Having this platform to reach a lot of people always comes with some anxiety when choosing topics to discuss. The goal is to use this blog as a way to bring people together– from all different races, religions, backgrounds, sexual orientations, and yes, even sizes.
It always takes me a while to do posts like this. Swimwear is a hard topic to discuss for most. Get ready for a long post because I have a lot to say…
So let’s talk about something. It’s summer. It’s hot as hell. And it’s swimsuit season. Swimsuit season. Two words that put a lot of fear and anxiety into minds. But you know what? It’s freaking 2017 and time to get with the program. So what you have a little cellulite? Don’t we all? So what you’ve got stretch marks? Don’t we ALL?
Some of you may not know this, but I got my Bachelor’s in Apparel Merchandising + Product Development at the University of Arkansas (Go Hogs!) One of my biggest takeaways from my studies was understanding a little something called vanity sizing. This is the phenomenon that all sizes in ready-to-wear fashion are not equal across the board. That means someone could be a medium at Zara and an extra-large at Zaful. BS right?
The biggest problem with vanity sizing is the negative effects it has on self-esteem. But knowledge is power, am I right? So say it with me girl: Size is just a number. Size is not the value of who I am as a person. The idiots who size women’s clothing need to go sit in a corner. Size is just a number. Size is just a number.
I reached out to a friend of mine, Maggie Hance (who is currently a doctoral student at East Tennessee State University with an expected PhD in Experimental Psychology) with the intention of making this post well-rounded and informative. Her research is in online relationships (social media + online dating), help seeking intentions, body image, and eating disorders.
One of the concepts Maggie brought to my attention is “upward social comparison:”
It’s easier said than done, but don’t compare yourself to others. The idea of upward social comparison really hit home for me, and I’m sure many of you are thinking to yourselves “wait I do that too…” You can’t compare your body to someone else’s body. That’s like comparing apples to oranges. No one has the same genetics as you. No one has the same exact body shape as you.
You work your body the only way you know how. You wear what you want to wear regardless of what society tells you, including swimwear. You are allowed to take up space. You are allowed to wear a swimsuit.
I searched so many sites and brands trying to find the perfect suit for each body type and budget. I don’t just add any ol’ swimsuit to this post, I have to genuinely love it + think it’d look good on all kinds of people! I’ve included levels of modesty preferences as well– because wearing what you’re comfortable in is the most important part!
Keep in mind some of the styles available to choose from don’t reflect the sole style of swimsuit you can wear if you fall into that size category. For instance, in Petite, Tall, + Maternity, a lot of the swimwear that is available are one-pieces. That doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to wear a two-piece! One-pieces are the hardest style to fit in Petite, Tall, + Maternity categories, so I made that a little bit easier for ya!
And remember, the size categories stated are what the fashion industry categorize apparel in. These are not reflective of my views and should NOT be reflective of your view of your size + body shape. These are categories based on measurements of fabric. Not measurements of self-worth.
I’ve found some of my favorite swimsuits in all sizes. Click the link below the photos to shop + check out the websites to see other styles!
Ashley Graham Floral Estrella Swimsuit – Swimsuits For All ($65)
*also Ashley Graham omg you babe
Check out some of the websites listed below for inclusive sizes:
Aerie (The coolest company that has become a powerhouse in the fashion industry for not using Photoshopped images on its website, catalog, or advertisements. Aerie also is partnering with the National Eating Disorder Association to raise money for the association as well as raising awareness + providing information for eating disorders. Incredible.)
Monif C (AMAZINGGG plus size swimwear. I’m obsessed.)
Can we just make a pact right now to not make fun of people’s bodies anymore? Don’t engage with the small-minded people who think women’s bodies should only look a certain way. And don’t engage in the comparison game. Let’s all remember how hard it can be to even put on a bathing suit. Like Maggie told me, you never want to miss out on memories you could make with friends + family over an article of clothing. And remember we’re all in this together (*cue HSM dance moves.)
Get out there and have the best summer of your life!
Special thanks to Maggie for her insight + scientific approach to this difficult subject!