May 26, 2009

How to Survive Swimsuit Season

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Oh, you're sooooo not here right now.

Well, your body's here, but the mind is still on Weekend Time. It's nice outside. It's after Memorial Day. Heck, it's summer. That means it's time to get out of the stuffy office and... oh crap, that means it's swimsuit time and you're not prepared!!!
Image: oddsocks

Damn! What good was it to promise to be good and "get around to" exercise? Now it's too late!

Self magazine has a list of tips to get flat abs fast, but their definition of 'fast' is 30 days. Who has that time? You've got to take the kids to the pool! Everybody will be watching! Even if you've got instant tan for the paler-than-white skin, where's the instant lipo-suction-in-a-can when you need it?

Swimsuit season is a time for serious angst. I mean, come on. Even if you are in really good shape, a bikini isn't always flattering:
Photo: Mike Baird

The worst pain centers around two areas: trying on the suit and having someone insist on taking your photo while you're wearing the suit. We've* put together some tips on how to cope with Swimsuit Season.

*Okay, that should be I've put together some tips. Don't blame Crabby.

Top ten things not to say to someone who's trying on a swimsuit

10. Oh. It's very... interesting.
9. It's not just you. Polka dots make everyone's hips look wide.
8. Gosh, I didn't know they came in that size.
7. Y'know, one piece suits are much more... slimming.
6. Hey, splashing about in the water isn't all that fun anyway.
5. Gee, you look just like Kirstie Allie.
4. Wow, I didn't know you were expecting.
3. Does a girdle come with that suit?
2. It's the lighting. Fluorescent lights add weight.
1. Can I take your picture?

Top ten ways to ease the pain of getting your picture taken while wearing a swimsuit

10. Get some children to stand in front of you.
9. No, infants don't count.
8. Yes, check with the parents first, or at least make sure you know the parents.
7. Because that's the kind of lawsuit you never want to have to deal with.
6. Preferably children who are rather tall and fidget a lot.
5. Besides, blurry photos can look quite artistic.
4. Especially if you're wearing a floppy hat and sunglasses.
3. Hey, all the celebrities wear that stuff.
2. Well, who cares what the photographer thinks?
1. Look, if they're going to get all huffy, take their picture instead. So there.

If you decide to go the no-suit route (no, not nekkid, clothed)...

If you decide to just wear regular clothes to the beach, remember these tips:

1. Don't wear parachute pants. Baggy pants only make you look thinner if the waist is really loose.
2. You can look thinner if you suck in your gut:

Excellent! Just keep that up until Labor Day, and no worries.

(Jeans photos courtesy of Melting Mama)

For a more serious treatment of this subject, check out the Back in Skinny Jeans post about Bikini Torment. I'm not in a serious frame of mind. Probably because I haven't tried on any swimsuits yet.

Well, how are you going to cope with swimsuit season? Total denial? A what-the-hell attitude? Something in between?


  1. My usual method for coping with swimsuit season is to hide indoors and talk loudly about the perils of getting sunburned. The truth is I'm just not brave enough for the beach. Forget size issues -- my legs are so white that people would have to put on sunglasses to deal with the glare. I'm just being kind by avoiding that.

  2. I'm really a fan of the one-piece! Always have been... Bikinis are only for perfect bodies, not okay bodies and certainly not bodies that have stretched and shrunk a few times!

  3. Ahh, swimsuits! Luckily, living in London I haven't pulled mine out in years...hopefully in july though! That's enough time to find some tall kiddos to take with me to greece!


  4. You know how it is with people. They don't really judge unless they compare. I always make sure I don't get my picture taken next to bikini models.

  5. I have a what-the-hell attitude. But that's after two years of water aerobics at the Y, where everyone is lumpy-bumpy somewhere, except some of the teenage lifeguards. It's just too bad it took me 34 years to get here, after an embarrassment at my 6th grade pool party.

  6. 3 words: running shorts bigbig sportsbra boybeater.

    Havent purchased a bathing suit in years.

    My husband LOVES the looknot.

    we need to bring back the skirted longsleeved (ok bring IN that one) look for myriad reasons (we can claim skin cancer)----why do I think the cranky duo is just the team to launch OPERATION SKIRTSUIT 2010?

  7. Even though I live in a beach town during summer, I'm not a big swimmer--more likely to be walking on the beach. So I put on my ancient swimsuit exactly once last year. (And discovered: surprise! Still not much of a swimmer.)

    So it's usually shorts and a tank top for me. But I really do need to replace the ancient suit and am NOT looking forward to it! When I try suits on the legs always seem way too high cut--I want something that comfortably and generously covers my ass. Is that too much to ask?

  8. I'll do some crunches, eat somewhat healthy, but mostly just wear the bathing suit with a what-the-hell attitude! Mines already been out and having a hay day lounging by the pool. Swimsuits gotta have fun too.

