Do you feel exposed or self-conscious slipping into your plus-size bikini? You’re not alone. Here’s how you can show plus-size body confidence!
Body confidence is everywhere in the media these days, and while women *and men* seem to be encouraging one another to embrace their body types and are cheering for body acceptance, there still seems to be a silent cringe heard inter-web-wide as summer fashion approaches.
Swimsuit season can be one of the most intimidating, gut-wrenching fashion obstacles plus-size women face all summer—if they can conquer it at all.
Summer fashion can be discouraging for women of all sizes, let alone a woman who doesn’t fit into what society deems as “acceptable.” Gorgeous plus-size YouTube vlogger, Loey Lane, got a mouthful of insults when showing off her “bikini haul” in a body-confidence video online. Commenters flooded the body-confidence video with hateful slurs about how “fat girls shouldn’t wear bikinis” because it makes onlookers “uncomfortable.” [Read: 11 tips to fall in love with yourself and be a better you]
So what is it about summer that has bigger girls cringing in their closets, and how can you beat the self-conscious summer monster?
The perils of so-called swimsuit season
Primarily in the female realm, fashion comes alive for each season. Fall is a fashion femme fatale: it has dozens of legging combinations, knee-high boots, and luscious layering. Winter contains classic pea-coats, adorable scarves, and endless warming hair accessories. Spring is all pastels, figure-flattering dresses, and leggings… and then there’s summer.
Somehow, this hot and sunny, blue-skied, fashion-forward season can have even the fittest girl wanting to hit the fast-forward button. This makes it that much harder for a plus-size babe to find her confidence. What exactly are the perils? [Try: Low self worth – 5 tips to see yourself in a better light]
#1 Showing your arms. As a previously plus-size girl, I used to be mortified at the thought of baring my arms in the summertime. I could fake a cinched waist, I thought, and I could wear skirts to hide my chubby thighs… but there ain’t no faking wobbly arms. Even in the scorching summer heat, I wore fashion shrugs and light cardigans to hide my biceps. This is a truly miserable way to spend the hot months.
#2 Stretch marks. Many fiercely real-sized girls are embarrassed when it comes to summer fashion because this means they’ll be bearing their marks via bikinis, shorts, and tanks. While you may be feeling self-conscious about these bodily map lines, the fact is that, regardless of gender or body type, many people end up with stretchmarks at some point in their lives.
Stretch marks are merely lines of discoloration on the skin, usually in groups, that come from rapid weight loss, weight gain, pregnancy, or growth spurts. So chill out! Having a stretch mark doesn’t mean you’re an overweight monster who should be feared or scorned—it simply means that at some point in your life your body has *gasp* grown! [Check out: How to feel sexy and desirable all the time]
#3 Cellulite. Much like having stretch marks, many women associate their cellulite with being overweight. This is an improper assessment. Cellulite, or the appearance of dimples or lumpy skin patches usually found around the thighs or buttocks, can happen to anyone!
Here’s a much-needed dose of reality: I had cellulite when I was a size 2! Among more prolific names… Scarlett Johansson, Hilary Swank, Eva Longoria, Drew Barrymore, Evangeline Lily, and Hallie Barry—all petite-to-average-sized women—have cellulite. Do you think that stops them from rocking summer wear? Heck no!
#4 The dreaded bikini. Bikini season is a stressful time for most females: the quick transition from spring jackets to summer midriff isn’t always that easy to make, especially when society makes you feel like you shouldn’t be following fashion trends because of your dress size. Never has this been truer than in the case of the Bikini. [Ready to brave the bikini? Check out: At-home bikini waxing – Tips and tricks for first-timers]
Many plus-size women feel as though they have no business wearing a one-piece swimsuit, let alone a bikini! Sadly, many wear cover-ups on the beach, or enter the water in oversized t-shirts to cover up their rocking bikini bodies.
