6 tips to help you feel good in a swimsuit

Posted on Jul 4, 2011 in Fashion & Beauty

I don’t know about you guys, but now that July 4th is here, pool and beach season is in full swing for me. June has been a bit chilly here in Indiana, and we are (no doubt) in store for a big warm up in July. Expect to see lots of pictures of me in my swimsuit.

For a lot of women out there, the thought of friends, family and strangers seeing them in their swimsuits is enough to make them wish for winter. Fitness magazine ran a story last month with some of interesting statistics about how women feel about their bikini (or tankini or one piece or board short) bodies. I was really intrigued to hear some of these numbers:

If Justin Timberlake invited them to a beach party, 36 percent of women would turn him down flat because they don’t feel they’re in good enough shape.

43 percent of women would give up Facebook forever if they could have a body like a swimsuit model’s.

I have seen it first hand. So many women passing on the chance to go to an awesome water park or splash on the beach just because of their swimsuit fear. I used to be one of those. I’d put a t-shirt on over my swimsuit. I’d drape a towel over my lap. But then I learned the secrets to feeling awesome in a swimsuit and it has nothing to do with size, weight or body. It has everything to do with confidence, attitude and choosing the right swimwear. Now I happily splash around in any of my multiple swimsuits with pride. I actually feel good in my swimsuit. Can you believe it? So how did this 225 pound woman come to find swimsuit utopia? Here’s how:

 

1. Find a swimsuit that fits well.

Shopping for a swimsuit is up toward the top of the list for most women of the most painful things they ever have to do, but finding the right swimsuit is so important. I’m a big fan of online shopping, but I truly believe swimsuits are a strictly in-store purchase. Beyond the style and color, you need to find a swimsuit that truly fits well to feel confident. It should be tight (but not too tight) in all the right places. It should be long or short enough. Picking wedgies and being worried about losing your top in the waves does not make for a confident swimmer. In the dressing room, jump, squat, dance around, and generally act a fool. You need to find out how that suit moves!

2. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it (on).

Try on a million different sizes, colors, and types. I always thought the swimdress was something only old women wore, but I tried one on for the first time a few years back and the swimsuit gods smiled down on me! I now own three swimdresses and love each one of them. And even though the swimdress is still the chosen swimwear of the octogenarian set, I get compliments all the time on my swimsuits. Never thought you could wear a bikini? Try one on. Maybe board shorts are perfect for you. You’ll never know until you try them on. So many times women are in such a rush to get through swimsuit shopping that they skip right over what could be their perfect swimsuit. Do you have a tank suit now that you hate? Then skip the tanks suits and figure out what works for you.

3. Stop judging others and really look.

Women (and men!) tend to be so snarky when beach time comes around. I’ve been guilty in the past of whispering something like, “She shouldn’t be wearing that bikini!” but the truth is, all I’m doing is hurting my own confidence by knocking down others. Anytime you are tempted to comment on someone else’s less-than-perfect bikini body, instead think of a compliment (and if you are feeling particularly nice, share your compliment). Turn the negativity around. Seeing other people in a positive light means you’ll see yourself in a positive light as well. Also, with the negativity gone, you can take some time to really look at people. I bet, more often than not, you’ll see a ton of people who don’t have the same body as the models in magazines but are happy, confident and beautiful.

4. Fill out the outfit.

Beach confidence doesn’t just stop with finding a great swimsuit. I know I always feel really well-put together when I have the whole beach package. Find coordinating sunglasses, hats, beach bags and shoes. Even throw on a necklace or some earrings. So many people complain of feeling so bare when wearing a swimsuit, but it doesn’t have to be that way!

5. Be true to yourself.

For some reason, I see a lot of women wearing swimsuits that are completely and totally opposite of their usual clothing style. There no reason to depart from what you love and works for your body and personality. Do you tend to be a bit of a tom boy? Then you can skip the skimpy bikini that isn’t “you” and look for board shorts and a swimtank or shirt.  I truly believe there is swimwear out there for every style.

