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How To Buy A Bathing Suit Without Crying

bathing suit shoppingBathing suit shopping isn’t for the faint of heart. It involves nudity, bad lighting, and the awareness of your every flaw.

Unless you plan on sitting on the sidelines sweating it out in your caftan or muumuu while others are splashing in the cool water, you will need to take the plunge (sorry, couldn’t resist!) and hit the stores.

Do not fret. I’m here to help.

Here are a few tricks to make bathing suit shopping less painful:

1. Go to your nearest department store, I usually prefer Bloomingdale’s, a day (or two, at most) before you need the bathing suit. It is imperative that you’re slightly desperate and short on time. This helps with decision making.

2. Head straight to the restroom. You must pee. Any bloat can and will work against you.

3. Then make your way to the cute dress and t-shirt section of the store. Choose a few t-shirts and some pretty flowy dresses that you know will fit. Maybe even a beaded number. Anything sparkly. The key is to divert attention to the task at hand.

4. Then, and only then, approach the bathing suit section. Pick out a few cover-ups or caftans. They’re a safe bet. As you head towards the bathing suits move quickly and grab larger sizes than you think you’ll need. Asking the sales lady for a smaller size later will only boost your confidence. The reverse will bring nothing but tears.

5. Go to the dressing room and try everything on, except the bathing suits.  Leave them for last. You will need some successes before you strip down to your skivvies in front of a three way mirror under fluorescent lighting.

6. Once in the suit, give yourself a fifteen second look-over (no more!) and decide. If at first glance it’s not that bad, buy it and never look back.

And that’s what I did today.  I opted for the sassy sailor one-piece.
sassy sailor

How do you get through bathing suit shopping?


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  • Jessica Gottlieb - Yesterday I stood in the dressing room at Val Surf and cried.

    Is there no possible way to cover my boobs?ReplyCancel

  • Ellie May - You are tooo funny! I laughed and cried my way through this post as unfortunately I could relate to everything you said. Thanks for the great advice!ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - My pleasure, Ellie May. Glad you could relate too!ReplyCancel

  • Christina Simon - I’d totally wear the one in the photo! And, good tip about the “bloat” a big no-no for shopping and trying on swimwear. I order them online, but that has its drawbacks. They never fit! The dreaded store is the best option. And, like you, I love cover-ups so those always do the trick! Once I’m at the pool, they never come off.ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Best idea yet, Christina. I’ll never take the cover up off. I’ll swim in it.ReplyCancel

  • Gina Osher - LOL! Excellent tips! Like Christina, I am all about the cover ups! But my best trick so far is to teach my kids to swim on their own so I never need to go in the pool at all! 😉ReplyCancel

  • Missy - Trying on bathing suits is my least favorite activity in the whole world. I dread the terrible lighting and the three way mirrors are brutal!!!! I usually wear my suits for as many years as possible – just so I don’t have to subject myself to that torture.

    I do like your suit though. Very cute!ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Thanks, Missy! I try to cover up as much as possible 😉ReplyCancel

  • NotJune - Yes! Best not to look too long! Excellent idea about starting (hopefully) too big. Much better than the reverse.ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - LOL, yeah, I learned that the hard way.ReplyCancel

  • Jess WhoaMamma - Oh I love that sailor one piece. Very 1950’s glamour. I hate, hate, hate shopping for bathing suits. I’m in Australia so it is Winter now. I have 5 months to boost my confidence. Fun post, love your sassiness. Visiting from SITS! xxxReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Thanks for the visit! Will check out your site too :)ReplyCancel

  • Laurie - Think matching caftans! Take the onus of the suit, and more on the head to toe chic. Love Baby Rio from Pucci this season!ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Great ideas my pretty fashionista!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Super cute choice! And your tips made me giggle. I may need to revisit this post in a couple months when I look for a bathing suit to cram my post-second-baby flab into. I’ll make sure to pee first, though!
    Stopping by from Saturday sharefest – so glad I did!ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Thanks for the visit Amanda. Will be looking at your site too!ReplyCancel

