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Apr 21, 2011
04:53 PM
Window Shopping

The Swimwear Dilemma

The Swimwear Dilemma

Recently I faced a dilemma that I hadn't faced before—buying a swimsuit is challenging. Perhaps it's because I always found swimsuits before when I wasn't looking, and now I was looking (have you ever had that happen?). Or, I was shopping with a specific top and bottom style in mind. Either way, in my wardrobe, swimsuits take a place somewhere between running shoes and pants—they're important to buy, yet I dread buying them. The former because running shoes are pricey (and let's face it, if I'm spending $100, I'd rather spend it on to-die-for heels! But I digress.), the latter because pants are frequently too short on me, so it's pretty much a given that unless it's in a "long" length, they won't work.

Swimsuits are obviously a wardrobe item that one doesn't wear every day (unless you're a surfer!) so it can make searching for one a little tricky. If there is one thing I can impress on you though after my recent swimwear search it's this: it's worth it to spend more on a swimsuit you'll be comfortable in.

Let's face it: parading around in less clothing can be somewhat stressful for women. So you should be confident in what you're wearing. On my recent swimsuit hunt it was more frustrating than I recall in years past. Perhaps it's because I wasn't looking for super-skimpy options, of which there are plenty of out there—and I wasn't looking for one-pieces and tankinis. I felt like I was in a weird Goldilocks dilemma—swimwear was either too little, or too covered up!

I visited some mass retailers and got discouraged rather quickly. At one place the swimsuits were all pretty expensive--$50 or more per piece (so yep, that means they'd clock in at $100 for the set) and since I have a few swimsuits, I felt it wasn't necessary to go overboard on price. At another the swimsuits were so bland I felt like I'd seen them fifty times before. At yet another all of the swimwear was so tiny (i.e.: made for junior sizing) I got frustrated that unless i wanted to walk around in stitches of clothing, I figured I'd shop elsewhere. At a few other department stores the majority of offerings were tankinis and one-pieces—stuff I wasn't looking for, either. Finally at Victoria's Secret I got some refuge for the swimwear snafu.

I admit: many of Vicky's options are pretty skimpy too, so if that's what you're looking for, they have plenty of that type as well. I however was looking for a nice respectable two-piece—nothing crazy-expensive, or tiny, or too covered-up—something in the middle. With the array of patterns and silhouettes there is to choose from, Victoria's Secret has a respectable selection—and you can piece together an entire look for under $50 in some of the versions. I chose a lovely lilac selection, but I think the pink cheetah pattern they have is pretty stylish, too (above, photo).

Are you looking for a suit and want to shop locally? If you want more fashion-forward options and price isn't an issue, I suggest Bop on Gorham or for a wide array of silhouettes from barely-there to cheeky retro options. For sportier options Title Nine (a national chain) has tankinis, one-pieces and two-pieces that allow for easy movement—without losing your top or bottoms! and, both stalwarts in the swimwear scene, offer endless options for women from bikinis to one-pieces—all for very affordable prices.

What's your swimwear secret? Have you ever had any trouble finding a swimsuit? Let me know in the comments!


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About This Blog

As Madison Magazine's style editor, Shayna Mace writes the monthly "Window Shopping" column about Madison's coolest store owners, products and shops. She also reports on Madison's most stylish people, chic items she loves, store events and sales, and additional dish in her weekly blog. Her favorite places to check out around town are local boutiques, consignment and vintage shops for one-of-a-kind treasures, new restaurants and bars, and anywhere that affords her the opportunity to meet and talk to Madison's most inspirational (and many times, fashionable!) people.

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