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Bikinis, finally.

For most people in the northern hemisphere swimsuit season is officially over. Sure, people still go swimming, but September marks the beginning of a six month reprieve of magazines/television/Jennifer Hudson (seriously, I know she can sing but has she done anything other than be famous for not being fat since she won that Oscar?) attempting to shame us into the swimwear their advertisers are pushing this season.

Actually, I’ve been thinking about bikinis.

I’m not interested in wearing them. Even if the look suited my body, which it doesn’t, a bikini would never suit my personality.  Still, shouldn’t plus size women be allowed to wear a bikini?

Well, okay, they are allowed to, but why is it always such a big honkin’ deal?

More importantly, why, when I google for “fat girl bikini” is the first result a collection of candids of plus-size women in two piece suits with the caption “The beaches of California have the hottest chicks…This is New Jersey.” and the comments are mostly just lists of which girls the random internet commenter find worthy to be a temporary repository for their almighty wang?

ugh.

On a more positive note, I liked what Gabi Fresh had to say in her article on the “fatkini” for xoJane, which featured a gallery of women, some at least semi-professionally shot, some with the obligatory cell phone selfie in the filthy mirror (now with value-add random boxes of junk).

The woman in this photo, Chastity Garner, for example, is killing it:

but some of the others…I’m not sure the bikini was their best choice.

Not that anyone has a duty to make their best fashion choices. I am very well aware that there’s no law (yet) declaring it every other living person’s responsibility to dress for my approval and a size 28 has every bit as much right as a size 8 or 18 to swimwear separates.

Of course, maybe it’s just because I don’t really care for most plus-size bikinis since they’ve got those ridiculous high waists that hide your stomach with all the efficacy of a spider “hiding” on a bare wall.

Still, I’d rather be slightly put off by a woman wearing an outfit that does her no favors –especially if it’s an outfit that woman loves– than see everyone over a size 10 in an endless parade of flattering but soulless black swimdresses or tankinis (close friends know I have a long-held and totally irrational hate-on for tankinis. Do not try to fight me on this one. You will never win.)

Oh, funny bikini-related story:

Once upon a time I was the assistant director for a play starring mostly folks of a certain age. One particular dashing gentleman, who is the living embodiment of Pepe the King Prawn (but dashing!), was having one hell of a time getting his lines. No one knew if it was stage fright, a language barrier, lack of preparation or what. We just couldn’t get him to commit to the role. Finally as we chatted about the final scene this kindly old gentleman finally got it, said his lines with great panache, dropped trou revealing an extremely abbreviated pair of gray bikini underwear well past the first blush of youth, and waddled off stage triumphantly. We should all be as confident as that particular depanted prawn.

So, what about you? Would you/did you/should you wear a bikini as a big girl? What are your reactions to the fatkini gallery?

Sharkproof Swimwear

This post is in memory of my favorite pair of black underwear, tragically lost at sea August 16, 2012

I am almost certain no one has ever been eaten by a shark while wearing an evening gown.

Maybe on the Titanic, but they probably drowned or froze first, so hey, my totally made-up not-even-remotely-scientifically-supported point still stands.

Uh, Plummy? What point would that be?

There’s nothing saying you have to wear a swimsuit to the beach.

Up with this sort of thing!

I mean sure you probably have to wear some sort of covering, because most beaches are Not That Kind of Beach, but if you don’t feel comfortable in a bathing suit, wear something else.

Honestly, it’s not a big deal.

Of course most of you are much smarter than I am –not that that sets the bar prohibitively high– so you probably figured this out already, but if you have body shame or a weird rash or are cursed with a long torso that forces you to choose between exposing your nooks or your crannies to the public eye, you can just choose your own adventure and be a beach bunny on your own terms.

