In Ipanema, where we had our ‘home away from home’ in Rio for two weeks, there are countless swimwear shops with mannequins posing seductively in the chic store windows and plenty of voluptuous ‘live’ examples showing off the sexy Brazilian swimwear on the beach – even at the end of winter!
While many think of the tanga fio denta or ‘dental floss thong’ (no need for a description obviously) as the definitive Brazilian girl’s bikini bottom, these days women tend to wear a bikini that is generally more modest in the front and hips, but which varies in the degree of exposure of your butt – from baring it all to a piece of cloth just a tad smaller than the front so that the initial inclination of most foreign women is to wear it in the reverse!
The great thing about buying a bikini in Brazil is that the Brazilians understand that women come in all shapes and sizes so that the tops and bottoms of your bikini set are interchangeable in sizes! If you’re a 10 top and 14 bottom – as a lot of the girls in Rio are – you can mix and match to suit. And if you are a size 14 top and a 10 bottom, you can select a pair to suit that shape too.
That alone makes Rio a fabulous place to buy bikinis, and I haven’t even touched on the styles and designs. The fact that the local designs are tried and tested on the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana every day make local bikinis a brilliant souvenir. After all, Rio is not a city where shyness is a virtue… so don’t be shy now.
Garota de Ipanema
Rua Vinicius de Moraes 53
There may be many more chic (and more expensive) swimwear shops in Ipanema – just stroll the main street, there are dozens – but I like Garota de Ipanema (girl from Ipanema) for three reasons. The boutique adjoins the restaurant of the same name where it’s said the legendary Tom Jobim was sitting when he was inspired to compose the famous Bossa Nova song Girl from Ipanema after seeing a beautiful blonde pass by. The shop is actually owned by the ‘Girl from Ipanema’ herself and her daughter. I’d shop here for reasons of nostalgia alone, even if she didn’t make such a gorgeous bikini! I love that they have larger sizes for foreign women, which can be difficult to find elsewhere in Rio. That’s not to say we have bigger bottoms, it’s just that we like our bikini bottoms to cover a bit of our bottom. And lastly, their bikinis are sexy, funky, and fantastically made. You can also buy a sunga for your guy, as well as beach towels and bags.