The Emotional Stages of Buying a Swimsuit

When my editor told me last week if I wanted to go to the beach for work, I was both excited and freaked out. The last time I went to the beach was in college—around four years ago—so a change in scenery is great. However, that also meant I had to buy a new swimsuit.

I’m not someone who’s comfortable with the idea of showing too much skin, even at the beach. And believe me, I went through stages of emotions before going to the mall days after. Here are some of them in hopes of reaching people who can relate to them too.

Stage 1: State of panic

“How much does a good swimsuit cost? How many should I buy? What style suits me?”

This is a normal reaction for me because I’m buying a swimsuit on my own for the first time. I won’t have anyone physically with me to help me decide. But in all seriousness, a quick Google search and Instagram scrolling can help a lot in this stage.

Stage 2: Pre-fitting woes

“How will I know if it fits?!”

Once I’ve figured out the style, the only thing to do is to shop. But there’s a catch: Many stores will forbid swimsuit fitting. I was panicking (again) to my boyfriend about it because it already isn’t easy to buy pants that fit me, what more a swimsuit that I can’t even try on? (Full disclosure: I have wide hips so clothes sizes differ depend on the brand.)

Stage 3: Almost giving up

“This won’t do! [Repeats 10 times]”

Do you know the feeling of dejectedly walking away from a piece or two that you adore? That was me a couple of times when I started shopping. This stage was mostly caused by Stage 2, and being insecure about not knowing what my body will look like in a certain swimsuit. However, I was still determined to find the right one.

Stage 4: Excited choosing

“Hmmm… What colors to get?”

Lucky for me, one department store allowed swimsuit fitting and had a wide selection for women of different body sizes. The only struggle here was digging through racks and deciding if I wanted black, red, or blue swimsuits. (I chose black and red in case you’re wondering.)

Stage 5: Last-minute panic

“What if I don’t look good in it?”

While lining up for the fitting room, I was awashed with self-doubt again. Possible stretch marks, not having a fit and athletic figure—every body issue imaginable. But the only way to know is to wear them once and for all.

Stage 6: Acceptance

“Oooh, this actually looks good!”

All my body image fears started to fade when I tried on both swimsuits. One is a black one-piece and the other is a red two-piece with boy shorts. I realized that the fears and insecurities I had were just the results of my constant panicking for the last few days. I hope that this confidence lasts until the actual beach trip. (Which is this weekend, BTW. Aaaaah!)


Art by Yayie Motos

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Jacqueline Arias: