I’m sure you’ve heard by now about the 50th Anniversary issue of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. It’s everywhere right now. This annual issue can make models into super models, and swimsuit brands into celebrity favorites, but there are a few downsides to this magazine. At its very core, it is a sports magazine for men. What women in skimpy bikinis has to do with the sports industry, I can’t guess. But the majority of SI’s readership, heterosexual men, seem to get a kick out of the scantily clad ladies. And many female models (and us real girls) look to this issue as the pinnacle of swimsuit fashion and the feminine physical ideal. Whether or not it is, isn’t my focus today. My focus is on the fit.
As a bra fitter and swimsuit stylist for over 9 years now, I’ve garnered experience with cup sized swimwear at Linda’s, expensive suits at high end retailers on 5th Avenue, and on Madison Ave with some of the sexiest lingerie and swimwear brands in the business. I get it: sex sells. But what is sexy? For the ladies in the Sports Illustrated magazine it looks like less is more: skimpy, zero coverage styles with little left to the imagination. In the fantasy world of magazines and fashion shoots, that may work. But in real life, the women that I help shop for bras and swimsuits and I agree: a great fit always helps you look and feel your very best. I always tell women that wearing a bathing suit is the closest that most of us will come to wearing lingerie in public. It can be scary or intimidating. There’s a lot of skin showing and lots of flaws to consider. None of us are flawless (especially without Photoshop), but we are all beautiful.
Here’s an example of a gorgeous model, Ms. Kate Upton, who is “defying gravity” in a zero gravity chamber. As lovely as she looks, and as much as we’d all love zero gravity when it comes to our boobs… it’s not really doing the trick here. Kate looks great, but she’s a busty lady and these skimpy or barely there bathing suits can’t do their job of supporting her bust and are not flattering. The swimsuit isn’t the real problem. In fact, this edition features a few fabulous swimsuits that Linda’s carries! But these swimsuits pictured here would look great on someone with a bust that would actually fit inside of it. Kate’s pretty shape is busting out of the top of these suits, creating spillage. As shameless as it sounds, the spillage is the point in this photo (according to my husband “The point of SI: Swimsuit Edition is to sell magazines. And half naked women will sell magazines.”), but it’s not a flattering look for most women in real life. I’m not saying that you have to cover everything up in order to get a great fit. I’m just saying that most women I’ve talked to feel so much better when they feel secure and supported in their bathing suit.
Here’s an example of an actual Linda’s customer wearing an underwire cup-sized swimsuit from Miss Mandalay. Raquel is a gorgeous girl to begin with, but she can look and feel her best because she is wearing a swim top that fits well and flatters her figure. Don’t you agree? Photo by Andrew Walker
My Linda’s co-workers and I agree that the sexy images in the magazine may work for the fantasy world, but a bathing suit that fits well is the way to go. Here are the benefits of wearing a swimsuit that fits well:
- Support – A bathing suit that fits your unique band and bust size, just like a bra, will support your bust far better than something that just hangs off of you or causes spillage.
- Confidence – As I said above, wearing a swimsuit is the closest that most of us come to wearing lingerie in public. You’ll beam with confidence when wearing a suit that suits you.
- Sex Appeal - Boobs busting out of your top may be one way to look sexy, but a classier kind of sex appeal comes from feeling confident and secure in who you are. When you wear a swimsuit that fits well, you’ll always feel your best which will help you look your best.
- Comfort – I can not say enough about this one. Feeling comfortable is KEY to feeling and looking your best on the beach. If you’re constantly worried that something is slipping, sliding, or showing, you can’t really enjoy your day at the beach. Invest in a swimsuit that feels comfortable and looks just as great!
- Style – Swimwear trends come and go, but a great fit is always in style.
Did you know that Linda’s carries bathing suits for all sizes? That’s right! There are the typical XS-L styles, plus padded bikini tops for AA-D cups, and cup sized swimwear (including those with underwear) up to K cup. In fact, Linda’s even carries swimsuits for nursing moms and those with mastectomies. Trust me, I’ve helped women with a petite bust create cleavage, and a woman who wears a 40K feel fabulous – it’s all about the right fit. So if comparing yourself to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue models has you feeling less than fantastic, try shopping for swimsuits that actually fit your shape and see just how beautiful you can feel… in the real world.