Swimwear Shopping

Men, in my opinion, have it easy when it comes to shopping for clothing. Their sizes are based on things like their waist measurement and their inseam. They have S, M, L, XL, XXL, etc. Their dress shirts are based on their neck and arm measurements. Cake.

I suppose with women that’s not the case because our body shapes change a lot. For the most part, men are just kind of… there. They may gain a belly at some point but their belts just seem to go under that.

Now, about the topic at hand, bathing suits. Guys, am I oversimplifying this by saying that you just pick one that looks good, the drawstring fits, and it’s over? Maybe your significant other says, “You look hot,” in it before you buy it, but that’s it, right?

For gals, it is so freakin’ hard to find a bathing suit. You’ve got to make sure your rear isn’t hanging out, unless that’s your goal. You have to get the girls in check, unless it’s your goal to have them, um, unsupported. You worry about your “problem areas” and try to find something that will disguise them. Oh, and then there’s the cost. Why in the hail do the decent bathing suits cost almost $100? Seriously, besides underwear, bathing suits are the smallest article of clothing you can buy.

So, here I am, the wise sage of bathing suits, about to provide you with helpful information. I hope. Let me first say that I have purchased nearly every bathing suit style imaginable: the 1-piece, the high-waisted bikini, the bandeau bikini, the boyshorts with sporty looking top, the boyshorts with halter, the tankini, the tankini with swim skirt, the tankini halter, and the tankini with spaghetti straps. The only one that has not made its way into my collection is the triangle top string bikini, and most of these suits are no longer in service.

The styles I wouldn’t recommend to anyone are the swim skirt and the bandeau. First, the swim skirt. Yes, yes, you probably want to hide your caboose or whatever, but if you want to go in the water, you don’t want this type of suit. Even if you don’t go in the water, you don’t want this suit. About the water, imagine wearing a soaking wet towel around your waist that just kind of slaps against your skin constantly. It’s heavy. It’s wet. It’s clingy. That’s what it’s like with these swim skirts. It’s not fun. They hold water and they are a literal drag. Dry, on the other hand, they are semi-scandalous. It’s like a peep show but not. I mean, everyone knows its a bathing suit, but when the underwear part shows itself, which it will, it looks like you are giving the world a glimpse at something they shouldn’t see because no one in their right mind, except Britney Spears, would wear a skirt that short. You’re going to make fellow beach-goers feel like perverts, not that they are intentionally looking at your rear, but good gracious, there’s a lot of skin out there on the beach and at the pool and someone is going to see you at some point. It’s like wearing a skort. You still have to sit like a lady even though you know they are shorts that look like a skirt, otherwise people with think ill of you.

About the bandeau. Hmmm. How do I say this? Uh… Busty gals need not apply. They are not attractive on you and they could cause exposure problems (unless there is a strap somewhere to keep it secure). Even for those not-so-busty, it’s just not the best look for a lot of people. It can be hard to pull off.

A few years ago a remarkable thing happened. Someone came to their senses and started selling bathing suit pieces separately. Whoever came up with that is a dang genius. I would highly recommend these types of bathing suits. We are all different sizes and to be perfectly proportioned is nearly impossible, so why not buy the pieces you want in the size you want?

Here’s my take on separates:

  • The boyshorts – these are tough to pull off. I think you might actually have to have smaller hips to make them look right on you.
  • The halter – this seems to be the big trend lately. You need to have something up top to make this look good. Beware of water activities where you might be face down on a board of some sort. You could have a wardrobe malfunction.
  • The hipster shorts – I’ve never had these but from what I’ve tried on, they are similar to a boyshort but lower cut in the front and back. Beware of crack.
  • The tank – these are fine. Just get the kind of straps you need. Some of us look better in thin straps than the thicker ones. Also, I would advise not getting a loose fit, especially if you intend on going in the water. The bottom will float upward, and, well, you can figure out the rest of the consequences there.
  • The string bikini bottom – Never bought this type, but watch out for string slippage when the suit gets wet. Re-tie after being in the water, just in case.

With so many types of suits that come and gone in my collection, it’s no surprise that I have been all over creation to buy them.

First, the places to avoid:

  • Ross Dress for Less – the wackos there actually fasten 2-piece suits together with those big beige tags or with the plastic fasteners they use on price tags. Lame and lame. I understand wanting to keep the pieces together, but how are you supposed to try the things on? Lame.
  • Other places of this caliber like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s (though I have had good luck at Marshall’s) – it’s really hard to find pieces that match and the selection can be limited.

Decent places to go or visit with decent prices:

  • Old Navy – some pieces are not “classics” in that they are kind of trendy and will probably only be fashionable for one season. If you haven’t bought something at Old Navy in a while, don’t start with a swimsuit.
  • Kohl’s – good selection and some nice Nike suits. Good for women and juniors.
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods – smaller selection, activewear swimsuits, good prices.
  • Newport News – not sure about the quality, but it seems like a good selection. Different types of tops and bottoms for different body types.
  • Zappos.com – You can change your search results by price. Free shipping both ways! So if you’re weary about buying a suit online, at least there is an easy return for you. I usually buy shoes this way and it’s awesome! I’m expecting a suit in the next day or two.

Good luck and happy shopping.

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