It’s that time again when I begin to drag out the warm weather clothes and contemplate what will I want to keep, or still look good, and what will go. I love thinking about what new items I might add to my mix for summer. Swimwear looks trickle in from the pretty mail catalogs that and magazine features. At the same time each year, it seems to me something on my body gets less ‘fit’ through no fault of my own! I eat better and I have better habits, but still it happens..Anyone else feel that?
Many years, I have attempted the buying of a new pretty swimsuit, gone to try them on even, only to retreat back to the classic dark one pieces in the bottom drawer. Those dark suits I rely on to best cover the parts I don’t love.. namely my stomach, back fat, a wrinkled chest. Somehow the dark made me feel like those bits are somewhat more concealed and hidden. It is almost like I am trying to recede on the pool deck. Then there’s my large collection of coverups that I add on top..
This year, no more. Have I lost weight? No, I am probably up about 12 pounds from the pandemic. Also, I haven’t worked out as much thanks to a broken toe. What has changed is my attitude about things. After a year where a huge amount of our fellow Americans died or were seriously ill, and where vacations were rare, I’ve thought a lot about how I look at my body and my life and how much I judge myself.
Marianne, a sweet reader from Florida, who has become an Instagram friend, sent me a note about something I shared… about baking originally. We both shared we wanted to drop about 10 pounds and then she sent this note, which I loved..
“I just thought of something. Until I was 41 I weighed 120 pounds, nice slim and muscular, but I never wore a bikini and actually hated myself in a bathing suit. Now I am 140 pounds, and I think I don’t look so bad in some bikinis. I’m just not so hard on myself I guess. I know I don’t look fantastic, but darn it, I’m OK. Youth is wasted on the young. I would rock that body now!”
I could have written the same paragraph, as could many of us. I loved it so much I reread it a few times. This is what we all need to hear more of. Could we all not starts to say the same about ourselves, and at the same time change how others feel about their bodies too?
How many of us have looked a a photo just five years ago and thought, hey I didn’t look so bad? Did we feel we looked as good as we did? Probably not. Let’s not waste precious years worrying about being perfect. Let’s all love ourselves as we are. Each of us have attractive features that are unique to us.. Embrace them! We all deserve the swimsuit we want to wear. And we don’t need to be sucked in or hoisted up unless we really want to. We just need to be us and feel pretty. Get dressed in front of the mirror, stand tall, know your body and love it, flaws and beauty spots.
Like most everyone, I have spots, red bumps, dry skin, veins, cellulite. I try not to focus on those. At the pool or beach, most people are too busy worrying about their own appearances to judge yours. This year, let’s stop waiting for the dream body and realize it’s the one we are living in now. Someday we may get more fit, or less, but we are pretty darn good in this moment.
Are you feeling the same?
If you don’t know where to begin, I recommend hauling yourself off to a store that carries a lot of suits. In our area that is usually Macy’s- or Bloomingdales. Go on a weekday or weeknight, when the dressing rooms aren’t bustling and take many, many styles in. Try a few, find the numbers that work and the brands.. Then go back out and get another pile. Try again. Take your time. Even if you go home with nothing, you’ll get an idea of what brands and sizes work for you. Take photos with your phone camera to remember which ones work- or that you liked.
I am a 6 in most clothes, but have swimsuits that are size 12, so it’s hard to predict what sizes you need in a swimsuit! Don’t feel badly if it’s a lot bigger than other clothes. Fit is what matters. Once you find a style that flatters, and makes you feel great, you can consider that a brand one that works for you! If shopping for suits is a real pain, you might consider buying the suit you love in more than one color, to get you through a few seasons!
Below, a few suits I’ve been considering…I’m choosing across a broad range of style, but a few brands I know are good quality -and some unique styles we might find appealing and different. Please share if you’ve found a swim brand that you especially like. I love hearing from you!
J. Crew has outstanding suits for the price and quality. I have had many over the years. I used to love their maillots back in the 90’s ! Read their reviews for fit. I love when someone kindly states their weight and height and what size worked for them, immensely helpful in ordering the correct size! This one piece suit is what I bought for summer and it’s supportive and beautifully made. I also loved that it is a Liberty print! It’s on sale right now..
I also love this new one in scrunchie fabric- and cute colors.
Last year I bought this one shouldered J Crew number and I still love it and think it’s pretty flattering and chic with the bow on the shoulder. Comes in an assortment of colors..And this year they have a new version without the bow here in pink. I do think this design is great on a lot of body types.
I also adore the scallops on this red cutie, (other colors available)
The full collection of J. Crew suits can be found here. They have a wide range of suits up to 3X and long torso sizes.
I have always loved the look of a sweater over a bathing suit… From the J. Crew lookbook…
Anyway, back to suits..La Blanca is another brand that makes great suits. This Goddess suit has been highly rated is adjustable from the back to make tighter or looser.
This La Blanca Tankini is pretty and has underwire and you and choose the bottom style you like. ( Also in a pretty soft aqua and white.) I also love this Animal Instinct Cross-Back Suit.. This comes in a bikini version too with a longish top.
More great classic and well-made La Blanca styles here.
This unique bikini look from BLEU by Rod Beattie. Rod Beattie is a Southern Cal swimwear designer who worked for decades for Anne Cole and La Blanca and began his own brand in 2010. I like that the shoulders are covered here and the upper back, places that are always so hard to get sunscreen on (and a place of lot of skin cancers.) This is has more bottom coverage too, but still looks sexy.
Nordy’s has more Bleu By Rod Beattie suits. As one reviewer said these are bathing suits made for women, not teenagers!
Robin Piccone is a California swimwear designer who began her career by crafting neoprene into women’s swimsuits for Body Glove. Those suits were trailblazers and are now in The Met. Her line is consistently well made and I have had several of her suits over the years. I am loving this Robin Piccone top which has more support than it shows (I wish they would use models who are not size 0!) Many styles of bikini bottoms too.
This one piece has been highly rated and has underwire – more colors in addition to this red and bougainvillea..
Trina Turk is one of my favorite California designers and always has fabulous swimwear in gorgeous fabrics and in fabrics she designed herself. Her Paddle Suits have SPF 50 coverage, for those who want more protection and in the water an extended time…
Athleta has swim now too and in many unique styles too. This Seascape Tankini looks easy and flattering with a built in sport bra..So many styles – many with support of sports bras which is nice. All the Athleta swim here.
Lastly Tory Burch has some excellent swimwear. I love her one piece styles. How cute is this gingham suit?
I’ll continue to add any good links to sources for swim here as the season progresses.
Thank you Marianne for inspiring me and letting me share…Hope this might change your mindset a little about swimsuits and how we see ourselves!
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