Swimwear: The Blight of My Summer
I have tried on 12 different swimwear pieces in the last 2 months and I am at my wit’s end.
Not a single one has been suitable. Some have squashed my chest, some haven’t been supportive, some have given me a horrible shape, some have risked unwanted exposure (or “spillage” as I like to call it) and 4 of them didn’t even go around my back, despite having been recently correctly measured and owning several well-fitting bras in said size. One such top was actually a back size bigger than my actual size. And it still didn’t reach.
Then of course there’s the classic one-piece scenario; where the cups fit but the body’s too tight. Or the cups are too small but the body fits. With the one I tried, the cups were too big (again, despite the apparent correct size on the label) but the body cut off my circulation all but entirely. I had the same issue with a Shapewear body recently. After a huge and comical struggle to get into the damn thing I literally had to cut myself out of it. There went my refund…!
And WHAT is the deal with sizing bikini tops and some swimsuits as dress sizes?!?!? 8,14,16,22… Increasingly unreliable even in their proper field but applying them where bra sizing should be in place is pretty much useless. Every swimsuit I have ever purchased that has been in my dress size at any point in my life has not fitted properly in the bust.
Its 2018, why hasn’t anybody fixed this yet? Buggies are designed by Nasa, phones are hi-tech pocket computers but we can’t have swimwear that fits? How difficult can it be to manufacture swimsuits that measure 14/32C or 14/32FF, 10/34DD 0r 10/34A, 22/36K or 22/36E etc.
I have a set criteria for functional flattering swimwear for me.
My swimwear must:
- Have underwired cups. Secret support has never been sufficient at any stage in my adult life. Am really quite envious of those who can do without as their options are far wider.
- Have a cup shape that holds me in. This is less about size as it is about shape. I had a very in depth fitting a few years ago (the benefits of well-fitting underwear cannot be refuted) and I learnt then that anything that plunges is liable to lead to spillage, regardless to the size. It’s just how they are! As with anything, there’s a few exceptions and anomalies to this rule, but I stand a much higher chance of success if I look for a full cup, balconette or maybe a sweetheart cup.
- Be my size (and actually BE that size!). That one’s pretty self-explanatory.
- Be a flattering style. This is of course entirely subjective. I have learnt just today that Bandeau styles tops are a complete disaster on me, however they look beautiful on others. I am quite fond of halternecks.
- Be a colour or print that I like.
I have much to say on the significance of the colours of our clothes, having had my colours “done” by House Of Colour 3 or 4 years ago (if you can, then DO. Hugely beneficial). I love colours. Poppy Red is amongst my most flattering, which is just as well because I love it. I’m not technically “supposed” to wear black as it washes me out something terrible, but I rather like a black bikini. I think it looks timeless and chic and a little bit sexy. It’s away from my face so it doesn’t wash me out. In terms of swimwear, Navy works for me and is safe but a bit boring I feel. I like brighter/lighter blues. And corals and pinks and greens and yellows… I just love colours tbh!
Am I too demanding?
Because how hard can it be for manufacturers to provide attractive swimwear that fits?
I have bought from specialists such as Bravissimo and Figleaves and more general stores such New Look and Primark. I even spotted one in Ann Summers that looked promising at a glance but was not to be.
Currently, I’m holding out for Debenhams. Am waiting on an order I placed today and praying that it will fit well and look nice. If that fails me, I honestly don’t know where I’ll find anything.
Debenhams has 254 bikini tops on its website. After typing in my criteria (underwire and size) I was left with a choice of 4.
Out of 254.
It’s despairing. And so very detrimental to self-esteem.
Is my body so very unique?
No, it’s not. Yes, I have terrible body image perception and self-esteem and I don’t much like having it this way at the moment but I also logically know that it’s pretty much run-of-the-mill 30-something, two children, too many croissants, not enough gym sessions and not blessed with magical genes, standard. In all likelihood, there are thousands of women out there very similar to me (I assume).
So why is the swimwear available to us not reflective of this?