There are some things that just push a girl over the edge; shopping for a swimsuit is one of them. Along with loud talkers on early trains, men who say your monthly pain can’t be THAT bad (Grrr...) and people who turn a 3-point turn into a 367-point turn, shopping for a swimsuit can stretch your patience – and not in a good Pilates kind of way. You enter the mall dreaming of lazy summer days, lying fabulously on the beach in your new bikini that you will stumble upon today. What often happens is we go from store to store until we are but a hollow husk of a woman who never wants to see their reflection in a mirror again. But it doesn't have to be that way! You’re a wonderfully made creation, and if you follow my tips, you’ll find your swimsuit expedition will go from sad tears to best-day-ever-happy-tears. Dive in!
This might sound strange, but my first tip to avoid having a meltdown while shopping for a swimsuit is to ensure that you look your best when you go. Trying to find swimmers can sometimes be a little demoralizing, so the key thing here is to ensure you stroll into the mall feeling and looking like a superstar. Get your hair blown out, pick out a killer dress or top-and-shorts combo, slip on some achingly stylish shoes and hit the shops – whatever makes you look and feel at the top of your game, do that before you go. When it takes a little longer to find the perfect suit, you won’t care; one look in the mirror will show that the swimmers are lucky to be so close to such a rockin’ babe.
People say it’s good to have an open mind, and they’re right. But when it comes to choosing a swimsuit, they are more wrong than socks and sandals. Avoid chucking a huge wobbly by knowing what works for you – and sticking to it like a lovesick tween on a Justin Bieber poster. If you go searching for any old thing, you’ll try on lots of stuff that doesn't work, and this will make you feel yucky. What you want to do is know the styles that make your ladies look like divas and the jibbly bits back-up dancers. Got yourself some mighty melons? Stay away from fiddly, thin strappy things, and go for fabulous styles like halter neck that will hoist those bad boys and support them like a BFF. Blessed with small-and-perkys? You can try a whole bunch of styles (darn you!) that us bigger-bosomed ladies can only dream of (like strapless and cut-out), but it’s best to stay away from suits that require bigger breasticles to hold them up in the right way. Check out swimsuit looks on models that are close to your body shape and note what works. Then go find it!
As in point one, your choice of outfit is important, but it’s not just about looks. You also want to make sure that your outfit isn’t too hard to remove. I have had many shopping trips that started out alright, but were turned into niggly nightmares when I had to remove and replace a long scarf, two layered tops, difficult-to-button-up shorts, and fiddly sandals every single time I went into a change room. After the 476,000th time of pulling off your tops, your hair is so full of static electricity you could charge your phone from it. So, make it easy for yourself – stick with light fabrics, open necklines and zips. You don’t want to turn into 14th change-room Michelle. She’s not a very nice person.
I’ve watched enough movies to know that no one should go on a grand quest by themselves. Frodo needed Sam, Marty McFly needed Doc Brown, and you need your girlfriends by your side on your quest for The Perfect Swimsuit. They will give you honesty when you need it, and remind you how fabulous you are when you’re feeling down. And they will wholeheartedly agree with you when you suggest it is time to take a break from shopping and have a Cinnabon. John Donne famously said that no man is an island; well, neither are women! We need our girls if we’re ever going to laze blissfully on the shores of that island with our other girls happily encased.
Speaking of Cinnabon breaks, that reminds me. I want a Cinnabon. Oh! I mean, um... TAKE BREAKS. This is crucial. Finding swimmers can sometimes take ages, and you have to remember to take time away from shopping every few hours to chill. Slogging it out all day will leave you tired and irritable. See a movie, take lunch and afternoon tea, get frequent coffees – just make sure you take breaks from the search-and-buy process. This will re-energize you and make it more likely you will have the stamina to see out the day and find what you came looking for, without “accidentally” taking out that person who cuts in front of you in the Cinnabon line with your huge handbag.
I was on a similar shopping trip the other day, searching for a dress to wear to my friend’s wedding. I had just gotten a new job with a decent salary, and decided I was going to break the cycle of wearing the same three dresses to every special occasion. I will find a new dress, I thought! I will buy it even if the price tag has three numbers on it, I promised! Three hours later, and I had not found a single thing, despite all the same stores stocking drool-worthy dresses when I had much less buying power. I wanted to cry. I’m not even kidding. But you know what made me feel better? A funny song (it may or may not have been Veggietales...) came on my iPod, and as I started to giggle at the lyrics, I found the tension just faded away. I started to laugh at the irony of my situation, and I relaxed. The point here is that you need to keep the right perspective when you shop – if you can’t find anything today, that’s alright! If it’s not working out the way you planned – it’s OK! It’s just a swimsuit, it’s not the end of the world. You can come back another day, go to a different center – it’s going to be fine. So play funny or cheerful music or tell your friend to remind you that it's not as bad as you think. The day will turn out exactly how you let it, so keep a relaxed and positive perspective and you’ll be surprised by the difference it makes to your experience!
When she wrote Pride and Prejudice, my favorite novelist Jane Austen could also have conceded the following truth to be universally acknowledged: we always want what we don’t have. Read: women with petite breasts want huge ones, and women with huge ones wish they had petite ones. It’s true! My ladies are more towards the mango end of the spectrum, and while we’re friends, I have definitely found myself bemoaning the inconvenience of their size on occasion. For example, when I see the painfully stylish and intricate creations my smaller-bosomed sisters can rock on the beach without looking like playboy bunnies. We’re never happy! And it makes it harder for us to accept the fact (yes, FACT!) that we are beautiful just as we are. Dashing Mark Darcy liked Bridget just as she was in Bridget Jones Diary, and we ought to do ourselves the same favor.
Those are my suggestions for enjoying your swimsuit shopping... and be sure to pay special attention to the last one. Like yourself for the wonderful, specially made woman you are! After all, your swimmers are just something adorning the stone cold fox underneath. Confidence is far and away the most attractive quality you can have, whether on the beach or in the boutique! What kind of swimmers are your loyal friends? Tell me in the comments!
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