One Piece Swimsuit Manifesto (Plus My Pick and My Friends’ Favorites)

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Mamas, we take our job seriously here at Ain't No Mom Jeans.  (I know you are thinking, "what job"? but I have a point.  I do.)

We do consider it our job to not only find practical yet stylish inspiration for mamas who love to be involved with their kiddos, but to be very upfront about certain body issues that childbirth brings.  I know I'm preaching to the choir here…but LOSING THE BABY WEIGHT is sooooo NOT the issue.  Post-baby, even if the weight is theoretically gone, things are just…different.  In different places.  Frankly, I could care less about the number on the scale.  But if someone could figure out how to remove my pooch and apply it to my bum (or even better – Cryofreeze it for my post-nursing boobs) then I'll get excited.  

Never are these body changes more glaring then during swimsuit season.  

Lane, bless her, has continued our embarrassing awesome!!tradition of posting on real-life, post-partum swimwear (here's last year's).  But she's done one better:  she recruited her friends.   (Which should tell you somehow about how awesome Lane is. Or at least how awesome her friends are.)

In any case….many thanks to Lane & friends for both the inspiration and the recommendations.  You Mamas rock.  (And look really, crazy-amazing, BTW.)

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I still refer to my body as post-partum, though I gave birth a year and a half ago, and I maintain the right to keep on referring to it as such until I can shift to calling it post-menopausal. I actually don't have a ton of angst over my body.  I am thankful for my health, for how good I feel and for the way I finally got over myself and started dressing to suit my body. But all the body confidence in the world can't keep me immune from the dread and angst of trying on bathing suits. (Do you remember how BEFORE you ever had a baby you hated trying on swimwear!? Little did I know I should have been dancing around the department store in the tiniest string bikini they had…with my underwear on of course for hygienic reasons.)

Sometimes when I mention to friends my bathing suit quandary and explain that my preferred solution is a one-piece, they act AGHAST. Don't give up on bikinis! You're not old enough yet! You can still pull off a two-piece! Next thing you know you'll have mom-hair!

 First of all, everyone calm down. Secondly, this moment in my life calls for a one-piece and I'm TOTALLY FINE WITH IT.

One-pieces have come a long way ladies, and I'm not using a bikini as the litmus test to gauge whether my pre-baby body is back (it isn't and it won't be and that is just a matter of gravity and elasticity). Just because I can wear a bikini (not even totally sure what that means…I can wear it and no one will arrest me? Or run screaming? Or accuse me of violating the acceptable body-type standards of our society?) doesn't mean I should. I can wear stilettos every day. I can wear a tank top when it's snowing.

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But I shouldn't (and don't) because those things don't make me feel comfortable. Same goes for a bikini. The only scenario where I could feel comfortable in a bikini is one where I'm lying down flat or standing up straight (and un-moving). First of all, that sounds really relaxing.  But secondly, that sounds like the very last two positions I will be holding while on the beach with a toddler. Lots of crouching and crawling and sitting and hunching. In a one-piece. Sounds perfect.

To those mamas who feel great in a bikini, I say rock it and love it and feel good about it. CONFIDENCE, in swimwear as in all the ways we present ourselves, is key (remember last year?  Swimsuit confidence was a thing.). Whether you wear a bikini or a one-piece should not be decided by your weight, your love-handles or your stretch marks. Wear what feels fun and functional. Right now, I feel confident in a one-piece because I've found that covering my mid-section does NOT have to be dowdy and frumpy.

 

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My quest to find the right one piece took me in many directions. I went to American Apparel to try deep-V halter thinking it would be sexy (but actually it was scary…a nip-slip after 18 months of nursing is…not ideal) and a high-waisted swim brief hoping it would be like bikini-lite (but the fun retro look was overshadowed by the fact that I didn't have enough shape to my cheeks to fill out the back of the suit). I pondered Robin Piccone's 'Penelope' suit but the crochet felt a little too stuffy for me. I liked the pin-up vibe and bright color of Seafolly's 'La Vita' but the boyleg cut my already short legs even shorter. Ultimately I chose J.Crew's Fanfare Ruched Suitfor it's awesome pattern, bright color, and ruching here and there to make anything that may or may not be toned in my middle very ambiguous. As a bonus I loved the idea of being strapless to avoid tanlines, but having the choice to attach a strap for when a certain greedy little lady starts clamoring for 'milky.' (Her words, not mine.)

