Adventures in swimsuit shopping

I went swimsuit shopping last week. The last time I went looking for a swimsuit in Mumbai, our options were limited and involved convincing the salesman that I didn’t really want or need one with a frilly skirt attached. The next step was to choose between floral patterns that could only be rated on a scale of hideous to not-so-hideous. That’s how long ago it was. Eventually I settled on the one piece that stood out from the rest – a sporty, modest two-piece whose solid colour I wasn’t a fan of but was willing to ignore. It served me well for many years.

Now that the landscape of retail in Mumbai has changed completely, I figured I would have a relaxed easy afternoon with a multitude of options to choose from. So here’s the thing – yes, you no longer have to visit the stores with the frilly skirt and floral swimwear. (They still exist, make no mistake, you just don’t have to go there.) However, I realised with growing alarm that the alternative was a series of swimsuits that assume that a) we are all in supermodel-good shape and b) are unafraid to wear very little at a public pool. In a strange way, so much has changed, yet nothing has really. You’re forced to choose, again, from a limited range that doesn’t really fit your style in the first place (‘I Have A Smoking Body and I Want Everyone To Know It’ is kind of specific and limiting). Eventually in the sea of little triangles, I did find one that worked well for me (at Marks & Spencer – pictured above). I realise that it is the equivalent of my sporty, modest two-piece from so many years ago. The only difference is that this time I don’t have to ignore the colour or anything else about it. It is an unqualified success. So maybe the wheels of change are in motion and by the time I’m ready to shop for a swimsuit in the city again it will be easy and relaxed and full of options for every kind of girl. Baby steps.


L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

I had been reading about this hand cream for a while and bought a 30 ml tube to check it out. On the first few applications it felt a little heavier than hand creams I’d used before but it does work well and I would recommend it especially if you like very mild scented creams.


Mango Summer Lookbook 2012

These two looks from Mango’s Summer 2012 collection are absolutely on my must-have list.


Clinique Quickliner For Eyes – Black/Brown

Both my stories about Clinique’s pencil-formula Quickliner have to do with airports. The first time I encountered it was at a duty-free Clinique shop in Rome. I bought the Black and decided to try it on in the airport bathroom in an effort to look like less tired on the flight. I went into the bathroom and began to apply it on my left eye. It really was as smooth as the packaging promised. It glided on to my lid in one smooth sweep of the soft self-sharpening pencil. I tried the attached smudge-sponge and it blended beautifully for a subtle edge-free line. I was very pleased with my handiwork and about to start on the other eye when I saw a man walk behind me in the mirror. I smiled and nodded and he left. It took a few minutes but I realised that there was something wrong with that picture. A man had walked past me. That is when the penny dropped—in my tired state I had wandered into the wrong bathroom. I made a hasty exit—one eye lined—into the Women’s room, and finished doing the other eye, still smooth, still hassle-free even though my hand was much less steady because I couldn’t believe I’d been in the Men’s room doing my makeup.

The second story about the Quickliner comes from my hastily scribbled hand-written note to my sister who was buying me a new stick from a duty-free Clinique on her way back from holiday. I wrote ‘Black/Brown’ indicating one or the other depending on what they had. Apparently this was too confusing because they have Black, Brown and a Black/Brown hybrid shade. The saleswoman gave her the mixed shade and it turned out to be an excellent choice. It’s lighter than black and darker than brown and has been my eyeliner of choice ever since. Clinique has since opened at several outlets in Mumbai and as a result I can now restock without having to also buy an airline ticket. Viva globalization!

Photos courtesy: Mango, Clinique, L’Occitane and Marks & Spencer. All products were purchased or reviewed independently.