Swimsuit Shopping Report

Yesterday I mentioned I was heading out to do some swimsuit shopping. Backing up a little, I should say I FIRST tried to shop online, but gave up for two, no three reasons:

1. HOLY HELL, $60-100 PER PIECE of a two-piece swimsuit are they LITERALLY AND ACTUALLY ON ACTUAL LITERAL DRUGS??

2. The aforementioned problem of trying to figure out what it would look like on me, when it is displayed on non-plus-sized models.

3. Just in general, I need to try it on I think. I know I COULD order eight suits and return seven, but I hate doing that. I like to find something I like and then order the exact same thing again and again for eternity.


I am not sure why I am reluctant to tell you that my excursion yesterday was to…Wallmartt. No, I do know why: it’s because I hate that store and I keep telling you so. It’s depressing. And their low-price thing is a fake: they do it to start with, and then they raise the prices after you are already convinced they’re lower, and for some reason that is a very hard psychological mold to break out of. And they have their own product sizes, so sometimes you think “Oh, I’m paying $1.97 when the other grocery store has it for $2.50!” but actually the Wallmartt one is 10 ounces and the other grocery store’s is 14 ounces. OR WHATEVER. And things are always out of stock! And things ring up wrong all the time, always in their favor, so you have to WATCH THEM LIKE A HAWK, UG I don’t even want to TALK about it, it’s so frustrating!! …Ahem. My point is that I am on record as having practical, philosophical, and emotional objections to Wallmartt, but fortunately I am also on record as occasionally shopping there anyway, so there is no need to call anyone out.

And the fact is, that is where I went. Whatever Wallmartt’s other (MYRIAD) (SIGNIFICANT) flaws, they acknowledge that plus-size people exist and they sell clothes in those sizes in their actual physical stores so you can try them on, and that is in their favor. And once, long ago in despair when I HAD to go swimming and it was LONG PAST the time stores sell swimwear (i.e., summer had begun), I found two good swimsuits plus a swim skirt on their clearance rack for like $3-7 each, so that has lingered in my mind.

Yesterday I bought:

1. This ruffled tankini top in Superhero Underoos blue, which was my long-distance-third choice after pink and aqua but the only one they had in stock in plus sizes. Also, it has virtually no support in the chestal region, which feels weird—like being in a car with no seatbelt on. But it was $11.84 and Will Do.

(image from Walmart.com)

2. This tankini, which was in Wendy’s post and is one of the reasons I went to Wallmartt. Cute/pretty/fun/colorful pattern; medium support in the chestal region.

(image from Walmart.com)

3. This blue skirt (again, not my top color choice but the only one they had) to go with both. The waist is TOO LOW and I have to keep tugging it up. I would really like the waist to go all the way up to my ribs, and I don’t see why I can’t have that for less than SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS LANDS’ END I AM LOOKING IN YOUR DIRECTION. But here we are, spending $11.

(image from Walmart.com)

So! I came home with two swimming suits I have to keep tugging at. But! I like them OKAY. And they will DO. That is the important thing: they WILL do the job. I can put them on and I can go into the water.

This frees me up for the second step, which is to see if I can do better. I can get a bit…panicky and overwhelmed, with things like this. But if I HAVE something that I CAN wear, that reduces the panic and stress considerably by taking the element of desperation out of it. So then, after reading all the comments that basically said, “Listen, you get what you pay for,” and feeling more relaxed because I already had my bird-in-the-hand cheap swimsuits, I took my 30%-off Lands’ End code and bought a LONG-TORSO plus-size top and skirted swim leggings:

(image from Landsend.com)

I was very excited to find a swim top that was tall AND plus: that is almost unheard of. (I did not need tall for the leggings: my torso borrowed the height from my legs.)

I am going to try to make myself try them on RIGHT AWAY when they arrive, rather than leaving the box unopened for months while I get up my nerve. Because if those swim leggings fit, I am going to be an extremely happy girl. I am of the opinion that swimsuits are NOT ENOUGH CLOTHING TO WEAR IN PUBLIC, and although capri leggings, a mini-mini skirt, and a tank top would ALSO be too little clothing for me to want to wear in public, it is a PRETTY NICE STEP UP, coverage-wise!

