Friday, March 11, 2011

A Special Kind of Torture

Rant ahead: consider yourself warned.

I had a shitty day today, which was the icing on my epically shitty week. It started off with not one but two computer failures which necessitated a trip to my office that I was hoping not to make. Ten hours of beat-down later, I somehow felt that I wasn't feeling quite crappy enough and decided to force myself to endure that special kind of abuse which mostly only happens at this time of the year: swimsuit shopping.

Why can't I find this style anywhere??? Rawr!

I haven't had the need to buy a bathing suit in forever. I am not a sun worshiper (those of you who have met me in person can attest to my Cullen-y pale skin), and despite living in Joisey, I don't go "down the shore." Usually it's a non-issue, but I'm traveling soon to someplace where there will be both a pool and a jacuzzi that I want to take advantage of, so it was time to suck it up (and in) and get a new suit. My last one seem so have shrank. Or something.

Anyway, at first I tried to save face (and dignity), avoiding the hideous, lump-highlighting million-watt overhead fluorescent lighting that is typically found in most dressing rooms by ordering a suit online. I though I had a total winner with Athleta! Athleta has pretty, not-slutty-looking suits in styles that don't look like they are made exclusively for prepubescent, boy-shaped teenage girls. Unfortunately--and perhaps I should have guessed this from the name "Athleta"--I realized belatedly that this company makes athletic-y gear for people who are actually reasonably in shape (read: not me). This became painfully, self-esteem-crushingly obvious as I attempted to stuff my ten-pounds-of-potatoes body into the five-pound-of-potatoes black spandex sack that arrived in the mail the other day.

It wasn't quite this bad, but it wasn't good...

Fine - so maybe there is a reason that I've never ordered a bathing suit online: some things you just have to try things on before buying. For better or for worse. I've always been a little skittish about ordering clothes online, but over the years, my resolve had been broken down by a combination of laziness and good in-store return policies. Plus I get so excited when a package shows up at my house that it makes my entire day. When I am waiting for the UPS truck to deliver the goods (and I obsessively track all my parcels), I literally salivate every time I hear a diesel engine rumbling off in the distance. But the fact that the Athleta tankini monstrosity was too big on the bottom and way too small and boob-squishing on the top was enough to send me to a scary place: an actual brick & mortar store.

Since I had eaten my weight in cheese doodles for breakfast and had consumed a lunch consisting of croutons dipped in ranch dressing (supplemented with a few shreds of romaine lettuce so that I could operate under the false pretense that I was eating "salad"), it seemed like a fantastic time to go try on some swimsuits. To hell with the $$125 not-hot mess I had bought at Athleta - I was off to Target! I am sure that their superior quality goods would somehow magically cover up all of the body flaws I had worked so hard this entire winter to accentuate... Bring it on!

Body by Cheesy-Poofs?

Surprisingly, most of the swimwear at Target IS in fact geared towards the shaped-like-a-boy teenage girl set (why I didn't appreciate this body when I had it as a teen is beyond me - youth is wasted on the young, as the saying goes...). I felt hope - at first - when plucked a a few cute skirt-y bottoms and tank-top separates from the plethora of string-y tops and cheeky bottoms. But after a few demoralizing minutes in the dressing room, I recalled with vivid clarity why i have not been swimsuit shopping in about ten years. I've never been a shore kinda chick and I am sure my skin thanks me for this, but I'm just not meant to go out in public wearing something that offers less coverage than some of my favorite underwear. In fact, I am thisclose to designating my Hanes boy-short undies "bathing suits" and being done with it...

Boyshort! Yaaaaay! Flat stomach & thin thighs not included, but still...

But realizing that there is some nebulous, undefinable-yet-distinct difference between "underwear" and "bathing suit" even though they are essentially similar scraps of fabric covering the same bits and pieces is fueling my search for the perfect swimsuit - I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of a pair of plain black boyshorts (yay!) that I paired with a cute little bandeau tankini top. I am sure that this will be "the one"! I can almost hear the approaching delivery van off in the distance now...

So how do you deal with finding a bathing suit? I'm almost ready to just buy a pair of knee-length board shorts and pair them with a t-shirt or tank and BOOM! I'm done... Why shouldn't it be that easy?! Leave your tips, war stories, and anything else you want to share on the topic in the comments!

38 comments:

  1. To be honest, I have't gone swimsuit shopping in five years (the last time was because I needed something for church camp). Ever since I chopped my hair off, I've realized that boyshorts+takini+my cropped 'do= being mistaken for a lesbian.

    I hate shopping for swim wear to the point where I just don't go anywhere where water will be involved. I would if I could find something that I liked, didn't make me look fifty, and was inexpensive. But alas, no such swimsuit can be found. The closest was a beautiful, pinup style swimsuit with a skirt like bottom that reached to my mid thigh, but it cost me $120.

