Oh, hey internet. Just me. Showing up in swimsuits as a size 24/26 middle aged midwestern mom and I'm thinking... hmm, this will likely bring the trolls out of their caves ; ) But honestly, I DON'T CARE! What I do care about is finding swimwear for women like myself, with REAL bodies and REAL budgets, that still look and feel great. These are the first 3 swimsuits I've ordered for the season and I was shocked at how well they worked. Here's another shocker - no editing of these photos. All those rimples and dimples are 100% authentically mine (I promise I didn't add any in for effect ; )
It was a little less than 2 years ago that I posted my first swimsuit picture over on my Instagram page wearing a two-piece swimsuit while I stood bathed in the glow of Target dressing room lighting and I worked up the courage to nervously hit "post". That moment is pictured above. What I was prepared for after posting were jokes, ridiculing comments and judgement. What I got? Support - "you go girl" - and over 800 likes. I made a similar post a little less than a year later with a similar response. That post image is pictured below.
Now, look. As a plus girl, I've never ever EVER lived my life for "likes". I gave up on that business long long ago (I think junior year of high school was about the time when I said I am going to stop giving two $**ts and everything has worked out fine since then). But, I think it's important to note that our view and version of ourselves that we all carry around in our head can often prevent us from doing things that others would find fabulous and/or inspiring. I struggle with the label of "courageous" on these types of swimsuit posts because I don't think it's courage that enables bodies of any size to show up in swimsuits... Instead, I think it's confidence, self love and acceptance that allows a body like mine the freedom to be unafraid and willing to experience life - just as anyone would.
I'm going to give you my pear shape measurements so you can decide what size/style might work best for you if you are in the market for a new (affordable) swimsuit option. I'm 5'5" with a 27.5 inch inseam. My bust measures 52 inches (46DD), my waist 47.5 inches and hips at my widest part (generally NOT covered by the swimsuit) is 63 inches (closer to 57-58 inches where the swimsuit ends). I have an average torso (neither short or long waisted) and I carry the majority of my weight in my bottom half, but that doesn't mean I'm not large generally all over : ) I typically wear a 24/26 or 3x and sometimes 4x in most clothing items. You'll see in the swimsuits below that I tried both sizes. I have no idea what I weigh as it's been over 3 years since I've weighed myself, but my size has generally stayed the same in the last 24-30 months with the above measurements. Also, weight doesn't mean anything when looking at fit of clothing. A woman that is 5'10 and my weight could wear 4-6 sizes smaller than me because we'll carry that weight completely differently. Weight is not a necessary measurement for things like this, which is why you'll never see me mention it!
So let's get to the good stuff! This first suit is my favorite. I love the square cut of the back, I love the deep v-neck in the front, and I think the black is a classic look. It feels a bit sexy without being "HEY - I'M SEXY". It's still very mom appropriate (because really, this is going to see a blow-up pool in a very small-flat-midwest backyard in the hot summer months). I'm wearing a 3x and it is not constricting at all. There are sewn in cups/light pads in the top, but no underwire. The butt and hip coverage is amazing. This suit is only $20!
Next up is my second favorite swimsuit from this try-on. I love love love the color of this one. And the ruffle detail is fun. The neck strap is optional, but I found the top to be a bit big on me and didn't feel like it would stay up in the water or playing with the kids without the strap. However, the strap might be short for some people that have a longer distance from their chest to their neck - so keep that in mind - I have the strap fully extended here! Again, great hip, butt and in this one - boob coverage. This suit comes in black as well this berry color and is only $20! I'm wearing the 3x. The straight size option in sizes S-XL is also available.
Last but not least (for swimsuits) is this leopard print option. It is available in sizes 0X-5X. Let's start out with the positives first. I like the side tie detail. I like from the front that it looks like a 2 piece situation (tankini look) but it's really a 1 piece, and I like that the criss-cross straps in the back offer extra support. For me, I'm not loving the color, but that is likely because it is too close to my skin tone and I don't tan much (I get red, but not tan) so this is what'd I'd be working with for coloring in the summer too. (Also, wear sunscreen. Your skin in your late 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond will thank you. No one gets a prize each summer for being the most tan!). Anyway - the part that I didn't like was I felt like the extra supportive back strap (hooks like a bra strap in the back) was not needed and made the suit harder for me to take on and off. I also didn't love how my back popped through all those areas. BUT, if I was someone with a larger chest (although I'm a 46DD, mine is on the smaller side for a body my size), I might really appreciate having that back strap that works like a bra strap to keep everything tight, secure and the girls lifted. This suit has "slimming technology" which is really not my jam, but again - it could be yours. I sized up to the 4x in this one because of that "slimming" feature and I was glad I did. I think the 3 would have been too small. This suit is only $25!
Last year I had great luck with the cover-up I found at Wal-Mart. So I thought I'd try this one out to see if that luck would continue. I've seen this style featured in many plus size swimwear offerings this year and thought I could give this a try - especially at the price point of $20! Pros - there are multiple ways to wear it, it is very thin (wouldn't get too hot), comes in white or black and has great arm coverage as well as full leg coverage if you want. Con? For me at 5'4" its just a bit too long. You can see in the picture below that it drags on the ground even with the front 2 sections are tied up. If I was 5'7" or taller, I'm sure it would work perfectly.
Alright! That's it for this round of swimwear. All options are VERY affordable and good quality. My experience with plus swimwear is even though we might not be ready to wear it for 3+ months (June is when we tend to break out the suits in the midwest) - it's best to scoop them up in March, because by April (especially mid-April) they will be gone.
Remember, ladies - hold your heads high as you wear a suit (ANY suit) on the body that was made for you. Your body, mind and most importantly heart will thank you!