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Mum and son on the beach
Jessica wears Es Una's zip front ruffle rashie dress

It's hard finding the perfect swimwear whatever your age; and harder still as our bodies change as we get older. Adelaide woman Lyndal Sterenberg decided to create Es Una, an award-winning brand where women can reclaim the beach with confidence.

Q: Tell me about how you felt when you travelled through your 40s?

A: I am 52 and only now coming to realise that those hot sweaty nights and aching legs and weight gain was actually peri menopause setting in and not the flu, or a virus or a heavy doona.

During my 40s, my kids were growing and busy, and I was busy with them and my work, and I tended to ignore signs from my body telling me to give it a break.

I didn’t focus on it or give it the grace it deserved. When my 13 year old wanted to replace her rashie and didn’t want to just wear her bathers or anything skin tight, I realised that my negative body image was intergenerational.

She had seen through my mantra of “do what I say, not what I do” and felt uncomfortable in her skin too. I wanted to take action to turn that around.

Summer, with the promotion of ‘beach ready’ and ‘beach body’ diets can be a stressful time for many women and, feeling how I did about my own body, could bring a sense of dread when the sun came out.

I didn’t want that to continue. When I wore a certain style or colour or fit, I knew it made me feel more confident, so looked into the role of fashion as a tool to build confidence.

Today, I can have moments when I still struggle with body image but I have more awareness and knowledge about it now and can change my outfit, add a bit of colour, and feel better about myself.

Woman standing by the pool
Michelle wears Es Una’s A-Line Rashie Dress in teal

Q: How do you help women reclaim the beach with confidence?

A: I provide a range of swimwear solutions that address body concerns. I speak with women all the time about their summer and body image challenges.

It’s sad that so many women stop doing things – exercising, swimming, going to the beach, spending time with family or friends - because they feel uncomfortable about how they look.

Body image is about how you ‘feel’ about your body. If I can help women to feel better by providing something to wear to the beach that addresses their concerns, I want to do that.

Australia has the highest melanoma rates in the world and Es Una’s range is made from UPF50+ fabric that protects skin from sun damage. Es Una’s range provides women with a way to cover more of their skin and return to the beach with confidence. Many cancer survivors, for example, need to limit their UV exposure.

Some medical treatments or conditions may have left scarring that needs to be protected from the sun or women may not want to expose for privacy or modesty reasons.

One customer returned a rashie dress three times to get the right size because she had a swollen arm from oedema and needed to get the right fit for that arm.

She wanted to go to the beach and enjoy summer but didn’t want people staring at her arm. My range enabled her to choose something to wear and swim in that meant she could reclaim the beach with confidence.

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