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  2. I actually looked at a suit that was called the goddess suit or something like that... it had boy short legs but vintage bust area and ruching in between ... lovely. Also $125 or so... buy in this situation, money is no object...

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  3. I just don't swim mostly. If I had my own pool I would but I would still prob wear boy shorts and a bikini top.

    BTW, the cheesy poof pic...

    It reminds me of an angry vagina.

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  4. I HATE swimsuit shopping!! I'm not a sunworshipper either nor should I be, given my body type (ugh!). As a fellow-Jerseyan, I do go "down the shore", but only for the boardwalk after 6pm (Seaside Heights is my favorite haunt). I have some pics of Pocket Edward visiting Seaside from last summer if anyone is interested...

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  5. Land's End. Yes it's mail order (actually, they may have suits in Sears stores) but I have found them to be worth it. I think the descriptions are accurate and helpful. I love the suits with tummy control. It gives the same reassurance that spankx give. Also, they last a long time - multiple summers so once you find something, it will last as long your size stays the same. Actually, I gained a lot of weight and darn it but the suits still fit. Good luck and if necessary, eat your feelings.

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  6. The year after I had my first baby (about 5yrs now) I was in DESPERATE need of something to hold all my excess skin in (because in someone thought "Hey won't it be Fracking hilarious if we let her lose ALL the baby weight BUT make her skin look like stretch-armstrong was an afternoon vamp snack and watch gravity do its wonders") Yeaaaah. BS. -I digress.


    So I went to The wal-mart. passed up the tankinis, the bikinis, and the stringkinis, and headed for the onepeace-spandex works-miracles section. There disguised as a "maternity" suit was a navy blue 50's style one peice. TIP: The clothes made for bigger or more modest girls are usually hidious in places like WM. BUT they want preggers to look cute, so she can be greatly disapointed when the cute wears off during delivery. -Again,I digress.

    Look in the maternity sections at stores and online. Just remember to buy smaller. You'll find some great stuff and that miracle spandex will tuck and hide all your glory marks.

    Also: search "vintage style bathing suits" online


    Mine looks almost exactly like this:


    Some others I found:








    I only paid $22 for mine. And I wear it every year :0) Good luck ladies!

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  7. Definitely check out Land's End! You can buy a two piece and get the size you need on top and a different size on bottom for a perfect fit. They are great at reducing the bulges and come in a lot of pretty mix and match prints and colors. Another bonus is that you can buy online and return at Sears if necessary. I love my Land's End suit so much I don't dread having to go to the pool or beach. Good luck.


    (god, those pictures are just awful! Don't these women have a single honest person in their world? "uh, yeah, that looks good on you, really." sometimes the beach is a very scary place.

    ReplyDelete
  8. UGH! You're so right... and this post couldn't be titled more appropriately - swimsuit shopping IS a special kind of torture.

    I love Eddie Bauer suits - I haven't purchased one yet, but I plan on it this summer. And yes, we actually have summer in Maine... at least I'm hoping all this snow will melt.

    Also for a pretty good selection that won't break the bank, try Chadwicks.com. I've gotten a few from there and have been pleased.

    Even though, with all the skin issues I've had in my life (which probably stem from my mom thinking the beach was a 9-5 job when we were kids), I still can't give it up. Just now I lather up with #60 sunblock and hide under an umbrella. I just love the sand and smell and sound of the waves... it's my happy place. All I need is a dash of RPattz and it would be my utopia.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I always go with a place that sells separate size pieces since I'm a little out of proportion and require two different sizes for the top and bottom. I usually go the online route when purchasing because I HATE those hideous lights in those dressing rooms. Wtf is up with that btw?! I don't want to see every single lump and bump on me! That makes me NOT want to buy a suit.. Shouldn't these stores be trying for the opposite?! (end rant) I usually go with Victoria Secrets online but I wait until they have a sale because I can't afford their full priced items.
    I HATE it when on those very rare occasions that I do try a suit on in a store... there is ALWAYS a few stick thin girls running around in their barely-there suits showing each other how cute and hot they look *barf* I just want to punch them in the face. Can ya tell I hate swimsuit shopping?! lol Good luck ladies!

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  10. I third the Lands End separates. I'm in Philly and we do go down the shore and to the pool a lot in the summer and I always get stuff from LE. You can return to a store and if you go there to order, they give you free shipping although you can almost always get some kind of deal if you sign up on their site. Good luck. I hate trying on suits in the dressing room. I wonder if they couldn't figure out how to get better lighting in those rooms!

