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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Beach Blanket Bingo, Anyone?

I tortured myself going bathing suit shopping yesterday. And no, this is not going to be an "ohhh, I'm soooo fat!" post; I have another point entirely. And that point is: why have bathing suit designers decided that all females are either sporting the adolescent aesthetic or grandmas? Seriously, I tried on approximately 1,487 bathing suits yesterday. This is not to mention the 3.2 million I left hanging on the racks as ones I would not touch with a ten-foot-pole. Can you say sparkly metallic horizontal stripes and butt cleavage on a one-piece suit?!?!? I can say it, but I sure as heck won't wear it.

So, if I leave the tramp suits, and the pre-pubescent-body suits, and the tacky colors in faux 60s patterns so hideous that I feel like my eyes are on fire just from looking at them suits, I am left with a very large array of suits with little skirts on them. Skirts that hit at precisely the wrong place, which is the point where my leg moves to because it is attached to my hip. And once you are out of diapers, your bathing suit skirts should be either a hair longer than that or shorter so that you can actually see the bathing suit panty -- because otherwise, you just look chunky. Well, I look chunky. And I'd venture to guess that most grown-up women's legs don't look nice cut off there either.

Ruling out tramp, teenie bopper, chunky and grandma suits left me with a sea of chocolate brown (which is a color I love, and one that loves me back) and one other suit.

I tried every permutation of chocolate brown I could get my hands on. They all looked classy, promising, sassy, mature-but-not-frumpy, or some other version of positive as long as I left them on the hanger. On my body, they were one disaster after another. I have a long torso. (Whatever happened to the simple, elegant one piece with the tag that said "long torso bathing suit" on it?) So the top half of most of the tankinis stopped in some awkward place designed to enhance the width of the rear view 100-fold. Three inches longer, and they'd have been flattering. As it was, I was afraid someone would start cracking Hindenburg jokes watching me walk across the pool deck at the gym. Or giraffe jokes. The one-piece suits were stretched uncomfortably taut with necklines that looked like a bad face lift desperately seeking to cover what was supposed to be covered.

Know what suit looked good on me? It was a green and white striped seersucker two piece with a halter-shaped top and hots pants with pockets for bottoms. Yes, it's true. Someone stole Annette Funicello's bathing suit from every 1960s beach party movie she ever made and tried to sell it to me. Why did this suit look good on me? In part because it is a suit designed for someone with actual hips.

But because my husband is not Frankie Avalon, and because bikini at the family swim time at the gym?, and because green-and-white seersucker?, I did not buy it.

So tell me, all knowing readers, how would you answer those questions? Do mothers of a certain age belong in bikinis at the indoor gym swimming pool? I'm not prudish, and I actually have a bikini that I like for the beach. But I'm in the market here for a suit that I can wear while catching kids who are jumping off the side of the pool and into my waiting arms, and somehow a bikini seems inappropriate.

And, seriously? Green and white seersucker? (That picture is so NOT my body; just a badly stitched together representation of the style of said suit. The green on the one I like is about the color of the inside of a real lime. And, in case you didn't catch this before, it's seersucker.) How quickly should I have backed away? Am I crazy? And where can I find a suit that's reasonable, not too matronly, and made of a fabric/pattern that a grown up who is not starring in any beach movies any time soon has any business at all wearing?

Oh, and that doesn't cost $100--because we're talking about a suit that is going to get some hard knocks at the swimming pool while chasing after two preschoolers and probably carrying them around and having the velcro on their sandals snag the fabric. Unless it's seersucker. Which doesn't snag like regular bathing suit fabric. Of course.

22 comments:

Manager Mom said...

I feel your pain....as a just-spitting distance of an A cup (when I have my period AND have eaten too much chocolate) my own bit of bathing suit angst is trying to find a suit that DOESN'T have those frigging silicone built-in cutlets.

Do they think EVERY WOMAN with a set of tiny girls wants to be bigger than she is?

Amber said...

I refuse to set foot (or body) into a bathing suit until I lose another 10 lbs! My favorites are board bottoms and tankini tops!

Juli said...

Brave woman for trying them on!! Have you tried Lands End's long torso suits? I'm totally going to rock the tankini top and board short bottom look this year and not give a rat's patooie what anyone says!

Tara R. said...

I am so not looking forward to bathing suit shopping. I live only minutes from the beach but hate to go. You're right though. Choices are down to teenager and AARPer... never thought I would be a 'tween again.

lattemommy said...

I loathe bathing suits. Loathe them. I hate going swimming at the pool with my kids because I'm forced to wear one (which totally doesn't fit me properly, but it keeps all the parts covered, so I go with it). I've given up on trying to look half-decent in a bathing suit. When we go to the beach I wear shorts and a t-shirt. I'm not going in the water anyway (too bloody cold), or at least not past my knees.

I say go with the green seersucker suit. It fits you well, and you can rock the seersucker. You know you can. *grin*

MIQuilter said...

If you don't by the green seersucker, I just might - cause I'm WAY past the point of caring what other people think of what I look like when I'm out catching rays. (ok, in fairness, if we didn't have a pool in the backyard, I just wouldn't get a suit b/c I REFUSE to be seen in public on one. Trust me, it's not a pretty sight). Seriously - I need something - I am so beyond "a bit to large" for my current suit - I can't get the bottoms all the way up and I will need something to wear this summer. Or maybe I'll just stick to the mumu idea. It's my damn pool - I can wear a mumu in it if I want to!