Here is a brief sampling of outfits I’ve deemed fit for the briny blue at one time or another:

  • a traditional bathing suit
  • a gold-embroidered lavender silk sari
  • underwear and holiday colored Saran Wrap
  • an evening gown
  • various dresses of various lengths

True, some were bigger successes than others. Swimming in the sari, while not especially practical, was about the most glamorous thing I’ve ever done. I felt just exactly like that goldfish from Fantasia, and who doesn’t want to feel like that goldfish from Fantasia at least once before they shuffle loose this mortal coil?

Others just seemed like a good idea at the time.

I’m looking at –and slightly through– you, Saran Wrap bathing bodice, although in my defense it was nowhere near the most questionable outfit at that particular pre-discobrunch after-afterparty. Come to think of it, it didn’t even seem like a good idea then, but when you’re a straight-laced twenty year-old and a flock of gay men hopped up on ketamine and body glitter come at you with festive green plastic wrap and a meaningful glint in their eyes, you just do what you need to do. God I miss the 90’s.

–insert record scratch jerking us mercilessly back into cruel, cruel reality–

Recently, I’ve taken to wearing cotton dresses for my sunset dips.

Actually, I’ve taken to “reading Melville” which is the phrase I’ve come up with to describe swimming in the buff, since “skinny dipping” isn’t exactly accurate and “chunky dunking” lacks a certain charm. That being said, I live on an essentially deserted six-mile stretch of beach and what’s the damn point of living on an essentially deserted six-mile stretch of beach if you can’t strip off and traumatize some pelicans?

Even if you can’t blind your own seabirds, why not try donning something non-traditional for your next aquatic adventure? It’s better than sitting at home because you’re afraid of being The Fat Girl at the Beach. Just be careful if you’re in a swimming pool: chlorine is hell on a silk sari.

WW Active: The Good, the Bad, and the WTH?

So. Yesterday in my inbox, I found an announcement of Woman Within’s new WW Active line. It’s a collection of activewear, exercise equipment, and blog for fat… er… plus sized women. So far the blog only has two entries, so I can’t say much about it other than it’s got cheerful graphics of straight-sized women and has not yet specifically mentioned weight loss.

While I haven’t seen the clothes up close and personal, I did take a bit of a gander at the offerings on tap to see what I thought of them. Overall, they look practical and comfortable. Most of the pieces do include polyester and/or spandex, but I did find a couple all-cotton shirts, which is nice. Let’s encourage more of that, shall we? And most of the pieces in the collection do seem to include some cotton along with the synthetics.

Most pieces offer color choices, some of them a positively dizzying number, which pleased me to no end. For instance, those yoga pants shown above? come with your choice of twelve color combinations. Okay, all that changes on these is the color of the stripe down the leg, but many pieces come in eight, twelve, even sixteen completely different colors.

Speaking of choices, most of the pants come in petite sizes as well as regular, and quite a few also come in tall. And while the largest size I found among the pieces I actually looked at was 6x – and I only found a couple of those – the size chart tops out at 7x. I have high hopes that that means we’ll soon see attractive, reasonably priced activewear for women up to size 46w/48w. Most of the pieces in the collection seem to go up to 5x, though I did find a couple pantsuits that only went up to 1x. Still, if you’re super sized, there’s a good chance you can find something to wear in this collection. And chances are it will come in a pretty color. I even found athletic shoes up to a 13xww!

Another thing I appreciated was the fact that the line includes exercise equipment. On the downside, nearly half the section is made up of scales and juicers, with only a couple actual pieces of exercise equipment. On the very upside is the unfortunately named Love Handles Exerciser.

What do I think is so great about this machine? Well, basically it consists of two handles which, according to the write up on the site can be attached to nearly any chair or wheelchair. Yes, this site is actually willing to acknowledge that an inability to walk doesn’t necessarily mean you have no interest in fitness.

On the downside of the fitness equipment is the constant talk in the write ups about fat burning, which, I know, is to be expected, but still disappoints my little activist soul. On the even more downside, many pieces of equipment are designed to hold no more than 250ibs. and the treadmill is only rated up to 225lbs. I hope that more equipment for the super sized will become available as time moves on. As things stand, I would break the treadmill, since I’m somewhere in the 240 range.