Don't have my short legs or flat-chest? Can't relate to my flat butt? Don't worry, three of my friends dared to share their own one-piece adventures and were generous (and brave!) enough to allow me to use their photos. Because a picture of a one-piece on a 6 foot tall 18-year old model only gets you so far.  

Raquel's Reviews for Big-Busted Mamas

When I asked my friend Raquel about her challenges finding the right suit after having Abram in November 2011, she described her body as 'sleep deprived' and I was totally like YES, I GET THAT and said her big bust (made bigger by nursing) was the trickiest issue when it came to the fit of the suits she tried on. Most of the suits she tried on had ZERO support in the chest. Some of the losers included this bandeau-keyhole suit from Old Navy, though she loved the color. Athleta's Shirrendipity One Piece had a cute detail in the back that made it very adjustable, but still lacked any support. And this ruched number from Old Navy was great in theory, but Raquel used the words 'absolutely inappropriate for my bust size' and I trust her on that.

Ultimately she chose Athleta's Solid Bra Cup Twistini One Piece in Vivid Blue and she's happy with the bust control and the overall comfort of the suit. Budget notwithstanding, Raquel is still hoping to land this gorgeous Tory Burch Floral Print One-Piece Swimsuit.

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Cristie Works with her Long Torso

When we talked about the one-piece situation, Cristie made it a point to tell me that while she does have a very small bust, she didn't consider that a challenge and found that one-pieces were pretty well suited to an A-cup (or smaller?) which is pretty well in line with what Raquel discovered. Her long torso, however, led to a *ahem*camel toe issue in suits that weren't long enough and a saggy butt in suits that fit her length-wise. Neither of those conditions were conducive to chasing 13-month old Pennie around at the lake.

Cristie had very high hopes for Splendid's Bayside Removable Soft Cup One Piece in theory. In reality, she found it extremely unflattering, to the point that it gave her 4 butt-cheeks instead of the usually desirable two. She found this lavender Nanette Lepore suiton Bluefly but found that the side ruching actually made her look more bulky and her post-nursing-small-boobs-made-smaller couldn't hold up the top. *Sigh*

Remember the ruched, dramatic deep-V neck from Old Navy that left Raquel feeling like she was exposing herself to the youth of America? For Cristie's slightly *ahem* lesser chest this suit was TOTALLY sexy and still functional. Plus, she and P coordinate so well!

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Jess Wants it All, Tries on Everything

My best friend Jess is basically the most thorough person you are ever going to meet in your entire life. Her approach towards finding a suit that works for her current needs was very detailed and is actually still ongoing. Jess' objective was to find a suit(s) that would conceal her C-section scar while disguising her pooch. She wants to be more confident about the scar specifically, and hopes to see it less as unsightly and more as BAD-ASS in the near future, but until that day comes she plans on giving it some time to heal by hiding it from the sun while she chases 14-month old McCarty around the beach.

Jess initially trid on suits from Old Navy (too long for her short torso), Athleta (fit the top but left her with a saggy bum) and even Land's End (found a few cute options among some more matronly choices, but the sizes ran big and the price was a bit high). Despite all this initial disappointment, she endured and tried on J.Crew's jersey blouson tank and ruched bandeau tank. The ruched bandeau was flattering and she liked the strapless feature for tanlines but appreciated the optional strap for when toddler hands get grabby. The blouson is extremely flattering and fun (Jess's husband even suggested this tank would double as a top if you threw on a pair of shorts or a skirt), but she worries that it just might be 'too much suit' for a person of her stature. Eventually she decided on this  halter number by Jessica Simpson (but in a pattern no longer listed on Macy's website) because the straps gave her security and the pattern "distracts" from…whatever needs distracting. AND, in a surprise twist, she found that her 'apple bottom' (her words, not mine!) was well-suited to the high-waisted bottoms that left me looking flat, and is going to rock a scar-hiding, pooch-tucking, two-piece this summer as well! Her bottom is from J.Crew (paired with a top she's had for ages) and it looks so cute I might just have to give this look another chance!

