“Yay! Bathing suit season is here!” said NO ONE. EVER.
’Tis the season for every woman on the planet to scrutinize every inch of her imperfect body. Yes, bathing suit season has begun. Why so early? Why do bathing suits have to start appearing in the shops in January? The answer is simple.
(1) So we can stress about it more.
(2) So we will buy the weight-loss protein shakes that they sell at the same store.
Or maybe it is (hopefully),
(3) so I have a long enough time to help you find the right cut so you can buy that one perfect swimsuit that suits you…before they are all gone!
I’m going to play devil’s advocate and say it is number three.
Did you know that this blog started with a bathing suit?
Like the saying goes — for every action, there is a reaction — and after having a mastectomy I thought that swimming would be a good way to exercise my arm and get movement back in a gentle way. I live walking distance from a local, public pool so I was excited about becoming a member and then I realized..
I’m missing a boob.
How was I going to find a bathing suit that fit me with only one boob?
This store, CupShe, came highly recommended by other's in the 'flat' community.
When I went to the website, everything was adorable. I was inspired by the many designs that I thought might be complimentary for someone with one breast. Not only were the cuts and materials good looking, but, the prices were unbelievable!
I had never bought clothes online before but the prices seemed too good to miss and I just thought, what the heck. I knew if it didn’t work, it wouldn’t be the end of my wallet. Nothing lost, nothing gained.
The hardest part and the reason I am not an online shopper, is the sizing. It scares me. I have a big butt and now my chest is a different size than it was.
For me, one problem with the bikinis on this website is that they come as a set. I didn’t want to chance buying a suit where either the top or bottom didn’t fit. Instead, I went for a one-piece. I also decided to trust the size chart and although I am a size 10, the recommended size for me was a medium. I can’t remember the last time I was a medium in anything so…I was immediately skeptical.
When the bathing suit arrived on a cold and wet December day, I unwrapped the packaging and pulled it out of the pretty zip-lock bag it was contained in. I looked at it and inspected it with my hands. And then I put it back in the bag. I was terrified of actually trying it on. I didn’t know why I had decided I wanted to get back into a bathing suit. The last thing I wanted was to be stared at and there was going to be no hiding in this. I had made a mistake and, with that suit mocking me, I put it away.
“Well?” asked my husband as I came back in the living room empty-handed. “How does it fit?” “I didn’t try it on?” I flippantly said. Watching my husband’s face fall made me walk back into the bedroom and do something I really didn’t want to do.
I reluctantly put the swimsuit on.
I immediately noticed the quality was top notch, the material was very thick and not at all see-through, and the fit was perfect. Not only did I actually feel good about what I saw in the mirror, but, I was also amazed that I had perfected my ability to know the exact cut that would disguise the fact that I am missing a breast. Score!
I came bouncing out of the bedroom and squealed with joy! “It fits! Take a picture!”
So happy was I to have found this great swimsuit that I immediately posted the above photo in a Facebook group and the results were pretty overwhelming.
In the first hour of posting my picture, I had over 300 likes and comments! By hour 11 of my picture being posted, someone had announced in a comment that the suit was…
That’s when I realized two important things [pardon the pun].
I had immediate confirmation that I was very good at choosing items that work well for my body and for the bodies of the many women like me who need help, and
If enough people bought things based on my recommendations, the fashion industry would literally HAVE to notice that we are here! We want clothing that fits our body. We want to be seen. I know that there is POWER in numbers. WE CAN START A REVOLUTION and why not let it start with me (in a bathing suit no less)?
We can start a revolution
Thinking I was so brilliant at doing this, I rapidly jumped into my car and raced to Target to find a bikini to go with my one-piece (because a girl likes to have choices).
I literally tried on EVERY SINGLE BIKINI TOP at Target. I spent 3 hours going back and forth in the changing room. It was exhausting, my arm hurt, and my chest was swollen. I came up empty.
This was going to be harder than I thought.
I then headed to Forever 21. The bikini tops there were too hard to get on and off because, unfortunately, I have a very thick torso and wide shoulders. I was disheartened and didn’t even spend much time after trying a few and not being able to get them on without dislocating my shoulder.
So, I simply gave up on the hunt and thought, I’m done. Who needs more than one swim suit anyway? Not me…
But I was wrong. I’m going to let you in on a little secret that I have known for years. Walmart has the best swimsuits.
