Bathing Suit Manufacturers Are Taking Part of a Grand Conspiracy to Make Women All Over the World Feel Like Crap


June 10, 2008 by Marj Hatzell

It’s true. Don’t believe me?  Have you BEEN SHOPPING FOR A SUIT LATELY?

See, I just spent five loooooong years working my toosh off so that I could get to my healthiest weight, which I believed to be near my pre-baby weight. That is when I was at my personal best, as far as I am concerned. With Bug Boy I gained thirty-five pounds and lost most of it before I was preggers with Bugaboo, only fifteen months later.  I lost ten initially with Bugaboo (just couldn’t eat enough to nurse and be preggers) and then GAINED SIXTY. Yeah, don’t ever tell a pregnant woman who loves potatoes that she’s allowed to gain as much as she wants, mmkay?

So here we are five years later and I FINALLY got down to pre-baby weight. I mean, pre-both-babies-weight. I was so proud of myself.  I mean, I was the same number post-partum as pre-baby (ok, ok, if you added ten to it) but it still felt good to see that magic number on my doctor’s scale.  This year, due to the fact that my hips (but never my butt) are nearly the same size they were then, I had to buy more clothes.   The crotch of my pants was hanging down to mid-thigh, my skirts slipped down my hips (but were stopped by my ample posterior) and my shirts hung on me.  No longer did I want to wear shapeless, baggy threads (aka my husbands teeshirts).  Now it was time to wear clothes that actually FIT ME!  IMAGINE THAT!

I’ve just spent the past few months hunting down sales, scouring consignment stores and picking through racks and racks of clothing from my favorite stores, including Tarzhay.  I have amassed a nice, comfy collection of clothing (all brown, as my husband points out. And green, as I pointed out.).  I only need a few things here and there (maybe another skirt or two, as I don’t wear shorts at all, unless they are down to my knees or lower. And I think they call them capris or crops then, right?  I have plenty of cute tees and tanks.  I just needed to find a suit. Now, I haven’t shopped for a suit in several years. I wore the same suit post-partum with both boys (fab tankini from Tarzhay that I could nurse in easily) and it seemed to shrink with me, although I am pretty sure last year it was so baggy around my chest that I was flashing a few folks. And since I swim, oh, like twice a year?  I didn’t care.  But I tried it on a few weeks ago and thought I looked like a frumpy, washed-out hag.  It looked awful. It was threadbare, dry rotted and had little bits of pilling all over it. Time to chuck it.  In fact, I chucked it so I would never be tempted to wear it again.

That’s when the search began.  Three months of searching to find a decent, flattering-yet-somewhat-modest suit for a mom.  No string bikinis, bottoms that cover my rear without too many wedgies and a teensy bit of support to hold up the girls, since they are slightly droopy (ok, FINE! They are sagging and wrinkled!  PBLTTT!!!!).  I don’t think that is so much to ask. The thing is, it is apparently TOO MUCH TO ASK!  I could not find anything  one piece that wasn’t rio-cut (read: hip holes higher than my belly button), cut down to my navel or had holes cut out of the side to show my ribs. Or  that didn’t have little metal decorations or beads (HELLO?  BATHING SUIT PEOPLE?  Metal on a bathing suit when you SIT IN THE SUN AND IT GETS HOT?).  And two pieces?  I found a few tankinis but they were too retro and too skimpy and too halter and no support and all, “HEY!  LOOKY HERE!  I’M A DROOPY MOM AND I’M TRYING TO LOOK SIXTEEN!” I almost feel like i need a belly button ring and a tramp stamp right above my arse.  Almost.  Ok, totally not.

That’s when I stumbled upon THIS thing of beauty. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Simple, my kind of color.  Decent, modest cut yet cute.  Almost affordable (GASP!  Bathing suits got PRICEY!) and better than the selection at the five freaking discount stores I visited trying to find a cheap, cute suit.  So I checked out the size chart online, ordered one size up to account for the fact that suits run small and my butt is a little bigger than that and the girls are, too.  And then I received a notice that the bottoms and top were shipping separately. At the end of this month.  Like, two weeks AFTER I needed the freaking suit!

