What’s The Age Limit For Bikinis?

Dear Annabel Manners, 

 
What is the cutoff for wearing bikinis? I keep seeing people like Lisa Rinna and the woman from Desperate Housewives in the skimpiest bathing suits. Is there an age where you should switch to a one piece? My sister thinks it is 35.
 
— E.A. in Baltimore
Dear E.A.,
Though the rules have relaxed in recent years, I do think there’s a point at which bikinis are no longer appropriate.
Just because you can wear something doesn’t mean you should.
To some degree, it depends on the swimsuit. Nicollette Sheridan (shown here) has a fabulous figure, but her string bikini is way too much.
I’m not suggesting she switch to a grandmotherly one piece (like this terrifying Empire Swim Dress from L.L. Bean). She could easily rack up compliments in a tankini or a more modest two-piece — without the cloud of desperation currently following her to the beach.
To answer your sister’s question, I don’t think there’s a hard and fast rule (though belly-baring seems  a little silly after 50).
Honestly, this isn’t an issue for preppy girls — most of us have insisted on tasteful swimsuits our whole lives. Subtlety is key. When it’s time to surrender our bikinis, we just know.
And if, for some reason, we stay too long at the two-piece party, our mothers will most assuredly tell us.
Gracefully yours,
ANNABEL MANNERS
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