Good luck MT!!

McMommy said...

Ahhhh! I am so with you. I just went bathing suit shopping recently and finally decided upon the tankini...whoever made it, must be a mom who understands the need for back fat coverage.

Lisa said...

I'm going to agree with juli...Land's End is the way to go. I had to buy a bathing suit for my family reunion last year, and I loved the one I got from there (as least as much as I can love a bathing suit). They have a dizzying array of mix-n-match tops and bottoms, as well as one pieces so you should be able to find something you like. They do have long torso in some styles and even make some of their tops and bottoms adjustable, so you can customize the length. I got the faille...which is a fabric that is supposed to be smooothing/slimming. It has a nice weight to it, not heavy, just snug, so I felt like a wasn't flopping around all over the place. But you are much slimmer than I, so, that may not be a problem for you.

mommypie said...

Ugh. Swimsuit shopping is THE WORST. I was planning on going online tonight, as a matter of fact and looking for something before they're all sold out. I am avoiding it like the plague.

mommytherobot.blogspot.com said...

ok, you know what here is a swim suit that should make your husband look like frankie avalon a little. see if you can find it at your local Nordstroms. why do i sound so confident? bec i have one!!!! promise you will check it out.

Kathy said...

I was just linked to your blog and I have to tell you after three babies I am in the SAME boat. I found Victoria's Secret has some great picks:

http://www2.victoriassecret.com/collection/?cgname=OSSWMOPSZZZ&cgnbr=OSSWMOPSZZZ&rfnbr=158

They can be a little spendy, but worth every penny.

I got one similar to this...ignore the horrible pose as I do not find myself sitting in such positions, swimsuit or not, and pay attention to the wonderful tummy tucking qualities of the suit.

Mommy likey:

http://www2.victoriassecret.com/commerce/application/prodDisplay/?namespace=productDisplay&origin=onlineProductDisplay.jsp&event=display&prnbr=8P-182867&page=1&cgname=OSSWMOPSZZZ&rfnbr=158

I hate shopping for swimsuits!
I hope those links work...

Kathy said...

Darn, it didn't work. Just go to Victoriassecret.com, click on swimwear and then click on the one piece category. You'll find a bunch!

Kimmylyn said...

I hate.. loathe.. despise bathing suit shopping. Plus the lights in the fitting rooms always point out every single flaw.

I am a tankini owner myself. I have found that gives me the best cover up options.. :)

Mrs F with 4 said...

It's GOT to be Land's End.... When I was skinny as a rail but with huge boobs... they had it!

Now.... I have Hips, but still have a waist, and boobs that USED to be huge but have now fed four babies for a years each (sorry if you're eating while you read this, but at least I don't have to hoick my sweater up so far to feed number 4!)... and they STILL have something to, well, I hesitate to use the word 'flatter', but disguises the pouch, supports the boobs, provides a little cleavage (God, I miss that), and has a leg cut low enough that I don't need a brazilian wax job.

Oh, and I feel good in it!

Amy said...

I found an awesome chocolate brown tankini at Gap Body. I really don't get in the pool with my kids anymore, so I can stay in shorts. It's the beauty of having older kids, make them do all the entertaining while I work on my tan!

SherE1 said...

I wish I could help but the only suit that I will be willing to put on this summer is my MATERNITY two-piece suit. You know, the one with the top that is loose and long enough to cover the bottom and the bottoms that are like boy shorts. And NO, I am not pregnant. Just shaped like I am at the moment.

When I could fit my bathing suites, they were bikinis but I always wore board shorts with them. I was never comfortable being THAT exposed and I could never find a good one-piece suit that was reasonably priced.

Good luck finding something!

foolery said...

I'm thinking a barrel will be my best option this year. With suspender straps, in a fashion color, of course. Whatever that is.

MommyTime said...

Manager Mom, I hear you. Makes me nuts too -- and when I was nursing and a double D, and those pads were in the bras, I also thought: who in her right mind wants BIGGER ones in this state??!?

Amber, you go girl. You are so well on your way. I've been hunting for board shorts, but apparently in the midwest, we are not cool enough to stock them in our stores.

I'm looking at Land's End online tonight, on all of your advice. Lisa, I love the faille idea. And tankini would be my first choice if only I could find one I liked, McMommy. Though tankini top and board shorts would be even better.

MommyTime said...

Foolery, Shere1 and MIQ all seem to be in the same frame of mind over this: did you know there is a new suit out that covers you from neck to wrists to ankles and is designed for devout Muslim women who want to swim? Perhaps this would be a good option?

Or a barrel. Just be sure to get chocolate brown suspenders; that's apparently the hot color of the season.

MommyTime said...

Latte, I just discovered the green seersucker has a tankini top option... uh oh, I may be channeling Annette Funicello this summer!

Kathy, thanks for the links! I can't wait to check them out.

TxMommy said...

Hi there! I saw this suit yesterday, and fell in love with, so I couldn't resist commenting. It's by modbe clothing - www.modbeclothing.com - in case the link doesn't work.

http://www.modbeclothing.com/topinclude.asp?pageidd=1&cid=3&proid=76

MommyTime said...

Thanks TXMommy -- off to check it out...

 

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