Pssst! Want to know how to get a bikini body, extra fast? You have a body. Drape it in two pieces of fabric cut to cover your breasts and butt—voila! Instant bikini body!
Still skeptical? Five very compelling reasons why you should at least think about wearing a bikini this summer, no matter your size.
1) Because Your Body is Beautiful. I’m not spewing generic “love your body” rhetoric here. I’m not trying to convince you that you aren’t as fat as you think are, either. (You probably are just as fat as you seem in your head.) I’m saying that none of that matters. Your fat, your stretch marks, your inny, your outy, your cellulite, your visible disabilities, your hyperpigmented knees, your back acne—it’s all good. I am 100 percent certain that there’s beauty in every shape and size. You have nothing to be ashamed of and no part of your body inherently needs to be hidden behind fabric.
2) Because Even If You Don’t Believe #1, You Don’t Owe Us Beauty. Let’s say, theoretically, that I’m wrong: Your body is not beautiful. It’s ugly, it’s misshapen, it is not, in any way, “summertime fine.” Well, you should wear a bikini anyway. You don’t owe anyone perfection or thinness or beauty. (Not that those three qualities are synonymous, anyway.) You don’t owe it to yourself. You don’t need to be striving or struggling or working towards some elusive, prescribed perfection, either. You can just be yourself and not have to hide. No piece of clothing is reserved for people possessing what Us Weekly deems a perfect body.
3) Because You Can Find One That Fits. It never occurred to me to wear a two-piece swimsuit before last year because the places where I’d go to find swimwear—Target, Forever 21 and run-of-the-mill department stores—didn’t offer them in my size. Even if I could somehow fit the bottom, I need serious support up top, not just a couple of strings. For women who wear a size 12 or larger, or for smaller women with very curvy frames, online retailers are the way to go for bikinis. Monif C’s beautiful, albeit expensive, collection of swimwear is awe-inspiring every season, but the pieces, particularly the two pieces separates, sell out quickly. ModCloth, Lane Bryant and Swimsuits for All (including the uber-popular “GabiFresh” collection) are great places to look, also.
4) Because The More Bikinis We Buy, The More Retailers Will Have to Make. Summer is rough on my wallet. While my straight-sized friends and family can jaunt anywhere, literally anywhere, and wriggle into a $20 swimsuit, I have to search high and low for something flattering, with a little ruching and some cup support. And when I find what I love, it’s going to cost me at least triple or quadruple what they pay. Part of the reason is that there are only a handful of places that sell stylish plus-size swimwear. Gabi Gregg’s five-piece collection for Swimsuits for All featured a two-piece that sold out in mere hours. Some waited up all night to spend their money on clothing that made them feel and look great. Despite some ideas about how plus-size clothing affects a brand—ahem, Abercrombie, ahem—most in the clothing business are, well, business people, and they’re looking for how people want to spend their cash.
5) Because You’ll Inspire Someone Else to Love (Or at Least, Like) Their Body. Like countless fat girls before me, I never even thought of revealing my round belly on the beach before stumbling across this image of fashion blogger Gabi Gregg—fit, fly and fine in a two-piece. The more I see women my size, or closer to my size, wearing all sorts of clothes that are typically thought to be off-limits for fat women, the more normal it seems. Now, you have no obligation to inspire, but if you choose to go tummy out this summer, you undoubtedly will. (If you’re looking for a little fatspiration yourself, just search “fatkini” on Tumblr and behold the beauty!)