Duchess of AlbaThere’s a reason why many 86-year-olds don’t wear bikinis. (I’ll give you a moment to even process the thought. Your great-grandma. In a bikini. Flesh. Insert your cringe here.) Not only is it kind of unsettling that a woman standing on the horizon of nine decades of life would even want to wear a two-piece, but it’s off-putting when she hauls off and decides to go ahead and get one. And wear it. In public. 

But it’s happening, and it may be coming to a beach near you if Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, otherwise known as the Duchess of Alba, sparks a senior citizen trend. Flanked by her much younger, 61-year-old husband, she strolled the sands of Formentera, Spain in her floral two-piece suit. When you consider that she was already in her mid-twenties as her future hubs was sliding out of his mama’s birth canal, it becomes pretty obvious that our dear duchess is neither a slave to fashion rules nor a cheerleader of social convention.

Duchess of Alba
Generally, I’m not one to subscribe to too many age-based fashion restrictions. I love Stacy and Clinton on What Not to Wear, but they insist “no miniskirts after 35,” and even though I’m not there yet, I fully intend to have my legs out in the wide open when I do. No minis after 50 might make more sense, but 35? C’mon. You’ve barely had a chance to show them gams, considering you spent 12 years in stodgy school uniforms and the bulk thereafter in work-appropriate length sheaths and slacks.

I’ll give it to the lady—she looks good for her age. But looking good for your age doesn’t mean looking good in everything, and nothing flashes that like a big ol’ neon sign than a bikini. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. And I’m going to have to file elderly women in bikinis under the “don’t” column. I prefer my grannies in more modest bathing wear.

Not that she gives a hot damn what I or anybody else thinks or says—obviously. She’s a sickeningly rich old woman worth a cool $4.9 billion and she pulled a guy two-and-a-half decades her junior (though I wouldn’t be shocked if one had something to do with the other). So, on that note, I applaud her free-spiritedness and devil may care attitude. It’s the best thing about the outfit.

Do you think there’s an age when bikinis stop being appropriate? 


Image via Walt Stoneburner/Flickr