Besides that one, every swimsuit I’ve ever owned in my entire life has been a conservative one-piece, usually all-black, with a shaping panel built into the front to help camouflage my midsection. Totally fun and flirty and young and sexy, right? (Not.)
I’m turning 30 this year, and you know what? I’m fed up with hiding my body in matronly, sadsack swimsuits that turn a quick trip to the restroom into a 20-minute, full-strip-down ordeal. I’m done waiting to achieve that elusive “bikini body” before buying a cute swimsuit.
It’s become a cliche, but it’s true: I want a bikini body, so gosh darnit, I’m going to put a bikini on my body.
Christine Anu shares her body image advice with MamamiaTV. (Post continues after video.)
To that end, the other night, my best friend and I had a few glasses of wine and decided some mutual online bikini shopping sounded like the perfect evening activity. Obviously, we immediately turned to Pinterest for inspiration. We typed in “bikini” and scrolled through the options to see what styles caught our eye.
Let me note here that my best friend is 5’10”, thin, and has never owned a one-piece. I’m 5’3″, curvy, and have hovered between a size 10 and 14 since I was in the 4th grade. We’re pretty much as opposite as you can get when it comes to body shape and size, not to mention our personal aesthetic.
It wasn’t long before we started a seeing a clear pattern.
The women with body shapes/sizes similar to my friend (tall and thin) were wearing bikinis of every type— high-waisted, string, boy shorts, bandeaus, thongs, cutouts, you name it.
The women who looked more like me (shorter, curvier) were ALL wearing retro ’50s-style bikinis. Every single one of them.
Don't get me wrong, they all looked fabulous—but judging from the search results, you'd have thought a law that women over 70kg were required to wear retro bikinis or no bikinis at all had been passed.
We closed Pinterest and started perusing online shops and department stores instead. And sure enough, all the swimsuits that were available in larger sizes were the exact same style: ruched, full-coverage, retro styles that could double as pin-up girl Halloween costumes in a pinch.
I wanted a swimsuit that was modern and sexy, but I was starting to feel like if I wanted to show some skin, I had to do it with a costume-y wink. The lack of other options sent a message: Don't try to be sexy in the context of "now"... because, well, you're not. (Post continues after gallery.)