Six Ways to Survive Swimsuit Shopping

From a real mama with a real body


5/26/20232 min read

Cue the scary music. It’s that time of year again ladies.

Time to brave the cold, unwelcoming dressing room, squeeze into that bright blue, cursed concoction of lycra spandex and face those judgmental 3-way mirrors like real women. Herein lies the one universal truth that unites all women regardless of race, color, creed, religion, status or political affiliation. Females far and wide agree that the search for the right swimsuit is the most soul-sucking, knee-buckling, panic-inducing quest known to womankind. Satan himself incites less terror than this 8x8 portal all womens’ personal hell.

There’s just something about those harsh fluorescent lights glaring down at you with those judgy eyes zeroing in on each little dip and dimple in my pale, cottage cheese-like thighs that can suck the life out of even a Cindy Crawford-esque body. And no amount of money, education, or social status can bring me out of that dressing room feeling like anything more than a fat lump of roly-poly, like the literal blob from that awful movie from the 1950s (aptly named The Blob) oozing out slowly, ingesting everything in its path.

Now that you’re sufficiently prepared for the horror that awaits you, here are some tips to help get you:

  1. Avoid tiny dressing rooms. If the large handicap accessible is available- and there is NO handicapped person or mom with a stroller in need of it- USE it. The distance from the mirrors actually does help as you inevitably inspect every inch of your body squeezed into this nylon stretchy spandex nightmare. Tip: All of Kohls’ dressing rooms are reasonably sized while Old Navy, however, is setting you up for failure.

  1. Don’t eat a big meal before you go. Regardless of how you look in reality, you will feel bloated and project that onto how you look. And this will ultimately make a disheartening situation that much more miserable.

  1. Avoid anything too blousy. I know it’s instinct to try and “cover” everything you believe is unsightly, but it is a bona fide truth that wearing something too big will just make you look bigger. Instead, opt for a good fit.

  1. If you’re planning on jumping waves or taking a plunge off the diving board this summer, make sure you pick the right kind of top. The last thing you want are your lovely lady parts making an appearance at the annual 4th of July party at Aunt Deb’s pool. If you’re more top-heavy, go for halter style or over the shoulder straps.They tend to hold the ladies in better in these risky situations.

  1. Take your daughter, sister, niece or really anyone who you trust to be brutally honest. (No husbands, boyfriends, sons- they will lie to avoid making you mad). My daughter is the absolute best at shopping for the most problematic pieces of clothing, (i.e. jeans, shorts, swimsuits). She is honest and realistic. No doubt because she’s a female and understands.

  2. Most important of all: Be kind to yourself and say something nice to yourself. No matter what size, shape, height or weight you are, you are PERFECT right now. Today! Not when you lose 15 pounds or tighten up that tummy.

So when you find yourself in that poorly lit, cavernous den of self-criticism turning around for the 47th time to once again inspect each individual back roll, remember to be kind to yourself. Say something nice out loud about your body, and remember you are not alone.

Women all around the globe have battled those same insecurities, stared down the evils of the dressing room and lived to tell about it.

And you will too.