Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

January 23, 2008

The Big Question: Two Piece

Filed under: The Big Question — Miss Plumcake @ 3:51 pm

Renowned hottie Pierce Brosnan –most famous for having starred in the James Bond franchise and several of my more face-reddening middle school dreams– was recently photographed on vacation with his wife, Keely Shaye Smith. Keely, a beautiful big girl and mother of the goofily-but-literately named Dylan Thomas Brosnan and Paris Beckett Brosnan, decided to shun the conventional one-piece wisdom and bust out the bikini. Now, as far as I’m concerned anyone who goes home at the end of the day and bangs James Bond can wear whatever they darn well please because obviously girlfriend is doing something right, but I’m just not convinced it was the best possible look.

With that in mind, Francesca and Plumcake want to know what are your thoughts on a big girl in a two piece?


  1. I am of the opinion that people should wear whatever makes them feel good, and as for Keely, I think that in addition to looking like she was enjoying herself, she also looked absolutely rockin’ HAWT in that bikini.

    Comment by Hanicka — January 23, 2008 @ 6:25 pm

  2. I saw the photos and I thought she looked just fine in her bikini. I’m a small girl and I won’t wear a bathing suit at all because I just don’t feel comfortable or confident in one. However, Keely looked confident and happy and I thought she was rocking that bikini, so I say more power to her.

    Comment by Cat — January 23, 2008 @ 6:27 pm

  3. *sigh* These questions inevitably make me feel uncomfortable because there’s no right answer, just people’s opinions. So ok, here’s mine. I personally think that most big girls aren’t flattered in bikinis. I also think that most little skinny girls aren’t flattered in a one piece. Curves are needed, again imoho, to fill out a sexy one piece the way it should be done. On the other hand, bikinis don’t work as well for superfantastic curves because the necessary support isn’t there.

    Comment by rosarita — January 23, 2008 @ 6:27 pm

  4. Bikinis are all about attitude. I think she looks and probably feels great. If I look like that in my forties and after kids I’m going to live in a bikini.

    Comment by Amanda — January 23, 2008 @ 7:08 pm

  5. I’m with the “whatever works for you” school of thought, probably. I used to swim regularly in two-piece suits when I was considerably fatter than Keely Shaye Smith, and I found it both more flattering and more comfortable than a one-piece. Those “built-in shelf bras” in one-piece suits don’t do a thing for me, so I’d have to wear a sports bra under it. And that’s a bit too dorky, perhaps :)

    On the larger question of “Should fat girls wear bikinis”? Sure, says I, if they’re comfortable in them. I mean, wearing a two-piece suit to make some kind of statement about fat acceptance and being uncomfortable would be as silly as wearing a one-piece just because you think all fat girls should. So everyone should wear what they’re relaxed and happy in! (Except people, of any size, wearing thongs on the public beaches. They should probably put on some shorts or something.)

    Comment by Bridey — January 23, 2008 @ 7:18 pm

  6. Shallow opinion: She looks good in the bikini. Did anyone see the picture of her in a one piece? IMO the bikini was more flattering.

    Serious comment: FUCK the rules that states fat girls need to cover up, shouldn’t wear bikinis, shouldn’t go in public, shouldn’t swim, shouldn’t have sex. Because those rules are what the outcry is really all about. How dare this fat woman wear a bikini and be married to a handsome movie star? Doesn’t she know those are privileges reserved for size zeros? I hope the beautiful Keely keeps on rocking that bikini and breaking the rules.

    Comment by Abigail — January 23, 2008 @ 7:46 pm

  7. Would I wear a bikini? Shoot – I did not wear a bikini when i was 16 or 20 or 30…and I wouldn’t wear one now. I have a gigunda scar on my stomach from having my gall bladder removed and I think the sight of that thing (which looks like the map of Vietnam on a good day) would be far more harmful to the eyes of the under-12 set than anything Mrs. Brosnan is airing in those photographs. And I say, more power to her. And to her husband, who is sporting a pretty good “front porch” of his own. The two of them in those photographs look as if they are having one hell of a time at the beach. They must have known that they would be photographed by the paps but it obviously did not matter to them. I also think that Mrs. Brosnan knew that no matter what she wore (whether it was a bikini, a more sedate two piece, a one piece, a sarong, a burqa or a burlap sack, a) she’d be photographed and b) there would be a whole lot of comment about either “OMG look at teh fatty in a bikini” or “OMG, she’s so fat she’s hiding herself in “name your own bathing costume of choice.” So, deciding that she was going to have fun, she chose what she liked. Good on her AND on her husband.

