Monday, June 8, 2009

That piece of fabric called the bikini

Andrea_owen posted an interesting article on bikinis on twitter. The article was about Zoe Magee, designer of the Zoe Swimwear line in San Francisco. She designs an assortment of different types of bikinis as well as offers a variety of sizes, including separate tops and bottoms.

Zoe considers herself a bikini therapist. People come in and ask her what looks good on them. Apparently, she gives a pretty honest answer, but at the same time helps people to feel good about themselves.

When asked "who can wear a bikini," her answer was, "
Anyone can, if they have the attitude and the confidence."

This struck close to home, because I remember at one point in my life, I did have that confidence. There wasn't a care in the world that I sported a bikini in front of all of my classmates at some after school party. Nowadays, I wouldn't be caught dead in one. After having a ubiquitous statement of, "if you lost five pounds, you'd be a knockout" while wearing a bikini in my early teens, that pretty much did it for me. My straps were hung up with no intention of ever wearing a bikini again.

Since then, now going on something like 14 or 15 years, I have not touched a bikini much less any swimwear but on
rare occasion. This is mostly to do with awful body shame, self-consciousness, and lack of confidence. I'm always mesmerized by women of any shape or size who can flaunt a bikini with no thought whatsoever. A part of me wishes I could be that woman. A part of me wants to be that woman. A part of me doesn't k now if I have what it takes to be that woman.

So what are your thoughts on bikinis? Are you able to wear it? Do you feel self-conscious or confident in one? (Okay, I realize I may be asking the wrong audience as this may be rhetorical, but please share your comments anyway :-))


Kara said...

You know, I have never worn a bikini in my whole life!! I've ALWAYS been too ashamed and body-conscious. It's hard for me even to put on a one piece much less a bikini. This summer I have sworn to myself that I won't even put on a bathing suit unless I lose weight. It's sad that body image is all tied up with bathing suits because summer should be fun.

Sarah said...

All throughout high school, I always felt insecure in my bikini and finally resorted in 11th grade to a series of tankinis. (My tummy is the area I hate the most on my body.)

I wore a tankini again until 2 years ago when my old ones were faded and too small (I'm not supposed to fit into a girls' size 12 swimsuit from Limited Too as a 21 year old??) I needed to go shopping.

I knew I couldn't go swimsuit shopping alone as I had only been weight restored for around 6 months. I took D and told him "I think they all look horrible; pick which one looks the best." Obviously, as a guy, he picked a bikini. I modeled it for my roommate and family with the tags still on it to make sure I could return it, but everyone reinforced how good I looked. I still didn't believe them, but I decided that I might as well wear one if they were all advocating that I should. Now, I own 4 bikinis. I won't lie and say that I always feel comfortable in them, but I wear a cover up on days when I am feeling particularly bloaty.

I've come to realize that it really REALLY doesn't matter--almost everyone at the beach has a little something hanging out there and I've never been rushed by someone telling me I need to put my ugly self away. At this age, I am probably the hottest I'll ever be, even though I can't see it, so I might as well wear the bikini now. (The fact that they don't even make slenderizing one pieces in my size is telling me something too, even if I don't want to listen.)

It also helps that I bought a really REALLY nice bikini--originally $158--at TJ Maxx for $30. It is really luxe and makes me feel like a movie star.

One more thing you might enjoy:

Just Eat It! said...

I hate going out in a bathing suit, period. It's just as embarrassing for me as wearing shorts is.

But I feel as though I'm an anomaly. I feel more self-conscious when I wear a one-piece because I feel like it displays my "rolls of fat" more prominently. I usually aim for a tankini or bikini when shopping.

I'm kind of awkwardly proportioned, so it's difficult to find a bathing suit that fits, anyway. I'm very top heavy, so string bikinis are out.

Kim said...

Um, I'm self-conscious in shorts and a tank top. I have worn a bikini, but it's not comfortable for me. If I have to wear a bathing suit, I try to get a one-piece, or I liked those "Tankinis" when those were popular. Those suits with the boy-short type bottoms are ok too. I just hate showing my skin. Sometimes it's because I think I'm too thin and sometimes it's because I think I'm too fat. Oh, the joys of distorted body image!

Gaining Back My Life said...

Summer to me = stay inside. Period, end of story.

Sarah said...

Weirdly enough, I just ordered 2 online! I'm pretty okay in bikinis, but my mind is always racing about whether Im being looked at, which causes anxiety. Im working on my confidence wearing one, but I really do like them and dammit I will wear one!

Tiptoe said...

Kara, I agree with you that we place so much emphasis on body image, and especially in the summer. I hope you too will one day be able to wear swimwear and feel confident and okay about yourself.

Sarah, thanks for sharing your story. You give such inspiration! I'm glad you were able to face the fear and now own 4 bikinis! I think realizing that other people don't really care is very commendable.

Thanks for the link too. the article was good.

JEI, I feel similarly with you in shorts. I only wear shorts if I am working out, but that's it. It kind of saddens me at the cute pairs of shorts I have in my drawers that have not been touched in years.

Interesting about the one-piece but that makes sense too. I hear you on body disproportionate. I'm top heavy too and never find the right size. Plus, I have one side of my body larger than the other, so that doesn't help either.

Kim, I'm also with you on tank tops. Don't wear those either due to size issues in my shoulders.

I think showing skin can be a scary thing in general.You display more of yourself then.

GBML, :-( I hope you are able to get out this summer, though I do know it can get hot where you live.

Sarah, great attitude to have. I hope you sport your new bikinis with pride! I agree with you on the fear of other people looking at you. Our heads really like to mess with us.