a peek inside the fishbowl

15 Jan, 2008

Bathing suit search of 2008. A tale of woe.

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

I’ll start from the end of the story.

Here is a pic of the swimsuit I bought this year.

This is good news, right? That I found something that covers all the right bits?


Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I have a new suit, lord knows I needed one, but I am feeling rather meh about it. I like it. I don’t love it.

I write about my quest to buy a bathing suit every year. I can’t help myself. It’s an issue every g.d. year.

I thought this year was going to be different. I can do 45 (45!) girly push-ups. I’m at the gym about five times a week, I run on the elliptical trainer, I lift I sweat I pull I work at my health. This was going to the The Year of Buff. Alas, I look more buff when I’m fully dressed.

My search started yesterday at the Bay, continued to Bikini Village, and then to Winners. It was at Winners that I had a small scale epiphany. I realized that I actually stood a chance at obtaining a swimsuit that didn’t cost me over $100. But nothing at Winners fit.

(As I was telling Mark this part of the story he interjected at this point, and suggested that he should have come along to help. I think he thinks I’m being too hard on myself, that I’m just imagining the fact that I couldn’t find a bathing suit that actually fit.




I continued my search today, but at a different Winners.


Winners, I may have bought my bathing suit from you, and I appreciate the fact that it was marked down to $39.99, but boy, do you suck.

I chose seven bathing suits to bring into the fitting room. The fitting room lady told me I could only go into the change room with six items max. She offered to set one aside in the “hold” area for me.

“But I’m BATHING SUIT SHOPPING,” I said. I was desperate. “Can’t you just let me in with ONE extra? I’m going to have to put all my clothes back on just to come out and get this from you…”

“Oh,” she said. “Just put your coat on!”

Uh, yeah. I’m going to put a coat over an ill-fitting swimsuit, and walk back out into public just so I can get another ill-fitting swimsuit to try on.

She was holding the only one-piece, the one I eventually bought. I figured it was going to be the one I probably ended up with so I switched it out for a two-piece bikini. (YES, that’s exactly how deluded I was.) That was the one I left in the “hold” area.

So there I was, in the change-room, with one one-piece and five two-piece swimsuits. Most were the tankini-top variety. Shivering, pasty, traumatized, I went to take one off the hanger. WHAT THE HELL IS THIS, the two pieces of the bathing suit were connected – nay, STAPLED TOGETHER – by the security tags they put on the clothing to prohibit shoplifting, thereby rendering it impossible to try the TOP and BOTTOMS on at the SAME TIME.

I tried the second set. Same thing. And the third. Same thing. This was not a mistake.

I semi-tried on all of the swimsuits, dressed myself, and brought them back out and dumped them on the fitting room counter.

“Excuse me, but how do you expect people to try on two-piece bathing suits that are stapled together?” I asked.

“Oh,” she said. “I didn’t realize… ”


“… oh, we’re trying to keep them all together.”

I told her that didn’t make any sense. I grabbed the two-piece that I had been forbidden to bring into the change room and tried that one on. It was totally wrong for me. It was going to be the one-piece brown or nothing. So brown it was.

When I was at the cash I mentioned the fact the two-piece swimsuits were all stapled together.

“They do that because they want to keep all them together,” said the girl.

“I realize that, but how am I supposed to try them on?”

“You have to ask the fitting room attendant to remove the security device,” she said. “Then she’ll put it back on when you’re done.” (Being a fitting room attendant during bathing suit season must be the worst job in the world.)

“But it’s really inconvenient. I don’t want to have to ask anyone to take off the tags.”

“They do it because people swap tops from one bathing suit for the bottoms of another. I don’t know why people do that.”

I stared blankly.


At this point I don’t blame Winners so much. I blame the WEINERS out there who take it upon themselves to swap tops and bottoms from two different sets. And I blame the swimsuit manufacturers for not giving normal women like me an opportunity to buy bathing suit separates. You know, like how the bra and underwear folks sell bras and underwear?

To you bathing suit designers I say this: you are living in a dreamworld in which women are a size six on top and a size six on the bottom, but I live in the real world, where the top size and the bottom size might not the same.

Where are the suits for people like me?

Mark suggested I get think about a custom suit. But I shouldn’t have to get a custom suit, you know what I mean?

18 Responses to "Bathing suit search of 2008. A tale of woe."

1 | porter

January 15th, 2008 at 6:41 pm


Oh I know what you mean…I HATE bathing suit shopping (and bra shopping too). Why are they so costly and why don’t they fit well??? WHO do they fit?

2 | Javamom

January 15th, 2008 at 9:14 pm


I had to laugh…stapled together? But I have to admit, customers do DO crap sometimes. My mom’s in retail, at the Bay, and she has customers come in with items from Sears, with SEARS TAGS on them, insisting they got it at the Bay and demanding to return it for cash back. Or, used underwear. YES. USED. I tell you.

