The perfect cover-up (and why I never really do swimwear shots)

Shirt: £22, Next. Swimsuit: £39, And Other Stories. Shorts: River Island (old). Sunglasses: £15, Next. Straw bag: £49.50, J Crew. Sandals: £30, Next. Photographs: Christopher O’Donnell.

When it comes to holiday wear, I’m far more comfortable in an oversized cotton shirt than a kaftan.

For me, a dressed down approach to daywear works – and then I can go all out for the evening. As much as I love the idea of a kaftan, a shirt covers all bases, feels a bit cooler and an extra long one such as this can multitask, too (I pretty much wear as a dress when I get down to the beach).

When it comes to posting swimsuit pictures, I am always reluctant…mainly because I never take any photos in swimwear. It just never crosses my mind that anyone needs to see me in a swimsuit and if I’m honest, I haven’t really done any exercise since about 2013…

It makes me feel exposed – I don’t particularly love my body as much as I should…I’m lucky I am still relatively slim but a regular routine wouldn’t hurt (I am definitely noticing the effects of too many white bread rolls in my 30s!), but lack of time and lack of interest in any form of exercise means my body isn’t top of my priority list.

But as it’s summer, and Social Media has shone a spotlight on body confidence, I thought I’d embrace my mid 30s body here on the blog (but not quite ready for Instagram, yet!). I tend to wear swimsuits now so as not to worry about wobbly bits and try to stop comparing myself to Instagram girls 10 years younger with supermodel curves and toned stomachs…but we could all do with embracing our flaws now and then.

I have never edited the photos on this blog – my images on this site are always raw, as they come. I remember telling this to another blogger who looked at me with complete and utter surprise…and it made me realise that it’s not always the case. It had never crossed my mind that people spent hours editing pictures for their site…I’d always rather spend my time doing something else (God knows I already spend too much time working as it is).

Sometimes I feel my site isn’t as ‘glossy’ as other people’s but I suppose that’s some of its charm.

I was also somewhat inspired by Lucy Williams’ interview for Work Work Work (a website set up by industry friend Katherine Ormerod on the imperfections behind Instagram) on thoughts and feelings behind our strange social media careers (definitely worth a read).

I always feel that Instagram gives a different perspective to people’s lives…and as much as my blog and Instagram are about me, I always shoot first thing in the morning to avoid people staring, try to find the quietest streets to photograph (so people don’t think that I think I’m a model, dragging my husband around to take photos constantly) and pretty much always pick the shot without my face in.

However, on the surface my feed and blog would look like I exude confidence, feel confident in front of the camera and loved every second of this somewhat narcissistic existence(!). So as a lesson to those who compare their lives to others on Instagram: not everything is as it seems.

Long necklace: £139, Lucy Williams x Missoma. Large 9ct gold hoop earrings: £69.99, H Samuel.

The media has always had a way of telling us who or what we’re supposed to look like. And it has taken me a long time to accept that I’ll never have a super toned body, but I do have a husband that loves me just the way I am (and was more than happy to take these pictures for me). So for now, that’ll do me just fine.

Shirt: £22, Next. Swimsuit: £39, And Other Stories. Shorts: River Island (old). Sunglasses: £15, Next. Straw bag: £49.50, J Crew. Sandals: £30, Next. Hat: £18, Next.

This post was in collaboration with Next, whose S/S collection is possibly their best one yet.

58 Comments

  1. l understand your complaints about your shape but you shouldn’t; you are really fine with your body; goddamned us, media, fashion on charging at all girls/ women such burden: on trying to achieve an ideal concept of “perfect body”. Enjoy as much as you can your age and health, cause as from now time will be a very hard bitch, and it will be a constant struggle for women (as well as men) to keep their body on the suitable condition and shape (if you are as normal as many, not like those rare persons who have a very high metabolism rate and easily can fit on the fashion culture praise). 🙂
    Cheers!

