Do you ever decline invitations to go swimming or hang out at the beach because you feel uncomfortable in your swimsuit? I used to, until I realized that I was missing out on one of my favorite parts of life—I love to swim! Water, whether salt or sweet, feels so good rushing over your skin, and it's the perfect cool-down on a hot day, far more refreshing than an air-conditioned room. And there's something incredibly relaxing about being immersed in water—since our bodies are mostly H2O, I think it makes sense that floating in a pool, lake or on the waves would be naturally lulling.
But plenty of people, especially women, dread swimsuit season, and are so worried about how they look in a suit that it gets in the way of enjoying one of the best parts of summer. When I turned 30, I forced myself to put on a bikini (I spent some time finding one I felt as comfortable as possible in) and jumped in. I hadn't ever worn one before the big 3-0 and it was totally liberating. I was living in Hawaii at the time, and it was a challenge the first few times to walk around wearing so little (anyone could see my stomach wasn't flat!), but I soon got used to it, and I've never looked back. (Check out the video below for some inspiration!)
Part of being OK with yourself in a bathingsuit is just kind of forcing yourself to do something you may feel self-conscious about (trust me, nobody's paying as much attention to your thigh jiggle as you are!). You just have to do it—like anything, practice makes perfect. But the other half of the equation is finding a bathing suit (maillot or bikini) that you feel yourself in. I've found I like tie-side bikini bottoms since I can adjust them to my hips, and halter tops, which flatter my smaller bust. If you have a bigger bosom, finding a supportive top is key, and if you have a Kardashian-esqe rear, you might want to buy separates, so you can get a bottom in a size or two larger than your top—many companies provide this option.
Thankfully, it's easier than ever to find a swimsuit that really flatters you—no matter your size. From vintage cuts to new materials, from two-pieces that offer a lot of coverage to plus-size suits that are designed with larger bodies' needs in mind, hit the internet and give yourself some time to find the one (I replaced my original bikini last year and it took me 3 different hour-long searches to find the perfect suit).
I highly recommend ordering several suits in several sizes (and styles!) and trying them all on at home. Just return the ones that don't work for you. It's way lower-stress than trying on suits in the store (and oftentimes the mirrors in stores are inaccurate and vary from store-to-store, which is frustrating). It's worth the time and effort to find a swimsuit you feel as good as possible in, and that fits your lifestyle.
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