I spent four hours shopping for new togs last week. It was awful.
I don’t know why I did it. Maybe because I was having too nice a weekend and I needed to ruin it.
The thing is, I love to swim. In fact, I swim between one and two kilometres every day after work. I have three pairs of lap togs. Usually when I buy a new pair, I don’t even try them on.
But recreational swimwear is a whole other story. For starters, the beach is an accidentally-nude hazard zone. I like to spend time in the water, not just lounge around on a towel. That means dealing with waves, and occasionally getting dumped. So to guard against a wave-dacking, a bikini needs to be robust.
Phase one: This is going to be easy.
I started at David Jones. Big range, all the main brands, lots of change rooms that I know have mirrors inside so I don’t have to show strangers any terrible mistakes.
I tried on six different versions of essentially the same bikini. Lots of top coverage, full but not high brief and a cute matching rashie. Getting sunburnt sucks and I spend a fair bit of time at the beach alone, unable to apply sunscreen to my back, so a rashie seemed practical.
The rashie made all the terrible things about the various bikinis less terrible, but that is not a practical solution. You need the foundations to be solid.
I began to realise this was not going to resolve itself quickly.
Phase two: Why boobs?
About 45 minutes into my odyssey the inevitable self-hatred began. And it was all focused on one thing. Boobs. Everyone has stuff they don’t like about themselves, and stuff they do. Usually my boobs fall into the stuff I like category. That’s how awful this day was, I even hated the parts of my body I don’t already hate.
Here’s my question: Do swimwear designers ever test their products on women with actual large breasts? My whole life I’ve bought halter neck bikinis because they are the only ones that provide support and shape. But halters can be incredibly painful if worn all day – the weight your neck is supporting is far from pleasant.
This year, I told myself, I am not getting a halter top. Which is how I ended up in the DJs change room with six completely impractical bikini tops that squashed, pushed down, cut in half, cut in half the other way, barely covered, or provided absolutely no support for my boobs whatsoever.
I liked the rashies. Everything else needed to go in the bin.
Sidenote: Change rooms
A good change room should be three things.
Private: No curtains that don’t close properly or doors with weird gaps, please.