Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How Do You Feel About Bathing Suits?

Bathing suit season. It's looked forward to and dreaded. Time to try on swimsuits, whether it's an old favorite, or time to buy a new one.

It's swimsuit season - What do you wear?

Me in the 1980s in Jamaica with my friend Brenda Norton

I haven't worn one for years. For my age (60+) I am fit enough. It's not so much a weight issue, but there are things that I don't want to look at, much less have anyone else view. Plus I am not hanging out in the sun much these days just for the sake of a tan.

And for the record, I never wore shorts, even as young woman, except for one outfit I wore to Studio 54 that featured satin gym shorts with a matching baseball jacket. Really. As a dancer I wore leotards and tap pants in class, and on stage. I do not play sports, and  I always thought shorts looked best on the tennis court or for jogging, but not on the street.

1996 - The last time I wore a bathing suit

I love the beach. I spent many years going to New York beaches from Manhattan Beach to the Hamptons, and the beaches in New England from Rhode Island to Cape Cod. I also spent lots of time in Florida and the Caribbean, and even on a few beaches in Europe.

Alberto and me in 1999 on a beach in Rhode Island

I never had a great body by high standards. I'm not fishing for compliments. I like my body. I am a small curvy woman. Like many of us when we are young, I worried a bit about not getting fat, but I was never one to skip a meal ha ha. I was an artists model when I was first in art school. I was modest when appropriate, but didn't have a hard time showing my body for an artist. I favored bikinis for my beach wear, and I also loved a high waist two piece that Norma Kamali designed in the 1980s that had a great retro look.

Norma Kamali updated the retro look of the granny swimsuit and made it sexy - I had the high waist two piece with the halter top in every color

I bought a sad one piece a couple of years ago. Floral ruched top, little black skirty bottom. An old lady suit. I have never worn it. If I go to the beach, it's usually early in the morning, or late in the afternoon. I usually wear Capri leggings and a breezy tunic, with a big straw hat. I remember there was once a fashion of beach pajamas for women, and I think that would be a nice thing to bring back.

Beach Pajamas in the 1930s - I could rock this look

What about swimming? Haven't gone swimming in years. I'm not a very good swimmer, so it's not a hardship. If I am at a private pool, I will skinny dip to swim.

Wearing a bathing suit is a faded memory - This is 1996

I saw this headline on the Internet: "Fatkini" Sells Out. The word Fatkini made me mad and sad. Meant to be cute, but it really is mean. Anyone who needs to lose a few pounds knows it and does not have hear the F word. The idea of cute swimsuits for all body types is fabulous.

Whoever named this cute suit the Fatkini is a moron

On my first trio to Europe (I was 22) I ended up on a beach with youngish large German women wearing the tiniest of bikinis. It liberated me and made me admire their confidence. I also went to my first topless beaches in France, and never looked back. And of course there are the old school grannies that I grew up around, women who swam all their lives, and sported bathing caps and floral one piece suits with a modesty panel. Some of them jiggled, but it never looked out of place, and the F word simply did not apply. They were the women we loved and who loved us, who took us to the beach and played with us for hours.

Alberto and me in Key West a few years ago - A prelude of things to come

So how do you feel about bathing suits? Are you still wearing one? And by the way, men fare worse than women. They seem stuck between Speedos and baggy pants. 

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  1. The only swimming I do is at my friends' condo or the hotel pool when I go to Vancouver. I'm fat and have long since accepted the fact that I'm fat. I wear a one piece black bathing suit. It's comfortable and it doesn't make me look worse than I am. That's all I ask for in a bathing suit.

  2. I hadn't worn a bathing suit for years either, and then my sister and our husbands went to Punta Cana last winter and we needed a bathing suit. UGH! I did find a couple of "old lady" suits I could look in the mirror in.

  3. oh, I am not one to send comments, but on this, I must.

    I LOVE water. I LOVE swimming. I have a kayak that I can spend hours and
    hours in. Bathing suit? nope. All of my water time is spent on a secluded
    northern Canadian lake where bathing suits are not required. Am far past
    the age of being "seen" in a bathing suit. The sheer joy of being in the
    water and in the sun on a huge Canadian Sheild rock without a soul around
    is absolute heaven.

  4. I bought a retro looking one piece years ago from a catalog. It fit so well I bought 2 more in different colors. They are wearing out now, the chlorine in the pool is taking it's toll. I'll be sorry to see them go, I'm hard to fit and no way could I wear most of what's out there. I used to have suits custom made, how nice that was. I'm not much of a swimmer, but I do love to go in the late afternoon and 'walk' in the pool. I love water.

  5. No bathing suit here....last wore one at about age 45. Like bathing suits, I think there are some things better left not worn after a certain age.....sleeveless dresses/tops, short skirts, and yes, shorts. I have a dear friend who not only wears shorts, she wears short-shorts at 50+! Like you, it's not weight that's an issue, it just looks jarring to me. By the way, you're gorgeous at any age and thanks for sharing your glamourous pictures!

