Bathing beauties

Cynthia McGowen blows a kiss during the 2012 Galveston Island Beach Revue Bathing Beauties Contest. This year’s revue, organized by Islander By Choice, was May 17-18 and included several events, culminating in the contest of women decked out in vintage swimwear.

Photo by Kevin M. Cox

The invitation arrives. It’s for a pool party. You'd love to attend, but you're just not willing to bare all in a bathing suit.

Relax, there’s plenty of liberating options that still meet the dress code.

Island boutiques have a wide variety of cool and classy cover-ups and swimsuit alternatives that don’t force you to spare style.

“There are so many options right now,” said Kim Cherryhomes-Bertini, who owns Tangerine Boutique, 2218 Postoffice St. in the island’s downtown. “Layering is in, so everything is kind of big and bohemian.”

Take advantage of sheer, lightweight and colorful fabrics that are easy to layer and can be worn on top of, or without, a swimsuit, she said.

“Maxi dresses are popular, but so are little dresses and rompers,” Cherryhomes-Bertini said. “You can pair a low-rise skirt with an oversized top, a halter top or a bathing-suit top.”

Tangerine Boutique sells crocheted boy shorts and high-waisted shorts that pair perfectly with any top and are easy to slip under a skirt for better coverage, like when you sit in a deck chair or on the edge of the pool, she said.

It also has skirts with built-in shorts or slips that don’t require you to constantly make adjustments, Cherryhomes-Bertini said.

Bottoms are just one part of the pool-party problem for many women, said JoAnn Dore, manager of Head to Footsies, 2211 Strand downtown. But a versatile summer wardrobe can flatter any body shape.

“A lot of ladies, especially older ladies, don’t like their arms to be exposed, but if you’re going to be out in the sun it’s hard to not expose them,” Dore said. “Of course we want you to be comfortable, so the three-piece bathing suits we sell come with sarongs or tunics that cover the upper arms and extend to the knees.”

Head to Footsies also offers long and lightweight scarves you can drape over your waist, neck or shoulders, Dore said.

Sometimes it’s the social situation that poses more of a wardrobe challenge than a particular body part, said Misty Dillon, a sales associate at Treasure Trove, 2719 61st St. on the island.

“In this business, we get all sorts of questions about these kinds of problems,” she said. “It really depends on the situation. I had an 80-year-old lady come in who was going to a wedding rehearsal brunch followed by a pool party. She wanted something decent to wear at a nice place that she could wear over her swim suit.”

The answer was simple, Dillon said. A light cotton dress with short sleeves that extended to the knees, providing the woman just the right amount of comfort and cover inside the restaurant and outside by the pool, she said.

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