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So mamas, what do you think? What kind of swimwear are you rocking this summer?

– Lane

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Want to read more from Lane?  Check out her awesome blog here.

 

 

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39 Comments

  1. great post, lane! you had me laughing out loud! love it! and love jess’ high-waisted bottoms! they look great on her! i tried them on and they were less than flattering on me.

  2. Thanks so much for this post! All your models look great. I’ve been really reluctant to move to the one-piece, but I’m tired of feeling like I have to lie still or pose with my tummy in (so not possible with two kids). Out of desperation, the other day I ordered J Crew’s ruched halter tank and now I’m feeling a bit more optimistic.

  3. Strangely enough, I have never found a one-piece suit that really flatters me. Maybe because I’m so short torsoed? I have the best luck with Ella Moss and Shoshanna bikinis (bought off ebay or at the outlet stores due to budget issues). The key is getting the right style (classic triangle style tops with the super adjustable ties and bottoms that tie on the sides too) and the right fit (usually a size bigger than my normal clothes).

  4. You are so right about the whole post partum forever body! I am actually in the best shape of my life after only one year of having my second little one (thanks to staying home with two active little girls). However, my pregnancies really did a number on my skin and belly button. Such a disappointment to have a “bikini body” but feel like i have an 80 year old belly button! Lol (am i the only one?) So this year I was on the hunt for a monokini. I finally found one at Ross of all places on the clearence rack. This one is very similar, it’s surprisingly supportive:
    http://m.sears.com/productdetails.do?partNumber=000000000000000108190000000000monofrgwhtP&sid=IDx20101019x00001a

  5. I must have bought and returned 8 bathing suits before my vacation last week. I have 2 year old twins I need a two piece with support in the chest and something to cover the post baby pooch. I love this suit and I even went down the water slides without a problem. I scored it at Marshalls for $34, but you can find it here too http://www.saksfifthavenue.com/main/ProductDetail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524446460470&R=754509166063&P_name=Miraclesuit+Swim&sid=21338732984648&Ntt=bathing+suit&N=0+4294911107&bmUID=juQ.hjL

  6. Thank you so much for this post! I’ve also accepted that I will be wearing a one-piece for the rest of my life. I’m like you Cheralyn. I’m in the best shape of my life and I managed to get rid of the “pooch.” Yup, my stomach is flat but is wrinkled up like an 80 year old woman. And my belly button looks terrible. I will never show it in public! I’m small busted so I found a cute suit that has ruffles and embellishments there so I feel more confident.

  7. Wow you all look so amazing!!! I like the one-piece in theory, since my stretch marks still kinda look like scars from being mauled by a tiger, but unfortunately I still have stretch marks on my thighs too and a c-sections scar that makes my lower abdomen go in funny and it definitely shows if there is only one layer over…so I wear a long halter tankini top (from Land’s End-they have up through DDD sizes that are quite supportive!) with a skort on bottom. I feel like a one piece with a skirt is like the ultimate Grandma suit, even though I’m sure there are people out there who totally rock it, and I’m still in my 20’s so I’m not ready to admit defeat quite yet 😉

  8. Mamas, could someone please suggest a swimsuit for those of us with a real pooch problem? Like when your pooch has plateaued at looking 5 months pregnant even though you have lost all the baby weight and than some.

