Today I woke up with abso no intention of going fatkini shopping. I'd like to say that there was tres mucho planning that went into this excursion, that I lit a candle to Dolly Parton and Miss Piggy in hopes that they would be with me - GUIDE ME - in this ever important swimwear journey.
Alas, none of that happened, ghurl.
I seriously woke up at my boyfriend's house in the 'burbs, as per usual he got ready for work while forcing me to listen to NPR (he loves torturing me with the early morning self-congratulatory, monotone, neo-liberal coverage of gut-wrenchingly detailed tales of human suffering.. I digress), ate some ciabatta with olive oil and pepper (freshly cracked of course), wished it was hotter so I could finish reviewing this book by the pool, sighed disappointedly, and then got a text from one of my main fat femmes, Olivia, informing me she was coming into the city to go fatkini shopping and asking if I was ready and willing.
Well, I put on some Whitney and got in the shower. Immediately.
To say that I have a swimwear habit is, like, kiiind of an understatement. I mean, I am a full-on swimwear addict. I love bathing suits - one piece, two piece, new, vintage, whatever.
If it's made primarily of spandex I'll wear it.
I'm not entirely sure if this is related to my love of being submerged in bodies of water or if it's an entire obsession unto itself, but I love being encased in a shiny piece of water friendly lingerie that's totally ok to wear outside the house. They're sexy and cute and strange and practical and I have about 20 of them (and that number has taken considerable discipline to maintain).
I have more bathing suits than there are hot days in a San Francisco summer but I manage to find opportunities to wear them. My current favorite is a vintage one-piece that reminds me so much of Miss Piggy on the cover of that workout Aerobique LP she did.
So, even though I had to speed walk to catch the train outta the 'burbs I made it and we had a solid 2 hours of try-on time at Forever21. I swear you can track the progress of the fat movement from how cute the stuff in the plus size section is. And if Forever 21's plus size swimwear section is any indication - the fats are winning! They have SERIOUSLY stepped up their fatkini game since last year. I use the word "fatkini" loosely in this post.. most of the pieces I liked and tried on were one-piece suits but I like the idea of it all falling under the fatkini umbrella. I wanted to show you some highlights from the try-on sesh!
I went into the fitting room with 9 pieces and emerged with only one ^^^
It was HARD to leave the black one with mesh panels (in cover image) that allowed some serious tummy peeping. It also was the one that matched my serious bitchface the best. Siiigh. I stand by my choice, and knew that in a pinch I could just cut some massive holes into the black bathing suit I already own.
If you haven't had a chance to try on a fatkini I highly recommend it! Walmart has a seriously cute collection too. If you can't find a place nearby - or you can but the pieces don't fit well - buy something you like that's cheap or used and try altering it. Cut, snip, add fringe. I like to pair my swimwear with serious eye-catching water-friendly jewelry, massive sunglasses and a parasol.
This summer, spend at least a few hours in SOMEthing that lets oft-covered skin get sun and air. Look at yourself in the mirror. Take a selfie just for you. Sit in the bath tub with the window open for too long. Buy (or make) a hand fan and dramatically cool yourself in front of strangers. Drink iced tea. Show too much skin. Drink from the hose. Resolve to #LoseHateNotWeight.
Virgie Tovar, MA is one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the founder of Babecamp (a 4 week online course focused on helping people break up with diet culture) and the editor of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (Seal Press, 2012). She writes about the intersections of size, identity, sexuality and politics. See more updates on Facebook.