After hearing a friend rave about the clothes her friend got from Victoria's Secret's clothing line, I decided to check out their website and snoop around. What was going to be a quick look turned into 4 hours of browsing, sending links to my friend over MSN whenever I found something cute, and fervently wishing that Victoria's Secret would look to the Great White North and open a location here sometime soon. The swimwear selection was especially amazing; there were so many suits for so many body types! In Van, when I think of swimsuit shopping, I think of La Vie En Rose Aqua and frankly not much else, and La Vie En Rose Aqua has mostly bikinis.
After browsing, browsing, and browsing swimsuits, three things started to annoy me. The first was that the models were impossibly toned and gorgeous and lean. I'm usually the type of person who concentrates more on the clothes rather than the model wearing them so I've never felt a huge blow to my self-esteem or anything, but even I began feeling sorry for myself for ending up average in the genetic lottery. The second was that the locales all look like some exotic, lush tropical vacation spot where the sand is smooth and the water is warm, whereas in Van even though we have beaches, the water is a little above freezing at best and the small rocks and twigs in the sand make walking barefoot somewhat painful.
Taken together, these thoughts were kind of depressing so I tried my best to focus on the swimwear, but the models' ensembles kept distracting me. That's right, I said "ensembles." Whoever styled the photoshoots tried their best to accessorize the swimsuits by putting a chunky piece of jewelry on every appendage and body part possible. Now, I can understand a chunky necklace of dangly shells and stones and a cuff bracelet with a sundress, perhaps while strolling down the Malecon boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta and watching the sunset. But come on, jewelry with a bikini?!?
The pictures prompted many thoughts of very un-sexy scenarios in my head. Take, for instance, the model with the earrings big enough to be worn as bracelets. I looked at that photo, and right after I said to myself, "This bathing suit is so cute! I wish I looked like that in my bikini! I wish I were vacationing there!", my thoughts went something like this: "Hmm interesting earrings. I hope she's not planning to go snorkeling in those. Fish might get caught in them and choke, just like they do with 6-pack plastic rings. And nothing ruins a Hawaiian vacation like having fish strangled by your earrings while in the ocean. Now that's traumatic."
Or the model with multiple long necklaces: "Cool! In a pinch they can double as a surfboard tether."
Or the model in a necklace, earrings, a chunky cocktail ring, and a bangle: "Accessorize much? That'll leave so many bad tanlines unless her jewelry falls off in the water."
I understand they're trying to sell the suit and the accessories might set off certain aspects of the suit--wooden beads, colours in the pattern, metal bits--to their best advantage. I understand that this look is not meant to even touch the water, and maybe some women want to accessorize their bikinis if they take a cruise and plan to just tan poolside all day long (but then again, the jewelry tanlines!). But for me, bikinis always mean fantastic beaches, and when I think of San Blas, Puerto Vallarta, or Puerto Escondido, I think of ice-cold Coronas and Cokes, sand, sunscreen, and swimming in warm water the colour of the sky. The excessive accessorizing on these models detracts from that fantasy so much that these photos border on self-parody.