    Comment by Toby Wollin — January 23, 2008 @ 7:48 pm

  8. These are hard questions, because every body has things that are flattering and unflattering on it, regardless of size or age. Keely Shay Smith is beautiful and looks just fine in a two piece. They’re both unusually attractive people with normal bodies. I wonder how many years of therapy it takes to undo a year of coming up with copy to accompany photos on a celebrity gossip site…

    As for the rest of us? Wear what you want to wear and feel good in. That might not be the most flattering thing for your body, but that’s okay. Don’t most people’s reactions about what is “acceptable” to wear just stem from their own insecurities and fears anyway? We should probably heed the example of the thong people…in being unafraid to wear what we want, not in running around in public with our booties out.

    Comment by Sara — January 23, 2008 @ 7:52 pm

  9. Tsk, young women today, says the old lady, who remembers back in the day before swimsuit designers got their heads out of their fannies and started innovating very nice things like tank-inis and whatnot. I tell you….as a long-waisted lady approaching six-foot, back in the day, I wore a bikini even though I was never svelte, because frankly, any suit that was NOT two pieces was *indecent*. When you have as much real estate between the shoulders and the crotch as I do, those one-pieces NEVER fit properly: if they fit up top, they were showing the world your Brazilian, if you know what I mean. If it fit down there, it sagged and bagged and left you likely to be showing nipple-y bits up top. There was no winning that war, back in the day, except with a bikini.

    NOW we have nice two piece suits that are both modest and flattering and can help you deal with different-sized tops and bots and waists. I am a tankini girl myself these days.

    Comment by Chaser — January 23, 2008 @ 8:23 pm

  10. I agree with Toby Wollin in that, as a woman with meat on her bones, Keely Shaye Smith was going to be subject to cruel barbs no matter what beach attire she’d chosen. But personally, I think she’s really well-proportioned and that goes a long way towards being able to pull off a bikini. The photos where she’s standing up straight, she looks fantastic.

    Comment by KellyGirl — January 23, 2008 @ 8:53 pm

  11. personally, i would never ever wear a bikini because i just wouldn’t be comfortable. keely, on the other hand, looks ultra-comfy in hers, not to mention quite lovely! what gets me about this whole thing though, is that pierce isn’t exactly svelte anymore but no-one is kicking up a fuss about him going shirtless.

    Comment by kath — January 23, 2008 @ 9:21 pm

  12. Keely looked great in her bikini – 80% because she is comfortable with her body, 20% because she picked a suit that works for her.

    I am so looking forward to a bikini on a Carribbean vacation sometime in the near future. Will I be a size 8? Nah. size 10? Nope. Size 12? Not sure? Size 16W? That’s more like it.

    Comment by Urban Chick — January 23, 2008 @ 9:35 pm

  13. It’s all a matter of proportion…if you can find a top and bottom big enough to do their jobs, go for it! Keely’s suit comes close. Note to swimsuit designers: Us size 10 and ups cannot wear string bottoms. Also, cutting the legs higher doesn’t work. And we need underwire tops. Just sayin.

    Comment by slownews — January 23, 2008 @ 11:20 pm

  14. I think she looks great! I think a big factor is the “smoothness” say of the body. I have a friend much larger than me who wears the same size, because when standing up straight her stomach is smooth and so it doesn’t cause the lumpy bumpy flabby-ness in her stomach and thus her clothes can be close fitting. On me, the flabby belly would hang over the bikini bottom, which I think is a no-go. Thus, I’m a fan of the tankini which allows the top to be a little “flow-y” over the stomach area.

