It’s that time of year all over again. Are you ready?
Bathing suit shopping, not unlike root canals and drug-free childbirth, elicit fear and anxiety in women no matter what shape and size. And after a season of hiding behind our sports bras, baseball hoodies, and stretchy lulu lemons, few things seem worse than sporting a teeny weeny bikini.
The mature woman has two choices: she can either visit the maternity department at her local department store and purchase a floral one-piece with a matching floppy skirt and accept that her days of perky cleavage and a belly button piercing have long since passed, or she can wander around every specialty shop trying on a plethora of suits meant to tuck, nip, cover, and mold her un-flattering bits but end up resembling rubber bands and duct tape on a pale pink stress-ball. Both sound like torture.
But necessary ladies. Necessary.
But before we get to my ultimate guide to bathing suit shopping for the mature woman, here are some cold, hard truths you need to accept before you head out on your fabulous adventure:
- The lighting is going to be shitty no matter where you go, there’s nothing you can do about it.
- Your thighs and hips are what they are, there’s nothing you can do about it.
- You probably have to buy a size up from what you’d usually wear just to ensure no pinching or chafing or weirdness, there’s nothing you can do about it.
- The salesperson is likely going to be a very thin teenager with glorious DD’s and mile long legs, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
- Everyone you know will be spending every free moment on the beach this summer and not participating because you don’t like the idea of wearing a bathing suit is literally insane. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it!
Got it? Think you’re ready? It’s ok if you’re not; I never am and I am claiming to be an expert here.
Shave your legs before you go.
Nothing says “I’ve given up” like Chewbacca in a changing room. And smooth silky legs will give you one less thing to feel self-conscious about.
Learn what works for you!
Just like dress pants and tailored jackets, there are swimsuit styles that work best for certain body types. Trying to hide a baby tummy? Try a one-piece with rouched sides. Want to enhance a smaller bust? Ruffles can be your new best friend. Hate your fat calves? Well…you’re fucked there. Sorry.
A little fake tan goes a very long way
Fat looks better tanned, true story. Not only will it give you a healthy glow, it also helps contour your body and compliment all the right places when you’re examining yourself in a fitting room mirror.
Know your size.
Don’t let those fucked up bathing suit sizes discourage you. Manufacturers still haven’t figured out that they need to size them DOWN not UP… stupid morons. I use a sharpie to cover that number up. Sometimes, I rip the tag out. Ignorance is bliss. So is vodka.
Make sure your bathing suit fits properly.
While size is critical, fit is equally as important. Don’t be afraid to do some lunges or jumping jacks in the fitting room — gaping bottoms or a muffin top are not an option. I would recommend holding the downward dog for as long as necessary, even if your annoyingly hot salesperson and her DD’s are knocking on the door to check on you.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else
When you see photos of models and celebrities in bikinis, remember: They were airbrushed! And they’re cellulite is probably way worse than yours. Probably. Ok Maybe not, but tell yourself that.
Bring a friend along for a second opinion.
She’ll be less delusional than you…and gasp will offer you a truthful opinion! We are our biggest critics, so be open to hearing you look good in something that you may not see for yourself.
Pick a time to shop when you’re feeling good about YOU.
That could be right after a good work out, following a great day at work, or any other time when you’re on a high. But not actually high, ok? You don’t want to wake up a few hours later with KitKat wrappers and a pink and yellow circus tent with pom poms because it made you giggle.
Ignore your budget.
Money can’t buy you happiness, but an expensive bathing suit that makes you look and feel beautiful can. So, technically, money can buy happiness. Whatever.
It’s easy for me to sit here at home in my pajamas clicking away on a keyboard and tell you that no one cares what you look like in a bathing suit and that once the sun is shining and the beers are cracked, neither will you. But we all know that’s not always the case. It can be hard to feel like anything BUT a whale in a bikini, tank-ini, or one piece, especially with the body shaming we endure every day in magazines and on TV.
For me, the only hard rule I live by is whether I am comfortable or not. For you, if this means you want to wear an eeny weeny teeny string bikini, go for it. A vintage high-waisted two-piece with a bouncy skirt? Have at it. Want to invest a small fortune in a slinky cover-up that you almost never take off? Do whatever you need to do.The ultimate goal here is to forget you’re wearing a bathing suit, because hey—your bod’s on the beach. You did it. Technically you have a beach body. And those margaritas aren’t going to drink themselves.
Because when all else fails…GET DRUNK. Fail proof, I promise.