This post has been such a long time coming and I must have started it 45 different times, but words can’t fully capture these past few months so I’ve decided to stop trying and just be here with you all now. I know when my heart and mind have settled a bit (and I can figure out my part of the story to tell) I’ll find the right words. Or maybe I won’t. What I’ve learned most over these past couple of months is guarantees are often not within my control, a thought which is terrifying and exhilarating.
What I can promise you is this: I will do my best to be present with you and with my life. I will remember to look up at the sky and the sun and the trees instead of always down at my to do list. I’ll remember to get down to my kids’ level to hear about their day, roll around on the floor, and giggle with them while they still think I’m cool. I’ll commit to lying on the floor and staring at the ceiling for no other reason than to remember what it feels like to have enough time. I promise to not forget how good an ordinary day feels. To revel in the small joys and big hugs that make a life well-loved and well-lived. I will work to practice patience with other people because I don’t know or understand the trials they may be going through. I will make time for the things I love to do because they bring me joy and that is enough. I’ll make the time to really connect with the people I love because, when it comes down to it, they are what matters and where my heart lies.
And when I invariably fail to remember all of this and forget to hold life preciously and instead get caught up in racing against the clock and getting it all done, I’ll give myself a break and, when I remember to, give myself permission to have an iced coffee and try, try again.
I have finally come to the conclusion that, when it comes to swimsuits, I can’t wear the cheapies anymore. I used to be able to get by with a Target Juniors’ special where it’s basically a bit of fabric; since kids, I need all the accoutrement to hold me in (and up) if I want to smooth out the bumps and not be constantly pulling my suit back into place.
One of the best purchases I have EVER made (and that is saying something because I am, ahem, a fairly amazing shopper) was this swimsuit by ModCloth. I’m trying to figure out exactly what was so great about it and what keeps coming to mind is I never minded wearing it, which is saying something when it comes to swimsuits. It gave me an hourglass figure without being obvious about it, it looked stylish but not trendy, and it had plenty of coverage (I like that it hit my thighs a bit lower) without covering me up.
It was such a great swimsuit that at Bennett’s birthday party one of my friends showed up in the exact same one and all we could do was squeal and keep repeating, “It’s the best suit ever, right?” (You know you wish you were there).
In fact, THAT is it’s biggest selling point. I wore it in public in front of people I know, which is all I need to say. It’s one thing to parade around in togs in front of strangers, but a whole different beast to do it in front of people you have to look in the eye at the next birthday party. (I don’t have a photo of us in our suits, but here we are in our hats and cover-ups, essentially dressed as twins, so you get the idea).
In the past year I’ve worn that suit so much I literally wore the backside out, which I didn’t realize until my four-year old helpfully pointed out it was essentially see-through. In front of the entire pool. Very loudly.
I thought about simply buying the same one because it’s worked so well, but figured I can always come back to it; now that I know that a little more cash can buy me a suit that flatters my curves, I figured I’d play the field a bit. So, I tried on a lot of suits from a lot of different places and ended up with these five online shops that have a consistent selection of adorable, flattering suits that work on a post-partum bod.
So, without further ado, here are my 5 Fave Online Shops for Swimsuits for Gals with Real Bodies:
1. Albion Fit:Will you look at these suits?!?! Albion Fit gets my top position because all their suits offer a ton of coverage, but ARE STILL FRIGGIN’ ADORABLE. They’re on trend but not trendy and I’m obsessed. After all my shopping and trying on, I ended up buying the pink palm tree suit to the left, and I honestly love it. The top holds me up and gives me a waist, the bottoms are really high and cover up my belly and it’s easy to swim around in with the kids. Plus, several moms at the pool asked me where it was from so it’s pretty much buying me popularity, which I think we all know is the point of this whole thing.
2. Anthropologie:When I was buying my suit all of Anthropologie’s were back-ordered except one that is now out of stock, so I couldn’t try any on for you, but it looks like they have absolutely nailed it this season. The fabric choices are delightful, the cuts are generous but cool, and I have faith (an entire wardrobe’s worth of faith, thank you very much) that they know how to dress a woman’s body (I especially love the floral one with the tie waist – it screams Italian ease, which is exactly what I’m looking for while lounging in our plastic pool).
3. Modcloth:Remember that suit I wouldn’t shut up about in the first fourteen paragraphs? (Just in case you missed it: Flattering. Curvy. Wore at birthday party. Didn’t die.) It was from Modcloth and you should probably just go buy it because every wardrobe should have one. Or you could check out their seeingly endless supply of suits in adorable patterns (love the flamingoes!) and flattering cuts (I swear their Esther Williams suits look good on everyone).
4. Shabby Apple:Shabby Apple is another site where I feel like I could wear every suit on it and feel cute. My stomach is typically my problem area and any of these peplums would let me drink the 47 piña coladas I’m currently dreaming about and still feel comfortable, while the ruffles on the one-shouldered suit and bikini are fresh without being overly young.
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No, you’re not seeing double. This post was updated from the original to keep it current and on-trend so you don’t accidentally leave the house thinking mom jeans are uncool. Because they are cool if you wear them not like a mom even though you are a mom, which seems counter-intuitive, but trust me, they’re cool again, and, holy crap, who knew fashion could be so confusing.
Because we’ve lived in San Francisco for a long time almost everything I own is for Fall. This is a little known fact about San Francisco – tourists, take note! – but, while you’d think because it’s in California it’s going to be all sunny and warm, it is in fact most often foggy and chilly, especially in summer when the heat elsewhere pulls in the fog and it gets FREEZING and I get grumpy because while everyone else in the world is frolicking in rompers I’m wearing a ski jacket.
For the most part, though, I got totally used to it. It’s nice and easy to only have one season to dress for, and on the occasions it does get warm (March/April and September/October – again, take note, the perfect time to visit!) it feels like a true gift with the whole city out, enjoying the sun. Sure, I never had proper attire when we visited other locales, and would pack jeans for 100° weather, but if it was 50-70°, I was in business.
That, my friends, is all about to change. We moved about 20 minutes up coast and it’s a different world up here, like WE LIVE IN CALIFORNIA now. People wear shorts and flip flops most days and then when it’s really cold (65°) parkas and wool hats.
I am woefully unprepared so I’m pretty much pretending it’s not happening and still wearing my Fall clothes and just sweating it out. Or, if it’s absolutely too hot, wearing bizarre mixes of my one pair of shorts and then too tight tank tops from before I had kids that I really have no business wearing.
The problem is it all seems like a huge undertaking to re-figure out how to dress for Summer (I used to do it all the time, but that was pre-kids when I believed an outfit without heels was not worth putting on), but I have a feeling I’m going to have to bite the bullet because, while this leopard print coat is adorable, it is also seriously sweaty in 80° heat.
So, consider this post my last hurrah to my San Francisco wardrobe this year. Come Fall, I will have so much content for you I will break the Internet, but, for now, I’m thinking that seeing photos of me in cute coats with ballet flats and the best black pants on Earth are not actually that helpful for most of the world (although, if you’re in San Francisco, you’re welcome).