My wife Sue went shopping for a bathing suit yesterday, and it was a frustrating experience. She has no blog of her own (yet!), so I’m giving her space here to vent her spleen.
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It is the shopping cliché of all time. The annual bathing-suit try-on. I do not know of a single woman out there for whom this is an easy task. When you go to buy a dress, you know where to go; you go to several stores where you will eventually find just the thing. When you go for shoes, and this is not that easy, you still know that you are basically a size “8” or whatever, and you get an idea of what looks good and what does not fairly quickly. There is no real self-esteem at risk here. The dress, yes, perhaps, but it is easy enough to find one that covers you in just the right way.
So what is it with bathing suits? Why is it so excruciating? Why does it take twenty different ones to maybe get one?
It is the designers. They don’t know shit about women. And this is not about “everyone hates their body.” This is about designers who cannot measure, who don’t understand the first thing about the female form and can’t be creative if their lives depended on it. I am making a list to “out” the worst features and see if they can do better from now on.
First of all, the Miraclesuit: it isn’t. Nobody is fooled. Any suit that is two sizes two small will reduce ones waistline by an inch or two, but what do you do about the way your thighs bulge over the leg elastic? And why do they always come in hideous color combos, namely black or black with something? Do the designers think that because a woman feels she needs a bit of squeezing that she is also in mourning?
Second: the tankini: Why is it that these all look the same and fit completely different? Why do most of them have the high bottom if there’s also a long top to pull down, creating layers of excess stetchy fabric around the middle (Nautica)? Why do many of their bottoms have a seam down the ass crack (Ann Cole, Calvin Klein, Anne Klein, and Ralph Lauren)? Do the designers think that just because it’s mostly soccer moms wearing the things that they don’t care if it looks like they have an ass crack on the outside of their bottoms?
Third: the bikini: What is the point of labelling these things small, medium, and large, when they are really small, smaller, smallest? I looked at a top marked “large” today (Calvin again) and I held the triangle “cup” in the palm of my hand and it fit right there! Then I tried on one marked in my size thinking, “Wow! All the power to you, Shoshanna (the designer) for thinking in terms of real women’s breast sizes”, only to find that the front was cut so low and so wide that half my breast was still showing! Shoshanna must be designing for porn stars.
Fourth: Why don’t manufacturers get it together and do all mix and match? Why not decide that stores can mix and match brands, not just tops and bottoms? What woman is always an “8” in bathing suits, top and bottom? Most people who are small on top are larger on bottom, and those who are heftier around the top and middle tend to be a little lighter in the ass. That’s the way God planned it: almost nobody gets it both ways. If you do, see Miraclesuit. On second thought, don’t. And that way if the Nautica bottom fits you, but the Ralph Lauren top is better, you can put them together.
Fifth: What is with the colors and patterns this year? Is it 1978? If I see one more flower-power suit I think I’ll scream! Ann Cole used to be the best for color; this year, it’s all that retro garbage! And what’s with that “boy-cut” bottom? In fake denim, no less! The rule is, that if you wore the pattern or style when you were a kid, you probably don’t feel like wearing it now!
Sixth: If there is a tummy tightener, a waist lengthener, and a high-cut thigh for fat thighs, why is there no bust minimizer bathing suit that is not a big dowdy one-piece? Why can’t they make tankinis and bikinis for people with big busts? Or an ass-shaping kind for the babies who got back? Use some of that great underwear technology harvested by Victoria’s Secret or Minimizer Bras to do some good! You’d think Victoria’s would have a clue, but forget it! Their bathing suits fall prey to the same problems as everyone else’s. Believe me, we don’t want strangers knowing this much about us that only our husbands, boyfriends, or doctors should know!
We want colors, patterns, cuts, shaping for real women: not Mrs. Claus, not Skipper, not Barbie! Get a $#% clue, designers or we’ll all start going in the water in our shorts and tee shirts! Hey, come to think of it, that’s not a bad idea!
That said, I think that both Target and Land's End sell two-piece suits by the individual piece, so you can mix and match.
By the way, H & M and Old Navy have very cute swimsuits this season. The tops and bottoms are sold separately. At most, ywo pieces would cost twenty dollars.
The only swimsuits I have ever found that look good and are actually comfortable have been from Old Navy. However, they were with boy shorts or board shorts. But they were dirt cheap!
If anyone has the skills or talent PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE think about making a sports swimsuit with support. One that you can run along the beach in. The so called 'real swimmers bathing suits' offer very little support for the bigger bust.
You could make yourself very very very rich if you could make one!
