Grace Kelly in Jamaica, photographed by Howell Conant, 1955
Gingham 1-Piece Swimsuit - $27, Target
Okay, it’s official. Target is killing it with vintage-style one-piece swimsuits.
Oooh, I will definitely be adding this to my pin-up girl swimsuits pinterest board. I’ve realized, though, that my longer-than-average torso (especially for someone so short!) is making my quest for the perfect retro one-piece more challenging than it should be. I can’t never find cute ones in stores, so I order online, they arrive, and the barely cover my boobs. Not the classy Grace Kelly look I’m aiming for.
I counted it up, and I went to the beach 15 times this summer: to Long Beach, twice to Rockaway, to the Jersey Shore, 7 times in Sandbridge VA, 4 times in the Florida Keys. And in between every beach trip, I thought, “I really need to buy a new swimsuit.” As discussed before, I desperately wanted a retroish one-piece, and I still haven’t given up—I put together a whole Pinterest board of possiblities. (I’ve had a Pinterest account for maybe a year but resisted using it because I already have 80 billion social media accounts; I don’t need them all. But then I got frustrated with the inefficiency of saving recipes to Delicious, and thought I should make a Healthy Dishes board for cooking inspiration. I’m sure I’ll be completely addicted by the end of this month. Just don’t let me sign up for Foursquare.)
But I’ve also spend the whole summer combing through the J.Crew swimwear collection, especially their huge sale section. And when I saw today that all sale items are an extra 30% off through tomorrow… oh shit, it’s on. First I did that thing where I pretend I’m Veruca Salt and put everything I want into my shopping cart, regardless of price. Ended up with about 12 pieces for $600. Then the narrowing down process begins! I slashed and burned all the too-basic bottoms and dubiously supportive bandeaus; the overly pricey tankinis and not unique enough halters. Here’s what I’m left with:
I’m sure you’re all screaming at me, “Who needs TWO paisley bikinis!? Especially since you have not worn a single piece of paisley clothing in your life?” I know, I hear you. Here’s the thing: I’ve been dying for a swimsuit in that green paisley print for ages. I think the details are gorgeous and that color would look great on me. But the purple paisley is available in styles that are much more likely to flatter my body. I wonder if I could mix and match—green top with purple bottom, or vice versa. Would it be too crazy busy? Hmm, it looks all everything but the yellow seersucker tank is returnable, so I might just have to buy it all and force myself to return at least two things.
And that has been today’s edition of Why Are You Putting so Much Thought into Swimsuits, It’s September.
A model wearing a lacy swimsuit on a Florida beach, 1956. Photo by Lisa Larsen.
Amazing DIY bathing suit.
I totally failed to get a vintage-esque swimsuit in time for Virginia Beach. I have some mixy-matchy bikinis and a utilitarian Speedo one-piece, but nothing that will make me feel like an old-fashioned bathing beauty. Sigh, maybe next summer.
The book: I Was Told There’d be Cake by Sloane Crosley
The first sentence: “As most New Yorkers have done, I have given serious and generous thought to the state of my apartment should I be killed during the day.”
The cover designer: Ben Gibson.
Brilliant, all around. Still searching for the perfect retro one-piece, by the way.
Huge standing ovation for Alisha, who came through on my swimsuit shopping quest in a BIG WAY. Not only did she find some truly adorable suits, but she pointed me towards sites like Boden and Fig Leaves that I didn’t think to check. (I was getting so desperate at one point that I browsed all the crochet and fringe bikinis at Urban Outfitters. Shudder.)
So I think I found a winner: the Boden Vintage Swimsuit in Radish Bloom. Not polka dotted, yes, but an old-fashioned glam print that no one else at the beach will have. And I found a coupon code for 15% and free shipping, so pretty much a done deal.
But the Tuscany Spot swimsuit in navy is a very close second. Just when I think the nautical look is getting a little tired (I just have So. Much. Navy. in my wardrobe), I see something like this and realize I will never stop loving the classic blue and white. My main hesitation with this suit is the support issue. When I go to the beach, I want to run around playing frisbee and chasing a Nerf football and doing handstands in the waves. And I don’t want my boobs to pop out in the process.
The Prairie Girl suit looks much more boob-friendly, and the floral print with dotted straps is killer.
Seaspray Polka Dot Bandeau suit: it’s like Minnie Mouse on vacay.
Boden Retro Suit: the pink polka dots of my dreams!
I want to go to California and I want to look exactly like this.
This is how I want to wear my hair the next time I go swimming. I can only imagine what it’ll dissolve into after I do my patented underwater handstand… (Anthropologie via Everything Fabulous)