Bathing Suits After 30: Real Talk

I have several vivid memories of choking back gut-wrenching coughing fits to the point of hiding my face in a pillow - simply to avoid taking cough medicine. (I have purposefully left out the brand name, because honestly it’s not their fault. I just despise cough medicine.) I’m not talking a mild dislike. I’m talking about absolutely hating cough medicine. Whenever my mother announced, “It’s time for [insert dreaded brand name here]!” my palms would get sweaty, my heart would race, and I would launch into every argument you can imagine to convince her the whole ordeal just wasn’t necessary. It never worked. And somewhere, deep inside, I would resign myself to this truth: it was time. So I’d muster all the courage I could find and choke it down while making a series of overly dramatic faces emphasizing my disgust. 

It turns out taking cough medicine and bathing suit shopping have a lot in common. 

From the procrastination and arguments against the whole ordeal, to the sweaty palms, racing heart, and dramatic faces of disgust. 

After a few babies and more than a decade of intense thyroid disease, nothing has ever been the same. Actually, that’s a silly thing to say. I’ve never liked shopping for a bathing suit. Not at 15, 20, or 25. But looking back, I really should have enjoyed it more “back then” than I did. I held on to my Target tankini purchased at age 29 as long as I could, but a few months ago, it absolutely fell apart. With a trip to Cabo on the books, I HAD to buy a new bathing suit. So, I once again resigned myself to this truth: it was time.

I reached out to 12 friends to get their take on the whole bathing-suit-shopping-after-30 bit, and let me tell you, I’m in good company, which means you likely are too. 

Our sentiments run hot and deep, ladies. As my friend Leslie mentioned, “Who in the world decided wearing triangle spandex was a good idea?”

 Turns out, most of us are looking for 2 things in our bathing suits:

  • Coverage - Some for the sake of modesty, some simply for the sake of concealing areas we don’t love as much.
  • Support - To quote my friend Kara, we are looking for the perfect suit to “lift, tuck, hide, suck-in, and flatter.” Preach. It. 

Multiple friends mentioned the benefits of shopping online: 

  1. Trying on happens at home in your own bathroom which has privacy AND better lighting.
  2. No public appearances (which in turn avoids thumbing through rack after rack trying to find your size).
  3. You can try on suits from multiple places, and simply return what you don’t like. 
  4. The whole thing is so much more discrete.
  5. If it doesn’t work, you can easily blame the fact that you bought it online. (Doesn’t everything look different in person than it does online? Duh!)

My Bathing Suit Purchase

I gave online shopping a whirl and I really think I came out on top of this whole thing. I decided on a two piece from Lands’ End: the Underwire Squareneck Tankini Top and the Ultra High Waist SwimMini.

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I did have to exchange the SwimMini for a larger size, but dropping an envelope in the mail and making a few clicks to upsize was far less traumatic than going back to the store. I also found another great pink tankini top on sale the second time around. I was concerned the SwimMini would roll down, but I was pleasantly surprised that it really doesn’t. Lands’ End also has some great options for extra length and added control.

My New Perspective

As I sat by the pool for 6 days in Cabo, I observed women of all shapes, sizes, and ages having the time of their lives. Laughter and fun overflowed. My disdain for bathing suit shopping really did reach a whole new level when I crossed the 30 threshold, but now that I’m further in my thirties, I look at my stretch marks and fluffy areas as badges of honor. I’ve covered some miles in this body, and I’ve survived some things I never thought I could.

Today will eventually fall into the category of “back then,” and when that happens, I want to know I had the confidence to embrace all the fun these glorious days can bring.

Bathing Suit Recommendations

True story: my friend, Michelle, pointed me straight to what I purchased from Lands’ End. Her recommendation saved me days of research. Thank you Michelle! With summer on the way, I took the liberty of collecting recommendations from all those friends I mentioned earlier. So…if you too need to do some (formerly dreaded) bathing suit shopping...here are a few top picks to get you started! (click images to shop!)

Leslie: Kohl's Ruffled Bandeau Swim Dress

Kara: Magicsuit Solid Sophie Underwire Tankini

Ashley: Target - Women's Laser Cut Swim Dress

Ashley: Target - Women's Halter Swim Dress

A few tips from Shelley: 

  • Favorite places to shop: Dillard's, Nordstrom, and Everything But Water 
  • Keep a few fabulous, fun coverups or skirt wraps close by for a pop of color
  • Chasing young children around a pool is easier in a one-piece

Well, friends. Let's land this plane. Thank you Michelle, Shelley, Ashley, Sarah, Leslie B., Laura, Cindy, Leslie C., Kathy, Kara, Jennifer, and Rachel for helping to make this post possible!

Here’s to smiles, bathing suit shopping, and having the time of our lives!

Join the conversation by commenting below: Where's your go-to for a new bathing suit? And please share any other great tips or ideas on this topic!