I am a summer baby (my birthday is July 17th), so it’s only fitting that I would be a person who loves soaking in the sun and going to the beach. However, the thing I dread the most is swimsuit shopping. I can already feel my inner turmoil bubbling over into anxiety as I receive beach, pool, and water park invitations from friends and family members.
Buying a plus sized swimsuit that doesn’t make me look like a floral table cloth (and one that fits right!) is like trying to find a mythical creature. Sure I could try to be really edgy and wear a themed Harley Quinn or Little Mermaid swimsuit from Hot Topic, but after turning 30 years old this month, I think that I just want to look cool and comfortable and not like I’m in denial of my age. I could purchase one from Forever 21, but my biggest problem is self-image. Forever 21’s plus-sized models look like they have Amazonian proportions, and I suppose for most six foot models, a high v-shaped one piece swimsuit would mold perfectly with their curves. But not so much for me thanks to my love handles, and lack of self-discipline to put the cookies down and pick up jogging.
So if you are in the market for a bathing suit, like I am, you have to really ask yourself, “What would I feel comfortable in?” You want to feel good in whatever you wear because you deserve it. Personally, I enjoy a nice one piece, maybe even one that’s a dress-swimsuit or a 1950s style. I’ve worn a tankini (a two piece tank top swimsuit), which is great with the correct support. Also, I applaud any girl who wants to wear a two piece—they have amazing selections in Torrid and Macy’s for women with curves. Although with their selection comes a hefty price tag (swimsuits ranging from $54 and $108, and if it is a name brand than you better have a thick wallet). But my budget most certainly does not support these two clothing stores.
Old Navy’s options are very basic (like a cheesy Hawaiian vacation look) for the price tag of $45 and up. Also, some of their swimsuits have plummeting necklines with, what looks like, very little support. I can’t see myself wearing a plain print swimsuit that mirrors a girdle. I honestly can only grimace while scrolling through their selection because Old Navy is usually my go-to for affordable decent clothes, but their swimsuit selection stinks.
Target has a lot of cool looking swimsuits, but none that I could say would fit my body type. Instead of plus sized models, I feel like they just have beautiful, healthy, and strong looking women modeling swimwear that looks great on that type of body. Maybe my problem is that I’m too self-conscious. I’ve probably scrolled right past the perfect swimsuit, but I’m worried about the cost and fit.
After a week of searching the internet, and the fact that shipping dates won’t make the cut for some of my pool party invitations, I decided to search through clothing stores in Manhattan. Burlington, Old Navy, and Marshall’s were all a bust. I’m not sure if it was because I was searching for swimsuits late in the summer season, but my options were extremely limited. My last hope was TJ Maxx, and even there like the other stories that I visited, I had to grit my teeth and dive straight into the only two racks sloppily displaying plus sized swimwear. Like a sweet miracle, I found only one swimsuit. It was a neon pink dress swimsuit that fit comfortably and looked like a sporty dress.
Overall, I’m glad I made the decision to search in stores because I was able to see how my body looked in a swimsuit. Browsing the internet makes me feel like I have more options, but these options are disillusioned by all of the airbrushing and photo tricks to make these plus sized models look perfect. Personally, aside from my miracle find at TJ Max, Torrid was the only clothing store that I had stylish swimsuits. These bathing suits, albeit expensive, were very trendy, colorful, and appeared to be comfortable.