Swimsuit Problem-solving: The Soft Tummy

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I was talking to Sienna the other day about how amazing our bodies are…how “can you believe I was out to here when you were growing in my belly? (I know, not completely accurate description for S but we’ll get there soon enough) And then after you were born, my body eventually went back to how it is now?” It is amazing.

I try to focus on that fact when trying on swimsuits. But when your abs still can’t seem to find themselves after 4 years and after much working out, it’s tough to really dwell on that amazingness. I have a soft tummy now. I have some love handles. I have always had a booty. I am not a swimsuit model. I’m slowly becoming ok with all that.

So, today we’re taking (another) a little journey through my swimsuit dressing room selfies. Come along and let’s see where we end up, shall we?

The One-Pieces

I really have a hard time finding one pieces I like. Really really. In recent years I’ve mostly worn the tankini top and separate bottoms. But I saw a couple of gorgeous pieces I wanted to check out and for disguising a soft tummy one piece suits are generally a good option.

Asos Evil Twin Mesh Swimsuit – Omg I love this suit SO much…butt. It’s suuuper cheeky. Dang it! It’s so pretty and flattering from the front but whoa, I’m not show you that much of my booty, internets, sorry. And I’ve been working really hard on my booty (thanks Barre3!) but still no. It’s a lot of it. If you are ok with showing some booty (ahem, Shana) then please check this suit out. It’s so so pretty and unique. Wearing M, Size US8.

Asos Gathered Waistband Swimsuit – Gorgeousness! Love this one. I think it might be better for people slightly taller than 5’4″ though because I was a little afraid the straps would fall down and sadly they’re not adjustable. This was a great suit though – comfortable, sexy and well-proportioned. I didn’t feel like the girls would fall out of it and the tummy was held in nicely by the ruching. I would personally put some cup liners in the top for a little smoothing, but that’s just my preference. I give this one a “definitely worth a try.” It has a swim goddess kind of thing going on that I love. Wearing size US8.

The Mid-Length Tankinis

This is my typical go-to style top lately. I love a bit longer bodice and some fringe or fabric to not completely cover the belly but mostly. You may remember me sporting a similar suit in this post from March.

Raisins Strapless Fringe Top – This was my favorite of the few I tried. I love the bright blue and the fringe hit at a flattering spot, I think. The top is comfortable, but again, not adjustable. Dang it. I probably would have to shorten the neck strap or tie a little knot in the top of it. Kind of annoying. But it’s cute enough and well-priced so that it would be worth it. Making the neck strap tighter would add a little more support to the top, too. Well, dang it. The blue and black are selling out. Here’s an orange tie dye print and yellow and aqua in a few sizes. Wearing a Medium here.

Raisins Macrame Bikini Bottom – Super cute strappiness on the sides, but not great butt coverage. Uh, I just realized these are ‘cheeky.’ Well, ok then. Wearing a Medium.

This style suit is strangely hard to find. There are some versions with really long fringe that I don’t love quite as much, but Shana suggested trimming the fringe some and that might just work.

Hula Honey Crochet Top – I thought I would like this top more, but I don’t think it is flattering or does it’s job very well. It’s cute, but it hits right at my problem areas and almost highlights them more. Instead of coming in at my waist it adds width. I think this would have to be for long torsos. I do love the high neck for support and I like that the neck is adjustable on this one because it ties. Wearing size Small.

Hula Honey Crochet Strappy Bottoms – Nothing to write home about, but comfy enough and decent coverage. They were the same crochet fabric as the top, but I tend to mix and match a bit anyway. Wearing a Medium.

Raisins Strapless Fringe Top – This top was the size smaller than the blue one. It did give a little more support since it fit tighter, but I think it was a little too tight. Again, the Medium with a shorter neck strap would be my perfect top. Wearing size Small. The blue and black are selling out. Here’s an orange tie dye print and yellow and aqua in a few sizes.

J.Crew Surf Hipster Bottoms – These were ok. I like the booty coverage but I don’t like how they are loose looking on. I’m wearing a Medium and I think sizing down might help. Why haven’t I learned to try more than one size at a time. Pretty pretty olive green.

Then I Decided I Give Zero F$&#!

So, when I was ordering suits to try I just threw in a couple of actual bikinis. I’ll just try them out, I thought, and you know what I realized? I think I actually like them best.

