are acceptable because they are rare treats.
I was even persuaded by one of my oldest friends to try surfing once on a girly holiday in Cornwall. I will grudgingly admit it was quite fun, but I was never going to be an instant convert. After all, surfing may have it's own unique style, but I'm not exactly a fan of Hawaiian prints unless they're on 1950's bombshell dresses. And let's not even talk about wet suits.
Plus I don't hugely enjoy being in a bikini in front of, well, anyone really. Although years of serious training have made me able to pretend otherwise. The lack of mirrors in places like Goa really helps too, as does the fact that most of the skinny girls are on drugs or intensely annoying yoga heads. Or both. Which allows me to feel superior about my various wobbly bits.
But just when I though we had established firm sartorial reasons for my resistance to a repeat of being dragged into another humiliating surf experience, some buggers have come along and created a range of truly lust-worthy surf wear...
Despite having a rather twee Simone de Beauvoir quote on their website and a slightly silly label name, Jillian Demling and Karen Mulligan know what they're doing with Pret-a-surf.
They should do really. Demling is a Vogue editor and Mulligan manages Annie Leibovitz's studio. According to an interview with them in Vanity Fair this month, they set out to design a range of bikinis, swimsuits and rash guards inspired by 50's and 60's style because they wanted to "look good while playing with the boys."
I still think rash guards are deeply unsexy, but a mondrianesque print is a definite improvement. The only downer here really is they've chosen some ridiculously skinny models for the pret-a-surf lookbook, when really what's needed is a grown-up woman with breasts and some toned thigh.

The always swoon-worthy Marion Cotillard does a much better job of the same bikini in her Mario Testino shoot for Vogue, but I could only find these tiny picture to show you.

Pret-a-surf appears to currently only be stocked in the US. Although they do appear to have an online shop that ships to pretty much everywhere, I don't buy swimwear without trying it on first. Especially when it costs more than £100 and I still can't afford to be buying anything really nice at the moment if it's not from the car boot sale. But I really do want that bikini an awful lot. Sigh.

Talking of car boot sales, last weekend was a particularly successful one on that front. he sun brought out some good sellers. I found a cute Luella black shirt for £4, with white polka dots, black rhinestone buttons and tiny bows and ruffles on the cuffs. It's a bit big for me but will look good tucked into something high waisted I hope, or just left open as a light alternative to a jacket this summer. Other treasures from my weekend haul include a black Moschino Couture pencil skirt and a rabbit fur and silk cardigan for £3 each at my local primary school's summer fete. Not bad.

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