    Also when it comes to buying a swimsuit, I like bringing in my digital camera to snap a photo in the change room. I never trust the mirrors :)

  9. The secret to surviving swimsuit season is to emigrate! It's winter here - no need to get the bikini out at all!

  10. I haven't been able to wear bikinis since some stomach surgery when I was 18, and I wouldn't have look good in one since I got preggers when I was 26. The kid's 15 now and looks *too* good in her bikini, but I'm over the bikini drama on my own account. My bikini drama this year was trying to find one for the kid's size 6 derriere and size 36D bust that didn't make her look like she might be selling something. Oy!

    I have a variety of suits in several sizes that I've picked up over the years, but I'm throwing out the 'fat' suits this year, leaving me with one tank and one tankini. To my surprise, the kid (who is also my fashion consultant) thinks I look better in the tankini. I think it's that the tankini has texture, which conceals my bulge-y-ness a little better than the bulge-conforming lycra tank.

    I'm not the fattest mom at the pool, and people don't *have* to look at me in all my bulge-y, droopy glory, so I plan to have a good time in the sun and not worry about it. Bring on the sunscreen!

  11. dragonmamma/naomiMay 26, 2009 at 7:42 AM

    Hey, Miz, you wear the same suit I do!

    Doesn't matter how buff I get; a bikini just doesn't do it for the left-over skin from my baby-making days.

  12. There's not a beach around here for miles and miles. Well, small lakes, but there's not a big push for it yet. I'm working on getting ready for next years beach season :)

    One pieces are a must when it's necessary.

  13. The swimsuit thing scores fairly high on the stress-o-meter. Luckily the whole who gives a damn, it's hot, and I need me some ocean, usually wins out.

  14. Ok... seriously... here's the way to deal with the swimsuit one that feels comfortable but whatever you do, don't try it on anywhere where you can see yourself in the mirror. That way you can just tell yourself you look fab and go out and have fun! After all, everyone else is waaaay too busy worrying about how they look to really bother about me.

    Or um.... well try a nudist resort and this time I really am serious. I once got tricked into going to one - it changed my life. It was incredibly liberating. I even wrote about it over at ditch diets live light.

  15. Even though I am "fit", I still hate the bathing suit season. At 51, there is only so much I can do & there are parts that just don't firm up no matter what! I am also one not to go to the beach UNLESS I am lucky enough to be in Hawaii! Anyone want to send me for research! :-) I hear there are these body slimmer ones out now.. like spanks but in a bathing suit. OR, the skirt ones!!

    Oh well, I have not bought a suit in years & like others, just walk on them here so it is shorts & a top for me until I am in Hawaii! If I make it there, I will wear one!

  16. I ramp up my workouts slightly, don't skip them, and eat better.

    I've got the start of what could be cellulite, but it's not that bad. And I credit being 21 for that.

  17. If you think wearing a suit under normal conditions is bad - trying being pregnant! I'm going to a huge family reunion (read: pictures taken every 5 minutes) in August, just 2 months before I'm due. Fun:)

  18. I don't get swim suits really. I mean, we go around all year being modest about our bodies and then once summer hits we're supposed to suddenly bare all for everyone and their mama?
    (this is me dealing with the season. by asking rhetorical questions).
    "Aren't you going to wear a suit, Annabel?"
    Annabel: "You know bathing suits were probably invented by the same guy who invented high heels?"

    I like the emigration idea.

  19. How do I deal with swimsuit shopping? One!

  20. haha Love your thoughts on making sure you know the children before using them to shield your wobbly bits. (love how they call them that over there - so cute) I'm pear shaped so i'm loving those little skirts that cover up my 'inner thigh issue.' That's about it. And alcohol - it makes everything better. j/k...kinda.

  21. yeah, I havn't worn a swimsuit in public in years. Luckily it's easy to avoid swimsuit situations here in the big city. I'm still trying to get over my swimsuit-phobia enough to go do laps at the gym. Yes. It's that bad.

  22. I live in a land locked province and can't stand the crowds at lakes and pools, so it hasn't been an issue for the last 30 some years!

  23. I don't think I have a bathing suit that hasn't crumbled to bits. I haven't been to the beach in more than fifteen years, and Lycra just doesn't store well.

    I don't usually swim where I have to wear a suit. Hard core nudist here.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  24. My strategy for looking slimmer in a bathing suit/tourniquet is to regularly visit the Rhode Island beaches. They are fantastic for surf but more importantly, for people who look much worse in a bathing suit than I do - I mean that in the nicest possible way, of course. Too bad we're vacationing at the Cape this summer if only because the population there is so much more fit. (Note to Merry: I will gladly loan you my 13 year old for any and all of your own picture taking - right after I'm done with him).

  25. Bikini??? HAHAHAHAHA! Not since I was 25....I finally found bathing suits at Lands End that are for, ahem, "womanly" figures. yay! But I always wear mine with swim shorts...

