Summer Fun

What:
Fashionably frolicking on Miami Beach in the hottest one-piece styles of the summer from “Bikini Island Swimwear.” Think retro suits from the 80’s & 90’s: high cuts, low backs, a lot of texture and a little leopard print never hurt nobody. #Meow

Why:
When it comes to celebrating a woman’s body, no one does it better than Sports Illustrated’s annual Swimsuit Edition. Not only is the magazine changing the way the world perceives beauty, it’s also changing the way women see themselves. How do I know? Because it’s changed me.

Gone are the days of unattainable beauty and overly airbrushed bodies. Instead, SI’s images are steadily being replaced with voluptuous curves, athletic builds and alluring individuality. In other words, REAL women are finally being celebrated and as a former beauty queen, waif-era model and current on-air television personality, it’s not only a relief, it’s empowering.

For years, alongside most women, I’ve held myself to unrealistic beauty standards. The constant dieting, working out and overall self-criticism has been exhausting, but now, instead of trying to be something I’m not, I’m slowly reprogramming myself to love the skin I’m in. While it’s good for the self-esteem, it’s definitely a process, especially after decades of being put under the beauty microscope by pageant officials, modeling agents and television consultants — who all wanted to transform me into THEIR definition of pretty — which honestly, was never the best version of myself. In fact, it was usually the opposite.

Thank God those days are over and I can focus on things like “Summer Fun” — my annual bathing suit blog featuring the latest and greatest in swimwear trends. Usually, I build a high-fashion theme around basic beachwear, but not this year. Instead, as an ode to Sports Illustrated, I wanted to peel back the layers of my body insecurities and keep things more natural while featuring looks from “Bikini Island Swimwear” in Fort Lauderdale.

The boutique is a rare jewel in this “buy it online” day and age. Owner & Professional Fashion Stylist, Marielle Voets Ortiz, believes choosing a bathing suit should be an intimate experience. Touching the material, seeing the textures and ultimately trying it on is the key to finding what truly fits your body and personality. Marielle is also from Europe and used to boutique-style shopping and wanted to bring that type of experience to South Florida women. She combs the globe to find the most chic and sophisticated styles to fill her store with swimsuits, cover-up’s, summer fashions and accessories.

Everything I’ve worn from her store makes me feel confident and classically on trend, which is no easy task considering my swimsuit standards are incredibly high. It’s one thing to snap a photo on a blog, it’s another to wear a suit with reckless abandon on a girls’ weekend to Key West or to Miami Beach running, jumping and swimming in the ocean — which is exactly what I did in each of these fabulous one-pieces. I felt so comfortable, I even rolled around in the sand a few times. 🤓

And while it’s eternally summer in South Florida, trends are still changing with the seasons in the rest of the world. This year, high- cut, low-back one-pieces are all the rage. Think 80’s & 90’s-style swimsuits worn by some of the original SI models like Christie Brinkley, Kathy Ireland and more recently, Tyra Banks. Pretty beading, crochet overlays and fun prints keep the look modern. When choosing a suit, I think of four things: comfort, style, sophistication and sex appeal. The “Summer Fun” trend incorporates all of them, mixed with a healthy dose of pizzazz and what South Florida girl doesn’t like a little or a lot of that? During our sweltering, half-naked, wearing-as-little-clothes-as-possible months, remember…

Loving and accepting yourself in any capacity takes work, but it’s worth doing when the end result is #selflove & #selfempowerment and with more realistic images of the female body, thanks to publications like SI, “Summer Fun” isn’t such a bad place to be and that’s why it’s one of my #FavoriteThings. Happy summer, fashionistas!

Where:
Bikini Island Swimwear
3335 NE 32nd Street
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33308
www.bikiniislandswimwear.com

When:
Tuesday – Saturday: 10:30 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.
See all the photos at www.ShireenSandoval.com

Be Social:
IG: @bikini_island_swimwear
FB: @bikiniislandswimwear

“I would be remiss when talking about beauty secrets to not say that one of the best is to care about the world around you. That’s what really matters.” — Christie Brinkley

James Woodley Photography
Swimsuits, handmade beach bag tote & beaded sandals by Bikini Island Swimwear
Jewelry: @handmademiamibeach available at @wynwoodshop
Hair & Make-up: Odett Hernandez
Digital Editor: Jessie Neft-Swinger
Editor: Matthew “Beach Boy” Auerbach

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