I don't know about you, but I absolutely cannot believe that we have reached the time of the year when this topic even needs to be discussed. I mean, it's like 2021 is on steroids times 10. And yet, here we are. Many of us are vaccinated. The world is opening up. It's hotter than a mutha outdoors. This means that it's time to head to the pool or the beach. Not with a graphic tee and a pair of Bermuda shorts. Nah, sis. Where's your bathing suit at?
If you're already slightly hyperventilating at the mere thought of going through one of your drawers to pull it out or — even better — shopping for something new, I've got 12 tips that can make you feel so much more comfortable and confident in your swimwear. For no other reason than you should. Let's do this, aight?
1. Repeat: There Is No “Perfect Body”. Only Personal Preferences.
Bikini body. We've all heard that phrase before and, if a lot of us were honest with ourselves, it's a HUGE part of the reason why we avoid wearing a bathing suit like the plague. The main thing to remember with this particular point is there is no perfect body. For one thing, very few things are "without flaw" (especially when it comes to humans) and secondly, if ever the saying "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" applied, it would be when it comes to how our bodies look. Some people dig big breasts and a small butt. Some folks prefer small breasts and a huge rump. Some out here like an athletic build. Some are all about the thicker/curvier woman.
Bottom line is, it's all about personal preference. That's why your main focus needs to be on you preferring you. The confidence that comes with that? It will make you look amazing in pretty much anything that you wear (check out "These 10 Hacks Will Help You Love Your Body More").
2. Learn/Recall What Your Body Type Is
After you develop some inner self-confidence, the next step is to find a bathing suit that complements your body type. This too can help you to feel so much better about how you look in swimwear. To tell you the truth, this is an article all on its own. For now, I'll share a few pointers.
- If you've got large breasts, consider a halter top or a suit with thick straps for support.
- If you've got smaller breasts, go with a padded top or one that has designs on it (to give the illusion that your breasts are fuller).
- If you have a long torso, two-piece bathing suits or ones with horizontal lines can "shorten" your waist's appearance a bit.
- If you have a short torso, a one piece with asymmetrical lines or a suit with designs on the front will help to make your torso appear longer.
- If you're smaller at the top than the bottom (basically, you've got a pear shape), a suit that has a bright color at the top and a darker hue at the bottom can bring about a bit of balance.
- If you're on the curvier side period, avoid solid colors.
Again, this is basically a CliffsNotes version of what to look for. If you'd like to read more about what kind of suit looks best on different body types, check out Who What Wear's "5 New Swimsuit Trends That Work For Every Body Type" article.
3. A One-Piece or Tankini Is Great for Tummies
What if you dig everything about your body except your stomach area? Chile, that is not uncommon at all. The best thing to do would be to invest in either a one-piece or a tankini which is basically a tank top that is made out of a spandex/Lycra/nylon blend that is complemented with a bikini bottom. Both will give you more coverage and support which can make you feel more comfortable. And, when it comes to one-piece suits, they have a way of making you look sophisticated (especially if you wear some cute sandals, wedges or sometimes, even heels with them to elongate your legs).
4. Accentuate Your “Strengths”
OK. What I mean by "strengths" is two-fold. One, think about the parts of your body that you know are killin' the game. Do you have toned calves? If so, you definitely need to get the right shoes. Do you adore your cleavage line? Then the cut of your suit needs to accentuate that. Does your skin have a natural glow? Where's your bronzer at? When it comes to feeling great in your swimwear, you've got to remember that it's not just about the suit itself; it's about the entire presentation. For instance, if your 'fro is all things, definitely bring it out on swimsuit day!
5. Wear Your Favorite Color
Color psychology is very much a real thing. Matter of fact, when it comes to the hues that you're drawn to the most, it can say a lot about where you are mentally/emotionally. Red speaks to passion. Yellow is all about happiness and hope. Orange is about excitement and enthusiasm. Green is all about health and abundance. Blue keeps you calm and tranquil. The list goes on and on.
Point here is, there's something about wearing a color that we really like that can instantly make us feel good. While there are some shades that complement skin tones better than others, you really can't go wrong with getting at least one bathing suit in your favorite color. It will make you smile and probably improve your posture too. That definitely makes it a worthwhile investment.
