I recently did a photo shoot with an actress who apologized to me because she had a slightly hard time zipping up her 25-inch-waist jeans.
“I haven’t gotten my body totally bikini ready yet,” she lamented.
I politely excused myself to walk straight out of the second story window where my office and fitting room is located, causing myself to fall to my death. In what alternate horrible universe is a woman who wears size 25 jeans not "bikini ready"?
While she may technically be a maniac, she was right about one thing -- it’s about to be hot as balls, and we are all soon going to be putting on our swimsuits and chillaxing. It's already hit 99 degrees in Los Angeles! I love to go swimming more than almost anything. We had a pool in our backyard growing up, and one of my first jobs ever was giving swimming lessons to the neighborhood kids. (Nobody ever drowned, for the record.)
There was a big time lag between the dirt hole for my dream childhood swimming pool being dug and it actually getting finished. My brother and I were becoming increasingly desperate to be able to start swimming -- so we were thrilled to death when this waiting period happened to coincide with a HUGE rainstorm. We jumped right in the earthen hole, which was now full of DISGUSTING muddy rainwater, and swam as luxuriously as if it were the Neptune pool at Hearst Castle. It was just us and about 4 dozen slightly rabid frogs. Heaven.
I’ve had terrible swimsuit buying problems since I was a kid. I suffer from a not-so-rare case of Torsous Longosus, also known as “having a long torso.” Every one-piece suit I’ve ever tried on has knocked me out with a one-two punch: exposing my boobs to the world and riding so far up my crotch, you'd have thunk there was a camel toe convention that was missing its guest speaker.
I'm not even all that tall, my guts are just really long. My solution until very recently was quite simple: wear a damn bikini.
But the past 2 summers, I’ve found myself sometimes turning down offers to go swimming because I dread the "exposed" feeling of wearing a 2-piece swimsuit in public. And I'm really tired of random dudes asking me about the star tattoo on my stomach. I want to be able to dive in a pool without worrying about losing my top. I tend to jump off cliffs, ride bikes, and have cocktails while wearing my swimsuit. I don't want to be fidgeting with it and adjusting it all the damn time.
I’m hardly a prude -- I just desire a little more coverage from my wardrobe these days. Plus, there is something really simple and beautiful about a one-piece swimsuit -- it instantly brands you as a woman of style, leisure, decadence and class. It’s so Jerry Hall circa 1972 -- total louche glam.
Every salesgirl says, "Just wear a tankini!" To which I say HELL NO. This is not an acceptable option. They constantly ride up, exposing my guts just as much as a regular old bikini would. I'm on a permanent lifetime hunt for a cute one-piece option that actually fits me.
When I was in middle school, the only long torso option for a one-piece suit was a boring, plain old Speedo. Thanks to Ye Olde Interwebs, peeps like moi with specialty sizing issues now have wayyyy more options. But when it comes to long torso one pieces, the styles get really unhip, really quick. I spent the last 5 hours scouring the internet for summer 2013's best options for the super torso-endowed. Enjoy the fruits of my labor below!
J. Crew offers a whopping 2 of their swimsuit styles in an extended torso option. They are tres classy and I like them both, but I'm more than a little irked that they charge an additional $4.00 for an extra 1" of Lycra.
I hadn’t thought about the dELiA’s (please note proper capitalization!) catalog since about 1992, when I had the exact platform camo sandals shown below.
dELiA’s makes the most trendy of all the long-torso suits I’ve found. They are a little more bare, a little sexier, and a lot more youthful. They are also straight junior's teenybopper sizes -- so if you can still pull that off, this is your best bet.
I bought the purple leopard one above for myself -- it has a low back and a slightly sexier triangle top that's quite flattering to a charter member of the itty bitty titty committee like myself.
Their Lycra isn't the best quality, but what exactly do you expect for less than $39.00?? I order the ones I like in doubles so when one wears out, I have a backup.
The monokini style is cute, too -- it has an open back and sides for all the drama and excitement of a two piece in a neat, single-serving package. Dumb dELiA’s understands what a lot of other swimsuit makers who deign to cater to those of us with long bodies don't -- we aren't dumpy and unfashionable, we are just sorta tall! dELiA’s offers their x-torso suits up to a junior's XL, which they claim is comparable to a 16/18.
Don't even bother looking at Nordie's for an extended torso suit. They are irritating and cruel and so do not understand the plight of a long torso’d babe -- because they had this adorable Marc by Marc Jacobs peplum swim suit labeled as being a long torso length when it isn’t even close!
I got all excited for about a solid minute before my hopes and dreams were crushed. Nordstrom also labels a ton of their bikinis as fitting those with an “extended torso” -- yeah, duh guys, thanks. I kinda figured that out on my own already. Here’s what I’ve learned when shopping for a swimsuit -- unless you see a specific long torso sizing option listed, don’t even waste your time trying it on. The damn thing ain’t gonna fit you: no way, no where, no how.
I clicked on the Land's End extended length torso swimsuit offerings with a ton of trepidation, as they are a historic purveyor of colorful polos and sensible shoes. But I was more than a little surprised.
I can't believe I'm actually suggesting you shop at Land's End, but they do have the largest range of specialty sizes I've seen -- tons of petite cuts, plus sizes up to a women's 26, DDD cup options and even special mastectomy swimsuits. What they don't seem to do is marry any of their specialty fits. So if you are a plus size gal with a mastectomy who also happens to have a long torso, I'm not so sure what you are meant to do. Swim in an iron lung? Your street clothes? Cement shoes?
LONG TALL SALLY:
The award for most embarrassing online store name goes to this joint. Like, please send your merchandise to my house in a plain brown wrapper to avoid social discomfort. But they do have a few cute swimsuits.
Most of Athleta's long torso offerings are the dreaded tankini. My god, people, offering a tankini as a proper substitute for a long torso swimsuit is like telling a vegetarian they can have "the chicken option." But they do have one standout style which I've already snagged for myself, because it's one of the few I've found that isn't a super matronly style.
If any of you fine tall-ass babes have any more leads on cute swimsuits I missed, please spill the beans. I just made friends with some people based solely on the fact that they have a pool. HAPPY SWIMMING!
I'm on Twitter: @IveyAlison.