May 23, 2011

The “Skinny” on Post-Partum Swimwear – 10 Tips To Hide the Pooch

Here on Ain't No Mom Jeans, there is much talk about ways to cover our poochy stomach while clothed.  We've flattened it with shaper camis, distracted the eye with deep v-necks and fun swingy tops…but baring it all in a swimsuit requires actual…baring.  {shudder}

Stomach flab is one thing.  But a post-partum stomach?  It's something else altogether.  It's no ordinary flab.  It's formidable

Here are ten tips, purely subjective, but based on endless rounds of trial and error…

 

1.  Tankinis Are Not Necessarily Your Friend

General stomach flabbiness?  Hello, Tankini.  Want to cover stretch marks?  Tankini, I'm talking to you.  But a serious post-partum stomach?  Tankinis aren't going to help.  These things are cute, but not nearly supportive enough to reign in the belly.  You end up looking pregnant.  Observe:

  Tankini2

(wearing: J.Crew Seersucker striped tankini and ruched Betty tank top)

 

Screen shot 2011-05-23 at 2.34.13 PM 

Thanks to reader Audrey, I'm totally intrigued by Hapari's Tummy Tuk Bikini bottoms.  While I wouldn't wear these alone, wearing one under a tankini might be the way to avoid those awkward "Pregnant?  No." discussions…

Has anyone tried them?  They may be worth a shot for $28.

 

 

2. Even Shaper Swimwear Lets You Down 

Screen shot 2011-05-23 at 2.46.18 PM

I love the look of this one-piece from Land's End….but on, the smooth, solid color belly was horrifying.  Not only did I look pregnant, I looked bloated pregnant – tummy control panel or no (so bad that I "forgot" to take pics).  Again, for general flab, this suit would be great, but it couldn't stand up to a post-partum tummy.

 

3.  High-Waisted Bikini Bottoms?  For Some….

You know those retro bikinis with the super high waist?  I had high hopes for this silhouette.  Sadly, I'm too short-waisted (the front view is disaster).  However, it did a decent job of…well, not hiding the pooch, but distracting from it.  I think there's potential here for some post-partum moms…

Highwaist

(wearing: J.Crew retro dot underwire top and highwaisted bottoms)

4. Color-Blocking Sorta Works! 

So in the same vein as a high-waisted bikini but with more coverage…is a color-blocked swimsuit.  A color blocked swimsuit spoofs the highwaist and does a decent job of pooch hiding.  Voila….

Colorblocked

(wearing: kushcush nautical one-piece from anthropologie)

5.  Distract With Prints

Overall, I found that printed pieces did a much better job of pooch hiding than solids.  Even horizontal stripes were surprisingly effective at distracting the eye from the pooch.  But that darn side view – still not great. Per usual.

Stripes

(wearing: Pez D'Or's Color Pop Maillot from Anthropologie)

6.  Your Best Bet?  Ruche It All In

Screen shot 2011-05-23 at 2.52.14 PM

There is no doubt that the clear winner for pooch hiding is a tummy-control ruched one-piece.  The ruching simultaneously hides and reigns in the pooch – even a post-partum one.  For serious pooch-control, try Miraclesuit's Sonatina swimsuit, $132, pictured.  I also love J.Crew's Ruched Halter, $82.

For another option, I'm sure that most of you have seen my red, retro-inspired little number from Lands End.  LOVE.

Look for one with ruching all the way down the stomach.  Us post-partum gals need more than just a ruched belt.

 

7.  A Word of Caution on Retro-Inspired Swimwear

 Retro cuts are nice because they offer a bit more thigh and bum coverage.  However, because they hit at the widest part of your thigh, they can often draw the eye right to the problem area.  The good news is that these suits are often ruched, and have a ton of fabric to play with.  So try pulling the suit down a bit lower (dress-like) or up higher to elongate the thigh. 

Reader Daisy* and I were discussing this phenomenon via email.  She graciously offered up a few pics illustrating the various levels of thigh coverage….as long as I kept her identity top-secret. 