#5 Other summer fashions. As a plus-size fashionista, you may start to feel like summer styles are against you. For example, when the 1970s and 80s fashion choices were revived, with bright colors and high-waisted shorts, perfect for tucking in and smoothing out any bumps and bits, you probably thought, “Ding, ding, ding! A win for all!” But then came the dreaded midriff-bearing, teeny-tiny, but oh-so-stylish crop tops. We’ve raised our waist lengths… only to pull our shirts up higher.
Shorts are another enemy for plus-size summer girls. Unlike plus-size men, women are judged much more harshly for their summer clothes. If a plus-size woman wears capris, a bathing suit cover up, or a long shirt, it’s because she’s “fat” and “ashamed,” but if she wears crop-tops, skater-skirts, short-shorts, or a bikini, she’ll be ridiculed for showing too much skin! [Read: How to look sexy without trying to look sexy]
How to demonstrate plus-size body confidence this summer
Easier said than done, right? The fact is, you should be enjoying summer weather, relaxing at the beach, hanging out with your friends, and embracing your body. Here are several ways you can start to feel more confident about your body this summer.
#1 Decide that enough is enough. There has to come a point in your life when you say, “Enough is enough!” Your body is sexy and fabulous, and the sooner you realize that, the happier you’ll become. Life is too short to be ashamed of your body, or to spend another day not enjoying all of the perks that come with confidence. Don’t spend another day at the beach, wishing you were a size 0, or that you had the confidence of the bikini-wearing plus-size girl with her friends. Love the skin you’re in.
#2 Choose figure flattering, confidence-boosting clothes. One way to help overcome your fear of summer fashion is to buy the right clothes for your body. Many stylists categorize bodies in the following ways: stick straight, apple shaped, pear shaped, or hourglass shaped—and, fortunately, there’s a figure-flattering style for everyone! [Try: 10 subtle body language moves to appear more confident]
If you aren’t a fan of your hips, don’t avoid wearing crop-tops or skirts altogether—just find the right style that works for you. High-waisted shorts and skirts are a great way to tuck in your troubled spots, while embracing summer fashion trends. Ruched bikini tops and bottoms give you a great shape, while twisted bandeau-style tops draw the eye to your curvy assets.
It’s not about what you wear, it’s about how you wear it, so choose figure-flattering pieces, and always walk with your head held high.
#3 Accessorize. There is something sickly satisfying about completing your outfit with the perfect hair, makeup, and accessories. When I was plus-sized, I foolishly decided that my body wasn’t gorgeous, so why should the rest of me be? I didn’t do my hair and I didn’t dress up, because I thought I didn’t deserve to be looked at. This all changed when I got into makeup: suddenly I wanted to dress up and be pretty, and I didn’t care what anyone else thought about it.
If you’re still struggling to accept and embrace your body, make sure you are doing something that makes you happy with your appearance. Curl and tease your hair, have fun and experiment with your makeup, or buy accessories that make you feel flashy and trendy. Do something that makes you look in the mirror and smile. [Check out: How to increase your sex appeal effortlessly]
#4 Surround yourself with positivity. As Kelly Clarkson once stated in a body-positivity interview, just because this is how your body is now doesn’t mean it always will be. If your goal is to shed X amount of weight, or to eat healthier, or to start running—good for you! Embrace that goal, but don’t forget to love yourself in the meantime. Just because your body isn’t where you want it to be doesn’t mean it isn’t still gorgeous.
It’s important to surround yourself with positive people, and remove those who aren’t. Being surrounded by people who love you, support you, and make you feel good and confident about who you are and what you look like will make your life infinitely easier. Remember: once you start to love yourself and embrace your body for what it is, others will do the same.
Your body is beautiful the way it is, and while you may feel uncomfortable showing off your new-found confidence in a trendy, hot bikini, remember that you’re setting an example for all of the other girls at the beach who look at your gorgeous bod and think, “Why am I not wearing that?” So, walk with your head high, rock some plus-size confidence, and enjoy your summer in style!
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