  26. Heh...timely.
    My old bathing suite has passed on and shuffle doff it's mortal coil, so (while trying to get into bathing suit shape after 2 long weeks of slothery holidays) I need to get a new suit.
    If I can actually find one I like that doesn't look like the 70s or 80s threw up on it, I will actually ahve to (shudder) try it on.
    Hope I can find one I like. I'm a fan of bikini tops and shorts...noone needs to see that much of my butt. Don't mind the top half of me tho...if I'm aroudn a bunch of people I don't know, it doesn't bother me if they see me in a suit...I figure I won't see them again, so who cares :)

  27. I wear a rash guard and board shorts. less burning that way, and I don't have to worry about my pasty tummy blinding anyone with it's glare.
    There are a lot of women at the pool in our complex who wear bikinis and just let it all hang out and I LOVE that! They don't seem to give a fig what anyone else thinks, and that is just so cool.
    I remember going to Europe when I was a teen, and you'd see all shapes and sizes in bikinis. I wish we had that mentality here.

  28. I *think* my bod is looking good, but the swimsuit will be the litmus test. If I fail, I'll just bury my body in the beach sand. Problem solved.

  29. Wear black and turn sideways. It's always swimsuit season in Florida :-(

    Oh yeah, being up to your neck in the water is very flattering also.

  30. I have not owned/worn a swimsuit in at least 10 years - and I don't think this year is going to be any different. But maybe next year I'll try that "Miraclesuit" - they still make it, don't they?!?

  31. I'll be taking a "who the hell cares. Yes, I look like a beached whale" approach this year. Being pregnant I think I've earned that right. And there's no way for me to avoid the pool with a two year old and the fact that hubby works at a camping resort...might as well just go with it and keep myself cool! But any cameras found pointed in my direction are at risk of drowning. : )

  32. Very funny, Merry!

    I especially liked your top 10 things not to say.

    Being in land-locked CO, it's easy to avoid swimsuits. Hallelujah!

  33. I don't know what you thought was wrong with the runner in a bikini. She looked great.

  34. I'm going with Annabel on this one!! Of course, when I was young and fit I let it hang out like a hooka, but now that I am old and fluffy, I think everyone stop dressing so trashy. :-)

  35. I stick with a tankini and try to keep a cover up on during all pictures. When the paparazzi are following me, I make sure I'm fully clothed!

  36. Patty, I want to describe myself as "old and fluffy." Can I steal that line?

    Anon, would to God I had that woman's figure, but the swimsuit itself is not flattering. It's riding up on her left side, creating a bulge. (Of course, if I were wearing a bikini, the bulge would not be caused by the suit.)

    Ruth -- what, Colorado doesn't have any lakes or pools? You guys got gypped! I guess it's a good thing you have such beautiful mountains instead :)

  37. Well, I am pretty sure I stole it so go ahead Merry...wait, no, you are not old enough!

    And that was suppose to be "I think everyone *should* stop dressing so trashy"...grrr

  38. I would just like to say that the first photo is my favorite sign at the UCLA Sunset pool - I was very sad when they took it down. And if you've ever seen the squirrels on campus, you would understand how scary and bold those suckers are.

    As for the swimsuit issue - ever since I developed strange tan lines from swimming in an outdoor pool 2-3 times a week, the two piece vs one piece debate is much less of an issue. Who cares about any side flab (real or imagined) when you look like a zebra?

  39. I'm a big beach fan. That's what keeps me motivated to drag myself to the gym on a 20 degree day in January. Summer is never very far away!

  40. It's not so much the suit wearing, but the suit *shopping* that causes anxiety for me. (Haven't had that angst in years, thanks to online catalog shopping!) I love swimming too much to let how I look in a swim suit stop me (always have), but I gave up bikinis in favor of one-piece suits a looong time ago.

  41. Beach towels. I'm sure they were invented to counter swimsuit angst. Just wrap a giant one around yourself until the very last minute before you make a dash for the water. And then the lumpy bits that you think you can see while in the water are just ripples on the surface!

  42. "having someone insist on taking your photo while you're wearing the suit"Ha. Not this lifetime. I just act like they're talking in a Mandarin subdialect I don't happen to speak.

  43. the news swim suits for female surfers work great--they look like swim shorts. Why should only young guys be comfortable at the beach.
    Gotta think outside the bikini....I try to do just that at the "Shapely Grape." www.joanvoight.blogspot
    Check me out.

  44. eh, i just don't care so much anymore. it also helps that the significant other likes the way i look so i can use that to push out the self-doubt. mostly.

    i have a two piece tyr suit for lap swimming just because it fits better than a one piece (top medium; bottom definitely large).

    and ruth, there are still tons of opportunities to wear a swimsuit in colorado! neighborhood pool, lakes, reservoirs, water world, the backyard sprinklers, etc. ;)

  45. EHHHHH oh no!!! It's swimsuit season!!! I'm going swimming on sunday and i have to get a new swim suit.... I'm only 12 and in shape and everything but i feel completely un-comfortable in swimsuits and i really wanna over come the fear so this stinks

  46. many girls are not able to wear bikinis if they got stomach surgery somehow. But hope this post will help a lot.


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