Hi, I’m Mary, and this is my column no one asked for about things I like!
A month ago, I went on a trip to Mexico with my sister. We had a great time: we ate tons of tacos and (deep fried!) quesadillas, wandered around Mexico City until we collapsed (according to my phone, we walked 40 miles in four days), read on the beach in Tulum and went to bed by 10 every night. In other words, it was perfect vacation.
Tulum was beautiful but, like all resort towns, strange. It’s very remote — there’s a small town and some ruins, but aside from that, it’s just one beachfront hotel after another. There wasn’t much to do but sit and relax, especially because there was too much seaweed to go in the water, which was fine by me because sitting and relaxing was exactly the point.
We spent two and a half days lying in the sun (we both got burned because it was so hot that we sweat off all our sunscreen. Whoops.) or under a cabana while drinking tropical drinks, eating fish tacos and reading. In case you were wondering, I plowed through The Nest, devoured The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo in a day, then had to resort to downloading a book on my phone. I took the opportunity to read The Mars Room, which I knew I wouldn’t otherwise read until it comes out in paperback (hardcover books are too heavy for my tiny arms JK). I loved it and cannot recommend it highly enough even though I hate reading on my phone more than just about anything.
Enough about how literary I am. We were staying at a small hotel, so we saw the same handful of people every day, and I often found my eyes straying from the page and observing our neighbors on the beach. There was one couple I noticed immediately, not because they were young and attractive (though they were), but because she had the best swimsuits.
Finding the perfect swimsuit has been a lifelong quest for me, one I know I’ll never complete because the real problem is my body, or rather, my issues with my body. While I’m more comfortable with my physique now than I’ve ever been (the aging process isn’t so bad after all because with it comes further acceptance of ones flaws), I read too many women’s magazines as a teenager to stop thinking of certain parts as “problem areas.”
A few years ago, I realized covering up the parts of my body I’m insecure about was probably counter-productive, so I started wearing, well, skankier swimsuits. I recently bought this, which I love, even though I’m still getting used to the idea that half my ass is supposed to be hanging out. I also bought these bikini bottoms to go with my favorite top, because I like having a high-waisted option on days when I feel bloated. I like the bottoms, but they hit low on the leg, which I fear makes my already short, thick legs look even stumpier (body acceptance is a never-ending process and clearly I’m still working on it).
So when I saw this woman on the beach in Tulum wearing a bikini with high-waisted, high-leg bottoms, I lost my shit. I spent the next day using the spotty wifi to try to figure out where her swimsuit was from. I suppose I could have just asked her, but at our little hotel, there seemed to be an unspoken understanding that everybody was on their own private vacation, that we should not ruin that illusion by acknowledging each other’s presence in any way whatsoever. Plus, I had a lot of time on my hands, and there’s nothing I love more than a shopping mission.
I assumed her bikini was expensive, so I checked out all the designer brands. I found nothing. When, the next day, she showed up at the beach wearing this (and looking great!), I finally figured out that her swimwear was from Forever fucking 21!!! I had never purchased anything from Forever 21 and am in no position to be shopping, but when I saw how incredibly cheap these flattering swimsuits were, I knew I’d have to order one. Of course I ended up ordering two (so I could get free shipping!): the fruit print one-piece linked to above and this, with the matching top. I wasn’t sure which size to get because Forever 21 is a store for teenagers and I am…not a teenager. Since I often make the mistake of ordering swimsuits, bottoms especially, a size too big (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to scramble to pull up my bottoms after being hit by a wave before anyone’s had a chance to examine my bikini wax), so I took a chance and ordered my usual size.
The one-piece, unfortunately, didn’t work. It’s just a little too short in the torso, which is surprising because I’m short, so if it isn’t long enough for me, I don’t know how it could cover anyone’s titties. The bikini, however, fits perfectly. The high-waist, high-leg bottoms are so flattering, and while bandeau isn’t my ideal shape, the top looks great and it’s always good to have a strapless option in the mix so you can change up your tan lines.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt so comfortable in a bikini because I know this is the most flattering shape I could possibly wear. I love a high-waist, it makes me feel secure, and the high-leg makes my short legs look much longer. (Of course, I don’t feel confident to take a photo of myself in a bikini and post it on the internet, so if you thought I was going to include a picture of myself in the swimsuit I’m raving about, you overestimated me.) At this point, I’ve checked out basically every swimwear site, and I can’t find a high-waisted, high-leg bottom from any other brand. The specific bikini I saw the woman wearing on the beach isn’t available — it must be from a previous year — but Forever 21 has the style in a variety of prints and colors, and you better believe I’ll be checking back frequently to see if they release it in any new prints.
These days, it’s not uncommon for a swimsuit to cost hundreds of dollars, but my Forever 21 bikini only cost about $30 — total, and the quality is good, comparable to J. Crew’s, which is where I usually buy swimsuits. There’s just one thing to be careful of: all Forever 21 swimwear is final sale, at least according to the cashier who wouldn’t let me return the one-piece. They don’t state this explicitly on the site, which is a scam, but oh well — I only wasted $20, and I plan to sell the unworn suit on Poshmark to make a little money back (hit me up if you’re short and interested!) so I have no regrets.
The next time you’re considering dropping a bunch of money on a swimsuit, check out Forever 21 first. Even if you haven’t been 21 in a very long time, they might have something that’ll make you look hot as hell and cost so little money that you’re able to buy the expensive suit too, if you still want it. Either way remember: there’s no such thing as a problem area and no matter what you wear on the beach, as long as you’re comfortable, you’ll look great. I know recognizing that is easier said than done, but we have to keep trying, right?
So see you on the beach, ladies! I hope you’re all looking forward to seeing my full pelvic bones and half my ass! Oh, and if you do embrace the high-leg style this summer, you should probably read last week’s column first…
As always, I’d like to clarify that this is NOT a sponsored post. I received nothing for it and am pretty sure no one cares about my new swimwear obsession. Still, if anyone is reading and ever wants to give me literally anything for free, Forever 21 high-waisted, high-leg bikini or not, I WILL TAKE IT!!!!!!
Anyway, I hope this was helpful. I’ll be back with more unsolicited recommendations soon!