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Descent into my personal hell - swimsuit shopping

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Wow, could there be anything more humbling and demoralizing than shopping for a bathing suit?

At this moment... I really can't imagine that there is.

I'm heading to Hawaii in a couple weeks. I NEED a good bathing suit. My old suit has become threadbare and de-elasticized... and it had no proper support anyways. Before I started losing weight, I had fat rolls piled all the way up my torso that gave some built in "support" - but no more. I'm very busty - and now more than ever I really NEED a quality garment to provide some lift and control.

I've lost weight - 35 pounds! I've been feeling SO GOOD about myself, really pleased with how things are going along, really proud of the changes I can see in myself. But all that pride evaporates in the changing room, as I twist and contort myself, trying to tug and squeeze and smoosh into a bathing suit that is 2 sizes larger than my clothing size, and it STILL doesn't contain me.

I tried a really good lingere shop in town, that carries excellent bras in every size possible... they also sell bathing suits, great! I trusted them! The sales girl pulled off a few possibilities and started me a dressing room. But... cup sizes, what? Why do these only go to DD? I'm a freaking G. Maybe and F now, I don't know. But the bathing suits, oh, they don't size like that. So, 18D it is.

HA. Ok 20D.




24??? Seriously???? I'm wearing 18 regular in clothing now - what is up with these suits?? And even the 24 - it wasn't right. Yes there was lots of material to stretch all around me, too much, all baggy in the butt... but the torso is too short?? HOW?!! I'm not tall (5' 6"), I've been known to wear plus-petite... and yet I cannot stretch this thing enough to cover "the girls"... i get the straps over my shoulder and I feel like i'm being pulled tight like a drawn bow - I can't stand up straight without feeling the tension in the material pulling me down, rounding my shoulders... and for all that discomfort, did it at least LOOK nice? NO!! Just a shapeless sack. No lift, no separate, no support, no control, no tummy-taming, just a blobbish Humpty Dumpty look in floral.

I could have cried. After taking up 45 minutes of changing-room time, I slunk like a thief in the night out of the store when the clerk wasn't looking. I didn't want to hear her say "did you find any you liked? Can I get you another size?" I didn't want her to see my face when I tried to say bravely like I wasn't devastated, "no, nothing's striking me today, thanks all the same." So I looked left and looked right, when I knew she was involved with another patron, I bolted before she could say "thanks for stopping by!"

So. That was Humiliation #1 and it was thorough.

Off to Humiliation #2. Penningtons. They carry X to 5x. So at least here, instead of waiting while the clerk susses out the biggest of the big-girl-suits, I'll be able to try on the "smaller" sizes here. And maybe... just maybe - since this IS a "big girls shop" - they will have some styles that are appropriate for a plus size person. Maybe a tankini? Maybe adjustable straps? Well fiddle dee dee they DID. X, 1X, 2X... i grabbed a few of each and headed bravely into the changing room....

Gosh and golly, the little bottoms with the little upper-thigh-friendly "skirt" - looked kind of cute - and provided coverage all the way up to the navel (instead of hitting somewhere between lower-belly-roll #1 and high-hip-bulge #3). Good, so far so good. I felt my mood lift. Now for the tops.... ok... nope not this one, nope not that colour, oooooo ok now this one is nice! I pulled on a really cute little tankini top, it had 3 faux buttons and some contrast trim running up the centre, kind of this style

(Seafolly "LaVita" singlet - not what I tried on, just borrowing picture as an example)

which gave me some faint hope and expectation that it would lift-separate-support the way I needed... and I hoisted everything in to place. But wait. What are my eyes showing me?

*shuffle, squish, rearrange, shake, jump, shuffle*

Eyes wider now... what the....

*adjust strap lengths... re-check positioning of inner 'bra' liner... more shuffling squishing rearranging*


Humilation #2. How do I even say this... the horror, the horror... oh, the humanity.... My boobs... are losing weight... AT DIFFERENT RATES. There's a REALLY OBVIOUS SIZE DIFFERENCE.

Now that is just not fair at all. That's just... wrong. So wrong. SO wrong, and so distressing... that I hit rock bottom, sunk a little below it, and finally... just started to laugh.

Time to drop all pretense of vanity. I am what I am, with all my imperfections. No sense dwelling... dwelling never changed a boob size...

But I discarded that top... I can seek some peace with my imperfections, but I don't have to HIGHLIGHT them with neon colours and ruffled piping and look-at-me-buttons...... ended up with this one, but with a "skirtini" bottom... and... I can live with it. It's bright and cute and I think I will be able to walk around on the beach wearing it, without feeling like i have to wrap in a towel or hide in the surf.

(Penningtons.com, Item #718538)

I was exhausted, mentally and physically (struggling with 45 swimsuits-worth of lycra in one day is a heck of a workout) as the clerk rung up my purchase. But, I was happy. I faced my demons, suffered the demoralizing frustration and embarassing revelation of new imperfections - and I came out the other side, alive and mostly unharmed.

And I won't have to do this again till 2014. By which point... oh who am I kidding. It will still be a descent into hell. Just in smaller sizes.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thanks for the great Read!! If you aren't a professional writer, you should do a career change!! I can easily see this in any good magazine..... :)

    PS---I always enjoy your posts as well... You have a well grounded view of the world, are educated, and kind. And your sense of humor helps too!!

    Have a wonderful Hawaii trip! We were there for three weeks a year ago--wow!!!
    1683 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/9/2013 12:50:52 PM
  • CLARK971
    Swim suit shopping is the worst!

    1693 days ago
    Oh dear.... is it wrong that I laughed??? And that the first thing I did was check to see if the girls had gotten even more lopsided than they already were?

    I have to admit, I can't remember the last time I went bathing suit shopping (there's no water here in Alberta), but this is the first time I've been properly grateful for that!

    Glad you found something that you are comfortable in, and hope you are so busy having fun in Hawai'i that you'll totally forget about this ordeal (post-trauma amnesia - such a wonderful thing...).

    Thanks for wrapping this in such good humour!

    Hope you're having a great weekend!
    1694 days ago
    Aw, lol, I understand. It sucks when you buy a very expensive bathing suit because you know you are in need of all the fin-fangles, and the stupid thing breaks the following summer. Oh, lol, that's my story ;) You are a great writer! I am glad your eye widening experience had a happy ending! Congrats on the amazing loss so far too! Happy Hawaii Baby!!!
    1694 days ago
    You are absolutely right, swimsuit shopping is THE WORST!

    I am your opposite. My boobs are small, so if it fits everywhere else, the cups look like deflated balloons. UGH! And since I need a tall size, suits usually either cut my shoulders or ride up the backside with any movement. Oh, and FORGET those little tankini shorts! atleast the shorty ones. If they made a longer length, that might work. They either leave too much butt cheek exposed, or the top does not, and I mean NOT, come up far enough.

    Once I find one that 'almost' fits, I adjust the cups. Thankfully my meager sewing skills allow me to do that. That, and always buying something with a print, never solid colors.

    So just know you are not alone in your struggles, little boobs or big boobs, they never seem to have anything that fits them properly.

    Enjoy your trip, that sounds like a fun time :)
    1694 days ago
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