The truth is, no matter how thin I am, and I’m pretty thin at the moment, I’m not going to look seventeen in a bathing suit anytime again soon. But that’s not a problem for me. I’ve always found those underwire tops that look just like bras a little trashy, and the thong bottom is almost a strip of insanity no matter what shape you’re in.
The great thing about bathing attire is that there are so many ways to go about creating it, depending on your shape and your outlook. Something that feels very me, a look I’ve come up with variations on season after season, is the boy-brief bottom with a tight striped (or solid black) T-shirt top. It’s got a kind of 1920s quality to it, which to me is much sexier than any thong, and stretchy boy briefs make your butt look really cute, especially if it’s a little on the big side, which is the case for many Italian girls and certainly many Italian-Americans. I also like a full-blown sort of scuba look, with long, tight, black, thigh-long leggings and a racer-back top.
I wore that ensemble out to a Riverhead, Long Island, beach many years back when I was still only in my twenties, just because I liked the look . I got laughed at, but that only made it more special for me. I was so happy with the feel of the get-up that the following year I sought out a one-piece version, and I found it in the athletic department at Kmart. It was in stretchy gray cotton that came down to the knees, with a halter tie around the neck and a low back. I wish I could find it again. This type of thing, I’ve discovered, looks especially excellent, in a sort of demented Italian Riviera (not Riverhead) kind of way, combined with Marcello Mastroianni sunglasses, a thick, black headband, and large, gold hoop earrings. Updated clown attire (see the photo above), or a variation on an 1800s bloomers look, can also be cute, if you have the guts to pull it off. At the other end of the spectrum, a full-on goth look can be very attractive at any age, for instance a baggy scull tee over a tie bikini bottom, high-tops, lots of hardware, and lots of sunblock.
The thing about bathing suits is that you should wear whatever you damned please, and not rely solely on what J. Crew or Victoria’s Secret is offering up this year. But you’ve got to ultimately, as they say, own it.