6. Fake it til you make it.

Confidence is sexy. But confidence is also not something that you can just choose to have. But what you can choose to do is fake it! Even if you are feeling self-conscious, strut across that beach like you are the most confident person in the world. Chances are, no one will notice your “fake” confidence and instead will just notice how glowing and fantastic you look. And that will build your confidence until you no longer need to fake it.

Seriously ladies, you are beautiful, regardless of your size, height, or shape. Go strap on a well-fitting swimsuit and have some fun in the sun!


What are your tips for instant swimsuit confidence?

9 Comments

  1. At 135 lbs, I wouldn’t wear a bathing suit in public. Now at 201 lbs, I look back to that girl and think she was crazy. (But really I was crazy with severe body dysmorphia–I thought I was fat back then at 5’11 and 135 lbs). I *really* can’t see myself in a bathing suit now, as I am working along on my weight loss journey. I do look at the old-school looking bathing suits in the Anthropologie catalogs and think, just maybe, I could rock on of those. I think a big part of accepting who I am now, at any weight I may be, is having the confidence to wear a bathing suit in public.

    • If you found a bathing suit you are excited about, get it. Wear it. Love it. Have fun in it! Part of what makes a swimsuit so great is that some of the most fun times in an entire season are happening while you wear that suit!

  2. I really like #3 on your list. I think the world would be a much better place if we didn’t judge each other and criticize each other based on our clothes (or anything superficial, really!). Positivity is the way to go.

    • It’s so important to remember that! I’m really trying to fight the small bit of “Mean Girls” I have in me.

  3. You nailed this one! When I was 15, I was so self conscious of my 235 body that I spent the entire summer in baggy jeans and oversized sweaters. Even on the beach. Even when swimming on the beach.

    I’m generally an outspoken person who doesn’t mind pushing boundaries, so looking back on this time of my life usually makes me feel sad and even a little angry at myself.

    Three years and twenty fewer pounds later I was brave enough to wear a swimsuit and board shorts to a water park with my senior class. A few years after that, I graduated to bikinis on at the beach and family pool parties.

    I’m still self conscious, but I’m forcing myself not to give a damn. In doing so, I’m having way more fun. It’s a lot easier to swim without jeans.

    This year, I’m going to to take your advice and accessorize my swim attire. Coordinating hats, shoes and jewelry? Oh yes!

    • Oh my gosh! I can’t even imagine swimming in jeans! That would be no fun at all. :(

  4. I had a bathing suit breakdown a few weeks ago…and it sucked. I was looking for a new suit to swim laps in & really struggled. Being 6’0 and 220 it’s basically impossible to find a lap swimming suit. Plus size AND tall? It’s like I’m “not supposed” to be swimming laps.

    I literally tried one every single swimsuit in the store – the largest they had in each style and walked out in a seriously foul mood. What’s weird is that I have absolutely no problem baring it all in a “regular” swimsuit – but I was mortified by what I was seeing in the performance suits.

    Luckily I found one online – from a company that has a GREAT return policy. While many performance brands might not understand there’s bigger women out there the want to swim, it’s nice to know that some people/companies out there get it!

    • I struggle with the height thing, too. I’m “only” 5’9″ but have a mega long torso, so almost all one piece bathing suits are too short (and lordy is that uncomfortable). I saw an Eversave deal this weekend for a plus size swimsuit company and I was SO excited to see that they had performance suits and tri-suits for sale! Like you said, it was very cool to see a company get it.

  5. I always felt really uncomfortable in a bikini. Not that there’s anything wrong with my body (5″8 and 60kg (I believe that’s 130 pounds or something?)), but I just didn’t like my stomach (and still don’t). Then one day I decided I was sick of it and ordered a monokini online. I have never been happier! It fits, it’s a nice colour (that looks good on me) and it’s sexy while still covering my insecurities.

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