my thoughts on swimwear

I have wildly conflicted ideas about swimsuits, swimwear, and bathing suits.
Do you want to hear about it?
Here's the thing -
I pretty much feel that people should wear whatever they are comfortable wearing at the beach.
Yeah, sure, we all have crazy looking bodies and none of us is really comfortable in any of the bathing suits available to us - I, for one, have gone swimwear shopping dozens of times in my life and I'm never really happy.
I've read those articles that describe what sort of suit would be good for my body (which happens to have 'problem zones' both on top and on the bottom) and I try on a variety of suits.
I even try on a few that I wouldn't expect to look flattering: just in case.
I've been to those fancy shops too, where the tiny German lady tells you you have a beautiful figure and pinches and squeezes you into an Ann Cole suit and then does alterations on the thing and it ends up being a couple of hundred dollars.
Calvin Klein makes the best suits for me - they don't bind or make my legs look more sausage-y than they already are, and he often makes a suit with a skirt - which I like very much.
But if you are comfortable in a bikini and you wear one and are confident, I think that's great.
If you are comfortable in one of those Miracle Suits that fit like latex and wear one, bravo.
And, as I may have mentioned in the past, if you want to wear nothing at all on the beach I have no problem with that either. (But, do me a favor? Try not to bend over so much - bending over naked is bad naked.)
So, that having been said, my position on the swimming clothes is a little tricky -
I have no real problem with being at the beach naked, if it's that kind of beach, but I'm not really a bikini kind of girl. (But remember, it's okay with me if you are, no matter what you look like, or what kind of shape you are in.)
As I have aged I have decided:

1. If I'm not comfortable sitting, playing or swimming in a tiny bathing suit all day then I'm not wearing one.

2. Naked is fine if that's the beach I'm at.


3. I'm wearing board shorts and a tankini top.

That's right - at the beach, even though I BELIEVE IT IS TOTALLY COOL FOR YOU TO WEAR WHATEVER YOU WANT, I will either be naked, or WEARING PANTS AND A SHIRT.
I've even been known to wear a rash guard and board shorts.
It's terribly comfortable.
And, the last, very sad detail in my demented story is:
Cheap bathing suits are never worth the money. Or, more precisely, THEY ARE WORTH EVERY CENT YOU SPEND.
My $16.00 Target tankini with the skirt and THE DAMNED FOAM CUPS is unbearable to wear: from its scratchy stitching to its ability to absorb the entire ocean directly into the foam cups and hold it there so it can drip for HOURS ON END.

I feel so centered now.




Anonymous said…
I'm going for the burhka option myself. Not good for tanning but superb for anyone in denial about their chocolate addiction
KPB said…
I just commented and blogger ate it.
It went something like this:

swimming costumes
much despair.

The discovery of the tankini and board shorts has been a complete liberation for me - and considering we live about 200metres from the beach, long overdue.

I too have learnt the hard way about the Target swimming costume disaster.
Anonymous said…
not what you'll see around here...prepare to laugh and stare!
Paula said…
I wouldn't call it a rant exactly, more like a manifesto...

But I think your solution is brilliant and will be stealing as I find I am being FORCED (kidnapped really) to go to a beach on the west coast and while that may appeal to some, it holds no allure for ME. But WHAT do I know? I am just a pawn in someone else's game. Dammit!

There...that's my rant for the day.
Badger said…
I used to be a bikini girl, but those days are LONG GONE.

Can't do board shorts because of my Popeye legs. Love tankinis, though. But only if the tops are LONG.

I am okay being naked at naked beaches as well. I actually look BETTER naked than in a bikini at this point in my life.

As long as I don't BEND OVER. As you say.
Anonymous said…
Board shorts for me too. Stupid chubby legs.

I bought a wrist band!
MizMell said…
Love the top you have pictured. Where can I find one of those?

Also, if money is no object, splurge at Victoria's Secret for a swimsuit. A good investment and definitely well made.

Naked is good with the exception of sunburn on the buttocks which leads to the itching which leads to embarrassment associated with scratching your backside...

And I would venture to guess there is not a man alive who would think bending over naked is a bad thing...
BabelBabe said…
I am with alice - it's a swim burqa for me. I own two target suits and they're both terrible; i will have to resort to my old boring racing tanks, i think.
Anonymous said…
I never thought of board shorts. Where do I find those?
robiewankenobie said…
oh, no. the board shorts and tankini? notsomuch good for me. interesting, isn't it? i've got a nifty little tropical number with black skirt. i wear it with an insanely large black hat and aqua shoes that match the print. i am ever so convinced that i am glamorous, but i am also ever so convinced that everyone else looks at me decides that i'm a fruitcake.
Emily said…
this was a great post. :)
MsCellania said…
Same here.
Board shorts and a high-neck tankini top. Trying to avoid any more basal cell crap on my chest.
Or a swim mini - skirt over bottom thingy.
Or yes; naked is wonderful.
blackbird said…
Anon: board shorts are available at and

Robiewankenobie - I adore fruitcakes, sounds like you are full of style!
Anonymous said…
I dunno, I'm kinda fascinated with the Burquini!
RW said…
I have some serious challenges with regards to swimwear. I myself am enjoying the board short option. I struggle with the whole bikini thing. My daughter is a well developed 12 year old... she is a dancer and her body is strong and supple. She looks lovely in a bathing suit. But, I am acutely aware that others are looking too and this makes me very uncomfortable. Where does modesty fit in?

We were in the local mall one day and a young boy walked by and gave my daughter the once over ... and I ushered her straight into the nearest retail outfit and asked if she recognized him; she didn't and it was all I could do to not pick her up and go home.
Jess said…
I can't think of the last time I put on a swim suit (one of the advantages of freezing water at the Oregon coast - no one really expects you to swim). I'm a fan of the shorts & tank top for beach expeditions (or, you know, shorts and a hoodie because 90 degrees in Portland means 60 at the coast half the time). My last swimsuit was a red two piece which was cute and comfortable at the time...five years later, not so much, and I don't even have the child-bearing excuse.

I love skinny-dipping.
Sarah Louise said…
As a long torso'd woman, I have never been able to shop in stores for swimsuits. It's been Lands End for YEARS.

I hate bikinis. I only bought one in high school at the insistance of a friend. I never wore it. (It's not just about the figure, it's about showing all the WHITE skin...) (I'm SL, from the moon, apparently.)

I want a suit that will stay on when I'm in the ocean, the pool, or sliding down the waterslides at Sandcastle.

Whew, I feel better now! Thanks, bb, for giving us a place to vent!
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