The Beach is a Bitch

Let me first say, that I hate the beach. I always have. When I was little I would cry if sand got stuck to my feet. I’d make my mom fill up my sand bucket with water and rinse off my feet on the beach blanket, and then dry them, so that I could walk in the sand without having it coated on my feet like two little sand cutlets. That’s not the only thing. I’m pale. VERY pale. Yes, I can get tan (I AM half Italian) but it takes hours of laying out, nursing a sunburn, putting in the time, and I just don’t care for it. Four hours at the beach and I’m a well done Maine lobster. Throughout my life I’ve forced myself to endure the beach. Friends have always seemed to like it, why not me? So I would go. And I would sit there and suffer. The sand. The heat. The stupid seagulls. Body issues aside, the beach was just not the place for me.

Recently I’ve made peace with my hatred of the beach, and I’ve made the decision that I will never force myself to go ever again. Sure, if I’m on vacation in Bermuda I’ll take a stroll down the white sandy beach, but somehow vacation beaches are a bit different than Robert Moses.

Maybe because the water is clean. Maybe its because I’d just paid $3000 to be there. Or maybe its because I’m completely surrounded my strangers and I’m more apt to disrobe and reveal the cellulite that is my reality to a cooperative of strangers.

Anyhow, I do love swimming (in a pool) so per a suggestion from the lovely Mici, I’m dedicating this installment of the blog to…

What to wear to the beach (or pool if you’re me) when you hate your body.

Hate might be a strong word, but there are some parts of me that I know that I will never feel comfortable putting on public display. This area involves my body from the belly button and below. That being said, I don’t really own any “beach” gear, per-se. I have one Jcrew bathing suit bottom – in black – that I alternate with 4 bathing suit tops from Jcrew – all in black, save for one in green, below:

What I do own are some beach-worthy accessories that I’d like to share with you. I’ve sprawled them out on my super special Hannah Montana beach towel and taken some photos:

Ah, my little pride and joys… the Coach wristlets. I always tote these around when I go on a cruise so that I can keep necessities with me if and when I’m strolling down the beach, and not have to worry about a tan line on my shoulder.

My lone beach bag, which my friend Jenn gave me for my birthday about 5 years ago, from Jcrew. Mima seems to want to eat it. It’s great b/c it expands on the sides if I need more space. Plus its cute seahorses.

You have to have the appropriate eyewear for sunshine activities! My two favorite pairs, both Coach.

These are flipflops, from Bandolino, that look fancy, but they’re faux leather, so I can wash them off with water if they get dirty.

Although I’m not thrilled with my current body, I just can’t seem to make that mental transition to a one piece suit. It feels like an admission of defeat – an admission that I’m too old to show my belly to the world. Well, world, my belly might not be as flat as it was 6 years ago, but, goddammit, it still needs to get tan along with the rest of me! Here are some suits that I really enjoy – they are all two pieces. I find that a tankini is a nice alternative to a standard bikini. When I’m walking around it covers my belly jiggle, but when I’m laying down, I can still roll it up so that my stomach gets some color.

This bikini, from Loft Beach, isn’t quite so scary b/c the bottom has a lot of coverage, and the top isn’t on the skimpy side either. It comes in many colors, but I’d probably get black b/c I’m boring with regard to swimsuits.

This tankini, from Athleta (a Gap company) looks very flattering b/c of the shirring on the sides. I once had a “going out” shirt similar to this, and it always made my waist look super thin. I imagine this suit would do the same.
This suit is adorable – and cheap – because it is from Target. It also comes in multiple colors, and because the top is a bit bloused it would be great for covering up a little jelly belly. But it still looks sexy, I think. It also has a detachable halter strap.

