Swimsuit Shopping for Moms in LA

By Carolyn Richardson

family fun magazine

Jessica Lavoie supports SwimsuitsforAll’s #MySwimBody Campaign by posting a picture of her and her son. Image Courtesy @jess_lavoie on Instagram

It’s officially summer and the need for a swimsuit can no longer be ignored. Whether it’s an anniversary trip, beach day with the kids or a girls-only retreat, you may want to wear something new in the water. But for some Moms, the challenge of swimsuit shopping is one we’d rather avoid. Whether you struggle to find the right fit for your post-baby body or your focus on function has shortchanged your sense of style, check out this advice from swimwear experts and get some swim-spiration to get into a swimsuit you love this season.

Actress and YouTube Vlogger Lonyé Perrine, mom of two boys, shares why she struggles to find swimwear she loves. “You say to yourself, let me just get one at Target because I have to pick up sunscreen for the kids. You become an afterthought instead of being proactive about yourself as well,” she explains. The result: lack of shopping selection and ill-fitting swimwear. Perrine and her family are vacationing on Maui – where she honeymooned 12 years ago – this summer, so it’s a big deal for her to find a swimsuit that pops. “My first thought about choosing a swimsuit is being secure, making sure the kids don’t pull something out,” she says. “But I also want to be sexy.” Perrine and I went to Canyon Beachwear at West LA’s Westside Pavilion to search for a suit that fit her body and also her style.

Try On Everything

“The biggest complaint from moms is that they don’t want to look old,” says  Rhonda Lewinson, who has worked for 18 years at Canyon Beachwear. “They still want to look cute and young, and of course, cover.” Her tip for moms is to try on everything. “What’s most important is to consider what you like, what you want and your body type,” Lewinson says. “We go way into the larger busts for breastfeeding moms, we carry D, DD, E, F, G cups. We have higher-waisted bottoms, fuller in the tush … you name it. Everything fits differently, so it’s up to the customer.” The store has sizes from XS to plus-size and has a dressing room with a chalkboard easel to help keep kiddos occupied. Despite loving The Paddle, a wetsuit-inspired long-sleeved one-piece swimsuit by Body Glove, Perrine settled on a pink monokini with push-up support and a tie-back that creates a more secure fit. “I love the color and you can’t even see my C-section scar, but it’s still sexy,” she says.

family fun magazine

Lonyé Perrine models a high neck tankini, a favorite for Moms with smaller busts or those looking for a little more security up top. Image Courtesy Carolyn Richardson

Consider Cup Size

We also visited Creative Woman: The Wizard of Bras in Monrovia. They offer cup-sized swimwear up to size J, separates and plus-size options. Fit is so important to them that they feature a comic strip called “Bra Fitting School” on their website that offers a full explanation of how to get the right fit for your bra. Founder Bonnie Kaufman says one problem with swimwear is that one-piece suits are made to fit women of average height. “The average height is about 5’5,” so if you’re shorter than this or taller than this, you have different fitting challenges,” she says. Most swimwear is also fitted for an average cup size. “If it doesn’t have a cup-size on the tag, it’s a size B,” says Kaufman, “so people end up buying up a size or down a size to get the torso length, but then you have a cup issue.”

Kaufman says the easiest swimsuit style to fit is a banded blouson tankini, which has a loose fit in the shirt and bands at the top and bottom, with built-in cups, a design usually seen in a family fun magazine. She says the tie at the bottom allows for adjustments for height, and the built-in cups ensure the right fit up top. If you have a full cup size and want a bikini top, she advises choosing tie backs over hooked closures. Ties can be secured as tightly as possible for support, without sacrificing cup fit. Kaufman also warns breastfeeding moms against choosing suits with underwires. “If the suit has a wire, you don’t want to wear too small a cup because it can cut-off milk flow,” she says.

Go Virtual If You’re Shy

If you’re still on the fence about going swimsuit shopping in a store that doesn’t carry diapers and deodorant, consider going virtual. Both Canyon Beachwear and Wizard of Bras inventory can be purchased online.

If you’re insecure about your body after baby and not wearing a swimsuit for that reason alone, Swimsuitsforall.com is making waves to get you back in a bathing suit. The online retailer is asking women to flaunt their swimsuits on Instagram with the hashtag #MySwimBody. The site serves sizes 10 and up and is encouraging healthy body image with plus-size models posting pictures of themselves in swimwear. The site features some unique styles you might not find in stores. Among them is the Gabi Fresh collection recently featured on the daytime talk show “The Real.” “Swimwear options were kind of the last frontier [for plus-size women],” says Fresh. “They were so matronly, a lot of skirted suits. For those of us who are more confident and who do want to show off our bodies, there were so few things out there. I’m so honored to have helped to start the movement to see plus-size girls in bikinis.”

Consider Quality and Care

Once you’ve chosen the perfect swimsuit for you, remember to take good care of it. “I think it is even more important to have a good swimsuit, after you have kids. If you take care of it well, a great swimsuit should last two years,” says Marysia Reeves, founder of high fashion swimwear line Marysia Swim, whose designs are sold at Everything But Water in Brentwood, Ten Over Six on Melrose, Ron Herman, and Elyse Walker in Pacific Palisades. SwimsuitsforAll.com shared the following tip to clean your swimwear:

  • Hand wash with mild soap
  • Roll suit in towel
  • Squeeze out excess water
  • Dry flat
  • Avoid washers & dryers

Because chemicals found in pools can cause your swimsuit to deteriorate faster, they offer a collection of chlorine-resistant swimwear that can withstand exposure to chlorine longer than most suits. So, if you have a pool at home or you’re a frequent pool-goer, the chlorine resistant option is a consideration.

Start shopping, and we’ll see you by the pool.

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