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The Bikini (Or Not) Chronicles: We Asked, You Answered

NextTribe bikinis for women over 50

After the blowback from our recent swimsuit story (the too-young models! the stick-thin bodies!), NextTribe did a deep dive into the types of swimsuits that you, dear reader, really love and the results of our survey are in. Here we calculate the figures — ahem, percentages.

Most of you do not wear bikinis, in fact only 16 percent don this maximum sun-exposing silhouette. The suit of choice is a tankini, favored by 27.45 percent, closely followed by a one-piece at almost 25 percent.  A smaller percentage opted for more coverage, in the form of either swim shorts and tank top, swim skirt and top or swim dresses.

The last time our responders wore a bikini? Twenty percent said they never had. Sixteen percent gave up on bikinis in their 40s while 14 percent made it one more decade before throwing down the bikini white flag.

But the real surprise (besides the scant one percent who don’t put on a swimsuit at all!) was that so many respondents, almost half at 44 percent, believe their bodies to be bikini-busters — unfit to show off the swim style anywhere, anytime. Bikinis are too revealing, said 22 percent of you; the modesty factor arose from thinking one was too fat in the tummy, too big in the bust or with too much wrinkly, drooping skin. The numbers show that as women, we really are hard on ourselves. We need to stop beating up on our bodies!

Many of you commented that women should be free to make their own swim choices. But frankly, this body-positivity-focused fashion editor felt some of the responses (excerpts provided below) struck a rather judgmental body- and age-shaming note (towards oneself as well as others) and I’m hoping for all our sakes we can band together to support each other as we continue on this remarkable journey of aging boldly. I say, go bold, go old. Go bikini!

“In my travels, I see women in other countries wearing bikinis and suits that American women do not feel they can wear. I think the women in other countries have the right idea.”

“I feel bikinis are too much information, really, on anyone over 45. It just seems exhibitionist and kinda creepy.”

“I don’t like the feeling that I am out in public in my underwear. Thus no skimpy swimwear.”

“It’s always been a struggle to keep things covered up, done with all the tugging and tucking!”

“Wear what makes you comfortable; mentally and physically. Confidence makes us all beautiful.”

“It’s all in your head. There will always be someone that has a better body than you or a worse body. Embrace it.”

“It has taken a lifetime for me to finally throw off what others think I should or should not wear!”

“Wear whatever you feel confident in wearing, and strike a pose!”

“You should wear what you’re comfortable wearing….but some people really shouldn’t be that comfortable.”

–Kimberly Cihlar


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