So yes, there are some downsides. But compared to what has been available for the larger athlete (aka: virtually nothing), Woman Within has done a pretty darn good job, and I applaud them for it.

Oh, and right now? Most of the items in the catalog are on sale. Plus, to sweeten the pot, WW is offering a 20% discount on your entire WW Active order with sales code WWActive20 until 2/28/12.

Let’s support a good effort, and keep our criticisms constructive.

Miss Plumcake’s Reluctant Guide to Sexual Health #2: The Hair Down There

I think stressing over taming the topiary is sort of a young woman’s game.

The general consensus is men “expect” girls whose downton abbey looks like Atlanta after a visit from General Sherman because of porn. Now, I don’t actually believe any guy over the age of 23 can possibly be THAT clueless, but you know what?

If a guy’s understanding of sexual congress comes from repeated viewings of “White Men Can’t Hump” you probably shouldn’t be sleeping with him in the first place. That one was a freebie. You’re welcome.

Still, it’s your hair and you can do what you want with it.

I’m prone to ingrown hairs and my new beach bunny lifestyle (I think I mentioned it on twitter or Facebook, but I’m moving to a little Mexican beach town) is a lot more swimsuit intensive.

It’s also a lot more gettin’ some intensive and the pleasantness of either encounter is not enhanced by painful red bumps.

A few years ago a guy I asked a guy I worked with how he got his head so smooth. He told me he used Magic Shaving Powder, which was specially formulated for African-American men to prevent razor bumps/ingrown hairs.

I thought “hey, why not?” and now I look back upon my prior adventures in hair removal with the bitterest of laughs.

Of course the law firm of C.Y.A. & Associates requires me to tell you this product is not for use on your lady parts and should be used only as directed, so to be very clear: I am not recommending you do this, I’m just saying what I did.

Magic Shave comes in either a powder or a cream.

I use the powder because I can control the thickness of the paste and you get more bang for your buck. Scoop some powder into a bowl or plate –I use the lid from an old pint of a gelato because I’m elegant like that– and mix it with cool water until it has the texture of slightly thin toothpaste.

Spread it all over the desired area –I use the back of a plastic knife– and let that stuff percolate for a few minutes. You’re supposed to keep the area moist, so I keep a mist bottle around, but you could just put a damp paper towel atop the whole works. The directions say to leave it on 5 to 7 minutes, but I go for an even ten. Then rinse it off using the ol’ washcloth and cool water treatment.

The smell is not pleasant, but I find it a lot less offensive than Nair and at least it vanishes instead of lingering like a creepy guy at a Chuck E. Cheese ball pit the way other depilatories do.

Now here’s the clincher.

Bump Stopper 2.

Seriously gang. I don’t know what I did without it.

I just rub a teensy bit of the thick unscented cream on when I wake up and once again when I go to sleep & I’ve been ingrown-free since using it except for once and it vanished in two days. Plus I swear it stops regrowth from being itchy.

Of course you’ll want to do a test patch for both of these products first and follow all directions and wash behind your ears before you go to bed, and sit up straight get a real job and start giving me some grandchildren. I’m not going to be around forever you know.

Five Great: Statement Swimsuits

So sometimes you want the Tankini of Boringly Efficient Doom and sometimes you want something a little less…practical. If your glamor knob goes up to 11 and you want to spend some time in the Not-So-Shrinking Violet Lounge,  why not check these out?

Catalina in Teal and Deep Lilac from Monif C.

The Catalina is probably a surprisingly flattering suit on a lot of women, especially the super pear-shaped and the small-chested apple, since the drape brings all the visual attention and weight to the chest which balances out wide hips and camouflages a non-existant waist. This might also  be a good choice for the gal who needs to wear a bra underneath her suit since –provided she can find a halter bra she likes– the fabric’s folds hide a multitude of bra-line sins.

