I enjoy getting email from readers. The glowing reviews are, of course, more enjoyable, but the negative ones help me understand the topics I write about from other points of view.
Well, here's a little background information about me. I'm 5-foot-4 and a size 6, and was recently told while being measured for a bridesmaid dress that all my weight is in my hips and derriere. I enjoy going to the gym, but am not naturally athletic and for my first year felt totally out of place, which is why I like to have cute workout clothes as a confidence booster (NOT because I think women don't belong in the gym unless they look pretty). And I, like many, have cried in the dressing room while trying on swimsuits. In short, the epitome of average.
But I don't believe it's fair to assume that if a woman is thin, she doesn't represent the average population, or hasn't ever cried in the dressing room like the rest of us. Like every other body type out there, sometimes people are just thin.
I'm not making the "pretty girls have it so rough" argument. I'm just saying that body acceptance can't be selective -- it has to be applied to everyone, no matter their sizes, and it has to come from all of us. And only then will we live without fear of swimsuit shopping.
So, this week, I tackle swimsuits.
Being that there are tons of different body types, there are also tons of styles of swimsuits, and it's helpful to have some guidance so you don't wind up in the dressing room with all the wrong things.
And, yes, this photo is from Victoria's Secret. Because on the bright side, at least your livelihood and marital future with Adam Levine aren't determined by how you look in said swimsuit.
Swimsuit trends don't change all that often, but they've actually been a little more conservative lately. In part, we can chalk that up to the resurfacing trends from the 1920s and 1960s, which, though characterized by a bit of rebellion, were certainly more conservative than the present. We're seeing sweetheart necklines, ruffles, stripes and polka dots and even a few higher-rise bottoms.
What's more, a one-piece isn't frumpy anymore. Retro styling has made it young, chic and sexy again, while still covering everything you need to cover. Take the white Victoria's Secret number. The ruching creates a flattering silhouette for many different body types -- it gives you a waist if you don't have one, or camouflages a tummy you may not be very fond of. But it's far from the Speedo, which used to be pretty much your only one-piece option.
Speaking of Speedos, another swimsuit trend to watch is the surf-style look. Mainstream retailers like J.Crew are showing bikinis with surf shirts, for people who are more active on the beach. If you're not that active on the beach but just like that sporty look, this may be a great choice, especially if you love your legs but want the rest of your body pretty covered.
For bikinis, the strapless or sweetheart bra top and hipster bottom seems to be outrunning the string bikini. Of course you can still go for it, but it's easier to find other options now. This is good news for everyone who wants a little more coverage, say for a family environment ... or just a strong current.
(E-mail Kristyn Schiavone at Kristyn@simplestyleguide.com, follow her on Twitter at @KKSchiavone or write to her c/o Tribune Media Services, 435 N. Michigan Ave, Ste. 1400, Chicago, IL 60611.)