For decades, our culture has forced us into thinking that you must be thin before you step foot on the sand in anything but a one-piece. It’s an unspoken rule. Big girls don’t wear bikinis. For many plus-size women this sad notion has taken all of the fun out of shopping for swimwear. As hard as we try, it is a struggle to feel sexy in the flirty skirted suits, modest full coverage and concealing miracle suits. So, what is a plus-size girl to do when she is sick of accompanying her size two friends to the beach in a frumpy wallpaper-patterned one-piece and has just about had it with the “beach-ready body” stereotypes? The answer is simple. Don’t let others dictate what you wear. As daring as it may seem, rock a bikini!
Most plus-size girls would rather go to war then wear a bikini, but designers are now making it easy to dive into a two-piece. No matter what the shape or size is, every body type is a “bikini body” but it is all about finding the right bikini for your body. The plus-size community is slowly but surely embracing this idea and has affectionately renamed the bikini a “fatkini.” A fatkini is essentially a bikini that was designed specifically with a full figured girl in mind. The fatkini is catching on quick, not only as a new trend but also as an opportunity for plus-size girls to embrace their curves and reveal a suppressed confidence.
This summer, shameful bodies are breaking out of their shells. There is a new babe on the beach and a different kind of diva chilling pool side. She is fearless, striking and designers are targeting that girl. Award winning contemporary plus-size designer Monif Clarke of Monif C. hit the mark with her “Sao Paulo” High-Waisted Plus Size Bikini. Monif encouraged her customers to splurge on one of her two-piece swimsuits in an Essence.com interview. “There are beautiful plus-size women going on vacations with their husbands and girlfriends, going on cruises, and more,” Clarke said. She continued, “It makes me feel great that these women can go out in a swimsuit without a big bulky t-shirt on and still feel comfortable.”
You can make anything look good if you feel good in it and when you feel good about yourself it doesn’t matter what others think. “I can’t tell you how freeing it is to just have fun without worrying about what other people think, said plus-size fashion blogger, Gabi Gregg. Gregg has been an influential leader in the fatkini movement.
In her Fatkini 2012 post on GabiFresh.com, she wore a black and white stripe vintage-inspired bikini from Simplybe and compliments poured in on her blog for days. Some of her readers even called her inspiring. So inspiring, Gregg recently appeared on The Today Show to talk about the new fatkini phenomenon. Although her confidence was applauded, in the same breath she was criticized for promoting obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle. Gregg quickly fired back explaining that she measures her health by her happiness and not by the numbers on the scale. She encouraged a healthy lifestyle by eating correctly and staying active but can’t stress enough how important it is to “be happy in the bodies we have right now.”
In a recent SHAPE magazine survey, a whopping 82 percent of women feel pressured to shape up and slim down for bikini season. 60 percent actually diet for the warm summer season. Why not live in the moment and celebrate our bodies for once. It is so refreshing to see that most designers and clothing companies are expanding their designing minds and creating their very own versions of the fatkini. Lane Bryant, Torrid and Everything But Water are on the list of places you can find the right bikini for your body type. Once you have found the perfect two-piece to suit your body, transform that every day bikini into a golden mome