Leopard print swimsuit

Out of the ordinary without being In Your Face Fashiony, the cut of this swimdress is still quite modest, but the animal print gives it edge. The trick is to commit. Wear a jangly gold necklace with it, or some fantastic wooden bracelets. Just something to give it a wild flavor.


Convertible swimsuit/minidress
in white and aqua

I think I mentioned this white one when I was having a moment over white bathing suits last week, but the more I look the more I like this convertible swim dress. I’m not sure if you’ve ever gone swimming in a cockail dress, but there is something that can be extremely sexy about it, maybe it’s because it’s just slightly forbidden, who knows, but this swim dress with adjustable side ruching can give you either that cute retro look or that longer mini-dress dress thing. It’s also a godsend for the long-torsoed girl who just can’t find a suit in her size that covers both her nooks AND crannies.

Torrid harlequin swim top

Okay, to me this is just about 10 pounds of ugly in a five pound bag, but I got e-abused for not catering to the younger crowd. Well, here. An off-the-shoulder Harlequin-goes-to-Havana swim top in various alarming shades of pink. I hope Miuccia Prada is happy, because she’s the one who brought the harlequin-chic for Miu Miu all those years ago. Enjoy it, kiddos.

Monaco in yellow and fuchsia

From the ridiculous to the sublime –or at least marginally better than that last thing– I really like this suit, and if I had ANY belief it would be long enough for me I’d buy it in every color.

Well, that’s enough swimsuit posts from me for a while. Did you find any that tickled your fancy or does the search continue? Let a girl know!

Five Great: Not So Basic Black Swimsuits

Monif C Barbados Plunge Suit

A few years ago Monif C introduced what I’d call the beta version of this swimsuit. It interested me so I picked one up and alas, it was Not Good On Me. However, it looks like the problems in the earlier version –too low neck, shirring in the wrong place– have been addressed and the “Barbados” looks like it could be a fun option for playing Bond Girl on the beach.

I know you’ll all throw rocks at me for this, but deep in the black, gin soaked recesses of my soul, I sort of love, love and YEARN for a leather bathing suit. I know, I know. It’s the same part of my brain that wants a wall treatment made entirely of living moss.

I rarely wear swimwear and I don’t think I’ve worn so much as a napa leather jacket in a decade, but sometimes when I’m all alone and the wind is whistling its lonesome song, that I sit back and pine for the leather bathing suit I’ll never (probably for the best) own.

 


Kiyonna Ava convertible swimsuit

Love.

This.

Suit.

I mean, I think we all know I’ve got an enormous soft spot for 50’s fashion, so odds are if you style a model like that I’ll love whatever she has on her body (and can I just give a shout out to the model? She must be the palest swimsuit model in the world. Holla at your easily sunburnt girl!)

Convertible halters have been all the rage in swimwear recently and this is a fantastic, classic iteration. Click through to see other variations, the front-cross halter is one of my favorites. Remember, lots of sunscreen and you’ll never have to worry about an unruly tan line.

Monif C Monaco in Black

I featured the fuchsia and yellow versions of this the other day, but the black one is worth mentioning too.

This is pretty much a pear-shaped girls dream.

It would definitely go in my personal collection if only I weren’t so long waisted. Monif C swimwear in my experience runs short, so a word to the tall torso-ed wise.

I’d also advise you to go a size up if you’ve never worn her swimwear, especially with a cutout detail, you don’t want your little pooch of flesh to get all pokey-outy (pokey-outy being a medical term) and look weird.

I think this would actually work BEST on long waisted girls, so if any of you try it and have success, let a sister know.

Jessica London one piece with chain strap

So what if you want interesting without In Your Face Sexy?

It’s a reasonable request.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a basic black maillot and adding a bit of unexpected interest, which is exactly what you get with this chain strap one piece from Jessica London.

