I Thought A High Waisted Bikini Would Give Me More Body Confidence But It’s Doing The Opposite

My high-waisted bikini is making me feel worse about my shape and I want to set it on fire. Or at least angrily return it.
Publish date:
May 15, 2013
insecurity, bikinis, high waisted

Lately I’ve seen so many cute pictures of both celebrities and regular women of all shapes and sizes rocking the high-waisted bikini, and it made me start to wonder what I might be missing out on. It looks good on everyone, it saves you from mooning mishaps while swimming, and I imagined that it lets you eat as much as you want. The only thing missing is pockets, apparently.

Well, my high-waisted bikini is making me feel worse about my body and I want to set it on fire. Or at least angrily return it.

I am a pretty normal size, which makes it even harder to talk about this. People have always told me that I don’t have the right to complain about my body: “What are you talking about? Shut up, you’re skinny!” It’s true, mostly. I have skinny arms and chicken legs; but I also have an appetite for junk food and aversion of exercise.

So, I guess you could say I now have a bit of a pooch. Hey, who doesn’t? Celebrities, keep your mouths shut--I’m not asking you.

I always celebrate the return of spring by buying cheap bathing suits as soon as there’s a slightly warm day in March. This year was no different, but after a lazy winter of some highly dedicated eating, I was dismayed at the idea of making my body “beach ready”. I decided to let my bathing suit do the work for me instead. No more skimpy triangle bikinis for this girl! I was going to look fabulous rocking the retro, high waisted look while still eating nutella strawberry crepes for breakfast every morning. Mmm. Genius and delicious.

So I dutifully measured myself and ordered basic black high waisted bottoms from Topshop, crossing my fingers that they would fit (I know! I’m such a risk taker!).

The box arrived, I shimmied into them, and yay, they fit! I looked in the mirror and... Oh. Hm.

There’s no good way to say this, so I’ll just share what came out of my mouth as I stared unhappily at my reflection: “Great. I’m wearing giant granny diapers.”

It was not exactly the sexy pin-up look I was going for, and it threw me for a loop. Instead of eliminating my insecurities about my stomach, I realized, I had paid money to have something hug the crap out of it while shouting to the world, “Hey! Look how big this thing is!”

It’s not even that I think my stomach is big--I know it’s really not. It’s that this giant bikini bottom makes my torso look like it’s ALL stomach. I think that if it didn’t go so far above my belly button, it wouldn’t be so bad. As it is, it ends almost right below my boobs. This may not be the most flattering look for me... at any angle.

Now I’m actually yearning for my old string bikinis. With those, I might have sucked my tummy in a little when passing the hot lifeguards, but I felt so damn naked that it was hard not to feel sexy, you know? Like... aggressively sexy. Like put a towel on before your grandparents come over sexy. At least I can wear this bathing suit in front of my grandparents, I thought sadly.

At that point, I had two choices: burn the bikini in a fit of rage for failing to make me look like Dita Von Teese, or, in the immortal words of Tim Gunn, I could make it work. In the end I decided on the latter and tried to style it the best I could. I piled on the red lipstick and accessories and had the sexy photoshoot that you see here. In plain sight of my neighbors. Far away from any body of water. Also it was freezing. I have no regrets.

To be honest, I still don’t know if I feel confident enough to wear this in front of people without adding an entire retro costume as a shield. But you can’t go swimming in a robe, sunglasses, and wedges. This feels weird to say about a high waisted bikini, but I’m going to try to bare all this summer--no distractions, just the bathing suit.

I love fashion, I love vintage styles, and I love buying so many cheap bathing suits every spring that my boyfriend gets judgmental. I don’t love my stomach, but I’m not going to let that get in the way of enjoying the things I do.

I realize that none of this is earth-shattering in terms of body acceptance; many have covered the topic much more insightfully that I just have, and will continue to do so. I just wanted to share my own moment of weakness in a struggle that a lot of people have: Can I wear this even if it doesn’t fall under society’s--or even my own--definition of flattering?

Generally I like to shoot for flattering, but I hate returning things in the mail and I hate to waste money, so I’m willing to tell my minor body dysmorphia to shut up this time. Let’s all just say shut up and wear the string bikini or the high waisted bikini or the palm trees over tits bikini with total disregard for what the mirror, or other people, may have to say about how it looks on our bodies. I’m not kidding, you guys; I really wish more people would wear that last one. How does it not have any reviews yet??