My husband and I are going on a 21 day Best of Europe tour in June. I keep seeing that all women wear bikinis in Europe. I haven't worn a bikini in 20 years!! Will I look ridiculous in a one-piece there? Should I just be European and go for the bikini? And if so, what kind of bikini does a 60 year old wear?? What have you done? How did it go?
Wear what you want. To heck with what anybody thinks.
How about a nudist beach?
I would do a one piece bathing suit. A cloth covering "moo-moo" as well. Some kind of wrap over/around the suit may work when walking around.
False assumption. My French family members wear 1-piece suits and they live in beach areas. I’ve been around many older German women wearing 1-piece suits. I’ve been wearing a 1-piece in France forever, while swimming for exercise at pools in Paris or at family pools or the beach. Just wear whatever you usually wear. There are some older women on the beaches in 2-piece suits, some with the top down or untied, but also 1-piece suits.
I have never felt uncomfortable or out of place on beaches in France, Italy or the Canary Islands (Spain) in a one-pice suit.
Where did you read this?
Wear a bikini at least just once. I bet you’ll have a blast.
I understand where the question is coming from being a 60 year old woman also. In the 70's when I first started visiting Europe I wore a one piece because I didn't want too much skin exposed to the sun, very light Irishman here who experienced very bath sunburns as a youth. Anyway, I was literally the only person on the beaches of the old Yugoslavia wearing a one piece. My MIL, who was not a small woman, wore a two piece. I never saw another one piece the following 4 summers I travelled there. Not exaggerating. I still wear a one piece, with a long sleeve rash guard on the beach and in the water. I don't care what people think. I get stares, husband's cousins always joke they can find me one the beach in a crowd cause I am the only one fully dressed. Yes, I do see more one pieces now, but still not that many.
Wear what you will be comfortable in. I wore a one piece a few years ago in Italy, and it wasn’t until after that trip that I read that I was supposed to feel out of place in Europe in a one piece. I didn’t notice anything while I was there and I felt perfectly comfortable in my one piece. I would have been uncomfortable in a bikini. I think most people you will see aren’t so judgemental that they will care one way or the other about what you are wearing.
Try a tankini. I have worn those for several years. Coverage of a 1 piece, comfort of a 2 piece/bikini. You can choose top and bottom to hide or reveal whatever you want.
At 67 I want to de-emphasize my Twinkie thighs and tummy tootsie rolls. Even if I could loose my extra 10 lbs, I can’t hide the age gravity so camouflage helps.
Thanks for all your stories and opinions! Considering I'll probably only be in a swimsuit once or twice during the trip, I think I'll stick to my one-piece. No point in spending extra money on something I'll probably never wear again. I'd rather spend that money on a nice meal, and skip the fashion show. 😂
I keep seeing that all women wear bikinis in Europe.
Having taken notice of plenty of women on the beach and around the pools in Europe I can assure you that this is completely untrue. Based on my most recent trip to Spain a few weeks ago most of the older women were in one pieces.
In Austria, every woman, no matter the size or age, wears a two piece. The only one piece you see is when a woman chooses to just wear the bottom.
It is very liberating, to know that body self-consciousness and body shaming just do not exist here in the same way they do in the US.
Wear whatever you want!
I will say that as a 40-ish woman of average but not really thin size (size 8?) at home I am more confident in a tankini (tank top style top that covers my stomach and a bikini bottom). BUT in Europe I feel ridiculous in that suit, like I’m making some sort of point to be modest. Which I’m not, it’s just that in the US bikinis are more for very in-shape, younger people.
In Europe most every woman of all sizes and ages are wearing 2 pieces. So when I’m Europe I wear a 2 piece. Not a tiny string bikini, but still clearly a 2 piece. I feel I stand out less wearing this, and calling attention to myself in a swimsuit is the last thing I want to do!
I loved your post about the one-piece being a bottom only.
My view - I don't care what others wear to the beach - so, I doubt anyone is paying attention to me either. If you burn easily and don't want to slather yourself in sunscreen, then wear a neck-to-ankle dive skin. You are on vacation. You don't know anybody around you and they aren't particularly interested in you either. Just have fun!
I would not waste the money buying a new suit I would never wear anywhere else.
I'm a former red head. While my hair color has changed, my skin type has not. After my first couple of teenage induced sunburns, which start surfacing after 15 minutes in the salty air, I've stayed covered. I rarely go to the beach to lie on it, but when I have to join others, I look ridiculous. I have a rash guard shirt and shorts for the water. The rest of the time a large hat and long skirt are added. I also have a sun umbrella. If I am willing to look ridiculous among people I know, I sure wouldn't care about it in a foreign country. No one should be lying in the sun anymore, but I won't go there. So, by all means wear the swim suit that you have, rather than buying and wearing one you will never wear again and in which you might feel uncomfortable/exposed. Spend the money on a memory instead. YMMV ;)
Wear what you are comfortable in. These urban travel myths that Americans have are fascinating. Much like the ‘nobody in Europe wears shorts or tennis shoes’ myth, I think you will find that you aren’t the only one wearing a one piece. Plus the minute you start talking you will be pegged as a foreigner. Be comfortable and enjoy Europe.
PS-I have yet to see on an American travel board questions from foreigners about what to wear.
Just got back from a walk through the park. As usual, saw many people lying in the grass with only their bra and/or underwear on. No one blinks an eye.
I’ve swam/sunbathed in Italy, Austria and Spain and just wore my normal one-piece suit. I saw others wearing every type mentioned above, including a one-piece, and a small group just skinny-dipping off the shore at St. Wolfgang next to our hotel. Since the attitude in Europe is to accept your body “as is”, wear whatever makes you comfortable.
