Ever since I hit puberty, bathing suit shopping has been a daunting ordeal. I remember the first time I went hunting through Target's swim section in high school, unable to fit my curvy body into any of the beautifully patterned tops or bottoms, even the largest sizes.
Retailers have come a long way since then. But finding a stylish suit that fits properly is still a major feat. So when Sports Illustrated announced they were partnering with Raj Swim to create a line of fun suits up to size 24, I was skeptical but intrigued. Sure, curvy women modeled some of the pieces in the press photos—but how would the suits look on non-models?
To test the actual wearability of the SI Swimsuit line (which will be available early next year), we recruited a few volunteers. In the video above, seven real women (including me!) try on an array of styles and sizes, and share how they really feel about the suits.
The morning of the shoot, I was handed a high-cut metallic one-piece with low back and a V-shaped neckline. My first thought: This is going to look ridiculous. But I'm a true believer that the best way to feel confident is to act confident, so I went ahead and slipped it on.
When I looked in the mirror, I was pleasantly surprised: The high-cut legs were flattering, and the low-cut neckline showed off my curves without feeling over the top. The straps and overall fit could have been tighter, but I am a size 12 and I was wearing a size 16 (we only had select sample sizes to try). My correct size would've likely been perfect.
When I entered the studio, the crew echoed my initial reaction. "You look so good!" our senior video producer said. I felt good, too, and didn't hesitate when it was time to step in front of the camera. Had the suit been ill-fitting and garish like many of the swimsuits I've worn in the past, I wouldn't have had nearly as much fun on set.
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Watching the other women model their suits, I have to say I was really impressed by the variety in the SI collection, from sleek and sporty one-pieces to flirty bikinis. I hope more size-inclusive swim lines will follow, so women who aren't a size 2 can have an easier time finding on-trend styles.
Dating back to my teen years I've always been aware of how different my body is compared to other women. In my twenties, I've come to embrace my body, and simply enjoy my time at the beach or the pool. But wearing a suit I love makes that much easier to do.