Maybe it’s because I’m almost 40 but I’m finding myself caring less. For this life-long perfectionist I seriously hope this isn’t just a passing phase. Omg can I please start caring less about stuff like this. Please.

Technically speaking, I think they’re flattering because I am a shortie and they show that I in fact do have a bit of a waist under there. They don’t hide me with frills or fabric and I have been working hard at being healthy and building muscle, even if the muscle is a little more padded than it used to be.

J.Crew French Cross Bikini Top – I think this is Scotti’s favorite top and I can see why. I love this. It’s really flattering! It is comfy and well-fitting, too. Love love. Comes in a bunch of colors, ties in the back and is completely adjustable. Lightly padded and a nice smooth look.

J.Crew Surf Hipster Bottoms – These were ok. I like the booty coverage but I don’t like how they are loose looking on. I’m wearing a Medium and I think sizing down might help. Why haven’t I learned to try more than one size at a time. Pretty pretty olive green.

 

Aaand then there’s this one…it’s the Bond-girl, Wonder Woman suit. It may not be the most perfectly flattering suit I’ve ever worn, but I’m so tempted to keep it. Shiny gold swim goddess your goal? Check out this one.

Bikini Lab Convertible Halter Top – The top is just cool. It’s not super supportive of my DD’s but it’s also not bad. I love that you can tie it a couple different ways. Wearing size Small.

Bikini Lab Hipster Brief Bottoms – These were actually super comfy. They’re a little light on back coverage, but not too bad. Wearing a Medium.

Shop My Favorite Swim

Full disclosure here (as if there weren’t enough already, sheesh) I was actually trying to distract you with a cute puppy in the background during these pics, but she didn’t really cooperate. And you know what? That’s ok. This mama and her jelly are ready to head to the pool now without hiding behind something else. Some things should be about giving all the f$&#! and some things should be about giving zero. It’s a daily process of figuring out that confidence to hopefully pass on to Sienna.

Rock ‘n roll, mamas…

L

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About Author

Meet Laura! She's a reader turned contributor and we couldn't be happier to have her as part of the team. Her fun, creative style is, as she says, "somewhere between Madewell and Joan Jett" (YES.) and she delivers some mean dressing room selfies so keep an eye out for those. Fun fact? She loves getting her haircut and we love to see what she has up her sleeve.  

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29 Comments

  1. You are so brave for putting these pics on the internet and having seen them I can tell you that you are just as fit, if not more muscled, than I am as a size 2 childless twenty-something. I only started wearing bikinis a few years ago because I’ve always been self-conscious about my belly and lack of waist, even though I’m “conventionally skinny.” And you know what, I agree with you – for both of us, bikinis are often the most flattering option.

  2. Laura, you are one sexy beast mama! I loved you best in the bikinis! There is no reason to hide behind fringe or a ruffle. You go on with your bad self. My fave was the Wonder Woman suit, but I also loved the simplicity of JCrew’s French Cross Over bikini as well.

  3. I had a revelation the other day that I actually thought my body looked better in a string bikini than in a more full coverage suit… but I still prefer the full coverage when I’m running back and forth from the beach the the towel with a toddler. But, I agree about giving zero f###s. Yep, I had to kids, this is my body now. It’s great! Amazing to be more confident now than I was as a super skinny/fit teenager.

  4. You look gorgeous and those suits are great finds! Thank you for posting- I’m finding this very useful. Also, your makeup looks amazing. Thumbs up all around :).

  5. Yes! What is it with so many one-piece suits being so cheeky in the bum?! I am so right there with you on all of this – almost 40, exercise a lot (running/strength training), but am still a little softer than I used to be, courtesy of my four-year-old and two-year-old, and age, I guess. But I too just purchased that J Crew bikini top and this bikini bottom: https://www.jcrew.com/p/womens_category/swim2/solids/bikini-bottom/B6804. And I LOVE THEM! And I feel like even though it’s a bikini, I can still be really active in it with my kids. Strangely, though, the sizing is definitely a little weird. I’m a 32B and a size 0/2, and I found the medium top to fit best, whereas I got an XS in the bottoms. You look awesome in the bikinis, so go for it!

  6. My favourites on you are the J. Crew bikini and the one-piece swim goddess one. Both of them are super flattering on you. I think what I like best about them is that neither of them are hiding your body. They just highlight them in different ways.
    My theory on the super-cheeky one-piece swimsuits is that designers/manufacturers have this thing about swimsuits being “sexy” and to them sexy equals showing skin. This opinion is backed up by zero research or knowledge whatsoever.