28 thoughts on “Swimsuit Shopping Report

  1. Joanne

    This may be a silly question, and perhaps was already answered, but do you have a Lands End in your Sears? We do and it’s NOT GREAT, but I have found a lot of great clearance stuff there AND if they have something, but not in stock, they ship it to you for free and you can return it to Sears. Also, I think I saw someone mention this yesterday but I found a great swimsuit last summer from the Ava & Viv or whatever line at Target. I mention it because it had such a comfortable skirt, no tugging at all!

  2. Auntie G

    Chiming in to say, I have to buy my kids’ school uniforms through Lands End, and while I have quibbles about them as a company, they DO offer the relatively frequent good sale code, if you are willing to be patient/aren’t in a rush. I was sad when I saw your initial post, because the! day! before! they had a 50% off one item code. I used it to buy the most expensive uniform item in next year’s size, LOL. ANYWAY. I’m having some quality issues with their t-shirts lately, but I totally agree that their swimsuits LAST FOREVER, if you can find one you like. Good luck!

  3. Wendy

    I detest wearing a swimsuit…in public or otherwise!! That being said, I have been wearing workout capris as swim bottoms with tankini tops for years. It solved the issue of my discomfort with my hips/legs being exposed and wiggling around. They also tend to be higher waisted, so that helps to hold in the unsightly, above-the-bellybutton-roll that appeared after pregnancies. I buy them at ‘Wallmartt’, in the shiny, swimsuit-type, “Dri-More’ material. They work wonderfully and dry out quickly after getting out of the water. They run anywhere from $8 – $12 dollars…depending on where and when you buy them. I will pm you a link!!

  4. Elizabeth

    Re. Walmart: Once upon a time, a long time ago, you referred to it as “Satan’s Gift Emporium.” I found that so funny that the phrase is now part of our household lexicon. On the rare occasions I go to Walmart, I always call it that and can’t help smiling as I do.

    Good work on finding something that WILL DO…sometimes that’s all you need to get started.

    BTW: I have had extraordinary good luck buying bathing suits at Winners (is that the Canadian version of Marshalls? Do Americans have Winners?) $20 each (so…like US$14) – great quality. Last time I went the unheard of in bathing suit shopping happened: I picked up THREE off the rack and liked them all SO much that I bought all THREE. They usually have a good range of sizes available.

    1. Shawna

      You were lucky! Last time I bought a swimsuit at Winners it was $70! And I was over a barrel because I was leaving for a beach vacation the very next day.

  5. Lori in CT

    Very very cute choices! And, omg, your Walmart rant is straight from my brain to your keyboard to your blog…so funny and true and exasperating!

  6. Matti

    Yes, please if we can find more people who will just agree that capri leggings are swimwear that lots of us want and will buy, we can start seeing more choices.
    Also, I love that Land’s End top!

  7. Danish

    I’m a seller on eBay and I sell a lot of lands end swim suits. I’ve also bought lands end swimsuits on eBay. They are well made and last for years! One suit I’ve been wearing has lasted me 6-7 seasons. Maybe take a look at ebay? There are plenty still new w tag.

  8. Emily

    I love this open conversation about an experience that is so often terrible! I found my suit at Costco in January this year…$20 is pretty reasonable! It’s a tad more boobalicious than I’d have liked, but it does the job.

    I also just have to say it makes me so happy to hear so many women finding options that make them feel more comfortable on the beach/by the pool. I made a vow to myself 6 years ago that I would never let the way I feel in my bathing suit stop me from participating in activities that I love. I wear whatever option is most comfortable to me and do my thing and try not to think about it too much! Life is too short!

  9. NN

    I cannot get behind this leggings thing. It is very odd to me and I am plus sized. Like do you wear your skirt over it? If so, dang that’s got to be hot. Do you just wear them alone? That, to me, is equivalent to wearing Capri yoga pants with a non tush covering shirt in the PUBLIC. Which makes me have nightmares. So I stick with high waisted, tummy control and could care less who doesn’t like my jiggly thighs.

