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food / travel

Women-At-The-Beach Cliches, A German Take On 4 Nationalities

Can you spot the Russian women lounging under umbrellas? A (male) German writer says he can. British, French and, yes, Germans too.

Not German, Russian, British or French? You can laugh then.
Not German, Russian, British or French? You can laugh then.
Oliver C. Schilling

The Germans
What she looks like
A German girl prefers to go someplace she knows. And if she does try a new destination — say, because the early booking discount was just too good to pass up — it has to have a certain level of organization. There’s nothing better than when Luigi the beach attendant remembers that she prefers her chaise longue set in the second row, or when she can order her cappuccino in her own language.

What she wears
Eat milk chocolate with nuts year round, then get stressed right before holiday time about how you look in a bikini. That pretty much sums up the German girls. So when she’s buying said bikini — even if she blames the lousy light in the store changing room for creating such an unattractive visual effect — she’ll invest in cover-ups just in case. The cover-ups may be kaftans or snazzy Capri pants worn with up-market sandals — and there you have her beach look. If she were thinking along practical lines, she would never take her good designer handbag to the beach (see below, The Russians): It could get sand in it. But she does, and it does too.

Finally, a German girl’s most important accessory is her high SPF sunscreen.

The Russians
What she looks like

If there weren’t any Russian girls around, you’d have to invent them. These girls don’t just go on vacation to read a good book and get a little color. No, beach life to them is a kind of daily soap in which they are the stars.

These are the women that Champagne showers were made for, women who know how to play any mood from frivolous to dreamy with absolute perfection. When Russian girls are around, the meaning of the expression “see and be seen” is fully revealed. Who else would plonk a fat wad of cash down on the counter for the attendant who sets up her beach umbrella in the first row?

What she wears
Preferably very little, but what is there is richly adorned. Flashy to a Russian woman is not a criticism but, in fact, a compliment. But even the Russians have eased off the Western status symbols and stopped carrying everything except big luxury-brand handbags.

Actually, the minimalist bags by Céline that they’ve been using on the beach with such nonchalance have attained the same status as their latest breast implants. Russian girls love to show off what they’ve got. As for other apparel, it’s pretty much the same as ever: heels and short skirts. Did I mention luscious lips?

The British
What she looks like
What having to wear a school uniform does to you is clear by looking at the British women. Because they want to stand out from the others, they focus on original details that will set their uniform-wearing selves apart. On holiday, whether they’re a drunk bunch of girlfriends in Magaluf (Mallorca) or jet setters on Mykonos, they may be minus the uniform, but that penchant for distinguishing detail sets their outfits apart, giving them an individual albeit very motley look.

What she wears
The world could be coming to an end, but British girls would still be wearing their heels, as much a part of them as that little wave is to the Queen. And whether it be alcohol or styling, they pile it on. As far as the look goes, it’s as if they were striving to create their own version of Kate Moss, a mixture of rock bitch and beach babe.

Incredible numbers of chains are thus as de rigueur as sunglasses with lenses as big as bicycle wheels. But if more is desirable in the accessories department, less applies to the rest of the outfit. British girls wear the shortest skirts, the tightest tops, and the most form-fitting jeans that they enhance with their own amusing little add-ons.

The French
What she looks like
If, at the beach bar, you see a woman eat one grape for lunch but wash it down with a glass of rosé, then you can be sure you’re looking at a French girl. To her, pleasure and beauty are not mutually exclusive. French women tend to look a bit bored but cool, even though they may have endured five hours of standstill traffic on their drive down to the Côte from Paris, something they’d rather not discuss.

What they wear
Hippy — sorry, Bohemian — chic is what a French girl wears at the beach. That means bright tunics, glittery sandals, a lot of costume jewelry and something by Chanel, because French girls see the beach as a sort of catwalk. Never would a French woman show up badlymon Dieu! — practically attired on the beach, and so they manage to turn even the most unprepossessing resort into a kind of mini Saint-Tropez.

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