  6. I enjoyed this cute post so much! I haven't worn a suit since 1996 but only because I haven't been to the beach. When my life slows down enough to go again, I'll wear an age appropriate but still stylish suit. If there is such a thing! I think American women worry too much about their bodies - I prefer a European attitude. As for the Fatkini, I completely agree with you - it's a mean word we should lose fast.

  7. I would totally wear the "Fatkini" if I could find one. I hear they sold out quickly and can't keep up with demand. I have a friend who lets me use her pool when I want, and I occasionally go to the gym for water aerobics. I don't wear one at the beach, rather wearing capris or leggings. I am a fat girl but I don't care what other people think about my body. It's none of my business. I wear what I'm comfortable in, period. My only angst about swimsuits is finding one that is comfortable and doesn't make me feel like an old granny while wearing it.

  8. Great post, what wonderful images!

    I'll bet you looked exponentially better in the Norma Kamali suit than the model did... some styles actually look much better filled out with gorgeous curves....always nice to find clothes like that....

    I'm fifty four...some years the suits come out, some years they don't....depending on what plans we have made for the summer...I agree, it's not a weight problem...mostly I just don't like showing lots of skin which is getting too spotty and creased in places...and I haven't had to actually buy a new suit for a few years...

    ...your photos are so great, though....I think the thing to do as the years go by might be: instead of pulling out the swimsuit on Memorial Day, pull out a wonderful old photo of your younger self looking amazing in a swimsuit to display for the esprit de summer!....and instead of bathing suits, wear cool tunics, sundresses or maybe some of those great beach pajamas you showed....

  9. When I was a boy I wore swim trunks of the old school madras type favored in the 1960s. In the 1970s I wore Birdwells (remember those?), in the 1980s a speedo (or similar -- it was Fire Island after all). By the 1990s I was back to swim trunks, and more recently I only wear Vilbrequins. Since I've packed on the pounds, though (stress, middle age, too many dinners out, too many martinis), I find elasticized waists most unforgiving as they promote (or rather accentuate) the manly muffin top I've become! I solve that problem by usually wearing an untucked polo shirt with trunks. I stopped "tanning" years ago, so I don't spend all that much time at the beach anymore, and when I do it is usually under an umbrella. Fortunately the pool at the little country club we belong to is unheated and of the sort one plunges in and out of with alacrity, so minimal public exposure is required... Reggie

  10. I found a ton of listings for the sold out Fatkini on eBay. Such a cute suit with such a terrible name! xo xo

  11. I love to swim and live in California. I'm 70 and still wear anything I like. In the 30's my grandmother went "back east" and returned with the beach pajamas for my two aunts who said they were the first to wear them on the San Diego beach. My last aunt just died at 100. I was thrilled that she told me the story of the beach pajamas.

  12. I definitely wear a suit. full piece by juicy coutoure-- its ruched the whole way down with buttons on either side=== its awesome looks great on everyone from 6 to sixty. try it in black and its beyond comfortable!!

  13. Ever wonder how to keep your favorite bikini intact? Seems like after every summer your swimsuit looks like it went through one too many surf trips.

    Keep your bikini looking new with Jenna, our Swim Designer’s, personal swimwear care tips!

    “Remember to always hand wash your bikini’s in cold water and lay them flat to dry out of the sunshine.
    This will give you the best longevity in your fits and help the colors stay bright.”


  14. i wear white gauze pants and i shirt now. awful. i used to wear a one piece with a girdle in it!! slimsuits! and a white shirt with a long pareo over it. God. I just gave up. it was torture to take of the skirt and shirt and walk to the beach like i liked how i looked. ugh. it's hell getting old ha! you looked good - you probably still do.

  15. There is one of the rudest generation of young people coming along that I've ever seen. They disrespect anyone beyond the age of 40, and no doubt this moniker "fatkini" belongs to one of them. I have also noticed that when I was thinner, they treated me better than when I gained weight. This is true of waiters and store clerks. One day they are going to learn the lesson that older equates to wisdom. Oh, that's another thing. They have no respect for anything you say. I have always loved young people, but the latest group, including bloggers, are the worst yet.

    1. The elderly have never been honored in American society.
      They have more often been stereotyped, stigmatized and pitied as outdated and weak, both physically and mentally.
      And according to Princeton University psychological scientist Susan Fiske, this unfair ageist stereotyping could become even darker with the new influx of seniors.
      Fiske predicts the emergence of new, prescriptive stereotypes -- stereotypes that dictate what seniors should and should not do in an era of scarce resources. These new stereotypes will likely be more hostile than what we've known so far, and what's more, they will be wielded mostly by the young in an acrimonious generational conflict.