At some point this season, if we haven’t already, we moms will walk into the bathing suit section of a major department store in search of attractive swimwear that’s also stretchable enough to cover every itty-bitty problem area on our aging, child-bearing bodies. We’ll pore through the bikinis and tankinis, the one-pieces and the cover-ups, and eventually find ourselves drawn to the inevitable: the ultimate mom bathing suit.
That’s right. You know you’re officially a mother when you opt for the skirted suit, the one that hides more backside and upper thigh than any other model and, coincidentally, may be the exact same bathing suit you remember your mother wearing when she carted you to the beach and pool every summer.
For the record, I am not busting on this suit.
As a matter of fact, I went the skirt route on one occasion a full eight years before becoming a mother. One motivation? I loathe my thighs. But I also happened to think this particular suit — which was sort of similar to the one pictured above — had a certain vintage, retro charm. It smacked of something vaguely saucy and Bettie Page-ish. At least that’s what part of my brain said. The other part said, “You’re now going to hit the beach looking like a 65-year-old. Well done. Well done.”
Let’s be real. Unless we’re Angelina Jolie, most moms reach a point where their awareness of the extra flab, belly pooches and cellulite they’ve accumulated convinces them they can no longer pull off the bikini. When it comes to bathing suits, we just want to be comfortable and covered enough to join our toddlers in the pool without suffering from acute embarrassment. That’s why the skirted model is so damn appealing. It’s sorta cute and fun, but also relatively modest. Honestly, if they made a water-friendly version of black pants, a T-shirt and a flattering blazer, I would totally wear that instead. Until that happens, though, the skirted suit may be the only way to go.
This item over at the DC Metro Moms Blog feels my pain, although she bemoans the fact that she wore a tankini while lounging at a pool in Miami alongside many, many young women rocking bikinis. (My condolences.) And this piece posted last summer on Mommy Myth Buster contends that the skirted suit actually isn’t that flattering, which is a valid point but doesn’t address one important issue: cellulite. Sorry, the only way to deal with that is to cover it up as quickly as possible, by any means necessary.
But what do you think? Are skirted bathing suits really the swimwear equivalent of mom jeans? And have you ever purchased one because you too believed it would mask your flaws?