Real sizes for real women
Every year before my mastectomy – since I can remember ever entering a Walmart – I have bought my swimsuits there. To top it off, everyone has always complimented me on my bathing suits and my daughter has even stolen a Walmart bathing suit out of my closet. The other thing I love about the bathing suits at Walmart is they have real sizes for real women. You don’t have to be a little waif to fit into one. The sizes go from teeny teens to boxum XXXLs and they are beautiful with great designs.
Before we start on my picks for this summer I need to explain that there are two types of cups that a suit can have and in the description I have labeled them as follows:
A built in cup: This type of cup system is more rigid and in a circle sewn into a type of bra area. I have heard of people cutting the cup out of the side that your breast is missing so that it doesn’t wrinkle and look odd underneath the fabric.
Removable cups: With this type of bathing suit there is a pocket with inside cups that are removable. I recommend taking these out as they can just make you look odd and draw attention to the part of you that you wish people would not notice.
Here are my top picks for all the one-breasted swimmers of the world and it must be noted that all these suits were $19.96:
Walmart’s off the shoulder
I am in love with this suit. I had found myself the other day at Walmart (in a completely different section of the store) and I noticed someone had tossed aside this swimsuit. Knowing that ruffles are a great friend to a uni like myself, I stopped and did a turn around. I headed strait for the changing room! I am a big fan of ruffles because they hide what is going on underneath. This suit is a big fat yes! Also, because of the way it hangs, you wont have to cut out the built in cup.
This suit is in the “Miss” section and is part of their “Time and Tru” series. This particular one is a size medium (8-10) and it goes up to XL (16-18).
You can find this suit here: Walmart’s Time and Tru Off the Shoulder
Open lace up back
Realizing I had hit gold with the ruffle bathing suit above I stepped over to the swimsuit section of Walmart and found this sweet suit in the junior department. I range from a size 8 to 10, for the right fit in this particular swimsuit I had to get a junior size large (11-13).
It has removable cups and I want you to especially pay attention to this pattern. I usually am not a fan of patterns that have symmetry to them because they can draw attention to being only one breasted. However, this pattern has a design that points down in a V shape which gives the illusion of two breasts. It also draws the eye to the pattern because it points in a downward V. This suit also has a fun detail in the back which is pretty cute….I’m a sucker for little tassels.
You can buy this suit here: Walmart’s Open Lace Up Back
Strappy moon gaze
What can I say about this that you can’t already see in the picture? I love that it has this strappy detail. I used to show off my cleavage all the time and do miss that part of feeling sexy with two boobs. So when I put this on, I felt my sexy-self coming back!
The pattern is super flattering because it is busy. Black and white patterns are always good to keep the eye unable to focus. It also happens to give larger women a waistline that they wouldn’t have if they were wearing the exact same cut but in one color. It also has some sexy cut outs on the sides that make me feel “Rawr!”
This suit has removable cups and adjustable straps. It is also part of the “Time and Tru” series and is also a size medium (8-10) The best ting is that suit goes up to a deliciously generous XXXL.
You can find this suit here: Walmart’s Strappy Moon Gaze
Floral and lace
This is such a pretty swim suit. I absolutely love floral patterns and lace and this suit has both! I love that it also has the detail of strings at the top. The strings make it look a little sexy, and are up high enough to help you feel confident that you won’t be flashing your scar.
The only thing that made me worry that this suit wouldn’t work is that there is some gathering on the inside of the cup (extra fabric that creates a small, but, noticeable crease). I would safely say that because the price is only $19.96, it wouldn’t break the bank to still buy it and have a good seamstress altering it a little.
This suit has removable cups and adjustable straps. It is also part of the “Time and Tru” series and, again, though I am normally a size 8-10, this is a size large (12-14) and it goes up to size XXL.
You can find this suit here: Walmart’s Floral and Lace
The fact is, even if our bodies were “perfect” before cancer, we can still look in the mirror and see ourselves as beautiful. Don’t be scared of showing your body. I’ve showed you my big butt and my round belly! Now, go out there! Get yourself a swimsuit!
I’m so sorry that the fantastic bathing suit I bought from CupShe is sold out, however, if I was to order another one, I would buy this.
Lastly, if I can try on all these bathing suits AND post them on the internet for the world to see, then you can be brave and put on a swimsuit regardless of your boob being gone! I wish you many days on the beach, by the pool or at your local gym in one of these spectacular swimsuits. If the suit fits – wear it!