‘The vending machine trunks only got one outing’ Jonathan Freedland
Perhaps the very last time I gave even the most fleeting thought to beachwear was exactly 10 years ago, during a family summer holiday to France. We weren’t on the beach but in a municipal pool, for an afternoon of splashing around with my two kids, then aged six and three.
We’d not been there long when I could hear my wife, Sarah, remonstrating with a lifeguard in Spanish. Which was odd – because we were in France – but not wholly unexpected. In moments of stress or confrontation involving non-English speakers, when only complete fluency will do, Sarah tends to revert to her excellent Spanish rather than her slightly less accomplished French. That the lifeguard did not speak a word of Spanish was scarcely relevant.
The issue, it turned out, was with my son’s swimming trunks. They were too long. The rule of the pool was that they be short, Speedo-style budgie-smugglers rather than knee-length shorts. I approached, but that only escalated matters. The guard pointed at my billowing shorts and said I had to leave the pool too. I can’t be sure, but I think he may have blown his whistle.
The two of us were directed to a vending machine that, incredibly, sold trunks-in-a-box. Two pairs cost me a fair few euros but also some dignity, once the two of us emerged in the mandated briefs. My son looked fine, but I was a pointed reminder of why Daniel Craig caused a global sensation in that scene from Casino Royale: it’s a look mere mortals, whose stomachs are less washboard than laundry bag, struggle to pull off. The vending machine trunks only ever got that one outing.
‘Painted toenails are mandatory’ Arwa Mahdawi
I used to think “beach fashion” was an oxymoron. Who looks stylish at the beach? You can look hot, sure – literally and figuratively – but you can’t look cool. As I grew older and sartorially wiser, however, I learned that beauty and the beach are, indeed, compatible, and have developed a signature seaside style.
One of my favourite things to wear at the beach is sand. Or, as I like to call it, “nature’s glitter”. I’ve found that sunscreen, liberally and lazily applied, makes a great base for sand. And the overall result lends texture and an exfoliating edge to every outfit.
Another of my tried-and-tested beachwear trends is fun tan-tattoos. If you cycle through a variety of different strappy tops you can achieve an interesting amalgamation of tan lines. It’s sort of like body art, via the medium of melanin.
I also enjoy wearing jean shorts to the beach. The great thing about jeans shorts is that they’re basically like jeans but shorter. Importantly, they allow your legs to breathe. Most of the year my legs are stuck in skinny jeans so this is the rare moment they’re able to get out in the world and I find it very freeing.
I tend to flip-flop about the right footwear but painted toenails are mandatory. If you go to the beach and don’t Instagram your ocean-facing feet then did you really go to the beach?
In general, my beachwear mantra is not-hot-not-bothered. The only thing worse than people who look like they’ve made too much of an effort for the seaside are people who turn up to the airport in evening wear because they think that will get them an upgrade.