I’m writing this as I sit in my car, just minutes after it happened because I want to share this story while I still feel the incredible effects of someone’s ridiculous kindness and they changed everything I’ve ever believed about swimsuit shopping.
Tonight. I did the thing. I went swimwear shopping in the dead of winter (aka the fluffy months). I am definitely not in *swimsuit* shape, but that’s because I always thought swimsuit shape meant like competition shape (i.e. 34/24/34). But it doesn’t… and I was reminded that recently in the new Netflix movie 🎥 Dumplin’ 🍿
“Everybody is a swimsuit body.”
This weekend, I’m going on a surprise trip to the Bahamas with my in-laws, and I just realized I left all my swimsuits in Florida from the last time I was there 🙈🤷🏼♀️ (sidebar: how freaking sweet of Ryan’s parents to take us with them on this trip!!)
Back to swimsuit shopping though… ugh.
I went to the mall tonight fully expecting to loathe every inch of my body by the end of the evening. I did positive self talk all the way to the mall, in my car, whispering sweet nothings to myself reminding me that
I am beautiful.
I am worthy.
Size is not defining marker, just a clothing label.
Suits that don’t fit are just that – suits that don’t fit.
Y’all, I drove to the mall having no idea what stores would even be carrying swimwear this time of year, fully relying on my personal mall radar to go off when I walked in, hoping it would direct me to the right store. Well, it went off and alerted me to the giant mall map inside the Oshawa Centre instead 😂
I clicked “women’s fashion,” saw a store called Bikini Village, and headed in that direction. I was feeling pretty confident walking through the mall, but the closer I got, that little feeling of *ugh I don’t want to do this* started creeping in, and my stomach started to hurt. I reminded myself of my latest post about food, and I went back to that part where I wrote – “How could those beautiful words I would tell other women not apply to me too?” and immediately, I started thinking all things positive and beautiful, and I started thinking them about myself.
Now, those of you who know me know that I shop like a dude. I go in for what I’m looking for, and I plan on walking out with it. So with a heart full of determination, I headed into Bikini Village. I hate trying on clothes, much less swimsuits, so I buckled down and headed in for the long haul. I prepared myself for the worst and just hoped for the best. And then I reminded myself that the worst thing that could happen was walking out empty handed… which isn’t really like that big of a deal. It just meant I’d have to keep looking.
A salesperson met me at the door as I walked in and offered help. I immediately accepted her offer and quickly explained what I was looking for. I told her I had a tricky shape so I was probably going to be trying on a lot of suits, and I apologized in advanced for taking a while in the fitting room. She was SO KIND, told me not to apologize, reminded me that every woman has a tricky shape and assured me that we would find the perfect suit for my trip.
Her response to my hesitation meant everything. She didn’t care one bit that I looked through every single suit in the store. She started me a fitting room right away, and I pulled probably 20 different suit combinations to start with… yes, you read correctly. 20 Combinations. To. Start. With.
As I started the journey of finding a suit that was both flattering, yet modest, but not like a bed sheet and also had the support of sports bra while still looking pretty and feminine… you get my point. As I searched for the impossible (hoping to find more than one option), I realized their sizing was different and everything I had pulled was already too small 😂 I swear, I just laughed and thought “Satan… you are trying me aren’t you!” Like no… I’m not going to try all of these suits on knowing they won’t fit. I’m gonna get some help.
So I called the girl in, showed her what we were working with, and she said she knew exactly what was going to work for my shape and my preferences on coverage and support.
SHE WAS AN ANGEL.
I won’t pretend like this was a quick little shopping trip. I tried on suits for about an hour. But it was actually a really great experience. And it’s not because I’m some *hot young thang* as my husband jokes 😂 It’s also not because *everything looked great* and I can *wear whatever I want*… lol none of those things were the case. It was a great experience because I had help, and I had realistic expectations (well… as realistic as wanting the perfect swimsuit is)
The sales associate was phenomenal picking out suits I would have never tried, putting me in colors I would regularly NEVER dare worn, and encouraging me when she could see that I was getting a little discouraged. She was honest too. When a suit just wasn’t working, she would say it in a really nice (but honest) way, mainly just agreeing when I was like “yeah, this isn’t happening”.
So I ended up not purchasing a single suit I picked out, but 3 of the ones she suggested ended up going home with me. And one of them is a bright red one piece. Who am I???
So the purpose of this post is two-fold:
1. To give a major shoutout to Cindya, the greatest sales associate of all time. She took what could have been a nightmare, and she turned it into a blog worthy, confidence-boosting experience. A complete stranger, yet so kind and so dedicated to simply making. It. Happen. That girl deserves a raise. She made the impossible, possible… and I’m not talking about helping me find a swimsuit in my size, I’m referencing her ability to make swimsuit shopping a great experience. I left that store feeling like Giselle Bündchen.
2. Secondly, this post is about defying the odds. I hate trying on clothes, and I really hate trying on swimsuits, and it’s not the rooms or all the time it takes. It’s the fact that I hate having to do the shuffle in front of a mirror and assess how stuff looks on my body and fits all weird. I just don’t enjoy analyzing how different pieces of fabric flatter (or don’t) my body. It highlights my *problems areas* and makes me feel weird about my *assets* 😂 anyways, it might sound a little dumb, but it felt great to do something I really didn’t want to do, and to kinda kick it in the face.
Do I look the same in a swimsuit as I did 3 or 4 years ago? No. Is that okay? Absolutely. And why? Because even though parts of my body aren’t as toned as they used to be, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with my body.
Even though, no one else has ever made me feel bad about my body (well, there’s the one crazy pageant coach I had that one time – but that story is for another day), no one else has ever given me a reason to dislike my body, but me. And tonight, I was able to take what I’ve got and work with it, regardless of all the lies I’ve told myself over the years. Talk about living a new truth. I feel like I did that tonight. And I made a new friend in the process 👌🏼
To all the girls who are swimsuit shopping this season, God bless you. You can do this. Ask for help, and try on things you wouldn’t normally choose. Forget everything you think you know about sizing and labels, and just try it all.
⁃ the Wife