Bathing suit choice and peer pressure

I do not buy a bathing suit each year.

Instead, I tend to wait until they surrender because I hate the task of hunting one.

You are no stranger to the horrendous spotlights from the stores that create us cellulite in places we would never have guessed.

Last time I bought a bathing suit was the summer 2017 in the south of Italy (aaaah that time sans-corona).

My friend and I had just spent the day at the beach where all italian bums were out.

Which made me very jealous since my own was confined in a boring french conservative bathing suit.

Therefore, the day after, when a crochet bathing suit winked at me from the window of a multi-brand store I jumped right in.

It was that kind of stores that are disappearing where the products are carefully curated and a few are behind glassed or not shown at all so you have to ask the saleswoman what you are looking for. I said: “one-piece, sexy in the front and back”. Turned out the crochet one was not a match but she came back with an adorable black bathing suit with some mexican looking magical print on it (you check the accuracy of my description here).

My bum and I spent a lovely week in Italy, unbothered by the public opinion since everyone was wearing similar attires.

Yet, when I came back to île de Ré for another week at the beach (think of it as a posh venue), I was not so sure I was comfortable, in a sea of bum-covering bathing suits, to display my own.

But, oh well, I loved the thing so I decided to wear it anyways and have been since three years (along with some even older ones I own). Yet each time I walk to the ocean, I feel a bit observed when in Italy I was comfortably invisible.

That’s the same if you decide to go topless nowadays. When I was a kid, all women did it and it was normal. But now, sorry to disappoint those who thought it was still a thing in France, it’s rare when you spot a nipple at île de Ré.

When everyone does it, no one cares, when you the only one, you feel seen.

That’s why, on the beach especially, we tend to adopt the trends that are popular around us.

And when I say “around us” I mean as locally as around the swimming pool of the house you rented.

Say your friends never take off their tops, you would feel ill at ease to do so.

On the opposite, if they all do, you might feel bad about wanting to be covered.

That’s our herd instinct I guess.

And you? Are you the kind to check the local trends and be discreet, or the kind to wear your carioca thong in the Hamptons?

Cover collage: Ysé, Bain de minuit

12 Responses to “Bathing suit choice and peer pressure”
  1. I have not thought about this, but you are so right! I have a bunch of swimsuits that I don’t wear because they are either too sexy or too modest for the place I want to swim in. The weirdest thing though that often one-piece swimsuits in interesting or bolder cuts are seen as risque than a regular bikini which actually shows more skin.

    I wonder why topless is not popular any more. You’d think that the younger people were more emancipated, what with #freethenipple and all that. But maybe it is because of the all-present smartphones that people feel self-conscious? In Germany there are special “FKK” (free-body-culture) lakes and beaches where everyone is nude, and there are unwritten rules there which make it a bit of a safe space. But it’s also more middle-aged people there than younger ones.

  2. Bathing suits for fun/beauty/flattery are a real challenge for those of us who are large-busted. I’m a swimmer, so I’ve just stuck to more utilitarian styles for a long time. I was supposed to go to Tahiti in May, and that was about to be a fashion crisis – living in a bathing suit and wanting to look good in it! I would probably always opt for the bum coverage – but never one of those terrible swim skirts!

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      Dear Gretchen,
      Again it’s true: boobs are overlooked generally in fashion.
      And too bad you are not going to Tahiti but then you at least spare the fashion crisis ^^
      (To be fair, I think I am going to opt for more coverage when I grow older. But the anecdote was there to illustrate how others influence our choices and well-being)

  3. Marji says:

    En maillot de bain je n’ai bizarrement aucun complexe alors qu’une robe midi à la mauvaise longueur peut me rendre malade!

    Je me rêverais bien en créature portant un Fifi Chachnil un peu années 50…mais en réalité mon unique maillot est un maillot de piscine tout moche!

    Ps. depuis notre séance de coaching style : j’ai croisé une connaissance aujourd’hui dans la rue et ce soir un ami commun m’a dit “il paraît que tu étais hyper élégante aujourd’hui!” . En fait j’étais en short et t-shirt mais j’avais suivi vos conseils à la lettre, façon de porter la ceinture et rouge à lèvres compris. Merci Aloïs!

  4. Juhi says:

    I would definitely agree that it’s easier to blend in, and that a suit that feels conservative in one place can feel bold in another 🙂 I am the more discreet sort and would rather stand out with a bold color, pattern or print. The Mexican magical print was definitely unique and fun!

  5. Nadège says:

    J’ai réussi à trouver un maillot de bain l’an dernier dans lequel pour la première fois de ma vie je me suis sentie belle : c’est un 1 pièce de chez Ysé.
    Décolleté plongeant à l’avant mais bien tenu mais le derrière tout de même couvert 🙂
    Je suis contente que la mode revienne en une pièce dont la coupe me semble bien plus flatteuse que le 2 pièces lorsque l’on a des formes et un peu de ventre.

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      Totalement d’accord avec vous sur le retour du une pièce. J’ai du mal à porter des deux pièces maintenant.
      Ils sont canons les une pièce chez Ysé ça doit vous aller super bien.

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