AND!  It gets better!  The bottoms unexpectedly arrived Saturday morning.  They did not fit. Too small. I had to send it back and order the next size up.  Which was a seriously huge blow to my already fragile-bathing-suit-shopping-ego.  I swear, the people who make these suits are all men who have girlfriend issues who want to make us feel really crappy because they are in therapy from a bad breakup and they still have their little voodoo dolls of their girlfriends and they’re all, “HA!  HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT!  ORDERING TWO SIZES ABOVE YOUR DRESS SIZE!  MWAHAHAHAHA!”

Please, pray that the top fits. I don’t think I could stand the rejection.  And also that the reordered bottoms fit.  Because I really couldn’t handle that rejections. And?  It would also be nice if these dang bathing suit pieces arrived before July 4th.  Just sayin’.  ALso?  I’m thinking it’s time to shave the bikini line and the leg area above my knees.

Just in case you needed to know that about me. And now I’ve created this fabulous visual for y’all. Hope you aren’t eating lunch.

11 thoughts on “Bathing Suit Manufacturers Are Taking Part of a Grand Conspiracy to Make Women All Over the World Feel Like Crap

  1. MommyTime says:

    I wrote almost exactly this post (except I’m not as funny as you) about two weeks ago. I finally succeeded at Marshall’s — after many many fruitless hours of refusing to look like a teenaged hooker or Annette Funicello in retro seersucker. Add “long torso” to the aforementioned desires to look reasonably, over 20 and under 60, and you have basically the trifecta of “thou shalt not find a bathing suit EVER.” I so sympathize. I hope your new one turns out to fit like a dream.

    Oh, and don’t worry about the size. I was buying size 10 bathing suits back when I was a skinny grad student with no kids and a paycheck so small I was an always slightly hungry size 6. I simply ignore the number on the tag and identify myself as a “size ___” where ___ is filled in by the size on the tag of the smallest piece of clothing in my closet that currently fits. Thanks, Ann Taylor!

  2. Ha, ha, ha. For some reason when you say “tramp stamp” I laugh.

    Ugh, the absolute worst shopping of any kind. That’s why I wore jeans to the beach a couple of weeks ago. Now I have a tan line around my leg at mid-calf height. And that helps when you already feel self conscious in a swimsuit.

  3. Trace says:

    You make me laugh!

  4. Anjali says:

    Good luck! Hope they fit. It is a beautiful suit. Very similar to the one that I found at Targhay, actually.

  5. RuthWells says:

    I won a Lands End gift card over at last month, so I blew myself to a pricy suit (shorts bottoms and halter bikini top). When it arrived I tried on the shorts with fear and trepidation, and was relieved to find that there was plenty of room for my posterior. Relief turned to dismay when I double-checked the size and found/remembered that I deliberately ordered one size larger than I thought I would/should be.

    Oh, the humanity.

  6. natalie says:

    i have seen the lands end catalog and wondered about those suits. since i have one that will work for this summer…since i will swim all of one…maybe two times i am good. next year thought i will have full day to day pool access so i am sure to be checking with them!

  7. romancechick says:

    Well, that’s it. I don’t even own a suit and you have convinced me I never need one! Thanks!

  8. I know. I know. The whole bathing suit thing is awful. It’s just awful.

  9. Jacki says:

    I hate shopping for a bathing suit. I always think the back of my legs are ugly. I mean, I am all of 100 lbs, but I hate my butt.

  10. Heather says:

    OH MY GOSH — Try buying one 6 months pregnant — that is a whole other circle of he**

  11. Karen says:

    Chadwick’s has nice Land’s End knockoffs, for half the price. Although, Land’s End is really worth the money.

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