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  11. Agree with the Lands End ladies...suits do not ride up as much and seem to be designed for "older" women. Easy to return at Sears as well. Good luck!

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  12. I Love Jantzen swimwear quality and style.. I have a pool so I have loads of swimwear..I also like a skort because like exibit A, I have a fat ass.. I have a swimdress to that I like too..Your thin, and tall so you have a better swimsuit choice.. I say tankini.. good luck. Hopefully your going someplace really warm..Are you out of the flood zone?? Holy Moly dude..NJ is flooding..Be safe.

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  13. Swimsuit & jeans shopping are the great equalizers. It's torture, no matter your body type.

    Our last house had a pool, so I own 562,684 swimsuits, despite only using said pool 5 times while living there. I have suits from every price range. (Your self-esteem can only take so many hits before you are willing to drop any amount of money to ease the pain.) The best suits I found were from the cheapest places--Target & Victoria's Secret. You have to get to Target early in the season before all that's left are size 0 tops & size 24 bottoms. Why can't they order a roughly even number of each piece in the same size? But I digress. VS has tons of options & the cheapest ones are the best. Usually less than $20 for each piece. They have lots of boy shorts options this year.

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  14. I avoid any activity that might require me to be mostly naked in public so I haven't had to buy a bathing suit in about a decade. The rare few times I've been forced to go into a body of water I've just worn shorts and a t-shirt. In general, I don't go into the ocean because there are things in there that can kill me and I prefer to be at the top of the food chain.

    @Texas Katherine - one of the reasons I don't wear pants is because shopping for jeans is a devastating experience.

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  15. whoever at Victoria's Secret is in charge of google placement/ensuring their shit comes up on the first page of google should be fired - lol! they do have a lot of nice styles there - well, at least they look great on the models. ugh.

    i WILL find a suit that doesn't make me look like a sausage! it's out there... i can feel it!

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  16. Try this site...

    http://www.popinaswimwear.com/

    great swimwear not made for teenage girls :)

    Good luck :)

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  17. This is a war story. We live across the street from a large water park, and I have a son who loves the water (and a husband who has too much pride to subject himself to the public humiliation). As a really overweight gal,I finally had to settle on a suit which more or less encased my more-than-ample buttocks and saggy bosom. Trying to protect myself from outright ridicule, I chose to cover myself further with a long, loose tank top. Of course, once I've been in the water, it clings to my many, many contours and folds, nearly defeating it's purpose. No one's said anything to my face yet, but if they do, I'll sit on them. Or worse. Hope you find a suit you like, and that you have fun wearing it!

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  18. Bathing suit shopping drops my self esteem badly! I've always had a weird body type. Growing up I was a twig with long legs, no butt and hips. Now I'm cury with big boobs, long legs, biiig hips and no butt. Noo thanks!

    I just found this online and LOVE it. 50's style bathing suits are so so cute. Might have to go do a little shopping on this sight. Or hit up the gym.

    http://www.unique-vintage.com/separates-vintage-inspired-bathing-suits-c-227_272.html

    ReplyDelete
  19. Snarky--can you please post a link to that "goddess" suit? I was just thinking about a suit I once owned that I lost....and you described it. Please, thanks! And hang in there...remember the attitude you wear makes all the difference.

    ReplyDelete
  20. STY
    I bought a couple suits 2 years ago. One from Macy's and the other from Kohles. Both are tankinis. It seemed like I would never find one. Good luck in your search.
    BTW, those pics in this post are going to give me nightmares!!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. ive worn the only bathing suit that fits properly to the point that it is falling apart. Needless to say I will be in this situation in a few weeks since I am taking the family far away from the dreariness of Ohio and going on vacation to Disney in Fl. I dread going shopping but I think I found some cute suits on this site....http://www.alwaysforme.com/swimdress-for-plus-size-women-co5343-11x.html

    I looks cute and girly so I hope it works. Thanks for making me laugh about it tho

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  22. I'm a very body conscience girl. These damn thunder thighs run in my family. I usually get the skirt bottom to hide the thighs and as for a top I go for the usual halter top. Swim suit shopping is the worst time in every woman's year.

    ReplyDelete
  23. It's impossible to find the perfect swimsuit-you have an image in your head,then you go shopping and find out that THE swimsuit does not look good on you...so my trick is to go to anonymous shops or shops which have a variety of brands and offer you the opportunity to mix and match!i bought a victoria's secret bra and ''i-don't-recall-the-brand-now'' underwear who fit me exactly!And in different sizes too!And I got a discount as well!I wish all underwear shops had a similar policy!

    ReplyDelete
  24. @Munkee - here you go!

