Thursday, July 8, 2010

In Search of the Perfect Swimsuit

  When did buying a swimsuit get this difficult?
   At one time, I could go to the store and pick up the latest flowery bikini and go off to the pool. OK, I was 12. But even in my post-college years, I could find a decent suit in a couple of hours. Even 10 years ago, the perfect one-piece did not require moving into a dressing room.
  The trend toward tankinis and bottoms and tops sold separately has turned into a nightmare. If you miss the initial arrival of suits at top dollar or choose to wait for the sales, all you get are bottoms in x-small and tops in x-large -- or one-piecers that look like leftovers from great-grandma's closet.
  Ideally, I want a swimsuit that looks sort of fashionable and a little pretty without exposing more than a Playboy centerfold. Is that asking too much? Not everyone is 16 still and able to sashay around the beach in an itsy, bitsy polka-dot bikini. Or at least, they shouldn't. Not after children and middle-age.
  This year, I figured as a LOL, I would have plenty of time to look. I was even willing to pay a little more than my usual under $40 limit. But my search for a suit -- after I finally had to give up my raggedy one-piece from a decade ago -- took me to a dozen stores over three malls and two weeks. If I found a color I liked, then the style was too skimpy. If I found a more modest suit, without a plunging neckline, then the only shade was blue, and I do not like blue. (It's just me.)
Toes on the Nose Women's Reversible Triangle Swim Top,Malibu,X-Small  If it looked perfect on the rack, it was a whole another sight in the dressing room. Half the time, I could barely squeeze all of me into the suit. And I'm not really all that big at a Size 8, even Size 6 at times. Those little pads in the tops would always scrunch up or slide around, looking as if I had a boob job gone terribly wrong. Then the bottoms would ride up, letting a little too much derriere hang out. Sometimes the front was great, but the back was all wrong. (FYI: Plunging backs are really meant only for aerobics instructors.) Once, a long, long time ago, I was so close. But then the price tag was over $100 -- and really, even at my level of desperation, I was not paying that kind of dough.
Toes on the Nose Women's Tie Side Swim Bottom,Tiki Orange,X-Small  Then, when I was ready to limit my water play to my bathtub,  I spied a shorts-style bottom -- one of three left. It fit. It was hot pink. I took it. The top, on the other hand, was designed for a flat-chested tweener. Hot pink seemed to be a popular color this season, so figured I'd match it pretty easily elsewhere. I was wrong.
 Three stores later, I settled for a brown and yellow tank-top that cut straight across the neckline and flattered the mid-section. The two pieces fit nicely, covered everything I wanted covered while not making me look like a bather out of the 1920s.
  I know.  Brown and pink? It's a match only Ugly Betty would love, or the colorblind. Well, there's always next season. A girl can dream, can't she?

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