When I was 30, I travelled to Italy and spent some time on the beach. After the first day, I ditched my American swim suit and bought a little bikini at the outdoor market. Now that I am 60, I always bring a simple black bikini with me to Europe which takes up very little space in my carryon suitcase and the top doubles as a black bra.
I think UV protection has become my #1 priority and fashion falls far down the list. It is possible to have both if you plan wisely, but remember that protecting your skin is important.
I was on the beach in Positano on the Amalfi coast last year. I am in my 50s. I was the only person I saw in a one piece bathing suit.
I didn't care and I doubt anyone else did either.
If women can truly wear what they want then they can wear a one piece, a bikini, a tankini, or a rash guard.
It isn’t about shaming. It’s about what flatters. Its also about UV protection. That’s especially true if you are light skinned. Even more so if you have red hair (MC1R mutation carries a 40% higher chance of melanoma).
The nice part about a rash guard is that you can wear it other places.
What is a "rash guard"?
A rash guard is a special shirt that provides protection from the sun while swimming. Land’s End sells a lot of them.
REI sells them too, for both men and women. They were developed to protect surfers’ skin from the board while paddling Out in the prone position.
A more recent iteration is the one-piece suit with long sleeves for good UV protection, like this:
I bought one last year and discovered to my surprise that the wet fabric on my arms makes me really cold once I am out of the water, even on a hot day. So I wear mine for kayaking, but will be more careful about swimming in it.
It is the rare (and lucky) woman in her 60s who would feel comfortable in a bikini....seriously!!!
When I go on water vacations, I wear a two-piece swimsuit. It's the kind where one buys the top to appropriate size (measurement plus cups) then the bottom the appropriate size. It is far from a granny-panties/Nurse Buxley type get-up, more what one might call a bikini, but NOT the thong or string type. But, that is then topped with long-sleeve LandsEnd rash guard shirt, not only for sun protection but also because even though I am 5'll" and 137 lbs., I do not have a perfect Miss America body!! I feel much more comfortable a little more modestly dressed.
For those that are not familiar with the rash guard shirts, they dry almost instantly and do not feel hot......best thing since sliced bread!!
Do I feel confident? Yes. Would I feel confident without the rash guard shirt...no!!
I have several rash guards and swim tights. I used the swim tights as leggings when I travel. It’s a two for one!
Lands End has some pretty rash guards. I also found some nice ones at Gap. Both are SPF 50.
It’s great for all day activities.
Thanks for telling about a rash guard. I think I have seen my California son-in-law wearing one!
Speaking of swim suits, my aunt who is 108 years old recently told me again about the swimsuits my grandmother made for her, my mother, and my other aunt. They were made from black WOOL! Can you imagine! Guess that fabric was thick enough to create a modest swim costume. I believe the suits had at least 2 parts.
Wear what you wan't to wear. Age doesn't matter by the way. Rock and wear your bikini with confidence! Enjoy on your vacation :)
In Austria, only small children wear rash guards. To see a grown woman wearing one would be very odd.
In Austria, only small children wear rash guards. To see a grown woman wearing one would be very odd.
Austria doesn’t get the high number of intensive sunny days so skin cancer is less of a problem.
Many in the US were overexposed to the sun so are now battling the problems that come with it. Rash guards are a part of any sunny community, as well as large sun hats.
It’s utterly reasonable to protect yourself against melanoma. Especially since it can metastasize to other parts of the body. Sun lotion is stinky and gooey, as well as potentially damaging to coral reefs. A rash guard is the superior solution for many.
And if Vienna doesn’t care about body shape it shouldn’t care if people wear clothing either. Most rash guards look like normal clothing BTW, so I’m not sure why it would look “very odd”? It would look like someone is wearing clothes at the beach.
I suppose it has a lot to do with sun exposure. I'd say at least 1/3 of everyone I saw swimming at the beach in Hawaii last month was wearing one. You could start the trend for Austria😀
Wear what is comfortable for YOU. Like Maggie, I always wear a 2 piece and haven't owned a 1 piece in years. I'm not comfortable in them, and generally they do not fit me well. I buy swim separates of a top and full coverage bottom, not a teeny bikini. Lands End is a good source as is Academy Sports. I have a tankini but do not like the feel of a wet swimsuit against my midriff. I have never worn rash guard, so I can't speak to those. I spend a LOT of time in and on the water, and this works for my 71 y/o body. Enjoy your trip!
Bikini isn't European.
I wear a cute one piece and a rashgard and board shorts (if it fits in my luggage).I'm 42. Doesn't matter the age, we all need to cover up a bit more. The beauty of modestys gone out the window. Personally when I see all the tanned naked bodies it reminds me of a sort of baked turkey soup.
Be beautiful cover yourself :)
Not only was the bikini invented in France, making it most definitely European, we also do not need to live in the real life version of the Handmaid’s Tale.
we also do not need to live in the real life version of the Handmaid’s Tale.
Covering up is about skin cancer and being able to stay out in the sun longer.
And again, if you have true freedom then you are free to wear the rash guard as much as the bikini.
Wear what makes you comfortable. For me, covering up is a medical necessity and has nothing to do with modesty or morality. After having had two skin cancers removed, my beach attires is similar to this (plus a hat!):
My husband the oncologist would approve of the full coverage sun protection.
But I wonder if it would be allowed in a public swimming pool in France?
If you normally wear bikinis, then go ahead and wear them in Europe.
I prefer tankinis and find they are much better than a one piece. I have seen all types of swimwear on women of all ages, even women of a certain age going topless.
I just turned 60 and i look ok in clothes but there's now way in hell i would wear a bikini! :) I'm going to Europe in July and packing a one piece. But of course you should wear what you want and what you feel comfortable in!
I love all the sun protection talk. Im fair skinned and burn 20 minutes out ... maybe consider with your swim gear a packable wide brim hat that you like.