    Comment by CJ — January 24, 2008 @ 1:08 am

  15. I don’t see why anyone cares. I mean, we never see shit talked about the old med (like Jack Nickalson) who wander around shirtless at the beach with their stomaches hanging way over their shorts…

    Personally, I’m just jealous of her because I never feel comfortable in any sort of swimsuit even in a modest one piece. I’d much rather just go naked.

    Comment by Brittany — January 24, 2008 @ 1:26 am

  16. Women of size have a responsibility to wear two-piece swimsuits and to refuse to hide behind the swaths of fabric deemed appropriate for them by the fashion industry. As a size 20, I wore a bikini last summer with confidence and pride and I believe that I challenged my fellow bathers preconceived notions of size and “beauty.”

    That said, please to be wearing two-piece swimsuits that are flattering and that fit well, and remember to stand up straight, missy.

    Comment by Kelly — January 24, 2008 @ 1:27 am

  17. Ok, I just went and looked at the pictures. How ridiculous. This is a woman who has had four children, according to IMDB. She looks fantastic; he looks great; and they look happy together. Enough said, as far as I am concerned.

    I’m sure she could have found a more attractive swimsuit, but I’m all about swimming naked anyway. Seriously, how many people really, truly, look good at the beach when they are IN the beach. I’m more of a martini and lounge dress girl myself, but eh… I think most people who aren’t models look kind of crappy in swimwear.

    Comment by Chaser — January 24, 2008 @ 2:11 am

  18. I’m also in the “Hey, whatever works for you” class.
    I’ve always hated the feeling of something wet and cold clinging to my stomach and bathing suits never fit right plus, bathing suits that fit usually look like they are made for grannies. For me, bikinis are much more comfortable, but a bit hard to find, so I know have three almost identic pairs of tops and pants which I really, really like.
    Going swimming (bikini or suit) teaches you actually something very valuable: Most people don’t look perfect, in fact, almost nobody does. So wear what you like, be happy, enjoy the beach and swimming and stop worying about silly things like “Oh, my thighs, cellulites, my tummy” – it’s just taking time you could actually use for enjoying life.

    Comment by teapunk — January 24, 2008 @ 9:12 am

  19. I think that anyone in any kind of swimsuit is going to be judged one way or another (i.e. “oh my GAWD. Did you see that super skinny starlet with no boobs trying to rock the bikini???Why doesn’t she cover up her ribs???”) Personally, I think Keely is super hot, has a great shape, and looks lovely in the bikini.

    Comment by kristin — January 24, 2008 @ 10:04 am

  20. Why in the world would a self confident larger lady NOT wear a two piece bathing suit. Speaking as an admirer of larger women, wearing a two piece says I am comfortable about who I am. Go for it ladies, and I will certainly be enjoying the scenery.

    Comment by aging roue — January 24, 2008 @ 11:20 am

  21. The pics I saw were in the UK’s Daily Mail

    and they wrote some pretty supportive copy, I thought. “Full-figured Keely exuded confidence as she joined her husband in the surf. The 43-year-old has turned her back on the Hollywood size zero trend and is a pin-up for shapely women, even writing fashion tips for American Vogue.”

    In response to The Big Question: My mother and I just had this debate. She is of the opinion that if it’s not flattering, you shouldn’t wear it. I am of the opinion that bathing suits, by design, are not flattering, so why bother trying.

    I have a belly. Every bathing suit makes me look like I am either pregnant or still have my toddler baby fat. With clothing, I can minimize this, but it’s always all out there on a bathing suit. So, I started buying maternity two-piece suits. This has been a really great comprimise. Generally, the suits accentuate the bust line (of which I have little, so it needs all the help it can get) and are loose around the middle. I sometimes have to hem the front of the top a bit, as it has more fabric to cover the belly of someone who is *actually* pregnant, but this is an easy fix with a zig-zag stitch on the machine. Now I don’t worry how I’m sitting in a bathing suit, I just swim, sit, lie down, move, play, and generally have fun. Which is sort of the point. :-)

    Comment by Leah — January 24, 2008 @ 11:34 am

  22. I actually never enjoyed wearing a bikini. It felt too much like walking around in my underwear for my taste even as a skinny young thing. Then again, my approach to sexy has always been less is more. It’s not that I was ever ashamed of my body, but simply that I wanted to feel like I was wearing an outfit for public use rather than something best kept private. One-pieces and tankinis are far more my style.