    1. Sarah

      The Lands End leggings are a mid waisted, they also have a little skirt attached that covers butt/thighs a bit. I wear mine with a swim dress. They are very breathable and dry quickly so they do not make you hot or keep you cold.

    2. Swistle Post author

      The leggings I linked to have an attached skirt. While I would not normally wear capri yoga pants in public (with or without a mini-skirt), I also wouldn’t go out in just underpants and a bra, or just a leotard—which is why swimsuits are WEIRD and I HATE them. More coverage strikes me as less nightmarish, so that’s what I’m trying. I’ll let you know how it goes!

  10. Terry

    I suggest wearing a rash guard over your swimsuit. Everyone in my family wears one because it means we can all put on less sunscreen. And you can decide how loose or tight the fit should be and whether to get long or short sleeves. I like wearing a fun bikini underneath my rash guard.

    1. Phancy

      Yes, have a couple rash guards from Lands end and they are wonderful. Although I still have to wear something to support my chest underneath.

    2. Jd

      I’m big on rash guards for everyone. I wear bikini bra, super high waist bikini bottoms and rash guard. New ones come to thigh top. Low skin to sun ratio so little sunscreen

    3. rlbelle

      I had to buy a rash guard when I started taking the kids to my MIL’s pool and felt weird asking her to put sunscreen on my back. I didn’t like having to use a sports bra with it, but otherwise I love, love, love not having to sunscreen anything I can’t reach.

  11. Suzanne

    Oooh super cute options! I feel such relief that you had a good outcome – makes me feel like It Will Be Okay the next time I have to find a new suit.

  12. Ali

    They are very cute–I hope the lands end suit works well! I tragically lost my very favorite bought-at-off-season-clearance swim bottoms on our spring break trip last month. They don’t make that cut anymore and it was just my very favorite. Sigh.

  13. Alison

    I NEED SWIM LEGGINGS!!!! I’m sorry for yelling, but I am VERY EXCITED.

    Oh Swistle, what would we do without you?

  14. Phancy

    Also, I bought those embroidered jeans you posted about awhile back, so now I get their catalogs, and they had some really nice swim suits in them. Although I can’t recall price, since I’m not currently in the market.

  15. liz

    Whenever I shop at WallMartt I always email them and tell them WHY I shopped there that day, along with the amount I spent. Like, “I shopped with you today because you were the only retailer who was selling that item in my size in your physical store, so I could try it on. Thank you for carrying a wide variety of sizes”

    I am currently wearing the bathing suit I bought last year, that actually has full coverage where I need it and terrific support in the chestal region (I’m an H cup). It’s a bra and matching underwear I bought at the local specialty bra shop. Black with pink and grey polka dots, and no one has ever suspected I’m just wearing underwear when I go swimming (I showered in them first to make sure they didn’t go all saggy when they got wet, and they held up better than my actual swimsuit.)

  16. Stimey

    I was in Ohio with my children and decided to take them to a waterpark, but hadn’t brought my swimsuit so I had to go buy one. In person. With my three kids in tow. It was awful. But I did it!

  17. Corina

    I bought a pair of swim leggings last year from Prana and I am never going back! They’re specifically for swimming, but I do think a lot of normal work-out capris would work just as well. They don’t have the little attached skirt, but the swim fabric is supportive enough that my hip/thigh/buttock region looks a lot smoother than it is in real life, and like you said, it’s more coverage than your traditional bathing suit bottoms so I’m fine with it. Plus, as people said about rash guards: SO MUCH LESS SUNSCREEN! I don’t have to worry about the dreaded upper thigh sunburn anymore. It’s fantastic. Really hope the Lands End version works out for you!

  18. Thrift at Home

    I only buy Lands’ End suits on clearance because they last for YEARS. I have also bought LE suits off ebay because I know my size. It’s so worth it to me to not shop for a bathing suit every few years!!

Comments are closed.