  9. I learned after having my first baby that I just didn’t feel comfortable in my bikini any more and that it was NOT appropriate for baby swim lessons.
    I stumbled upon Sirens Swimwear which is a tiny Australian brand with retro inspired one pieces that rock! My husband was very glad I bought it because I could focus on having fun at the beach and not just stay put on the towel.
    http://www.sirensswimwear.com.au/

  10. Thanks for ALL these links and the awesome input mamas!
    @Claire and Cheralyn…last summer (when I was only 6-9 months post-partum) I did wear a binkini…and right now I am in GREAT shape! But I also found the skin was just…weird and I wanted more coverage!
    @Polina, I’ll keep searching for you!

  11. What beautiful, confident models!!! Way to go, mamas 🙂
    I have the same suit as April W above, from Target. It worked when I went to the beach at *5 weeks* postpartum, if that tells you anything! Seriously flattering, a removable strap, and nursing access to boot.

  12. This makes me giggle, because, with the bod I’ve always had, my tum has never, ever seen the light of day in a swimsuit wearing scenario. Land’s End is my go to, but you have to be choosy or else look matronly.

  13. @ claire, thank you for letting me know i am not alone!
    @ polina, there are a lot of suits that have shiring in the pooch area and a hidden pooch sucking panel. I think they are called “miraclesuits”. They are supposed to make you look 10lbs thinner, i wore one last year 4 weeks postpartum very comfortably!

  14. I have this suit (http://www.beallsflorida.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product__10151_-1_12003_796373?cm_mmc=CI-_-CSE-_-CSE-_-CSE&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=0094428038) in a dark purple, and I can even do better than the price listed; I bought it at Ross two years ago for $12! It’s not only a pooch-hider (twice now!), but it has enough flexibility to get through probably up to six months of pregnancy as well. I like that it’s high cut, because I’m small busted, so it doesn’t droop in the front. It’s also got a slightly lower cut on the leg than a standard swimsuit would; it’s not as retro as some of your boy-cut examples from last year, but I hate high legs on a swimsuit. Finally, even though it’s cute and has coverage, it’s actually good for swimming some laps if I have 15 spare minutes to myself. I’ve gotten SO many compliments on this suit, and would highly recommend it to postpartum mamas!

  15. I’m on my 6th year of nursing with dds so droop is an issue. And, after 3 pregnancies and an apple type, the tummy is pretty permanent. I had a lot of luck with the old navy black halter number. Everything stayed covered even when my toddler thought that poolside would be the perfect time to bring back a noon nursing session. Plus, I went with the attitude that at least no one will be looking at the tummy!

  16. Oh, I LOVE your bathing suits, ladies! Question for Cristie: where did you get your adorable daughter’s bathing suit? I love it! I have a Victoria Secret’s suit just like your Old Navy one I bought 10 years ago…

  17. Question: I like tankinis. But in the few swimsuit posts I ave read on ANMJ – you’ all seem to be very pro-one piece. I agree that my bikini days are over ( 4 births in 5.5 years have done a number on my belly. Think saggy baggy elephant!). Are tankinis an okay option? I don’t love how I look in a one piece, but your silence about tankinis has me worrying that they aren’t “cool”
    I LOVE ANMJ! I don’t really have the time to keep up on what is in style. But I care about how I look. You have given me so much more confidence! I don’t worry at all about whether or not what I’m wearing is too “mom-ish” anymore. Thank you!

  18. I never thought I’d be a one-piece kinda girl but I finally bought one and OH MY GOSH, I love it! The one I got has that retro style and it’s just perfect. And you’re right, weight is not the issue. I actually weigh less now than I did before pregnancy (I blame nursing!) but my body is just different now and I’m not comfortable in a bikini.
    Anyway, great post!

