Soak up some sun in your sarong

Getting “bikini body ready” should not be an arduous process of moulding our bodies into the “perfect figures” we see on magazine covers and Instagram feeds.

It should be a process of self love and acceptance and learning to love your skin, unmotivated by the way others perceive you.

At least that’s what I believe. I think our different bodies are uniquely beautiful and we should be encouraged to express them in any way we choose.

However, it’s not always easy. Many women and men deal with body insecurities due to a long history of body bashing and shaming experienced in person, via the media or online.

Baring our bodies in public places can therefore be very daunting.

Although some enjoy flaunting their curves and feeling the sun on their skin, others prefer using stylish cover-ups, which is a happy medium to use to stay cool while looking fabulous.

There are many beach cover options available out there which include chiffon ponchos, light fabric dresses and brightly patterned kimonos.

My favourite still remains the versatile and timeless sarong which is affordable, easy to fit into your bag and doubles up as a picnic blanket in times of need.

Many of us have sarongs lying around but if you don’t, you can find one in an array of colours at the Muizenberg flea market for less than R100. Sarongs are a favourite of mine because they can easily be transformed into a skirt with a side slit or a halter neck dress.

For those who enjoy experimenting, I have included some unique ways to tie your cover-up so that you can change your beach look with one item at the tie of a knot.

Start by laying down the sarong so that the rectangle shape is visible. Grab the top two corners of the longer side of the sarong and bring them up to your waist . Use the ends to tie a knot close to your waist. Simple. That way you have an easy skirt.

Another easy look to create would be the halterneck dress. Simply hold the length of the sarong behind your back, like you would do when wrapping a towel around your body. Then criss cross the ends you are holding, around the front of your body and tie them behind your neck.

To create a vertical dress, take the short side of the sarong, and hold it underneath your left arm so that the length of the sarong is hanging along the left side of your body.

Then tie the corners on top of your right shoulder. The sarong will hang open on your right side. At the open side, gather two edges at your waist and tie another knot at your waist, close to your body. Tug on the material at your stomach and back, to create some volume if you like.

One of my favorite ways to tie a sarong is the keyhole tie because it creates a low back and hugs your figure. You can create a similar look using a smaller scarf to create a keyhole shirt.

To start off, take the two corners of the short side of the sarong and tie the ends behind your neck.

Take the sides of the sarong and tie them at your waist. Tug on the material in the front of the sarong so that it hangs over your waist, and voilá.

Lastly, to create a simple strapless dress, gather the ends of the sarong at the long end and bring them behind your back and around to the front of your bust, like you did when creating the halterneck dress.

Instead of tying the ends behind your neck, tie them on top of your bust.

You can make a double knot in the front to secure the dress, but if your sarong is long enough, you can tie a knot in the front and move the ends behind your back and secure with another knot there.

I hope these sarong ideas help you to stay cool and fabulous on the beach.

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