10 Plus-Size Women On The First Time They Wore a Bikini

Rocking a bikini after years of hiding in a swim skirt or a beach towel can be intimidating. But now there are more plus-size swimsuit options than ever before, and there is probably a style that will look fantastic on you. Nevertheless, finding a cute suit and finding the confidence to wear it to the beach are two different things completely.

We turned to our pals in the Facebook Group to hear what it was like for those who are confident in a bikini to get to that place. 

Hannah, on feeling comfortable in her own skin.

"Over the last year is when I truly felt comfortable in my own skin. It’s taken me a while to become comfortable enough to just be like, 'I’m me, you get what you get, I’m comfortable and if you’re not I do not care.' Am I still self conscious? Yes, so self conscious, but as long as I have fun and make fun memories that’s what truly matters. My advice is make the most of it, live in the moment, and don’t care so much what people think, because people are gonna be jealous regardless, so make them jealous of your confidence."

 

Taylor, on making bikinis feel normal.

"I wore bikinis in high school but stopped when I gained weight, mostly because I had a hard time finding bikinis I was comfortable in that were also supportive. It’s definitely nerve-racking wearing one for the first time in a while or ever. My advice would be to first wear it around your house and get comfortable in it, then around friends who you feel comfortable with, then working your way up to public spaces. By then it just feels normal."

Julia, on how hiding doesn't help.

"I started wearing a bikini 3-4 years ago because I just could not find a single one-piece that fit my long torso. I did it out of necessity, but my mantra was a piece of advice that came from a style blog a long time ago, lamenting about some terrible dress Melissa McCartney was wearing on a red carpet. I’m paraphrasing but the idea is this: people know what your body looks like, whether or not you cover it up. By wearing an awkward sleeve to cover your arm up, people aren’t going to assume that you don’t have arm fat. People know you have an arm under there, covering it up doesn’t say, 'I have perfect arms under here, you just can’t see it,' it says 'I’m ashamed of my arm fat.'


When I first read that, I realized I didn’t want to live with that shame and that I did want to live comfortably in tank tops in the summer. I kept the same mentality later for buying and wearing a bikini. I didn’t want to live with shame in an ill-fitting one-piece, especially since it still exposed my silhouette. People could still see the shape of my tummy. So I bought and rocked a bikini and I haven’t looked back."

 

Kanoa, on the journey that led her here.

"My first time in a bikini was 2016 and I haven’t looked back since, which says a lot because I never in a million years would’ve thought I’d ever get to this place. I grew up basically swimming in shorts and a t-shirt to stay as covered as possible.

Honestly, I 
got there through a lot of mental and emotional work. It took a couple of years until I was comfortable doing a bikini just with family & friends at the pool before I was comfortable rocking them on hikes, beaches, wherever. Now I don’t think twice about it, but getting there was definitely a journey."

Andrea, on how good the sun and water felt on her bikini-clad body.

"The first time I wore a bikini in recent times was a few years ago when I took a trip to Florida with a friend. I had been working on changing my self-image and changing what I thought was beautiful by changing my social media feed to almost only include people in larger bodies.
I'm telling you, seeing people rocking bikinis and all sorts of other fabulous clothes in bodies that looked similar to mine was the key to all of it for me.
My friend on this trip was much smaller than me which honestly made me a little self conscious, but with the weather in early September in Florida still being quite hot I was like, 'Screw it.' I knew no one else on the beach except my friend so I really didn't care who saw me or what they thought. It felt so amazing to feel the ocean air on my skin and to feel the water caress my body. The way it felt to feel all of that was so unbelievably freeing. I wore that thing the whole time and didn't care one bit about what anyone else was thinking. Since then, just knowing how it feels to have warm air on my skin and feel the water against me takes away any doubts about if I want to wear a bikini or not."

Vanessa, on how nobody actually cares.

"Just this past February I wore a bikini for the first time! The thing I had to keep in my head in order to do it is that nobody actually cares. Most people are too busy thinking about themselves to bother noticing you."

Ellen, on getting tired of pretending she didn't like to swim.

"About 3 years ago, I started seeing bikinis that I knew I would actually like and would be supportive (much boobs). That was also right around the time that I started actively seeking out fat fashionistas. I was tired of hiding the fact that I loved to swim. Fat ladies like to be active too, okay?! So I just said 'F*** it!” And never looked back!"

Midori, on her newfound freedom.

"I started wearing bikinis when my weight was down due to illness, but was still very insecure about it in my mid to late 20's. I was still plus size. But then I never looked back. Even though I’m much bigger now, I love the freedom they give me. One-piece swimsuits are constricting, I have a long torso so they are extra uncomfortable. I am also a little fish and can spend hours in the water, so I don’t want to be confined. I realized that I was the only one worried about how I looked, and now I pretty much only wear bikinis! Honestly, I think bigger women look better in bikinis anyway!"

Marlee, on quitting bikinis at age 7 only to rediscover them.

"I distinctly remember the last time I wore a bikini as a young girl. It was thesummer between second and third grade. My cute, dimply tummy was sandwiched between my bathing suit top and bottom. I don’t remember exactly what was said to me, but I remember knowing that it was one pieces and tankinis only for me from then on. Even at my absolute smallest I would have never dared to try one on. Then maybe 10 years later, I finally got sick of trying to find one pieces that fit my torso and got some torrid bikinis. Now they are all I wear! I am so grateful to them for helping me realize that my body has always been and will always be a bikini body."

Jess, on sitting with her initial discomfort.

"I have been wearing bikinis for several years now and the most significant agent of change for me with this has been exploring my 'why' behind what made me uncomfortable about wearing a bikini in the first place. I think a lot of times when we feel discomfort about something, our natural defense mechanism is to immediately avoid that discomfort by avoiding that action. Then, the discomfort just becomes the monster under the bed that never goes away. For me there is something really significant and healing about allowing myself to really sit in that discomfort and explore why this thing is making me uncomfortable.

I do this through journaling, because writers gonna write, but you could also use meditation, art, or talk therapy to explore this. An excerpt from one of my journals on this issue read, 'Why am I afraid to wear a bikini in public? Because people might laugh at me. What if they laugh at me? Well... then they are bullies. Do the opinions of bullies matter to me? No, not usually, no. Then why am I afraid to wear a bikini in public?'

That's what helped me, but no matter what be kind to yourself and remember that healing takes time."

 

Are you ready to take the plunge and rock a bikini? Or would you like to get there? Join our Facebook Group to find a like-minded community full of women who understand your perspective and can encourage you on your self-love and bikini journey.