6 January 2013

drinking, drugs and dressing rooms

There is an urban legend about women who require a trip to the local bar to face the horror of the yearly swimsuit purchase.  That’s right – otherwise relatively well-adjusted women who require way more than a glass of Dutch courage to get them through the trauma of the bathing suit dressing room.  I have heard tales of teary women collapsing into hysterics when they discover they can no longer squeeze themselves into the size they thought they were; husbands, mothers, sisters and friends having to be called to come and collect those so shaken by the horror which has occurred behind the dressing room curtain, they are no longer capable of driving themselves home.  At the time I thought it was totally ludicrous that grown women – individuals capable of running households, holding down jobs and rearing children could feel such anxiety about trying on a couple of pieces of lycra.  And then I had baby number three.

Little Fashionista is my pride and joy; she truly makes my heart sing.  However, the change my body experienced carrying her is the reason why I now firmly believe that Swimwear Galore should have an open bar. 
Today’s excursion to purchase both LF and myself swimsuits was, in a word, mortifying.  Not so much for her. A cute little pink and white polka dot Speedo one-piece and an adorable Pucci inspired tankini from Funkita, and LF was done.  Then came mummy’s turn.
“You’re quite chesty, aren’t you?  What cup size are you, DD?  E? Oh, none of the ones you’ve chosen will come close to fitting.  (awkward giggle)  What size bottoms?  You used to be an 8?  Not anymore I’m afraid!  More likely a 10, possibly even a 12 with those hips.”  Awesome.  Thank you 18 year-old sales assistant.  If you could just say it a touch louder.  I’m pretty sure there are people shopping in your Fitzroy store that haven’t heard you.
Well-meaning friends have recommended taking ‘selfies’ of myself in various bathers to get a more objective view of how I look in each set.  Bad move.  There is nothing like a photo of yourself under the harsh neon light of a dressing room, sans make-up and hair done, in bathers that don’t really fit you properly to send you running for the Xanax.  Add to this the fact that most of the women surrounding you in the dressing room seem to be about twenty years your junior and a size two, with their most serious swimsuit-related concern being, “Do I get it in the tangerine or the cerulean?”, makes the experience the ultimate confidence destroyer. 
In the end however, thanks to some excellent sales people, I discovered there are in fact some amazingly beautiful bathers available to us “chesty” women.  I walked away with a beautiful set from Jets by Jessika Allen as well as one from Baku. 
What I originally took as offensive was actually a highly trained salesperson being honest about my body and what would best flatter me – something I now greatly appreciate.  A word of advice for shoppers – set aside at least a couple of hours to ensure you don’t feel rushed, go somewhere which specialises in swimwear and has an abundance of knowledgeable and helpful staff to assist you, take a friend whose opinion you trust and be prepared to spend at least $200 a pair.  Like with many other essentials, good, well-fitting bathers don’t come cheap.      
Oh, and skip the open bar.  Leave that for afterwards.  Trust me, you'll need it. 

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