  • Winter - Brilliant! I love the 15 second assessment. You really will know pretty quickly if it’s good or not. Excellent advice!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - Great tips! Love the idea of grabbing bigger sizes than you think you need… I’m also a big fan of shaving my legs BEFORE I go shopping and doing a good job on my make-up that morning. Nothing worse than a splotchy face on top of the rest of it!ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Didn’t think of that. Good point!ReplyCancel

  • Pam - I bought mine on Amazon and just thought, well nobody I will know will see me. When it came in, I tried it on and it fit, but not the size I consider acceptable. I vowed to lose 20 pounds and went home and drank a bottle of merlot.ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Maybe a little merlot before shopping would be good too.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Maizes - You forgot – don’t eat any salt the day before – to help avoid any unnecessary bloating. Other than that – spot on. I hate shopping for swimsuits. All I see in the mirror is the fat old ladies I cringed at as a kid.ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Yeah, I pretty much just see my mom! Ack!!!ReplyCancel

  • Lois Alter Mark - Love this — especially the part about being desperate and short on time. That’s the only way I can ever buy a bathing suit! Too funny!ReplyCancel

  • Anne (@notasupermom) - I have wept hot, salty tears of despair in department store dressing rooms. I’m going to try your advice next time.
    I may also pre-game with a mimosa or two first at a mall restaurant.ReplyCancel

  • Ellen Dolgen - Love this! My 59 year old body is happiest when I shop online for bathing suits! I try them on in my own mirror – as soon as I wake up – before I eat or drink a thing! (of course, after I have my morning pee!)ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Thanks Ellen. I’ve done online bathing suit shopping too and it takes me a few days to get up the nerve to open the package. Usually, I end up sending it all back.ReplyCancel

  • Jane Gassner (@MidLi - Or you can buy from a catalogue–’cause the model’s body comes along with the suit. Right?ReplyCancel

  • Helene Bludman - Funny and so true! Definitely have to get through the torture as quickly as possible.ReplyCancel

  • Haralee - So true and so funny! I think buying Bathing suits should be against the law and you have to buy one only if you have a fine to pay in lieu of money or jail time!ReplyCancel

    • Carpool Goddess - Yes, it is a form of punishment. Men are so lucky, all they have to wear are baggy swim trunks, with no worry of grooming.ReplyCancel

  • Debi Drecksler - Simple solution…I just remove my glasses and see the body from 1973 staring back at me!ReplyCancel

  • Cathy Chester - This is my absolute worst nightmare. We go to Florida every year to visit my in-laws and (including my mother-in-law) everyone wears a size 0 to 10. Do you know if there’s a suit that covers cellulite? I think the women in the early 1900’s had the right idea with bathing suits down to their ankles. I knew I was born too late! Great article.ReplyCancel

  • Emily - Oh that was good – you described that perfectly. I always go alone, too. I used to go with mom or a friend, but that’s a big no-no. I must endure that misery alone. I think you’re right on about the 15-second look. Any longer than that and you’d come home empty-handed. (P.S. I found your blog via the GenFab FB group that I just joined…)ReplyCancel

  • Janie Emaus - I couldn’t agree more. I hate buying bathing suits and keep mine until the butt is all baggy and it’s a complete necessity to get a new one.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel G - In the last three years, I’ve bought all of one bathing suit top. And that was bad enough. But actually, I have it easy there, because I have nothing on top. If my current shorts-style swimsuit bottoms every give out on me I will be very sad, because I prefer the strategy of avoidance.ReplyCancel

  • Julie Chenell DeNeen - I have one almost exactly the same. Sailor suits are sexy (this is what I keep telling myself). Thank you for stopping by and linking up!ReplyCancel

  • Undiagnosed but okay - Oh I see where I messed up, I forgot to pee!!! Perfect timing for next weekend, thanksReplyCancel

  • Terrye - This is brilliant! :) Thank you for the laugh and for linking up with our Humor Me! Blog Hop!! This was great! :)ReplyCancel

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