Life is Better in a Bikini

Life is better in a bikini.

I’ve just finished a three-week-long Book Tour on my home island Réunion with plenty of opportunities to wear my favorite item of clothing. The evolution of the bikini’s design traces the emancipation of women, as a symbol of liberty and confidence, with iconic images of stars like Ursula Andress and Raquel Welch helping to stoke its myth. But, as well as being comforting and empowering, they are just so darn comfortable and practical – at the beach or for fighting dinosaurs.

Author joanne reed
this is your quest
life is better in a bikini
raquel welch
Raquel Welch’s iconic bikini in One Million Years BC

“Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don’t take it off until you’re thirty-four.”

Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

A History of Sex Appeal

When the bikini was invented by Louis Réard, a French automobile engineer – in a rather atypical career move, no fashion model was willing to wear his revealing design. After some negotiations, he hired 18-year-old nude dancer Micheline Bernardini from the Casino de Paris to present his first bikini to the press at the Piscine Molitor, a popular public pool in Paris.

Author joanne reed
this is your quest
life is better in a bikini
micheline bernardini
Micheline Bernardini modeling Louis Réard ‘s first bikini at the Piscine Molitor in Paris, 1946

The bikini was an instant hit; the event – occurring just 4 days after the first test of a nuclear weapon at the Bikini Atoll – were widely carried by the press and Bernadini herself received over 50,000 fan letters – her life turned out to be a lot better in a bikini! Réard hoped that his swimsuit’s revealing style would create an ‘explosive commercial and cultural reaction,’ he wasn’t disappointed.

How Small is Too Small

Women’s swimwear has, in the past and even today, attracted controversy and impelled societies to legislate or regulate choice and even where the bikini can be freely worn. In 1951 the controversial item was banned following the first Miss World Contest in London and then declared sinful by the Vatican. I’m not sure if the Pope has ever reversed that ruling but today there is a variety of preferred styles depending on where you come from.

“Life is better in a bikini! And heels!”

A small bikini may not always compliment everyone’s body structures, but countries like Brazil where women have fuller figures, are naughtier and tend to show-off their body a bit more, love them. In fact, the ‘cheeky’ Brazilian cut seems to be the norm in South America, and popular in South East Asia too – for tourists as least – and as a general trend it seems that the popularity of this style is very much on the rise.

“A girl in a bikini is like having a loaded gun on your coffee table- There’s nothing wrong with them, but it’s hard to stop thinking about.”

Garrison Keillor

The Brazilian cut is my favorite style; in Réunion, it is probably the most popular style that you see on the beach here; the style is fun and sexy and more attractive than the thong-style swimsuits that were common in the ’90s. Oh, and those thong-suits, they weren’t just for women either; there was a period here when man-thongs were a common sight, and while women’s suits have tended to constantly evolve smaller, men’s beach fashion here has grown bigger, and become more ‘Americanized’ with surf shorts now being ‘de rigeur.’

Author joanne reed
this is your quest
life is better in a bikini
brazil bikini brazilian bikini
The Brazilian, very cheeky!

Another advantage of going small is of course, the smaller your bikinis are, the easier they are to pack!

Reunion Island

If any of you have got here and are wondering exactly where Réunion Island is located, perhaps it’s worth me pointing it out. Réunion Island, or in French ‘Ile de la Réunion’, is a smallish island situated east of Madagascar and about 175 km southwest of Mauritius. It’s a volcanic island, like Hawaii – but only 5% of the size – with a mountainous interior and a population of about 1 million people. If you haven’t heard of it, that’s not unusual, its typically only known by sailors and stamp-collectors.

Author joanne reed
this is your quest
life is better in a bikini
Reunion island
Réunion Island, Cap Mechant

The island, apart from the climate allowing a bikini to be a year-round fashion item, is famous for a number of things including the first Euro Transaction, occasional – but very heavy rain. and one of the world’s most active volcanoes.

First Euro Transaction

Réunion Island’s geographical position – as the most easterly part of the Eurozone – made it the first European territory to handle the new Euro currency when it was introduced in 2002. At three seconds past midnight, the Mayor of the region’s capital purchased a kilo of lychees after a brief barter with a local stallholder.

Rainfall in Réunion

And rainfall, for the most part, Réunion Island has a mild tropical climate – it doesn’t rain much – but it is in the hurricane belt (or here, cyclone belt) and when it rains, oh boy, it rains. Réunion has set a number of records for highest rainfall measured including the official 24-hour rainfall record (1,825 mm or 71.85”) at Foc-Foc during a tropical storm in 1952 and the 48-hour rainfall record (2,467 mm or 97.13”) at Cilaos, which has sadly – or happily – now been beaten.


Piton de la Fournaise, or ‘Furnace Peak‘ in English, is one of the most active volcanoes in the world (along with Kīlauea in the Hawaiian Islands, Stromboli, and Etna in Italy and Mount Erebus in Antarctica). The volcano is a major tourist attraction and offers some excellent hiking and scenery.

Piton de la Fournaise, last eruption 25 October 2019

I haven’t seen it erupt since I was a child and *** breaking news *** it erupted the day I left!

Bikini Comfortable

Getting back to the main point of this article, it’s obviously more normal that one wears fewer clothes in hot countries but, at the end of the day women are women and want to be comfortable, look beautiful and feel feminine. For me, life is better in a bikini, they do all that and are practical, versatile, part of my French Islander heritage and definitely part of my wardrobe.

Life is better in a bikini, Your Quest is to find out if wearing them makes you happy too.

Follow me on Instagram, Pinterest. or Facebook, and if you liked this post, you may also like:

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For more on this subject you can purchase my book ‘This is Your Quest’ online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Nobles (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Or check out her Amazon Author Page here.

23 thoughts on “Life is Better in a Bikini

  1. I totally agree – I wish I had worn bikinis much more when I was younger, but now I don’t care what people think and I wear it regardless. Awesome for gardening in hot weather. Amazing how many complements you get from men – they are just grateful to see skin. LOL!! :o)

  2. I really enjoyed reading your bikini post and especially loved the quotes. This is inspiring for me. I am not comfortable in my body and have not worn a bikini in public probably since I was 17. I have been wanting to, but have been feeling too self conscious. Maybe someday I will be brave especially now that I live in Hawaii and it is always swim suit weather!

    ❤ Alana

    1. Aloha🏝 ! Thank you so much for your comment it really fills me with joy to think that this article can in a small way make women feels more confident. You are in the perfect location (Hawaii 🏝) to wear the most comfortable clothing item. I say ‘Go for it’ !



  4. Ah I loved your perspective and the research you did for this post! Wow 1946 wasn’t even that long ago. Personally, I do not think bikinis are right. Society has instilled this norm now that if you don’t wear a bikini, you’re probably insecure about your body or something which is not true. If I have a nice body, why would I want to show it off to random men and women in public? To me, it’s almost like wearing a bra and underwear and somehow having sand instead of grass under your feet makes the difference. I don’t find revealing too much skin empowering especially that it was a man who created the bikini. And in terms of the weather, light and baggy clothing like dresses cools the body much more than sun directly hitting the skin but that’s just my take on it. I loved reading this though and I absolutely love your writing style. 😍💗 Have a great day!!

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