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.
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.
Vanessa, on how nobody actually cares.
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.
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.