PHOTOGRAPHER John Michaels
MODEL Katherine McLeod
What has happened to the one-piece bathing suit? It seems to have disappeared from pool sides, sea shores, and swimsuit racks around the world. While there was a time when it epitomized chic, it's now only reserved for a select few soccer moms, plus-size women, or seniors who would rather not show everything off. Are these the only women with any modesty left?
Recently, I decided it was time to join the ranks of the modest few, though modesty had little to do with it. The reasoning behind my decision? If everyone else was going to wear bikinis, then a one-piece had to be most stylish the way to go. Don't get me wrong, I've been known to don an itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny, but after seeing women, their babies, their mothers, and their mother's mothers wearing skimpy bikinis I came to the conclusion that this trend has run its course.
There was a time when girls around age 12 understood that wearing a bikini signified their passage into teen-dom. But that time is no longer. Back then, little girls ran around in a one-piece suit or just bottoms dreaming about the day their mothers would allow them to wear bikinis. Now, there seems to be no age requirements, as tots happily strap on flappy little triangle tops that never seem to stay in place for the obvious lack of anchorage.
The same goes for women. Ladies used to draw a line somewhere around age 25 that signified their ascension into Womanhood. Once out of their early twenties, they decided that it was much more dignified to wear a one-piece suit. Dignity? Who needs that? We've got freedom! Where has it gotten us? Well, for one thing, women are left in a rather awkward position when ordering a drink at the poolside bar with everything just hanging out. If that woman is not you, then you're most likely staring at her.
In this respect, the one-piece is the true liberator. You don't have to worry if anything is falling out, or if anyone has noticed the way your tummy wobbles when you walk. You can relax and be the image of self confidence every woman should be when showing their figure off. And let's face it, wearing a one piece is not exactly the same thing as wearing a curtain. When asked, men like ladies in bikinis, one-pieces, nude, whatever. Most guys aren't that picky. The female figure is sexy however you want to display it.
But aside from the freedom from self-consciousness, the one-piece offers several other advantages: for a lady who is more well-endowed the physical support that many one-piece suits have to offer is unmatchable in a bikini top. Some one-piece suits come engineered with additional structure built in to help avoid that unflattering chest flattening, and to help support our feminine form. Secondly, many one-piece suits present a woman's figure as athletic even when she is not so inclined. The one-piece is still the silhouette of choice for Olympians and ballerinas alike. That reference to health and fitness is one most women should love when putting on a bathing suit.
Then there is allure. Admittedly, most women want to draw eyes when they put on a swimsuit. But in a sea of bikinis and belly buttons, there are very few women who actually can draw any attention without making a spectacle of themselves. However, the one-piece bathing suit strikingly stands out amongst all of the bikinis with its bold, block silhouette. It creates mystery, leaving much to a viewer's imagination. I'd rather leave people wishing to see more than begging to see less.
Here's where many of my readers might say, "But I'm wishing for more..." sun, that is. The biggest argument most women have with the one-piece is the tan line. I'm personally too fair to bother with tanning, slathering on 30+ sunblock in order to avoid skin damage, wrinkling, and cancer. But for those ladies who do tan, I would suggest trading out multiple suits with different neck and back lines to avoid the same tan line repeatedly. Same rule applies for your bikinis, and you could even interchange your bikinis and one-piece suits to make sure that you get that even tan you're working towards.
I hope this has gotten some of you ladies out there to reconsider the one-piece swimsuit as an option. Please let me know if any of you still wear a one-piece. I'd be interested to hear about any additional benefits that I've overlooked.