    • I totally agree with MJ! And you’re completely owning the J Crew bikini–go for it! And seriously, you look better in the Evil Twin suit than the Asos model. I love what MJ said ” I think what I like best about them is that neither of them are hiding your body. They just highlight them in different ways.” I think that is how we should approach everything we wear.

  7. You look awesome! I have the J Crew french bikini top and love it. I pair it with their high waist bottoms (or full bottoms, whatever they’re called). They’re a bit generously cut but it’s my lower belly that is a bit jiggly so I prefer that being covered up. The most important thing is to wear the d#$n swimsuit and play with your kiddos!

  8. I am wearing bikinis this summer again on my 41yo mom bod – I just repeat to myself “No one area…no one cares…(about my soft stomach & cellulite thighs that I would normally obsess over). And guess what? NO ONE CARES. And I am slowly getting over my body issues bc MOMS SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO SHOW OUR MOM
    BODS! And now my other mom friends are like, “Yeah! Let’s wear bikinis together!” 👊🏽

    So go on rocking your mom bod – all these suits look great on you!

  9. I like the bikini the best on you too! Nothing there to hide under fringe or a tankini, Momma! I’m learning to be ok with, and maybe even like, my 40 year-old mom body too. I really appreciate this blog and how y’all are sharing images of confident moms with “imperfect” bodies. It helps realign us to what is actually normal and beautiful. Thank you.

    And because this is a fashion blog :), I’ll share that I found this suit a month ago and love it! I can mom my 2 year-old and 5 year-old boys like whoa and still feel sexy. It’s super supportive and flattering. It’s not adjustable, which is usually a deal breaker for me, but somehow it still fits perfectly. http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/l-space-olivia-bikini-top/4566100?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&fashioncolor=BLACK

    • ‘Realign us to what is actually normal and beautiful’. Yesssss!!!

      I wish I could honestly say I look in the mirror WITHOUT noticing the cellulite on my thighs. But I can absolutely say I can’t spare the f#<\€ to let it stop my 43yo self hitting the beach/etc with my 4 kids.

      Laura, I like the French bikini but the color of that blue suit is outstanding on you!

  10. Laura Jansen on

    Thank you so much you guys. It’s nerve-wracking to say the least to put these out there, but you all are so lovely to take time to comment. I’ve been working hard and it is tough not to see the same results I used to get by working out regularly, but it’s nice to find suits flattering to your body type and I’m getting there on being comfortable about what that body type is these days. xo

  11. I think the bikini is most flattering too! This year I decided to go for it too, soft belly and all. So after tons of internet orders and returns and one very patient husband, I decided on an athleta bikini. Love the cool sporty but sexy vibe and because it’s meant for activity I’m not worried about anything slipping out when I am playing with the kids.

  12. Isn’t it funny that at 40 (or almost 40) we finally figure out that we should dress and wear what makes us happy? I love both the bikinis! Laura, thank you so much for this post. You look great!

  13. You look amazing and best in the bikinis! Rock on. For those of us who are fit but even softer and rocking some fairly awesome “twin skin,” really nothing but a high waist or one piece will do.

    • Wear what you like, but I have seen and been amazed by (I assume) moms who let the loose skin show in a bikini. Why not? You won’t look 20 and childless, but hey….we’re not 20 and childless anymore.

  14. Yep! The actual bikinis look best on you buy far!! Keep them!

    I had a similar experience. Ordered a j. crew bikini because it was on super sale. It looked quite skimpy in the pic and I thought it would never work. The thing actually fit like a glove and looked better than anything I’ve tried in a long time.

    I’ve also been looking for the perfect one piece for several years – have yet to find it .

  15. Laura you look AWESOME! OMG! LOVE! Now, questions. The Asos one piece that is a plunging neckline- is that also revealing in the back? Looked to be on their site. And then, high waist bottoms, which ones do you choose so as not to look like you are wearing granny panties (as my niece would call them)? Think I am going to go for it! You have inspired me!

    • Laura Jansen on

      Thank you so much! The Asos black suit that’s plunging in front is quite standard in back, as far as coverage. Nice bum and back coverage. Hope that helps! I have a hard time with high waist bottoms because I have a short torso, but I’d say choose some with some interest to them (ruching, colorblock, etc.) instead of plain and they’ll definitely get out of the granny panties category. Ha!

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