Finding the Right Bathing Suit after Forty

The pain of bathing suit shopping is not a unique topic, of course. I'm no different than many other 40-somethings who have settled for the same, worn-out, ill-fitting, out-of-style swimsuits for years, unable to face the ugly truth in the dressing room. Selecting a swim suit in midlife is no fun!

But I might *need* a bathing suit more than other 40 somethings. We spend a lot of time fishing at the North Carolina Outer Banks, and while sometimes we have amazing weather, in the summer time, it's usually HOT in North Carolina. I don't want to wear regular clothes when it's hot. I also prefer two piece suits, because I do tend to wear my shorts over my bathing suit while I fish, and a one-piece under shorts is stifling.

Last summer, I made a serious and tiring effort to find a new bathing suit. During one weekend trip to the NC Outer Banks, I forgot my sunscreen and by noon on Saturday, I was fried. Instead of fishing, I went shopping. All. After. Noon. Hours and hours of trying on bathing suits (which hurt, by the way, with the sunburn and all), and nothing fit.

I've never considered myself particularly "well-endowed", but I was just spilling out of every top I tried on. I figured I was going to have to spend more money than I wanted and find a store where separates were sold in actual sizes instead of just S-M-L-XL. But even at Belks at the beach, I didn't find anything that worked for me.

Before our fishing trip last weekend, I made up my mind I was going to find a new bathing suit. I was taking half of a vacation day before we left Friday, and my husband was leaving work at 3, giving me a little extra time. We also have a new Kohls in Wake Forest, and I've had pretty good luck in general shopping at Kohls.

Coincidentally, The Early Show on CBS did a piece on picking the right on swimsuit with style expert Gretta Monahan, and I happened to walk through the living room for a coffee refill as it started. As Maggie Rodriguez started introducing the piece, I took a few seconds to think back to my favorite bathing suits.

My Favorite SwimSuit

Of course, I wore my true favorites in younger years, and with fewer pounds showing. But one of my all time faves was a two piece with a simple brown brief style bottom, and a blue and brown print top. I couldn't tell you why I liked it, exactly, but in the last five years or so, it was definitely my favorite.

The first suit Gretta introduced was modeled by a very large-breasted "Steph." Gretta explained that halter-style tops were best for a full bust line because they provide coverage and support.

Bingo! I like halter tops, and while I'm not a double D by any means, apparently I need coverage and support.

After a couple of amazing, tiny girls who could no doubt wear any bathing suit they wanted, Gretta got to the 'full figure' tips and confirmed something else I already knew - boy cut bottoms do not work unless you are boy-skinny.

Gretta says 80 percent of us ladies are "pear shaped", bigger on the bottom than we are on top. As big a problem as I seemed to be having with fitting my top into a bathing suit, I still think I fall into that vast wide-hipped majority. Lo and behold - she recommends a solid brief to slim us down and a print top to draw the eye up. There it was - right on my television screen - a "scientific" explanation for my favorite bathing suit choice!

Armed with this knowledge, I was psyched to start my shopping - and I should also mention, I hate shopping. I am not the stereotypical shop-a-holic by any stretch of the imagination. But that Friday morning, I could hardly wait to finish my 4 hour work day.

At Kohls, my luck was getting even better with a huge selection of separates on sale for less than $20 a piece. I scanned the racks and picked several halter style tops in various prints and matching solid briefs, and in less than twenty minutes, I had tried them on, then selected and purchased two new swimsuits!

Thinking back, that was probably one of those days I should have bought a lottery ticket. My satisfaction is not so great that I'm posting any photos of myself modeling my great swimsuits, but I am happy to finally have decent beach attire!

Twenty-Eight of Thirty

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6 comments

Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

great hub dineane. got me laughing. I know what you mean.

It used to be so easy. I think the psychology of the older woman has a lot to do with the choices we make in bathing suits as well.


dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks, Frieda - glad you liked it, but sorry you can relate :) The age factor definitely makes it harder...my husband is starting to make noise about women "my age" wearing two piece suits. Whatevah!


ralwus 7 years ago

Too bad we just can't do it naked. Why don't they just bring back the toga? hehe


womanNshadows profile image

womanNshadows 7 years ago from Charlotte, NC

you're kidding, right? be seen in a bathing suit? ohhhh, the beach. well, that's different. who gives a flip what you look like if it's the beach. only the ocean can have that kind of pull.

me in a bikini now, with all these scars. lol. never going to happen. i'd need one from the 30's. wait. that skirt will drag me down. okay. the corset suit from the 40's. hold everything in tight. i'm gonna be holding my breath anyway while i swim. may as well let the suit give an assist.

thanks for the hub. i laughed at myself while reading it.


dineane profile image

dineane 7 years ago from North Carolina Author

LOL, thanks for more fun comments!


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