    That said, if someone else loves the bikini and finds one that fits properly and makes her feel superfantastic, what does it matter what size it is? I well remember the minor scandal of Princess Diana wearing a bikini while heavily pregnant. Even at the time, I said ‘what’s the big deal?’ because I think swimwear is all about finding what’s comfortable for the wearer.

    Comment by Twistie — January 24, 2008 @ 12:15 pm

  23. First of all, they clearly picked the least flattering pose to show her in. She is not standing up straight; it looks like she’s in the middle of playing in the water. I hate it when they do that.

    I think it all depends on body type, the two-piece/one-piece question. I agree heartily with a previous poster: curves are necessary to pull off a pretty one piece, and therefore I love to see a big girl rocking one nicely. That said, I’m a big tankini person. You just can’t find cute, skirted swimsuits in one pieces, and I do so love the skirts. Not the stupid ruffle-things, but the ones with a straight, almost A-line skirt. It looks really great on my hips and emphasizes the hourglass, which I enjoy.

    Not to be redundant, but it’s attitude. If a woman thinks she looks terrible in a two-piece, she’s going to carry herself badly and not look as nice as she might, so it’s best to go with a one-piece. If she is rocking that bikini in a size 20 and making it look good, then more power to her!

    Comment by HillaryGayle — January 24, 2008 @ 12:28 pm

  24. Keely Shaye-Smith writes fashion tips for American Vogue? Wow, I may actually try to find a copy of Vogue, in that case!

    I thought she looked really cute and happy in the pics, but I was dying to see what she’d look like in an early-1950s-pinup bikini.

    Comment by boots — January 24, 2008 @ 12:51 pm

  25. She obviously is quite as ease and having fun so good for her! How much better than (for instance) my daughters and their friends always thinking negative thoughts about themselves and not going to the beach or whatever because they aren’t a size zero. How sad to put ones life on hold for a number on a scale.

    Comment by Lilly Munster — January 24, 2008 @ 3:06 pm

  26. She looks amazing in that suit. If I looked like that in a bikini, I’d wear one, too. However, I’m shaped somewhat differently, so a one piece is a lot more flattering. So pretty much like everyone else, I’m in the “whatever works for you” category.

    With one caveat: that it fits. I am a fitness swimmer, and I’ve seen so many of all sizes women at the pool wearing suits that simply do not fit, and that is uniformly unflattering (besides looking REALLY uncomfortable).

    Comment by TropicalChrome — January 24, 2008 @ 3:41 pm

  27. “…anyone who goes home at the end of the day and bangs James Bond can wear whatever they darn well please..”

    Ayyy, how the Annalucia laughed when she read that!

    As for the Big Girl in the Two-Piece, it depends on the Big Girl. If she has the hourglass or the pear shape (that is to say, if she has a discernible waist) then it is fine. If she is an apple shape like the Annalucia, with all the extra weight right up front and in the middle, then…no.

    Personally the Annalucia is happy with her Roxanne swimsuit: one-piece, with the D-cup brassiere, and a little ruching that gives at least the illusion of a waistline.

    Comment by Annalucia — January 24, 2008 @ 3:50 pm

  28. I say brava to Keely. She looks hot as hell in her two piece, I wish I could pull it off like her. ;)

    Comment by litgirl — January 24, 2008 @ 5:53 pm

  29. As a curvy girl with hips, Very Large Thighs, a smaller waist and size FF bust it is almost impossible to find a one piece that fits. I prefer the two piece because I can buy each piece in the right size and have an underwire top to support my bust. Most tankinis simply do not work on me because the are too hard to get over my thighs or down over my bust. A clasp at the back like a bra works best for me. But I must admit that having my own pool means I can indulge in swimming without suit, much more fun (but only in private).

