Swimwear Saturday: Esther Williams Red & White Striped
So...I somewhat collect bathing suits. Not like, on purpose, as it's more of a compulsion. I don't know what it is, but I just love bathing suits. It was justified for a lot of my life as my family had a pool and I went to college in Miami. There was never a shortage of bodies of water to romp around in! But then I moved to Denver. And while it's like, boiling lava hot in the summer with WEEKS of 100+ degree days...bodies of water are a little harder to come by! I am friends with three people who currently have pools and my friend group likes to at least try to go to a reservoir once a summer. Hopefully my suits will be put to good use this 2015 swimsuit season!
The funny thing about my love of bathing suits is that I also don't love bathing suits. Huh? Yeah...I like the idea of bathing suits but the reality is way less flattering. I'm missing the shame gene so if people are forced to be in the same room with me while I'm changing outfits I shrug it off largely. But bathing suits I get a little bit self conscious about it. I feel like if you're in say, normal underwear, it's usually somewhat flattering. But bathing suits are all elastic and sometimes cut you off at weird points, they are supposed to expand a bit in water and therefore are kind of tight while they are dry, and most cuts and styles hardly flatter any women's build...regardless of her shape and size. The only time I feel self conscious about showing skin is largely in swimwear; every piece of cellulite is exposed, as are the stretch marks I've had since I was 13, some suits make me look flat chested...I could go on!
This spring I showcased a few swimwear photos on Instagram and had a post or two featuring them, and the wheels in my head started turning. How can I showcase my swimwear collection for a fun summer blog series without feeling gratuitous? I love talking clothes and personal style, which is why I have a blog. But honestly, I get sick of myself from time to time. Putting myself, my face, my head to toe photos out there on a nearly daily basis occasionally drains me. I've been slowly learning and accepting that I'm one of those introverted extroverts, and to a large extent this blog brings out both of those sides for me. It took a year and a half of outfit sharing to not feel like a (complete) tool taking photos of "just me" even while being completely secluded and alone. NONE of this comes natural to me, and now I'm thinking about prancing around in bikinis for y'all? Haha, I amuse myself. But despite my private nature, I also have another compulsion where I can't help but share parts of my life if I think it's important to talk about. ALL WOMEN have issues with their bodies, "bikini season", and being comfortable in their own skin...or at least they have at some point in time. I'm no different, and because of my issues bathing suits have been the bane of my existence at times, despite that I totally love them too.
Now, I soooooo don't wanna be that skinny bitch that's bitching about her thighs. Ugh, good gawd do I not! That's obnoxious and not helpful to anyone. But I'm going to level with you here: in my head I haven't always been skinny even though I technically always was. I'm not ready to go into every last detail of my history--for a variety of reasons--but body image was a huge issue for me for literally as long as I can remember. Like, I legitimately have a collection of my earliest memories involving hating myself physically. I've had my ups and downs since then, but since having so many different illnesses pop up over the past few years my whole idea of health has changed. I've gained 20 pounds, work out only for mental health and to get physically stronger, and am finally learning to not only be comfortable in my own skin but in other facets of my life. When I took this photoset and a few others in swimwear at my family's house in PA, I honestly wasn't convinced I'd ever post them. I figured I may as well just shoot a few of my suits since it was mega private and I'd at least have them and then I could use them at my disposal. I went back and forth with whether or not to do this series, but ultimately I decided talking about different swimwear brands and styles is beneficial on a style blog, especially since these types of blogs are read by women because real women post them. And if I can find an opening to poke fun at myself or say something relatable, then all the better.
It's worth noting that I will never edit my body, so you can see every last curve, lack thereof, stretch mark, lumpiness, or, as some of these photos may show...bruises (I bump into stuff a lot). For the record, I've never altered my body in any past photos and I never will (it makes me mad when people do that, frankly), but now felt like a good time to say that. That all said, I have a few suits already photographed. If I choose to continue this series and take more photosets in a month or so from now, I have to have a disclaimer here that I am partaking in a fairly grueling workout schedule for the reasons I mentioned above. I just tried on a suit this AM that looks totally different on me than it did a year ago, and I'm not sure how far these changes will go. In the unlikely event that my body does looks noticeably different in future posts, that would be the reason why and NOT editing.
Can be found at ModCloth
(I found it on eBay)
What I like about the suit:
It's super cute! Esther Williams is a popular brand for us vintage loving girls for a reason! It's super flattering around the abs and hips. I'm fairly certain the material is body slimming/Spanx like.
The bust is technically padded, but because the material is so tight and slimming I think it smashes down the breasts a bit. If you're more well endowed and want more modesty, I'm assuming this suit will do the trick for you. For the ladies with "naturally modest" busts, my experience is something to take into consideration.
Additionally, the butt isn't my favorite cut. It covers everything, which is great, but the elastic around the edges is super tight and slightly indents in. I've tried this style of suit in two different sizes and the smaller one did that less for me, so I'm assuming extra fabric possibly works against you? I've toned up a bit since November when I got this suit and I honestly can't tell if that's helping my complaint about the extra fabric or not. I have another suit in this style so I'll save that one for later in the summer and get back to you!