Feeling right in a swimsuit… Flattering swimsuits to build self-confidence
All my life I’ve worn those bathing suits that cover just as much of my body as regular clothes do. The other day I decided to try on a regular bikini type bathing suit, just to see how it would look. It looks GREAT on me, and I’m not that ashamed of my body like I used to be, but I’m still embarrassed to go to the beach or anywhere else while I’m wearing it!
I need more self- confidence. I won’t even show it to anyone besides my mom, who tells me it looks great. How can I get used to showing that much skin in public?(San Diego, CA)
Swimsuit confidence can be a challenge. When it comes to exposing a modest amount of skin at the beach, it can be difficult for those with body issues, real or imagined. The less you wear, the more self-confidence you need. It’s probably easier to deal with the fear of over-exposure than with those who have no shame and expose every bit of what Mother Nature delved out, good, bad, hideous, or otherwise.
Ultimately, you need to feel comfortable in what you are wearing. Just because something is in style and may even look great on you, if you’re not comfortable with it, it’s not working. There’s no reason that says you need to follow along with a trend if you feel awkward. When in doubt, I too have always asked my mother for the ultimate honest opinion of how something looked on me— although most of the time she voiced it without prodding!
It’s hard to imagine a swimsuit that “covers as much of the body as regular clothes do” short of a 1920’s swim costume, but I’m sure you’ve figure out something that’s far from revealing. I remember once going on an all-girl vacation to Greece, where just about all the beaches are topless or nude—it’s part of their culture and very natural and free. One of my friends only wore one-piece swimsuits and when she walked across a beach covered up in a strapless maillot, all eyes were on her in total shock as if she walking naked down a city block! In their way of life, a bikini was fine, but a one-piece suit on a young woman was completely bizarre. My friend stuck to her one-piece guns the whole trip.
If you’d like to get your feet wet trying out a two-piece swimsuit, start with a fun cover-up to feel less self-conscious and in time, you can toss it if you so desire. Boy-style board shorts worn with a bikini top or midriff baring tankini look cute. Board shorts have a younger, more volleyball-on-the-beach athletic feel, rather than a swimskirt that can appear matronly unless you are extremely buff. You can wear shorter shorts or ones that come to around your knee, but the longer the short, the skimpier the top needs to be to look fresh and not overtly covered up. Don’t be afraid to look in the men’s department for cute beach shorts—the yin and yang of a girly bikini top and a guy’s surfer shorts in a funky print really works.
If your body issues run deeper than the superficial, you may want to seek professional counseling to assist you in feeling better about yourself. FocusOnStyle is about helping you make the most of what you’ve got— we can coax you, but you have to be willing to take the plunge and feel right about it. Self-confidence comes from within and there is no fashion rule that is true for everybody—fashion, beauty, and style are subjective. Don’t be so hard on yourself and be proud of all your strengths. See yourself as beautiful and you will be. Go back to the store and grab that bikini that looks great on you—finding the perfect figure-flattering bathing suit is a whole other story!!!
–June 17, 2007