    1. Totally agree! I am definitely finding it harder to eat what I want…and the idea that there is a ‘normal’ weight or size out there is kind of ridiculous, we all come in different shapes and sizes x

      1. Indeed; but it is still a struggle to many women to learn appreciate their own body shape while living in/ brainwashed by a culture based on the fashionable aesthetics, some beauty cult.
        l am very glad some brands are often mixing normal and plus size (let’s use those words without associating to any negative approach on them) models with those ‘runway’ ones. It give us a more realistic and better view of the clothes.

          1. true! “normal” , “average ” are really tricky words and always remind us about any kind of standardization …body shape vary a lot and this we need to always bear in mind.

  2. What do you mean by “relatively slim”. You have a more than normal body and can wear anything.
    I’m sorry, but this is where I can’t take your blog seriously anymore.

      1. Ok, I came out a little harsh! Sorry! You can send a really important message to other young women through your blog if you underline this as much as possible. To appreciate yourself at all times.
        It was just that one sentence that I didn’t like.
        I do think you are really smart and the photos are lovely.
        I am 54 (!), so maybe I ought to follow the +50 blogs , but I just like your style so much better.

        1. Kirsten – I felt the same. Actually, it was the “I’m lucky” attached to it. FFS. WHY are you body shaming people who aren’t as slim as you Alex?

          1. Hi Sara, shaming someone on their website is not appropriate, especially using acronyms for swear words…this was a post about opening up about insecurities and show not all is as it seems on social media. If you would like to troll these thoughts, please go elsewhere x

  3. You look amazing! Seriously! I’m 47 with a ten year old daughter, so I’m really careful about how I project what I think of my body, but what I really really wish is that I’d loved it more when I was younger. You have lovely long legs and great skin, stride out and be proud!

  4. Yes! I love that certain bloggers are redefining the idea of what a woman’s body ‘should’ look like – ie there is no ‘should’ as there is no ‘perfect’. A beautiful, honest post. I think those of us in your community are here because we don’t want the gloss because, well, we all want to feel OK about ourselves with a healthy dose of aspiration. Thank you.

  5. Great thoughts, normal, sweet and so down to earth! Thank you Alex, you are such an honest inspiration and you have contributed to our lives more than you can ever imagine! How to be fashionable with affordable high street, and this post – it’s amazing. Love, love, love your work! Thank you for be the way you are, you are such an inspiration. You are the epitome of the thesis, that style and good taste have nothing to do with expensive. P.S. I love you hair color too, would be great if you can share your thoughts on how to get from medium to very light blond, hair care and make up 🙂

  6. Honestly, you should be a bit kinder to yourself! If I looked like you and wore the same (small) size I would be overjoyed! At 43 my weight has soared, for the first time in my life I am plus size meaning H&M, Zara etc don’t fit…it saddens me sometimes, but being on medication doesn’t make it easy to slim down so I have to find ways to like bits of myself and focus on those. The positives include lots of shoe shopping (they always fit) and re-learning what styles now suit me with my new and different body shape. Stay happy!

  7. I love your honesty : that’s why I love your blog (I already said this but sometimes we need to hear it again😜)

    and i understand you totally with the wobbly bits thing (Mark Darcy in Bridget jones says he love them btw!) and with the fact it’s much more difficult to have a body as slim as in our 20s! But anyway, you look gorgeous as always and so inspiring !

    Keep up the good work ! 😘

  8. You look stunning! Be proud of your body! Plus, I can’t see even a little bit of cellulite, you lucky girl! 😉 After 33, the real struggle starts 😞

  9. Ah what a refreshing and candid post! The blogger world is definitely over hyped and does project this idea of perfection when really at the end of the day, we all have things we don’t love about ourselves-both physically and mentally. I absolutely adore your style and your content because you are so relatable. Thanks for being a daily source of inspiration <3

    1. Thank you! Yes, I totally agree – I try and be as real as possible but even on instagram, people like more ‘gloss’ to pictures – but then it goes the other way entirely and we’re all aspiring to a false idea!

  10. I follow your blog because of your honesty and because you are a regular human being just like the rest of us. Thank you for this post and hope that you are not covering up too much when you hit a lovely beach! And I love the straigtforward crispness of a big shirt!

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