My current swimsuit is not long for this world. Time to give it a decent burial. I bought it about three years ago at TJ Maxx. It was one of those too-rare occasions when I went to TJM to look for something specific, and actually found it – right up front, in the seasonal “swim” section to the right of the entrance.
I swore I heard angels singing.
You know I love a bargain, which is why I’m a regular at TJ Maxx, Marshall’s and Ross Dress for Less. (Note: If you go to Ross, go soon as they open. The store goes from decent to disaster in just a few hours.) I mostly hit those stores for kitchen, bed and bath items, but occasionally I saunter over to the clothing racks. It’s still early enough in the season to find something functional to swim in.
That’s all I want: functional. A solid color, preferably. Not black, but neither fuchsia nor electric turquoise. Just a basic suit, preferably without a built-in bra. I told you I have a different build than most overweight women. Stuffing a swimsuit top with tissue is not an option.
I don’t usually bother with suits that boast “slimming” power. I feel the same way about swimsuits as I do about Victoria’s Secret: After size 14, it’s not a secret anymore. Besides, I’m not trying to impress anyone. These days, I’m in the water for exercise, only. It’s fun, it’s easy, and a great stealth workout.
But I do have an ego, so the suit must look nice. A month ago, I saw a large, blonde, African-American woman sitting on a bench in the locker room, chatting amiably with others. She had on a brown swimsuit that so closely matched her skin tone I did a double-take.
Remember Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax? I don’t care if it’s the last suit on the rack. Not. Wearing. Brown.
Women of all sizes claim to fear swimsuit season, and absolutely dread shopping for a suit. I haven’t seen the comic strip Cathy in a couple of years, but cartoonist Cathy Guisewite could get a month’s worth of mileage out of bikini shopping.
Imagine what it’s like for women twice normal size.
So really, I can’t make a big deal out of it. Either a suit fits, or it doesn’t. Right now, it doesn’t matter to me whether a certain swimsuit over- or under-emphasizes a specific body part.
But I have to say, I do look forward to the day when it does.
They were doing a full back shot of me in a swimsuit and I thought, Oh my God, I have to be so brave. See, every woman hates herself from behind. ~ Cindy Crawford
Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.