Time to Buy a New Swimsuit. Oh, What Joy.

'The Lorax' was my favorite Dr. Seuss tale.
'The Lorax' was my favorite Dr. Seuss tale.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.

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