*not her real name.  But I think you knew that already.

Retro

(wearing: Carmen Marc Valvo retro one piece)

 

8. Take the Plunge

P5223175

This tip makes no sense.  But totally works.  We've talked about M's crazy-sexy-hot American Apparel suit last year – remember?  It's cut up to here, plunges to there and she swore it was amazingly flattering during her trip to Mexico at 6 months post-partum.

For fun, I thought I'd put M's tip to the test, and try out another plunge-to-there suit (with slightly more coverage). 

Mike and I both loved it.  Yikes.

M's right – the plunging neckline distracts from whatever poochiness is going on…and these suits would be even better in black.

M's suit is only $45…and the clear winner here.  It's not for lounging at the kiddie pool, mind you.  Just for…uh…wearing around the house?  wink wink

Or going to Mexico.

(wearing: Lenny's Plunging Halter Maillot from Anthropologie)

9. Get a Gorgeous Cover-Up

No matter what suit you choose, there's probably going to be a time when you lose your nerve.  Hello, gorgeous cover-up.  M found some amazing ones in her post-partum trip to Mexico article, and me?  I burn easily, so love grabbing one of Mike's shirts.  Lots of coverage, always a little sexy.

  P5212749

 

10.  Let it All Hang Out (and wear what you love)

Part of me will always feel old in a one-piece.  Even a fabulous one.  To be honest, I'm starting to get over the whole MUST COVER THE POOCH thing.  I mean…yeah, I'd rather not have one…but it's not like I'm dieting or working out like crazy or even doing that post-partum stomach binding stuff to get rid of it.  So how committed am I to being pooch-less? 

Evidently not very.

The truth is, in a bikini, I still look a little pregnant.  Even worse, in certain light it looks a bit like elephant skin.  (To quote my mother, "It's hell to get old.")  And wearing one out sometimes elicits annoying "When are you due?" comments.  Regardless of how I look, I feel younger in a bikini.  This may change eventually.  But for now I feel more like myself.  And what's wrong with that?  As Raines would say, "Nuffin."

Photo(1)

(wearing: on me – a striped bikini from Target, on R – Hanna Andersen swim trunks)

My cousin was right, oh-so-many years ago when she warned that my body will never be the same, but I won't care…much.

xo,

S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28 Comments
  • Jenny
    May 23, 2011

    I.just.love.you. Love this blog, love it all.

  • Vera
    May 24, 2011

    Love this blog and love #10. Seriously. I was a bit scared to go to the beach this year (all my friends seem to have their pre-baby figures… sigh…), but your positive attitude is contagious. Thanks a lot! xoxo

  • Liz K
    May 24, 2011

    For me, the most important part thing in a swimsuit is to fit my bust. I am petite but also have DDs, and need suits that accomodate and support the girls, so I love Lands End suits that have such a range of sizes so I can buy a suit for a short torso and DD cup. I would love find more brands that size this way.

  • Grace
    May 24, 2011

    I don’t comment often enough, but this post is but one example why I love this blog. You all are so real, realistic, helpful, funny, etc. I also think this blog is totally one of a kind in terms of attitude if nothing else. Please keep doing what you are doing and know that you really are helping us moms out there.

  • Kristen
    May 24, 2011

    “My body will never be the same, but I won’t care…much.”
    I like how you ended this. I think I was more aware last summer/year. This year I wear what I like, my confidence is higher, and my husband thinks I’m cute.
    It’s amazing what a little confidence will do for you.
    Way to rock the bikini! I wear one, too! :)

  • Megan
    May 24, 2011

    You are fantastic!! I love this blog more everyday :)
    Have you tried anything from shapefx? I’m thinking of trying this one: http://www.shapefx.com/store/Swimwear___Shop_by_Category___One_Piece_Suits___Shirred_One_Piece_Retro_Style_Control_Swimsuit_Dress___S200929026?Args=

