To Wear Or Not To Wear A Bikini, Is The Question

With bathing suit season officially here, it’s time to decide whether or not you’ll be going bikini, one-piece or that delightful invention that falls somewhere in the middle: the tankini. If you’re like me, you’ve been waiting until the last minute to make the decision, because you’re afraid of what winter and pizza may have done to your waistline.

I have never been one for one-piece swimsuits. Despite my mother always having my sister and I in one-pieces because she feel little girls should not be dressing like adults, I only owned a single one-piece that I picked out myself briefly when was 11. I was going through that awkward phase where I was pissed off at the world that I had boobs all of a sudden and my dreams of always being young and unscathed by maturity were shattered. My pact with the devil apparently fell through somewhere along the line. By the time I reached 13 and it was clear that my boobs probably couldn’t possibly grow anymore and I was somewhat comfortable in my body that reached puberty way before everyone else, I officially went bikini and never looked back.

However, thanks to society, I can’t help but question whether or not I should even be wearing a bikini. I’m no longer some 20-year-old with perky breasts and a frame that isn’t without “extra love,” as I call it. I should probably be doing several sit-ups a day, if we’re to listen to society’s idea of what makes beauty, before I even dare to look in the direction of a bikini, but I’m just not a sit-ups kinda a gal. I do yoga whenever the mood strikes, and go for a run if I’m dealing with stress because it’s healthier than screaming into a pillow (so I’m told), but besides walking everywhere in the city, I’m just not into exercising. The one gym membership I had for three months expired with me having walked in only once, looking around at the machinery, then bailing because, well, it was around the corner from this great margarita place. I have never stepped in a gym again, although I’m kind enough to walk by the window of it and wave to people on the machines while downing a funnel cake that I picked up at street fair. Street fair season is one of the many reasons I live here.

But as someone who scoffs at society and it’s bullshit standards, by mid-June I put my questioning and doubt aside, slip into my new bikini for the season and go traipsing around this beach and that, and of course my favorite solo spot in Central Park by Turtle Pond. I may not have a figure like Bar Refaeli, but considering those models are the one-percent in the world, I try to ignore my Vogue and just go for it.

So the question is: to wear or not to wear a bikini? Are you ever too old for one or can we all just pretend we’ll look as hot as Helen Mirren when we get up there in age? Does one need to be a skinny-minny to wear a bikini or can we admit that no matter your size, as long as you’re comfortable, you should just go for it and critics be damned?


Photo: ABC Archives/Getty Images

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    • Maggie

      Wear a bikini, critics be damned! Life is too short to worry about what other people think, so do what you want and wear what you like. I’m certainly no skinny mini, but I always wear a bikini because 1)Fewer weird tan lines and 2)why the hell shouldn’t I?! So go for it!

    • Lo

      If you want something flattering, it’ll depend on where you carry your weight. My weight’s on my legs (not arse), so I’m generally fucked when it comes to swimwear, but I’ve found that drawing attention to my top half helps. This means bikinis with good support and bottoms that will balance out my legs. One-pieces are good if your weight’s on your stomach and you have better legs – on me, it’d be a block of fabric with two sausages sticking out of the end.

      • Amanda Chatel

        “a block of fabric with two sausages sticking out of the end.” Amazing. I almost blew coffee all over my desk from laughing so hard. Absolutely brilliant.

      • Lo

        And now, the slow-mo Baywatch run.

      • cakes

        I am the opposite. I am tall, with thin legs and anti-cankles, but I carry all my weight in my midsection. This is what most people call the ‘apple’ shape. Except apples usually have large breasts and small hips. Not me, ooooh no. I have smallish breasts, wide hips, and a high waist, making me what I have come to call ‘bowling pin’ shaped, or, more accurately, pear on a stick. It is a cruel joke.

        I am headed to Vegas next week for nine days, and figure with the availability of a pool for my first summer in seven years when I didn’t have to avoid chlorine due to fresh tattoos, I might enjoy some time swimming. I’m leaning toward the dreaded tankini. Say what you will about them being glorified one pieces, if I am on vacation there WILL be beverages (especially in Vegas), and no one in their right mind finds yanking a soggy onesie down in order to pass margarita #ivelostcount to be a fun experience.

      • Lo

        Tankinis are awesome if you’re tall, because most one-pieces are cut for average height, and that pinches. Most tankinis I’ve seen come with a couple of styles for the bottom, so you can cover up or show off your legs.

        Thing I’d recommend: Trinny & Susannah’s Body Shape Bible. It defines twelve shapes rather than the apple/pear/stick, and give good dressing tips for each. I’m a skittle.

    • Jo

      I love both and say wear what you feel comfortable in. I find that although i am a thin (but curvy) lady, my love handles are going to stick around to some degree no matter what. low rise bikinis are actually look better because the top is right where the love handle starts so you actually don’t see my hips forming two mountains, whereas a one piece usually makes them more apparent. But really, if I’m on a beach I don’t give a sh**, I like to be as naked as possible.

    • Cate

      I do not go to the beach, partly because I do not know how to swim, partly because I dislike sand, and partly because I am a vampire who bursts into flame in direct sunlight, but I personally think that bikinis look awful on almost everyone, no matter their figure. I do like the wonderfully structured bikinis they had in the forties, but those usually look a lot better in photographs than in real life.

    • Kj

      I have recently discovered the monokini… sounds lame, (and unfortunately now permanently associated with Snooki in my mind) but they are fun like bikinis but still give me the sense of security (however false) of a one piece.

      I say, if you are comfortable in a bikini, wear the goddamn bikini.

    • holleeta

      This is my favorite time of year. Whereas most women like to collect shoes, I like to collect bikinis, and expensive ones at that. I say fuck it, wear a bikini. They have some great underwire tops with high-waisted bottoms that are super sexy if you are feeling self-conscious about a belly. There are also some really cute maillots out there. I’m particularly fond of this one:
      Unfortunately, I have a long torso and am unable to wear one pieces without feeling like my vagina is being raped by fabric.

    • Lydia

      I have an hourglass figure… I’ve never quite been all the way skinny, at least not as a fully developed woman, but I’ve been told that my grandmother had a 19-inch (!) waist at her thinnest. I’ve been trying to dare myself to get a bikini… My sister tells me I definitely have the body for it, but I’m not do sure. My only real drawback is my tummy – it’s manageable when I stand up (most people claim they can’t even see it) but I’m afraid of sitting down and getting my “laptop” belly…