LOVE this tankini from Loft Beach. The bottom is full coverage; the top isn’t skin tight, and the little keyhole opening gives it a little more visual interest, and draws the eye up and away from my cellulite legs.
With regard to covering up at the beach, I think that we all fall into one of two categories; some of us feel more comfortable exposing our legs and wearing a cover up that masks our top halves; some of us are comfortable revealing our upper body, but conceal our fattie fat legs at all costs. I, personally, fall into the latter category. Even when I was much heavier than I am now, I’ve always been much smaller on top. I’ve been known to wear a bikini top and sweatpants around my house in the summertime. Now I bet you all want to come over and witness this, but the point is, you should choose not only to conceal the part which you dislike, but you should also showoff or highlight the parts of your body that you’re proud of and you’re happy with. Here are some cover-up options that cater to both categories.

This option, from Loft (you’re shocked, I know) I would wear even though I’m in the “cover my leg” category b/c the length on the piece is modest. This cover up would be ideal even if you didn’t feel like taking it off at the beach – its strapless and short enough that you would still get some lovely color. It might also be nice to wear to a BBQ or pool party because you wouldn’t have to worry about pesky tan lines.

This kimono tunic, from Athleta, is a great sophisticated option.
I imagine wearing this cover up dress, from Joolay, on a cruise excursion in the Dominican Republic.

This classic terry cover-up, from Victoria’s Secret, is airy and comfortable.

This tee shirt style cover up dress, from Athleta, is a cute twist on the old standard.

Now, I’ve mentioned that I’m more apt to show off my upper body. My go-to classic top for the beach (the 1 time every 8 years that I go) is this Gap tank, which I own in about 589 colors.
I’d throw this Old Navy terry skirt, which isn’t terribly short, over my bathing suit and probably leave it on all day, because no one needs to see under there.

You might think I’m crazy, but I own these pants, from Mandee, in Olive green. Granted, I don’t tie them at the bottom like the jerk in this photo. I actually pulled the ties out of them, and they’re a nice, wide leg, linen capri. Comfortable and breathable for throwing on when you’re going to the beach or the pool.

Gauze beach pants from Target. If you get these, you can blend in with sand.

Now, going to the beach doesn’t mean you have to forget about accessorizing. The most important thing to think of when choosing accessories for the beach is durability. They’re going to get sandy… they might get wet. Don’t bring your $358 Coach signature bag to the beach and cry when a jelly fish poops in it. It happens. I can’t tell you how much jelly fish poop I’ve encountered throughout the years. I’m trying to save you the trouble. You have to balance cute and functional.
These flip flops, from Jcrew, are adorable, however, they are rubber and washable! If they get sandy, and they will because, well, a beach is made of sand, you can rinse them right off. Please don’t wear cloth flip flops to the beach! They’ll never be the same again, I promise you!
These are another cute option, from Forever 21. Yes, they are a little fancier than the standard flip, but even if they get ruined, they’re like $3 b/c they’re from Forever 21.

You’re going to need something to carry all of your stuff in, for example water, sunscreen money, and a 1983 ghost busters walkman. A big tote is a great option, b/c you can throw extra food, towels, etc in it.

This tote, from Anthropologie, is partially canvas, with leather trim.

Ok, so this bag, from Kate Spade, I probably wouldn’t wear to the beach, because its pretty pricey, but if I were rich and money was no object, you’d see me planting this little number right in the sand next to me, b/c it is just adorable.

You may want to leave your blanket and go for a walk down the beach. You don’t want to leave your cash and your cell phone on the blanket! This wristlet, from Coach, is patent, so if water hits it, it won’t be the end of the world. You can wipe it right off! It comes in some really cute colors for summer, too, including this to DIE for kelly green.

I’ve always been a big hat person. This year, there are many cute ones out there. This one, from Anthropologie, I probably have to own sometime soon.

This hat, from Jcrew, is very glamorous. I’d wear this while laying by the pool in a white bikini and dark Jackie O glasses at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. And you know I’m constantly at the Beverly Wilshire.

These sunglasses, from Ray-Ban, I love, b/c they remind me of that episode of Head of the Class where they sang “The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades” and they all wear Ray-Bans.

Love the summery color of these glasses, from Coach.

Gotta wear some beach-themed earrings! From Betsy Johnson.

So, in spite of my distaste for the beach, not having anything to wear is certainly not one of the reasons for my hatred. Pool party anyone??

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