6. Rock a Cover-Up
While your low-key goal may be to wear a cover-up to literally cover up areas of your body that you aren't the most comfortable with, no one has to know that is your motivation. To me, cover-ups are simply another way to add some flavor to a bathing suit. Sarongs can make your suit appear more elegant and festive. A long sheer robe will have you looking like you are floating wherever you are. Your man's shirt (or just an oversized button-down one, period) can be sexy as hell (kinda like when you wear one over some lingerie). Caftan cover-ups are super playful. I really like those because different materials (crocket, knit, organic cotton, silk, etc.) can make them look totally different from casual to something on the dressier side.
Who said that you had to go to the pool or beach with nothing on but the basics? Just like accessories can do wonders for an outfit, it can also take swimwear to another level too! A gemstone bracelet. A turban on your head. Fly sunglasses. A big ass straw hat. The biggest fashion bag you've ever seen in your life. The bottom line is to have fun while creating your swimwear style. If you enjoy putting your overall look together, you will radiate the kind of energy that will make people smile, just by looking at you!
8. Do Some Thorough “Prepping”
I recently saw a picture of a woman whose body was unbelievable. I was still a little put off, though, because she posed in her lingerie in such a way where it was quite clear that it had been many moons since she had done any kind of landscaping down below (if you know what I mean). Look, I know some of y'all are team body hair. It is 1000 percent your right, sis. Do you. For the rest of us, it's important that we make sure to do some upkeep when it comes to body hair if we plan on rocking a suit.
Whether you wax or shave, make sure to get that done. Also, try and do it a couple of days before you plan on putting your suit on, especially if you want to get into the water. Sometimes hair removal processes can irritate the skin which means that your armpits, legs, etc. may need a little bit of time to "recover" first so that the chlorine or saltwater doesn't further irritate it (shea butter and Aloe vera can certainly speed up the healing process, by the way).
9. Make Your Skin Glow
I don't care who it is or what they've got on, one of the first things that I tend to notice about someone is their skin. Beautiful skin is the ultimate in every way! And while having flawless skin is probably the goal for most of us (check out "All-Natural Ways To Get Adult Body Acne Under Control"), I think it's important to also state that freckles, birthmarks and even scars can be quite beautiful. The main thing to focus on here is the quality of your skin. Exfoliate. Deeply moisturize. Hop out of the shower and put on a carrier oil like jojoba, grapeseed or coconut to make your skin appear absolutely radiant. You know what else can make this happen? Making your own bronzer and applying it to places like your shoulders and breasts. Glow, baby, glow!
10. Do an Impromptu Fashion Show
I recently watched a video of a little baby being tossed into the water, only to almost immediately slightly arch its body and start to float. When someone asked me why I wasn't terrified to see the footage, I simply said, "Babies develop in water in their mother's womb. Water is their first home." That's why, when it comes to actually getting into the water, sometimes, even as adults, we need to stop overthinking and just do it.
When it comes to wearing a swimsuit in public? If you know you don't feel the best about doing it, take a step back and "model" to some family members or friends first. While this isn't so much to get their opinion (although that could prove to be helpful too), the main benefit is so you can feel more comfortable and confident around other humans while you're in swimwear overall. If you can feel good around folks you know and trust, it will give you the courage that you may need to be in your suit around complete strangers.
While I get that this might sound a little crazy on the surface, think about it. A lot of times, our days end up going south because we start off all tense and anxious, right? Well, if those are the same emotions that you have when you go out in a swimsuit, it makes perfect sense to set aside 10-20 minutes to do a bit of meditating first. Especially since it's been proven that meditation helps to reduce stress, relieve anxiety, improve emotional health, decrease blood pressure and cause you to be kinder — including to yourself. So yeah, while you're in that super cute swimsuit, sit on the floor with your legs crossed and deep breathe in 10-30 five-second intervals before heading out of the door. Getting calm and thinking positive thoughts can be the icing on the cake of feeling more confident in your swimwear.
12. Actually Go Swimming in It
Some of you might say that this is the biggest "duh" of all of the tips. But you know what, sometimes it's the most obvious things that need to be reiterated. You know how many folks say that we all look the same in the dark? This point, on some levels, applies once we're in water too. While some people like to sit out and tan or whatever, you've got that gorgeous melanin. Girl, at least go wade in the water! Because, at the end of the day, that's what a swimsuit is (ultimately) made for. Right? #wink
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