But then again…stapled? Attached to one another??


PS You’ll forget all about this while sipping your nice drink on your sunny beach very, very soon!

3 | A

January 15th, 2008 at 10:00 pm


…two words for ya, girl….


The only blasted swimsuit company in the world (ok, that I’ve found) that makes swimsuits that hold up from all the “rear” wear your backside gets from sitting on the edge of the pool all summer AND allows you to buy them in different sizes for the tops and the bottoms. Oh, and the best part? You order ten million, they deliver them to your door, you try them on in your own normal lighting in front of your OWN mirror that doesn’t make you look so bad, and take the 9 million ones you DON’T want back to Sears (yes, your local Sears) and pay no return shipping. I bought my first Faille LE swimsuit 10 years ago and it still looks brand new…ten years of concrete rear wear and all. I now have a lovely collection.


I buy ’em every year.

4 | Renee

January 15th, 2008 at 10:06 pm


oh I’m to late! I just saw a great stack of suits at Costco. Yeah weird place to consider but they didn’t look that bad.

5 | Amy

January 15th, 2008 at 11:12 pm


I don’t know many people who don’t have the top/bottom sizing issue. One piece suits generally fit me top or bottom, not both. However, I got lucky at Sears a couple years ago, Speedo makes suits for normal people, that actually cover everything up and don’t wear out too quickly. In swimwear, it pays to buy the brand names.

I know a guy who likes to return things to Walmart and demand they refund his money, especially if he didn’t buy it there. He seems to find it fun. Having been on the other end, I disagree.

6 | The Veggie Vixen

January 16th, 2008 at 8:25 am


The best bathing suit I ever owned was my maternity one. It was navy blue with small colourful flowers all over it. It fit well and my belly appared to be an accessory not the main attraction. Come to think of it, all my most comfortable clothes were maternity clothes — stretchy waistbands (without looking like a soccer mom), extra material that flowed nicely to cover the belly and behind. *sigh*

7 | bigcitymama

January 16th, 2008 at 9:32 am


I buy all of my two piece (full coverage tankinis now, regular bikinis in my pre-kid days) at J. Crew – they sell the pieces separately!!

8 | Julie

January 16th, 2008 at 9:42 am


I love to shop for bathing suits and unmentionables at Marianne’s at the Westgate Mall on Carling Avenue. True, everything in there is expensive, but the expertise of the staff and the quality of the merchandise is hard to beat. I’ve never walked out empty handed. They seem to know what you will need (even before you do), and outfit you with a robe and personal service (they do bra fittings, etc…). They also sell travel wear all year long.

9 | andrea

January 16th, 2008 at 9:55 am


I should check out Marianne’s, it’s close. And yes, Land’s End…. about a dozen people have recommended L.E to me. Next time I’m in the market for a suit I’ll go that route.


10 | Tiana

January 16th, 2008 at 2:30 pm


I know La Vie En Rose sells their swimsuits as separates…

11 | Mama V

January 17th, 2008 at 10:27 am


Have you tried Forby’s (or Forbies) on Wellington down in your end of the world? My Mother-in-law and best friend swear by it!
As well… I bought separates at Walmart (I know.. ugh…) that you could get the top & bottom separately… worth a try…maybe

12 | Miss Vicky

January 17th, 2008 at 1:37 pm


I’ve bought separates at Sears before. But I think it’s time I invested in a really nice suit… Not for training, which trashes suits, but for those times I want to look nice. I like the sound of a custom suit, I have to say

13 | Contrariwise

January 17th, 2008 at 3:31 pm


Oh crap. Is it that time of year again!?

I’ve given up on bathing suits. When I finally find one I like, I either wear it till it wears out or till I gain weight, whichever happens first.

14 | Marla

January 18th, 2008 at 9:58 am


Land’s End, Land’s End, Land’s End. There are so many there that I can picture you in! (Not in a pervy way…)

15 | andrea

January 18th, 2008 at 10:15 am


I know, I know. Land’s End. I noticed they have tall sizes too. That’s what I really need to ensure proper rump coverage.


16 | Jen_nifer

January 19th, 2008 at 7:11 am


I bought my first Lands’ End swimsuit last year and its awesome. Got it through their clearance site so I paid a reasonable price.

But I don’t think you can return your stuff to Sears in Canada yet. They only started carrying the merchandise less than 6 months ago.

17 | Jen

January 20th, 2008 at 12:26 am


Totally late to the party. Have an awesome time. I’m so jealous. And I’m waving at Jen-nifer because we have the same name. How cool is that!

18 | brooklyn

November 28th, 2012 at 9:37 pm


I have been to this store too many times with a bad result each time! I can’t stand the service I get each time..Chantal is a rude woman that has no customer service skills at all and there is nothing worse than an owner that won’t even meet with a customer that has been done wrong!! I am done with this store…and I am happy to say that with their customer service thus far- they are running themselves into the ground!!! Good luck!!!

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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