Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Tale of the Mismatching Bathing Suit

Today's Sunday Styles section was underwhelming--the Modern Love piece was depressing (most are, but this one wasn't as emotionally heartwrenching as the best ones tend to be), the featured wedding had a boring love story, and the rest of the wedding announcements were unremarkable. The only thing that stood out was that the bride in the featured wedding was a bikini designer, which got me to thinking about, duh, bikinis.

As anyone who's gone to the beach with me in the past five years knows, I've been wearing the same mismatching bathing suit for way. too. long. I got the bandeau top at a Tibi sample sale a few years ago. It's a purple floral print that was $20, and I didn't see any matching bottoms in sight but bought it anyway. The bottom half of my, uh, ensemble is a a basic bikini bottom that I found in the sale section at the freestanding Lord & Taylor that divides (at least for me) the town that I grew up in in half. My family moved from that town five years ago, so I've been wearing the bottoms for at least five years.

Every year, when the end of May rolls around, I plan to buy a new bathing suit. I go to a fancy department store or bathing suit boutique and look around only to walk out empty handed and appalled at how overpriced bathing suits are. Eff that, I'd rather put that money to more substantial fabric.

Around this time last year, my friend and I went to the Mara Hoffman sample sale in Nolita. Both of us had long admired Mara Hoffman prints, and at least for me, the only thing resembling employment on my resume was a few (not even--one and a half) unpaid internships, so if I wanted one of her suits, I had to go the sample sale route. We very much were not the only people in New York who heard about the sale, and we spent two hours shuffling between plastic bins of bathing suits and a room full of half-naked women trying them on. I found a suit, the top and bottom didn't match but it would do. As we were waiting to pay, I saw a hidden rack of (DRUMROLL DRUMROLL): patterned pants. They were eccentric and I couldn't imagine life without them, so I examined each pair from where I was standing just as people grocery shop from their place in line at Trader Joe's. I chose one not by pattern but by size because when it comes to eccentric prints, it really doesn't matter which you choose. Point of the story has to do with opportunity cost (I think). I had to give up the bathing suit for the pants because I had no income at the time and I was set to start an underpaid job the next week. I knew I'd wear the pants more, which I have because they are awesome.

So, I spent last summer in my stupid Tibi-Lucky Brand mismatching bathing suit, and I tanned on the Jersey Shore in it last weekend too, so I don't feel good about the odds of a wearing a new bathing suit this summer. It's my signature look. It's so ugly.

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