  • Maria G.
    May 24, 2011

    Fantastic post, S.! You are a trooper, and I love how straightforward and real you are with all of us readers. It’s so refreshing.
    I feel like I spent waaaaaaaaaaay too much time swimsuit searching after my little one was born, but I will share my happy find which isn’t included in this amazing post: Esther Williams swimsuits. They’ve got the fully ruched torso and tummy control panel nailed, and they come in about a billion different patterns (or solids, if that’s your thing), but I am totally a “distract with pattern” kind of gal. :)
    Like another commenter above, I am also working with DDs these days (thanks Miles), and the Esther suits are available in a halter style that you tie to fit with a built in bra. It is sans underwire, and therefore doesn’t offer a TON of support, but I’ve been swimming in these babies in various shrinking sizes since my first post-baby summer, and they’ve held (the girls) up quite nicely.
    Final tip: Beware of patterns with black as an accent–when wet, they tend to stretch and gray out a bit on sad areas like the butt (ala my first pick, the zebra pattern.) Other than that, they are retro, pin-uppy, and altogether perfect!
    Happy summer (post-baby-body) loving, mamas.
    PS. Thanks for giving the 2-pc high-waist retro inspired suit a whirl on my behalf. I was considering it, but as a short-torso afflicted lady myself, I can now see exactly why it will not work on me. Thanks for saving me the shipping! xo

  • jayme
    May 24, 2011

    Love Love Love this post! You are amazing!

  • Kay
    May 24, 2011

    Oh, thank you for this post! I’m six months postpartum, too, & I love how you rock the bikini!

  • Margie
    May 24, 2011

    S – It’s Heidi’s sister, Margie. Love the blog. Thought you’d be interested in this one that a friend of mine launched recently … a place to share your pregnancy stories – http://www.babybumptalk.com.

  • Kylie
    May 24, 2011

    As always, you have saved the day!

  • Audrey
    May 24, 2011

    LOVE it!! Good post S :) I did wind up getting a tankini at Down East Basics that fits more like a tanktop (rather than the swingier versions pictured here) and has nicely cut halter straps to cover boob flab. I’m thinking I might invest in the Hapari and give them a try as a matching piece. I’ll let you know how they work out, if I do!
    You’ve got a rockin’ body mama – and thank you for displaying it for all of us – WE ARE NOT ALONE!! :D
    Hugs ;)

  • Amanda
    May 24, 2011

    I SO agree – just friggin’ GO FOR IT in the 2 pieces girl, you look AMAZING! I agree that there are times you need a “Mommy Suit” for whatever reason, and I think the Anthropologie suit and the red suit from your “swimsuit confidence” post are so adorbs on you.
    Thanks for the inspiration – I have to join my childless friends on the beach this Memorial Day weekend 16 weeks prego (you know, you’re not really sporting that cute bump yet – you just look fat). Torn between my old “maternity” suit from previous pregnancy, or just letting it all hang out in a really supportive bikini. :)

  • jen
    May 24, 2011

    Shirring is the best thing. EVER. I too bought the “cut down to there” suit….love it except that my kids manage to pull it off of me in the pool. You’re right that it isn’t a kiddy pool suit–but fun when you want to feel sexy!
    You look gorgeous in the two piece! Work it Mama!

  • Christy
    May 24, 2011

    OMG…This was the best post! I just bought that Jcrew swing tankini (the one you have in navy above) and was horrified when I put it on. My baby is now 10 months old and I felt 4-5 months pregnant in that thing! I also feel old in a one piece, but found a tankini that might work and also decided to just embrace my pooch and wear the bikini. We shall see! Thanks for being so honest, humble, and funny!

  • Amy (biblioMOMia)
    May 24, 2011

    Best, best, best. From the humor to the honesty to the super-hot options. Honestly, that plunging-v is absolutely gorgeous on you–why NOT be the hot mom at the kiddie pool? Thanks for realistic and sage advice, lovely lady.

