Let's Talk Bikini Bodies

I am so happy about this warmer weather. Winter hung around so long around these parts, and I was so over it so fast. But then there's this thing that happens every year when I get over the joy of putting away my winter sweaters and think wait, am I really ready to bare my arms and legs? Once I stop wearing the heavier clothing, I tend to take a hard look at myself and notice how my body has changed over the winter. And then I get scared about wearing skimpier clothing, and heaven forbid the idea of putting on a bathing suit. I think a lot of women have this moment.

The other day I was reading an article that a friend had shared with me on the Women's Health website and a pop-up came on my screen saying X steps to your summer bikini body. And this is the time of year where we see this a lot, right? Eat this (or don't eat this) to get a bikini body, do this detox, do this cleanse, do this exercise routine, take this miracle pill, sprinkle this product on your food, everything for the bikini body.

The thing is, people and magazines and companies throw around this term "bikini body" like it's a definitive thing, like there is one right answer for what that looks like. And I take offense to that. These people who are throwing around this term mean thinner. They want to help you lose weight so you can wear a bikini out in public. Maybe they say they want to help give you the confidence to wear a bikini. Maybe they say the bikini is the motivation you need to shed those last few pounds you've been wanting to get rid of. Maybe they say that they want to help you feel good in a bikini, that you're going to wear one all summer long. Regardless of their claim (or really, their intentions), they're telling you that you need to be thinner or maybe even more toned to look good/feel good/wear a bikini.

And I'm here to tell you that isn't true.

Look, I'm not trying to peer-pressure you into buying a bikini this year. If you like one pieces, wear one pieces. If you are rocking that tankini, rock that tankini. If board shorts are your thing, do your thing. Girl, wear whatever you want. I'm just saying that if wearing a bikini didn't feel like an option to you, or that you had do something special to make that an option, you, my dear, dear friend, were mistaken.

Last summer I was a nanny for two kids and we spent a lot of time by the pool. I don't remember many people I saw by the pool that summer, but I do remember this fat girl wearing a bikini, and it was a revelation. I only saw her once, and I still remember her. She was probably in high school, maybe college, and all of her friends were skinny by anyone's standards. And she was wearing a bikini and she did not care. She was laughing, eating french fries, sitting in a chair without covering her stomach with a towel. She was rocking that swimsuit. It fit her, it was appropriately sized for her boobs, and it was obvious that she felt good in it. And I had some serious envy for her.

This story is not here to say that you, my fair readers, are fat. Some of you ladies are thin, some of you are curvy, some of you are pregnant, and yes, some of you, I'm sure, are fat. Many of you, I'm sure, do not feel confident in a bikini, or would never ever consider wearing one in public. Regardless of your weight or size or shape, you are fabulous, and you get to wear whatever bathing suit you want. You are a grown up, you shop for yourself, and you wear whatever makes you feel like you. There's no "getting away with it." There's no social stigma. Anyone who tells you that you can't wear something is someone you shouldn't listen to. I want you to know that you can and should wear a bikini if you are so inclined, if you want to give it a try, if you find one so cute you just can't walk away from it, and size or shape or whatever shouldn't enter into that equation. And to help you out with that, I've rounded up a few of my favorite bikinis around the interwebs this year.

1 / 2 top bottom / 3 top bottom / 4 / 5 / 6

You just cannot go wrong with a classic black swimsuit. I love the cobalt blue and that color is going to look good on pale skin and look better and better as you tan. I'm mildly obsessed with floral prints this year, so of course that's going to translate to bathing suits. I'm not sure if a high-waisted bikini bottom would be flattering on me or not, but I love the classic look, especially two-toned in polka dots. And that sporty pink bathing suit is so sporty and fun. Which would you choose? And what kind of bathing suit are you planning to wear this year?

Yours Truly, Jen


  1. Thank you for writing this, Jen. Even though I consider myself above the bikini-body hub-bub, I still become more vulnerable around this time of year to all the talk about bodies and how I should or shouldn't be changing mine. I've always wanted to have the confidence to wear a bikini, but instead I opt for a slimming one-piece or a tankini with shorts. Maybe this year will be the year.

  2. Thank you! I am so annoyed by all the "fitness" magazines that push these get-skinny-fast diets / workouts. They are usually not very good for you, and it's so much more important to promote healthy habits all the time as well as to encourage women to be comfortable and happy in their own skin. Not everyone can look like a supermodel, and that's okay! I know so many girls that get sucked into fad diets and workout crazes, and they are always so unhappy because they just gain the weight right back when they are done. Just be happy with who you are!!

  3. I think that blue one would be gorgeous on you! That one is from Lane Bryant--they carry your size, don't they? I'm still self-conscious about the idea of putting on a bikini, but I'm thinking I might go for a high-waisted one this year. I like my one-piece from last year and I'm sure I'll still wear it, but I feel like a one-piece can never do for your boobs what a bikini top can, and I also hate being naked while I'm sitting on a public toilet.

  4. Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is what I needed to hear right now. I am a larger woman and was quite honestly dreading the whole swimsuit thing. I am now (and was even in my skinny, youthful days) more comfortable in one pieces or board shorts. I think about how much time I wasted worrying about how terrible I looked when I could have just enjoyed hanging with my kids in the sand. I am shopping for a new suit and I think I will rock whatever I choose. :)

  5. Yeah, I could seeing a skirted bikini being just the thing. I'm really hoping to bring back the sarong this year.

  6. Yes! Especially with your kids, it's really important that they see you being confident in your body. You don't want them to pick up your anxieties too soon! Wear something pretty and comfortable, and just have fun!

  7. Been there, done that. I'm really over doing things to lose weight. I truly feel like whatever weight I'm at when I'm being active and eating right is the weight I'm supposed to be. I hate that the fitness magazines are running this trash, because fitness is not directly related to weight. That's such a stupid idea that young girls are believing because it's everywhere and I hate that.


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