A fun take on the hardware and single shoulder trends of the past few seasons, this swimsuit is interesting without veering off into Crazypants or overly sexy.

It’s also available in white, and I very nearly bought it for myself.

Monif C Belize suit with mesh inserts

And one more from Monif C., this time featuring lingerie-inspired mesh inserts.

I haven’t quite made up my mind on this one.

On one hand, I’m intrigued by the lingerie motif, I remember the Dior Haute Couture collection a few years back when everyone was still broke and he did almost nothing but separates, working in vintage-inspired lingerie pieces to give the illusion of a woman still getting dressed in the atelier. I loved that show. Sigh, Galliano.

The suit is lovely on Fluvia –that’s right, I’m capable of saying a nice thing about her, even though even though I really don’t like her as a model since she always looks like she’ll stain my white furniture– so darker toned girls have at it.

I’d suggest my fellow residents of Honky O’Sunburn’s School for the Perennially Alabaster might give this one a miss as the mesh might read too obvious and skew trashy rather than retro-cheeky.

What do you think?

 

Five Great: Non-Black Swimsuits

You can have any color you want as long as it’s black. I knew that was the battle cry of good ol’ Hank Ford, but I was unaware it has translated itself to plus size swimwear as well.

On most people, black can a little harsh for the beach. Which isn’t to say I don’t have a soft spot for it –next week have a post dedicated entirely to black swimsuits– but those of us who yearn to wear something other than black, red or some teeth-grindingly awful hibiscus print, let me hit you with a few sweet suits I’ve come across recently.

Solid Sweetheart Neckline Swimdress in rose and white
See? Sweet. This could actually skew a little retro –it would on me, anything I put on my body automatically turns to 1925 except for the things that go 1955– but it’s not at all costumey. I like that it’s both bright and soft enough to do service for my fellow pale girls, but not so pale or vibrant that it washes us out. Plus how gorgeous would this look on darker skin tones? So gorgeous I just might spit.


Retro Convertible Halter in Blue
Now HERE is retro. It’s also my anointed swimsuit for this summer. Although I never wear halter tops otherwise, I find the visual interest up top balances out my hips for a more evenly distributed hourglass. Another thing I dig about this suit is the straps are adjustable, so you can convert it from a halter (plus however else you want to tie it) to a bandeau.

I think big girls tend to overlook the strapless swimsuit. I’m not saying it’s the most practical thing in the world if you’re chasing after rugrats and whatnot, but for apples and broad-shouldered pears it can be extremely flattering. Plus no tan lines on your shoulders and perhaps MOST importantly, it allows you to wear big ridiculous necklaces, and if there is anything more entertaining than wearing big jewelry on the beach, I can’t print it here.

Fuchsia Berry Shirred Miracle Suit
I love this suit because it looks so fashiony and yet it’s a really easy look to pull off successfully. Almost anyone could wear this and look like a million bucks. Pale girls? Yep, just remember to wear some color on your lips. Dark girls? Heaven. I’d only advise against it if you’re extremely narrow shouldered since that deep plunge will make them look even more narrow. Other than that, have at it and try not to act surprised when people drool.


Teal Jewel Halter Swimdress
Oh man, how effortless is this? It’s easy fitting but the jeweled halter makes it special and unexpected, plus it draws the attention up to the neckline and face and not the hips and belly. I don’t subscribe to the theory that everyone must spend all their beach time covering their “flaws” but it’s nice to get a little attention focused to where you want it, WITHOUT showing off a ton of rack.

Boho Print Swimdress
I almost wanted to call this a Liberty print because my grandmother had a Liberty scarf from the early 70’s that is very similar, but that doesn’t really have anything to do with the story other than it’s surprising she got a Liberty of London scarf in Thailand and kept it because, despite her many many fine qualities, all that woman’s taste was in her mouth. Anyway, It’s a refreshing break from All Enormous Florals All The Time and great for anyone who wants to nod to her inner hippie chick without busting out the love beads and roach clips.

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