    Comment by catjon — January 24, 2008 @ 6:36 pm

  30. With my curves, no. I am pear-shaped with a belly, and while my lovers appreciate my belly, I don’t think something that round and pale should appear on the beach. It might get mistaken for a dead jellyfish. Mrs. Brosnan, however, has the figure for a bikini and should wear one to the beach whenever she likes.

    Comment by Lysana — January 24, 2008 @ 7:26 pm

  31. I agree, rosarita. I really don’t think it’s a cool subject to talk about.

    Comment by caitlin — January 24, 2008 @ 9:04 pm

  32. What a beautiful woman!
    I’ve never liked one-piece suits: they never support my breasts and I cannot get tanned on my belly!

    Comment by Gauss — January 24, 2008 @ 9:16 pm

  33. I think she looks beautiful and very womanly and very free.

    Why should any woman of any size or weight be relegated to one piece suits? A thin (wet) layer of fabric over your torso doesn’t hide anything anyway.

    Many ample women have exceptionally beautiful flesh and the beach is a place where it appropriate to reveal it.

    Having said this, I probably won’t be wearing a two piece soon, because I have some gnarly abdominal scars… but if I didn’t, I might just go for it this summer.

    Comment by Constance Kent — January 24, 2008 @ 10:13 pm

  34. She looks sexy! As for me (size 16), I have a bikini with a bikini top and a flirty little skirted bottom. I’ve always disliked regular bikini bottoms because they look like underwear. I also despise one pieces because they look like a big onesie and you still don’t avoid that underwear look.

    I think that women should wear what they’re comfortable in. I have a friend (size 24) that had avoided pools and swimsuits for years. With gentle encouragement she bought a one piece with a skirted bottom from Torrid. Now she LOVES swimming again. She has a wonderful confidence to her and she looks gorgeous in that suit.

    Comment by Angel — January 25, 2008 @ 12:22 pm

  35. First, thanks for this post, b/c it made me go look for photos of Keely Smith, and she is rock star hawt and might become one of my personal style icons for how to be a busty brunette.

    Second, the bikini depends on the poochiness of the stomach. A big girl with a relatively unpoochy stomach might select the bikini for it’s superior underwire support at the bust and for the ability to buy different sizes on top and on bottom. It’s not a look I’d be comfortable in, but rock on, bikini sisters.

    Comment by HULK — January 26, 2008 @ 1:09 pm

  36. TBH, if I’m exposing my upper arms, my thighs and a hint of butt, having my belly out too is neither here nor there.

    I think she looked good.

    Comment by Gingembre — January 27, 2008 @ 5:01 pm

  37. If the girl is comfortable enough with her body, who am I to judge the suit she chooses? Plus a bajillion points for having (and keeping!) Pierce Brosnan.

    Comment by Lori C. — January 28, 2008 @ 2:24 pm

  38. I have a pooch, so there are no bikinis for me. It’s a matter of personal preference. Keely has big breasts, too, so she fills out her ‘kini nicely.

    Comment by OCCaliAKA — January 28, 2008 @ 5:33 pm

  39. I think she looks good, too. She is blessed with a nice shape.

    Comment by JK — January 29, 2008 @ 9:20 pm

  40. I admire her confidence! I think she looks great! I’ve always been a little self-conscious of people staring at my breasts (which have oddly grown since I lost weight – I lost weight everywhere -except- the bust so the cup size went up, I’m a 34F now) so I don’t think I could wear a small bikini top like that in public, but I’m a huge fan of the tankini. It gives me nice bust coverage, but still makes me feel sexy and fits in a flattering way.

    I’m tall and have a looooong torso, I’ve never bee able to find a one-piece that didn’t ride up at the butt and pull down at the shoulders and look absolutely ridiculous on me.

    There’s so much more to it than “skinny” or “fat”. Hips, bust, thighs, and confidence, they all play huge parts on what looks good on who.

    I mean, we’ve all seen those photos of Nicole Richie with her swimsuit literally hanging off her like a baggy diaper, can anyone honestly tell me that’s more attractive than the lovely Keeley in her bikini. Not that I’m ragging on skinny girls, but when you don’t even have enough meat to fill out a few ounces of lycra, you should find something else to wear…

    Comment by Diane — February 8, 2008 @ 1:58 am

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