Savvy Style: Yes, You Can Wear That Bathing Suit, But Should You?
I tried not to visibly cringe as the rather large woman with two, no make that three rolls of pudge between the top of her bikini and the bottom strolled by the pool of my cruise ship. She was not the first woman I would see on my Caribbean cruise dressed in an inappropriate bathing suit and she would not be the last. It was not the bikini itself – it was quite darling and it actually fit. Although why the manufacturer would make one quite that large befuddles me. It was not her age – you could be 70 and still look good in a bikini.
It was the rather obvious fact (to everyone else except the wearer, apparently) that the bikini was quite simply very, very unflattering. A well-fitting one piece bathing suit in a beautiful color or print would have looked so much better. Why do so many women do this to themselves? Here’s why and what to do about it. At least for yourself. Because I can’t think of any way to walk to up to a total stranger and tell them the bikini is absolutely not the way to go.
- That high school hairstyle. Remember that hairstyle you had in high school? You should not have that same hairstyle today. Same thing goes for that bikini. You may have worn one back in high school but unless you are one of those women (and can we have a big raspberry for them, thankyouverymuch) who have maintained your weight and your figure for all these years, you should not be wearing one now.
- Throw away those magazines. You know the ones I mean. The ones that tell you what bathing suit fits your style to make your boobs look larger/small, your hips larger/smaller, your tummy flat, and your waist as miniscule as Scarlett O’Hara. They lie. They are in the business of selling products and advertising and those companies provide both for their magazines.
- Shopping. My best advice about shopping for a new bathing suit is to take along a loving friend or family member who will give you the unvarnished truth about what looks good on you. Then take their advice and step away from the bikinis. Just step away.
- Mirror. For God’s sake, look in the dressing room mirror. Really study yourself. Now turn sideways. Yes, it’s difficult but you have to do it. How does your tummy really look in that suit? Are your boobs smushed and flat or nicely supported? Does the bathing suit cover your complete butt or just part of it?
- Work It. Now be realistic because you are not going to just stand there with your hand on your hip, posing prettily the entire time you are the pool/beach/insert requisite bathing suit scenario here. You are going to move around. So, bend and stretch and even sit down. Still comfortable? Still flattering? Buy it.
- Price is no object. Haven’t you always wanted to say that? Well, in this case, it is true. In general, bathing suits are expensive but a good one is worth any price. Don’t even look at the price tag until you have picked the perfect suit. Then, try not to gasp but suck it up and act cool as you take it to the register. You will never regret purchasing a very good, very expensive bathing suit. How many cheap, ill-fitting bathing suits do you have in that drawer that you don’t wear? I thought so.
- Disregard #6. Inexpensive and great bathing suits are actually available. I have a completely fabulous bathing suit that I bought at Walmart last year – in fact, I just went back and ordered it in a different color. If it fits and is completely fabulous in every way, forget the price. Buy it.
- Work It. Now you have the perfect bathing suit that looks great and fits great. Don’t forget the accoutrements that will really turn heads. A darling cover-up, a matching straw hat, the perfect little sandals – these will take that pretty suit and transform your appearance up to beautiful.
- Change It. If you are determined to wear that bikini, then change your body. It’s not easy but it’s possible. Exercise and diet are the magic words. There are no shortcuts. Just do it. I’m not saying I can do it, but I’m sure you can.
- Take Care of It. I always rinse out my bathing suits whether I am swimming in a pool or at the beach. Chlorine can fade and damage your fabulous bathing suit. Sun and sand can ruin it. Use plain tap water or add a little Woolite, then hang it up to dry and they will stay nice for years.
Jan Ross is a travel writer who only wears beautiful, well-fitting, and flattering bathing suits. Or, at least nobody has ever had the nerve to tell her any different. She also has a travel blog at: http://www.wanderlustwonder.com/.