Last year when October rolled around I realized that I had missed the optimal time to buy bathing suits for our first trip to Hawaii. I only had two old bikinis from Target tucked away in my dresser and the elastic in one of them had died since I’d last worn it. That left me with exactly one wearable bathing suit which wasn’t enough. My weight was so variable in 2010 that I probably wanted to lose a few more pounds before I went shopping, but that didn’t happen during the summer months. So when I was finally prepared to try on bikinis without crying it was way too late in the year for me to have a lot of options. But any suits that were left in the store should be like 50% off, right? My first stop was a store at South Coast Plaza called Everything But Water which I discovered sold their bathing suits at the same inflated prices all year ‘round. It was ridiculous, but I was desperate so I tried on anything that I didn’t hate. I ended up buying two tops (one black and the other black and white) and two bottoms (both black), even though only one of each really fit correctly, and the cost was astronomical. I really needed them for our trip, though, so I handed the unhelpful sales girl my credit card. I was feeling very unsatisfied as I drove home from the mall which led to a last minute decision to go to a little clothing shop on Main Street in Seal Beach called Endless Summer where I used to shop when I was an intern. I knew they had a wall full of suits every summer so I was hoping they’d still have a decent selection in October. I was in luck! While their stock was definitely depleted that late in the year I was able to get tops and bottoms for $15 apiece. That was music to my ears. I must have tried on a bikinis – everything in my size that I thought was even a remote possibility (no string tops, thank you very much). While nothing was perfect I ended up buying two matching sets and one extra bottom that I could wear with the black top from Everything But Water. So I took four bikinis with me to Hawaii last year, but I only ended up wearing two of them because the Big Island doesn’t have that many beaches. Oh well. When we got home I stuffed them into a drawer and pretty much forgot about them. Fast forward to summer 2011. Another trip to Hawaii was quickly approaching and once again I was trying to lose a few pounds before going bathing suit shopping. Ladies, this is never a good idea. From my personal experience, no matter how you think you look there are going to be women on the beach who look better than you and a whole lot more that look worse than you. So suck it up (and suck it in) and go buy those bikinis when the stores are practically bursting with them! But anyway, I never was brave enough to go on that shopping trip this year so when it came time to pack my suitcase for Maui I was just hoping that the elastic hadn’t died in any of last year’s purchases. Luckily it hadn’t so I threw the three bikinis I liked the most (and took the ones I hated to Goodwill) and headed to Hawaii. Turns out those bargain bin bathing suits worked great! I wore my old Target bikini on our first snorkeling trip last Saturday, but I realized how out of date it was when I saw what the other women were wearing. Side ties on the bikini bottom used to be popular, but now they are so 2007! One of my other bikinis was the black top from Everything But Water and a cheap black and white polka dot string bottom from Endless Summer which turned out to be a really good combination. As much as I’d like to cover up my less than stellar physique when I’m on the beach, I’ve discovered that smaller bikini bottoms look best on my body type. The polka dotted bottom is very small, but actually more flattering that something like boy shorts. So don’t be afraid to show a little extra skin, ladies! Sometimes it just looks better. My last bikini was a matching Billabong set from Endless Summer. The top and bottom of the suit are the same size, but my body’s top and bottom are not – only the bikini bottom really fits and the top is too small. It’s not vulgar or anything so I still wear it, but I would have liked to find the matching top in a larger size. And this would have been possible if I’d shopped for bathing suits in the summer, but I have to live with the results of my procrastination. (On a side note, isn’t it great how they sell bikini tops and bottoms separately these days? I think it’s of the best innovations in retail. I can’t be the only person who needs a larger top and a smaller bottom.) Overall I’m very happy with the results of my bargain bin bathing suits. They did the job and didn’t break the bank, but I wouldn’t recommend anyone else waiting until the last minute like I did! I vowed to Dan that I was going to shop for new bikinis (ones that fit properly) during the appropriate season in 2012. Not that we have any more tropical vacations planned, but it can’t hurt to be prepared. We’ll see if I can keep my promise.
P.S. I just realized that I already told half of this story in a post on 10/27/10. Oh well!