Real Talk: I struggled with how to start this post. Yeah, I can be pithy and self-deprecating, but that didn’t feel right for a postpartum swimsuit post. I also didn’t want to be like “OMG I put on a (name brand) swimsuit and suddenly I learned how to love the skin I’m in” because no garment is that life-altering, not even le stupid pants.
What I really found myself thinking is this: When did this little girl learn to feel uncomfortable in her own skin? When did she internalize the message that smaller was better? When did she learn to stare in a mirror and flood her mind with intrusive, negative thoughts about her thighs that rub when she walks or her stretchmarks, cellulite, etc.?
Postpartum Bathing Suit Review: Becca vs. BLEU
Bathing suit season can be a stressor for some people, especially post-baby (post-baby meaning a few months/years/decades after baby). I had my pandemic bebe last May, but this will really be my postpartum summer because multiple abdominal surgeries + pandemic = not a lot of pool parties for ol’ Meredith. I also want to say that I think it’s OK to believe wholeheartedly in body positivity and still be in the process of learning how to love and accept your body. I don’t think body acceptance looks the same for everyone — it’s a lifelong thing to unlearn all that we internalize in our society about what denotes beauty.
Now back to swimsuits. I don’t want to be that mom who waves off swimming with her kids because she doesn’t want to put on a swimsuit, but I also want to feel good. Shana and Julieta have written about flattering postpartum swim styles in the past, but here are my two rules of thumb for finding the perfect postpartum swimsuit:
- Quality > Quantity: If you can afford one suit that makes you feel amazing over four inexpensive suits, let me be the girlfriend who tells you to get that one suit. It’s worth it.
- Buck the trends: Thigh cut-outs and cheeky suits not working for ya? Don’t do it! Just because it’s in-season doesn’t mean it’s in for you.
I have been a Becca by Rebecca Virtue stan for years now. I’m convinced there’s something magical in the crochet work. I feel sexy, but not in danger of a child untying my suit and scaring people out of the ocean a la Jaws. This year, I decided to try two new Becca suits — the Becca Wanderlust One-Piece Swimsuit + the Becca Reveal High Neck One-Piece Swimsuit (similar) — and compare them with a new brand that’s caught my eye, BLEU by Rod Beattie in their Jungle Book Knotted One-Piece Swimsuit and Don’t Mesh With Me Cross Back One-Piece Swimsuit.
Swimsuit (TTS – Large)
Why oh why did I decide that wearing bright colors wasn’t my thing? This blue is AHHHHMAZING! I just wish I felt the same way about the rest of this Becca Wanderlust One-Piece suit. I’m still a believer in its magical crochet properties, but that magic is no match for gravity. Unless you’re naturally — or otherwise — blessed, this suit is not going to give you the support you need. Although, if you are postpartum and breastfeeding, this would provide some easy feeding access.
Not that anyone asked, but I’ll let you know I will probably maintain this shade better known as “Casper the Friendly Ghost — if he were a smidge Ukranian” for the entire summer. I decided when the first Twilight movie came out that I was going to make pasty cool again like all those ageless kids over in Forks, WA.
Seriously the crochet is amazing though. My stomach can tell plenty of stories — stretch marks, C-Section scars, hernia surgery marks, and a roughly 240-degree scar from my abdominoplasty. You wouldn’t know that in this suit. Great color, but pass.
I actually own an older version of this Becca Reveal High Neck One-Piece suit in a smaller size. Ever buy a new suit in a larger size because you just #canteven bring yourself to try on the suit in your closet? Yeah me too. So, I purchased this suit for my postpartum summer in a Large. I liked the Black & White look more than I thought I would, but it just felt too big. So, I reluctantly dug out the old version of this suit in a Medium and fell in love with it all over again! (I’m also feeling this baby blue.) I feel more supported, but not like it was digging into me or riding up my bum (shudder). I am really not into anything cheeky. I proudly stopped wearing thongs a few years ago and decided panty lines were in — much to my husband’s chagrin, probably. Ohhh, the TMI in this post.
“Love the colors, no way this suit is going to work on me,” I muttered to myself as I clicked “add to cart.” Much to my amazement, I actually really, really like this Jungle Book Knotted One-Piece Swimsuit (more sizes here)! There’s a surprising amount of support for something so low-cut. It’s your basic LBB “little black bathing suit” elevated. (Here’s the same suit but with animal print.)
If you get any BLEU by Rod Beattie swimsuits — especially postpartum in that “4th trimester” — be sure to check the size chart. I found I had to go up one size based on measurements. But overall I love it and it’s definitely a keeper!
Swimsuit (size up – I’m wearing a 12)
“This would be great for surfing,” I said to myself. (I don’t surf. The nearest ocean is 8+ hours away.) Basically that’s my way of saying that the Don’t Mesh with Me Cross Back One-Piece Swimsuit has incredible support. It’s stylish while still being practical. It fit me really well (again, sized up one size as with the previous BLEU swimsuit), but it just didn’t do anything for me, if that makes sense. It’s a well-made, nice suit. I believe it would flatter someone with a longer torso (I’m short-waisted and this suit did nothing to help that.) If I’m going to spend money on suits, I’m going to be a little picky.
Ultimately, the winner I decided to keep was the Jungle Book Knotted One-Piece swimsuit. I still love Becca swimsuits, but there’s definitely room in my closet for BLEU. In the process of trying on new suits, I rediscovered an old one in my closet (which is why it is always worth it to shop your closet first!). You’re going to wear your swimsuit all summer, find one that makes you feel fabulous, especially if you’re postpartum. You made a human. You deserve it.
Here are some other one-piece suits I had my eye on, including this incredible sustainably made ruffle suit by Paper London.
Shop More Postpartum Swimsuits I Love
Oh hey, Pinners…