The ins and outs of real women and their curves

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Indy Lifestyle Online

When Princess Beatrice stepped out of an azure ocean in the Caribbean last week displaying a teeny-weeny blue bikini and an hourglass figure straight out of a Gok Wan naked makeover, not everyone was sisterly about the stunning contours on display.

The Daily Mail covered itself in a scabrous rash of articles about the 19-year-old princess. One called for the return of "the Victorian habit of descending fully clad into the surf from bathing machines". Another demanded that "someone buy the poor girl a sarong". A double-page spread lamented the "curse of the mummy gene" and eagerly looked forward to a royal diet.

But not for the first time, the Daily Mail is behind the times: boyish is so over. Partly this is down to reality-TV formats: there's money to be made from taking a curvy woman, applying a belt and then revealing to her and the nation that underneath the baggy rugby top she looks strikingly like Marilyn Monroe. It certainly doesn't help those of us whose bodies stoutly refuse to be "cinched in", but it's an extremely easy way to make a transformation.

But now even high fashionistas are into it, and when a male designer finally admits that women go in at the middle it's got to be good news.

Witness the popularity of Roland Mouret's Galaxy and Moon dresses. Then raise a cheer at the news that his smallest size had to be taken in to fit Posh Spice.

* Princess Beatrice, who has at last proved that it is possible to be royal, good-looking, and not have an eating disorder

* Holly Willoughby, presenter of 'Dancing on Ice', refused to apologise for the crime of possessing bosoms with intent

* Christina Hendricks, who plays Joan in 'Mad Men', goes some way to explain why the men are quite so mad

* Dita Von Teese has replaced pipe cleaners Sophie Anderton and Caprice Bourret as the face and body of Wonderbra