  • Donna
    May 24, 2011

    I loved you post on swimwear. I thought all the suits were still adorable on you. The red suit that you posted on not long ago was great too. I have to say that I too have fretted about this very thing since we agreed to go with 75 plus friends on a party barge the first weekend in June. I am 2 months postpartum (from baby #2)as of tomorrow and although I only have about 15 lbs. more to go; it is that deflated balloon that I still need to cover up while the “elephant skin” shrinks back. I did go on a huge search for pooch friendly tankini’s and this is what I found:
    1.) Hapari Tankini -Sport Tankini. I noticed it is significantly longer than your average tankini which was what I needed. I got this one in Island Fever and the pattern did a great job hiding the pooch. I also ordered the brown Tummy Tuck Bottoms that you posted above and they really did help. The downfall is that I’m a bit hippy, so it gave me a little bulge on my outer thighs/hips where the suit bottoms ended. So I got a brown swim skirt that smooths all that out and walla, I am ready to swim and look great. In my opinion, Hapari was the best. I tried the V-Neck tank, but didn’t find the boob part to be very flattering on my body, but other body types maybe.
    2.) Lands End has some cute Tankini’s that are good for postpartum women.
    3.) Athleta has a couple longer tankini’s that can double up as swim dresses. This were really cute, but more on the pricey side.
    4.) Ann Taylor LOFT had a cute Dotted Twisted Tankini Top that I ordered that was great. It was long enough to even wear my maternity black bottoms with it. Cute and comfortable. Only downfall is that it needed a lot of adjusting to get it to not have the armpit boob that I am rather prone to.
    Hope this helps. You hit the nail on the head though, after about a year after having my first kiddo, I started wearing a bikini and stopped worrying about it.

  • becky
    May 24, 2011

    i love number ten. i’ve enjoyed reading all your tips on dressing this “changed” body, but that final tip is one of the best reminders i’ve ever seen here. thanks!

  • becky
    May 24, 2011

    oh! and! i recently ordered old navy’s ruched halter one piece and it is perfect. shockingly, since i expected very little from ordering a suit online from old navy but it is one of the best suits i have ever worn. and cheap.

    • Sarah @ Beauty School Dropout
      July 23, 2014

      Yes!!! I have that same suit and it is PERFECT — the ruching covers the pooch, the deep v distracts the eye, and it’s so simple to pull to the side for nursing. And SUPER CHEAP.

  • S
    May 24, 2011

    Gang, I’m overwhelmed. These comments are amazing. Thank you so very much for taking the time to leave them. You made my year. :)

  • Elizabeth
    May 25, 2011

    Seriously, you are the best. As a previous commenter said: your attitude is contagious. Thanks for rocking the options and giving such great tips.

  • Michelle
    May 28, 2011

    Great Post! I just got back from a cruise with all of my friends and my 7 month post partum pouch (from #2), (I am the only one with kids, “just wait” I warn them). I totally needed this swim wear week last month while I was despairingly shopping.

  • Allison
    May 31, 2011

    Thank you for this awesome post. Informative, funny, and empowering- I love it. I just found this blog, and as a mom of a baby and a toddler who’s still trying to figure out my postpartum style, I feel like I’ve stumbled upon a goldmine. Thank you!!

  • Karen
    June 20, 2011

    Just want to tell you about a new choice.
    Swim Shells are cover ups made of swimsuit fabric – we can wear them in the water – and relax – as in exhale…. quit spending all our energy sucking trying to suck in our bellies!
    See http://www.swimshells.com

  • Josiemorris
    June 30, 2011

    Thanks for the tip! I took your advice and bought a tankini with ruching from LansEnd. After many traumatic bathing suit attempts, I was SO happy with this one. I added some of the tummy control bottoms and it truly is a miracle. You saved my summer! Now I can confidently go to swim classes with my 5 month old and not worry about people seeing my post-partum belly rolling all over the place!!

  • Amanda
    May 21, 2012

    you are a gem for posting these tips and links! really. truly. thank you. THANK YOU!!!

  • S
    May 21, 2012

    Thanks, Amanda! It’s fun looking back and laughing at myself. Although…not a whole lot has changed, actually. Ha, ha….ha. :)

Leave a Reply