  19. Don’t laugh, but I found a monkini that is faaaabulous at Roxy!! For 42$ you can’t beat it. Since its a Juniors brand you have to order a L to fit the hips area, but everything else fits nicely. I’m one that has a long torso and even though the M fit you really have to go with a L for the length. The top wouldn’t work for a busty mama, but I’m a 34C and it suits me just fine, although it does flatten the girls some. I loved that it covered my c-section issues, my belly button, and my stretch marks but left my (nicely untouched) sides bare and from the back it looks like a bikini, so its young and fun.
    http://www.roxy.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11211890
    I did try their other monokini (a crochet thing) and while super cute it did NOTHING for my pooch, whereas this one reined it in nicely.
    Last year I had to go with the rouched swimdress retro look (that suit is too big now, thank GOD) and it hides the pooch nicely too.
    As far as cute and well-sized tankinis – which are probably fashion taboo, but there’s some good options out there if you hunt hard enough, try Down East Basics – they’re out of SLC and when chosen properly they look really cute! And its nice to not need a size Large when you’re a 6… lol

  20. thank you for these posts! keep them coming!
    read a quote the other day about a challenge (in parents mag?) about spending a lot of $$ on a good suit to get in the pool with the kids this summer. so I did just that — a black la blanca ruched top from Nordstrom bought in my exact size – contrary to what the site says to buy one size bigger, and the tummy tuk bottom from hapari that this blog recommended (Thank you, btw!) It is working wonders on my body.

  21. Great post! I’m preggo this summer with my 3rd but, first one I’ll be pregnant with during the summer! I wasn’t sure what to do as far as swimwear and It wasn’t in my budget to buy a maternity suit so, after asking friends on FB I finally decided on using a bottom I already had and I went and bought a cute tankini top with gathered sides that will stretch as I grow, and it doesn’t feel frumpy which I’m happy about. 🙂 P.S. All of the moms in the pics look fabulous!!

  22. All the one pieces look great! I’ve noticed a lot of reluctance among moms to give up bikinis, but not me. The only problem is they’re so hard to find! 99% of the options seem to be either bikini or old lady one pieces.
    I finally settled on a tankini that looks really cute out of the water, but the other day I had the chance to finally go swimming in it and the top kept floating up to my bust line. I’d get out of the pool with the top all rolled up around my rib cage. Not cool! So, next time I guess I need to look harder for a true one piece.

  23. I am all about a one-piece or a tankini, and I have been even before I had a kid. And one does not need to rock a bikini to be a Hot Mama. (I wrote something similar last year: http://bit.ly/sexy-swimsuits)
    Bluefly’s a good place to look for stylish one-pieces. I found a one-shoulder Marc by Marc Jacobs there last summer.

  24. I love one pieces, even before babies. But I’m the modest type. I’ve been eyeing the one from Target someone linked above. Has that wonderful retro feel to it.

  25. Thanks for this post- you mamas look great! Am I the only one who’d also like to hide a little butt/thigh? As in… this swimsuit looks ok from the front, but when I turn around it’s a different story? Should I wear boycut legs (even though I agree they make my short legs shorter), or should I cling desperately to whatever board shorts/swim skirt I can wear over those higher cut bottoms?

  26. Oh wow, lane you look wonderful! And I am so glad you shared the pictures on real mamas! You all look fabulous and your one piece inspired me ( I have similar body shape, except quite a good amount of bum meat)so I am going to look for similar one pieces. Thank you!

  27. I loved the old navy one. I am relatively flat chested, but the price was so right $16 w/ coupons, I was able to purchase some soft padded cups from Joanns and stitched them in. thanks for the great ideas on these suits.

  28. I’ve been noticing a majority of women at my city pool wearing tankinis, and some really cute skirted ones. I like them because the top floats over my belly and with a skirted suit I never have to readjust my butt after getting up off the ground. Now I just need to get up the courage to ask a couple of ladies where they got their really lovely ones. Mine is just Lands End, bought three years ago after my son was born. The great thing then was that with a May baby my body was changing all summer, but I only had to buy new bottoms — the top still fit.

  29. lankan soul come on my dear inaidn friends try to understand the reality u guys r not talented like srilankans ..india always wins a match with one man performance , with umpires help or with crowd support not as a cricketing team .no team spirit with you guys ..only anger and jealous.that’s y u guys always have fights inside the team.. (0)

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