Even if you’ve never struggled with an eating disorder, I guarantee you’ve had at least one negative experience while swimsuit shopping.
The dressing rooms are tiny. The curtains don’t close all the way. The plastic things on the bottoms feel disgusting. You want to come out to see yourself in the light, but like HELL NO are you walking out of that room onto the sales floor with your legs exposed, let alone your stomach.
If you’re someone who has struggled with an eating disorder, this exercise is even harder. Standing in a fitting room in a bathing suit presents you with a free opportunity to stare at yourself, which for someone in recovery, often means a free opportunity to dissect every part of yourself you hate.
Instead of seeing whether the bikini top’s cups fit, you stare at the fat overflowing under your armpits. Rather than focusing on whether the bottom offers enough coverage, you’re focused on how it would look if your ass was 30% smaller. The idea of the “perfect fit” doesn’t exist, because you’re the problem—not the suit.
I am not fully recovered and I do not like to go bathing suit shopping. Instead, I prefer a Gen-Z approach: order 2342 bathing suits online, try on in the comfort of my home, and return what doesn’t work. This tactic has been the only way I’ve conquered my swimsuit shopping fears over the past several years. And a week out from embarking on a birthday trip to Jamaica, I can confidently say, I have not one, not two, but FIVE swim brands that didn’t make me cry while trying on their suits.
Below, the five eating disorder-safe swim brands I’ll be taking on vacation.