    Seafolly Goddess Boyleg Maillot -

    http://www.swimoutlet.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=18780&Click=310393

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh and a big THANKS to all for the suggestions! Sister Snarky swears by her Land's End swim-skirt outfit, but then she's quite a bit thinner than I am... If I find after the next suit arrives that the boyshort thing just ain't gonna happen, I'll probably give the skirt a go. of course I found a lovely looking polka-dot flouncy top/tankini top at VS but wouldn't you know it was over $100 just for the top egads! i might have to go "down the shore" just to justify the cost!

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  26. I've ordered here before, very happy. http://www.swimoutlet.com/Tankinis_s/1061.htm. Let us know how you make out.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I've had the best luck with swimsuits from Land's End (as many have mentioned) AND Figleaves.com
    Good Luck. It really is torture.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I hear this is an amazing place to
    go -
    http://www.shirleyandco.com/
    not sure if one is near enough to you but two of my good friends swear by them as they can help you pick what works best for your body. Personalized shopping I guess. If I didn't just recently buy a suit I would go there. Although i usually run into it looking great in the store but once I wear it in real life, it rides up or falls down or some other annoying thing. Good luck

    ReplyDelete
  29. I hear this is an amazing place to
    go -
    http://www.shirleyandco.com/
    not sure if one is near enough to you but two of my good friends swear by them as they can help you pick what works best for your body. Personalized shopping I guess. If I didn't just recently buy a suit I would go there. Although i usually run into it looking great in the store but once I wear it in real life, it rides up or falls down or some other annoying thing. Good luck

    ReplyDelete
  30. It's impossible to find the perfect swimsuit-you have an image in your head,then you go shopping and find out that THE swimsuit does not look good on you...so my trick is to go to anonymous shops or shops which have a variety of brands and offer you the opportunity to mix and match!i bought a victoria's secret bra and ''i-don't-recall-the-brand-now'' underwear who fit me exactly!And in different sizes too!And I got a discount as well!I wish all underwear shops had a similar policy!

    ReplyDelete
  31. STY
    I bought a couple suits 2 years ago. One from Macy's and the other from Kohles. Both are tankinis. It seemed like I would never find one. Good luck in your search.
    BTW, those pics in this post are going to give me nightmares!!!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Snarky--can you please post a link to that "goddess" suit? I was just thinking about a suit I once owned that I lost....and you described it. Please, thanks! And hang in there...remember the attitude you wear makes all the difference.

    ReplyDelete
  33. whoever at Victoria's Secret is in charge of google placement/ensuring their shit comes up on the first page of google should be fired - lol! they do have a lot of nice styles there - well, at least they look great on the models. ugh.

    i WILL find a suit that doesn't make me look like a sausage! it's out there... i can feel it!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Agree with the Lands End ladies...suits do not ride up as much and seem to be designed for "older" women. Easy to return at Sears as well. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I always go with a place that sells separate size pieces since I'm a little out of proportion and require two different sizes for the top and bottom. I usually go the online route when purchasing because I HATE those hideous lights in those dressing rooms. Wtf is up with that btw?! I don't want to see every single lump and bump on me! That makes me NOT want to buy a suit.. Shouldn't these stores be trying for the opposite?! (end rant) I usually go with Victoria Secrets online but I wait until they have a sale because I can't afford their full priced items.
    I HATE it when on those very rare occasions that I do try a suit on in a store... there is ALWAYS a few stick thin girls running around in their barely-there suits showing each other how cute and hot they look *barf* I just want to punch them in the face. Can ya tell I hate swimsuit shopping?! lol Good luck ladies!

    ReplyDelete
  36. UGH! You're so right... and this post couldn't be titled more appropriately - swimsuit shopping IS a special kind of torture.

    I love Eddie Bauer suits - I haven't purchased one yet, but I plan on it this summer. And yes, we actually have summer in Maine... at least I'm hoping all this snow will melt.

    Also for a pretty good selection that won't break the bank, try Chadwicks.com. I've gotten a few from there and have been pleased.

    Even though, with all the skin issues I've had in my life (which probably stem from my mom thinking the beach was a 9-5 job when we were kids), I still can't give it up. Just now I lather up with #60 sunblock and hide under an umbrella. I just love the sand and smell and sound of the waves... it's my happy place. All I need is a dash of RPattz and it would be my utopia.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Definitely check out Land's End! You can buy a two piece and get the size you need on top and a different size on bottom for a perfect fit. They are great at reducing the bulges and come in a lot of pretty mix and match prints and colors. Another bonus is that you can buy online and return at Sears if necessary. I love my Land's End suit so much I don't dread having to go to the pool or beach. Good luck.


    (god, those pictures are just awful! Don't these women have a single honest person in their world? "uh, yeah, that looks good on you, really." sometimes the beach is a very scary place.

    ReplyDelete

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