Being a natural 32 FF is not easy to fit either. Sometimes God is too generous. ;-)
I'd sugest you find a bra making class (If you can sew) and take in your favorite bra and make it into a bathing suit top. Or find a friend who can sew. Old fashioned, but beats hanging out all over. ;-)
hi my name is hilary i am 15 years old, 5'2'', and 117 pounds and i can't find a decent bathing suit that fits!!!!!!!! Anything under $60 is colourless and shapeless and just plain nasty (ever heard of 'lining' a bathing suit, wal-mart?) So instead i end up at these "beach wear" specialty shops where everything is from $80-$120, for a bathing suit that i'm probably going to grow out of by next year! AND, i might even be willing to pay that price for one summer of guaranteed bathing-suit-bliss, but evidently that doesn't exist! Having a not-so-toned bottom and not liking to worry about the bikini-line issue, i tried looking for a suit with boy briefs When i tried one on and was quite surprised the salegirl informed me that what i was looking at was the STYLE this year. She described as boy briefs being made a little "CHEEKIER"! IN OTHER WORDS- THEY ONLY COVER HALF MY BUTT. and they come down so low i'd be afraid to bed over for fear of a bad case of plumber-bum. NOT all of us are made for- or even want to look like- Beyonce in her "cheeky" shorts and stilettos dancing on a sidewalk. SSsssooooo now it appears that if i want any kind of moderate butt-coverage i have to buy a pair of board shorts. The girl passes me a nice $50 pair over the door of the dressing room. So now i'm going to pay $90 for a bathing suit- only half of which i can actually wear (the top) and $50 for a pair of shorts to cover up the bathing suit flaws???????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it won't even fit me nest year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
no wonder there are so many girls with eating disorders and self esteem issues- that nice hip-buldge and lower butt flab is enough to worry any girl. i'm not saying i don't like my body- it's fine- i just wish that i didn't have to pay $150 bucks to not have to show off the flaws!!!!!!!
Give us suits that won't
self destruct with a wave,
and fabric for those
who are not so brave.
At least let us know
where to stop when we shave...
Where do we draw the line?
I'm fat. Not "I'm ugly" fat -- but "watch out for these curves!" fat.
When picking a bathing suit, the styles go from tiny stringy things that would look like doll clothes and dental floss, with cup sizes that would look like pasties on me (though I'm about C-1/2 cup size)... and just as they get to my size, they balloon out into these grandma suits with china-pattern print, foam rubber support, and those ridiculous little skirt-things. I am fat. I am *not* unsexy.
So -- two choices -- look like a balloon animal with a twist-tie in the middle, or flap around in something my cat would cover if I left in on the floor. Not pretty, I'll tell ya.
I've been swimming in tank tops and boy shorts for years.
And I think putting down about 100 dollars for a good suit is worth it here-there aren't that many reasonably priced great looking options in this country.
Yeah, I agree with the nude beach option :)
I do that when I can and I'm not the biggest fan of bathing suits when I can't. The reason they are so hard to fit in is perhaps that we were never meant to fit into such oddly shaped garments. Best wishes to those who seek the ultimate suit / cover-up.
I'm small on top and no matter what I try, even the ones that downplay the hips or thighs, I end up with 2 wings instead of the one I started out with my ample sized butt flattened beyond belief!! As for the tops, they make every one look like they're sagging! ok enough now.
Swimming in shorts and a shirt is the new bathingsuite. I hate wearing a bathingsuite at a public beach, or pool, or anywhere where people can see me. So I usually will take either a 1 peice or 2 peice and then wear shorts and a t shirt or tank top, which usually #1 reduces my size, and #2 is so comfortable.
You hit the nail on the head! Who do these designers think they are designing for? As a 40 something "woman" I am not penciled shapped! I have 40 year old boobs (DD) that need to be held up - in something other than an old lady bathing suit!!!! HEY DESIGNERS>>>>>>>>>WE HAVE MONEY WE WILL SPEND -please make real bathing suits. It makes me sad to know so many of us are feeling this frustration! Wish I could design and sew - there is mint to be made! Only alternative is LL Bean and Lands End - and no pun intended they are very plain jane!
I'm only 15 years old, and i think it's ridiculous that just because i have bigger boobs than an average person, that i can't find a bikini that doesn't make me look like i should be in a playboy magazine.
Honestly i tried on so many yesterday, and my boobs were not even half covered. I was trying on an X-Large! And nothing would even close to cover me. I'm not even like a plus size girl, i'm normal but with a bigger top and it sucks.
I am more modest than people my age, but still i can't find a single bathing suit that can cover my boobs. It's ridiculous. Some of the bathing suits i saw i could put the little triangles together and they still wouldn't cover even one of my boobs.
I shouldn't have to be stuck with the ugly bathing suits just because i am more "lucky" as my mother would put it. Screw that, i'd give up my boobs any day. They're just a big pain in the butt.
Heres an idea to the swim companies.. get a balcony bra.. make it look prettier (non-matronly anyone??? a little youth never hurts) .. make matching bottoms. viola! your rich. we're happy.
oh, and while your at it Swim Suit Makers, make a one piece design that covers but is sexy (*sexy* not *trampy*)
Give people options! one piece, tankini, boyshorts, strings, halter, balcony...but make sure they all compliment the "well endowed".
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