Finding The Right Swimsuit

old navy bandeau swimsuitEver since I was a little girl, I’ve love to swim.

But ever since I was a little girl, I’ve struggled with my weight.

There have been few times that I’ve been at ease with my body’s shape and size, and it’s tough to get myself into the pool when I’m feeling self-conscious about the way I look in a swimsuit.

I usually go to the pool with a cover-up, and take it off a nanosecond before I plunge into the water. Water distorts the way objects appear, so if I’m underwater, I can just blame the way my body looks on the water.

Last year, I had lost a significant amount of weight by the time “swimsuit season” came around, but I wasn’t really comfortable in my skin. I had a swimsuit that was very tight the year before, and it fit okay the few times I did swim last year. But this year, that suit is way too big. It was especially prevalent to me in San Diego this week – in and out of the water, it was obvious that my suit was too baggy.

inc purple swimsuitI’ve been searching for a new swimsuit for a few weeks, online and offline. I’ve tried on about 35 suits at Macy’s, Dillards, Target, Old Navy, Walmart, Lane Bryant, Avenue, and a few specialty shops. I’ve fallen in love with a few suits online, but they’re expensive enough that I don’t want to front over $100 for a suit that I haven’t tried on. The suit to the right (with the ruffle) I almost bought at Macy’s this week…but I was a little unsure about it because it showed a little more cleavage than I was comfortable with.

Cleavage and swimsuits are a tough thing, especially when you’re busty. You want a suit that gives your chest good definition without exposing too much. I prefer underwire bras, and would love to get a good underwire swimsuit…but I’ve yet to find one that fits me correctly. If it fits the bust, the rest of the suit is usually too small. If it fits the body, my boobs are either swimming in fabric or smashed into stretchy fabric submission. Halters typically work well for me in the chest, but expose too much of my back.

nicole purple swimsuitAnyway, today I finally found a swimsuit I love. It’s the Old Navy Control Max Bandeau swimsuit in Retro Violet. And it was on sale for $29.95…which is a steal compared to some of the other suits I’ve tried on this season.

If you look at the picture of me, you can see it’s the same suit as the airbrushed model above…but it looks a lot different on a “real” woman.  I originally tried on the suit in XXL, but it is sized pretty generously and was baggy in the butt. It fits better as an XL, even though it’s a little tight. I hope it’s fitting just right next month when I go to Vegas for the WLSFA meet and greet.

Have you gone swimsuit shopping yet this year?

Asking For Fashion Advice On Social Media

black and white dress comparisonFor years, black has been my signature color.

Black shirts. Black shirts. Black jackets. Black jewelry. Black swimsuits. Black everything. It’s slimming and versatile, and makes it really easy to blend into the background.

As I’ve been losing weight, I’ve been wearing a lot of bolder colors. And experimenting with wardrobe choices. While my mind always defaults to black when putting an outfit together, I’ve been trying to branch out and wear some other things.

Next week I’ll be in San Diego at Social Media Marketing World, and part of the conference involves an evening cruise. I’ve been looking for a cute dress for the event, and finally found one on my lunch yesterday. The dress doesn’t cover my undergarments, so in my mind it requires an undershirt. Of course, a black undershirt came to mind. But then I thought….I always wear black, I should try something different.

twitter poll on outfitThe black is black, white, and turquoise, so I tried on the dress with both a black and white undershirt. I kinda like how the black straps contrasted with the white undershirt, but the black looked better to me.  I took a picture of both, and posted it on Instagram and Twitter to get some opinions.

I asked “Found a new dress for spring. Poll: black undershirt or white undershirt?” And the answers flooded in. Over 45 answers so far, and everyone said black. But it also turned into all sorts of fashion advice: no undershirt, wear a black cardigan, throw a bolero jacket, etc. But what surprised me was how many people got nasty with their comments about the white top. Honestly, I deleted a few of the comments on Instagram because I felt insulted…people made me feel like I had absolutely no fashion sense. I didn’t expect to feel so self-conscious or hurt.

I guess I should have phrased my question better, because I already knew I’d be going with black, but was curious if the white would work as an alternate option. I always keep a cardigan handy when I wear a short-sleeved dress, and had already packed my cute 3/4 sleeve sequined cardigan to wear for the trip. But after years of limited clothing choices in the largest sizes of the plus-size stores, I’ve been excited to be more daring and try some fashion risks. But after this experience, my self-conscious soul has decided “When in doubt, go with black.”

Moral of the story? Only ask for fashion advice on social media if you’re prepared for the snarky comments too.

Please, no more opinions.


Wordless Wednesday: Birthday Pedicure

ORLY Miss Conduct polish spa pedicure

Fashion Friday: 2-for-1 Slimpressions Long Leg Shaper

SALE EXTENDED! 2-for-1 Long-Leg Shaper available February 8th-9th!

I’ve talked before about the need for compressive garments after massive weight loss, and how much I love Slimpressions shapewear. I found out that there is a 2-for-1 sale today on the Slimpressions Long Leg Shaper…and I think you should hop on it! It retails for $45, so getting two for $45 is a steal.

Obviously, even with compression garments, not every lump and bump of skin on your body will be smoothed away. That’s what plastic surgery is for. But wearing high-quality shapewear will help you have the appearance of a longer and leaner body. This lower-body shaper is woven with “butt-lift” technology to give the illusion of a toned derriere.

When I wear my long leg shaper, I’m able to wear jeans that are a size smaller. They suck in my panni and make my hips more shapely. I like them because they’re really stretchy, but stay in place. I can make them stretch down to my knees so there’s no line when I wear pants, but they also can be worn with shorter skirts.

Click on the banner below for the BOGO code for the Slimpressions Long Leg Shaper. Trust me, they’re awesome.

Wordless Wednesday: The Dress Fits!

purple ralph lauren wrap dress

Fashion Friday: Slimpressions Shapewear


When I started Beauty and The Bypass, I wanted the blog to be more than strictly weight loss surgery topics. The rapid weight loss tapers off after a while, you get into a groove with your eating habits, and there’s not a lot of news to share.

I’ve spent a lot of time on the BYPASS part of Beauty and the Bypass, but how about some BEAUTY?

In an effort to keep up on new posts, I decided to start a “Fashion Friday” series. Now that I’m able to shop in “normal” stores again, I’m discovering a lot about my fashion sense, what styles look good on me, and what things I want to work hard to fit into.

For today, I want to talk about Slimpressions Shapewear.

There are a lot of topics that we talk about in Bariatric Bad Girls Club: food, medications, relationships, how our bodies are changing, etc. A lot of people lose enough weight after weight loss surgery that their excess skin sags to the point of needing plastic surgery. So we talk about surgery options….and non-surgery options, which include girdles and shapewear.


I’ve tried my fair share of waist nippers, Spanx, and other things you can wear to suck your gut in. But I’ve found the best ever in Slimpressions. I heard about them soon after surgery, but had a hard time justifying the cost when I didn’t have a lot of excess skin to deal with. Now that my body is saggy and deflated, shapewear is a must. I finally purchased my first Slimpressions garment at the Obesity Help conference in Atlanta because they were offering a great discount.

One of the hardest things to find in a compression garment is coverage on the arms, so I opted for the “Have Nots,” which gives compression down to the elbow, but does not squish “the girls.” I had a tough time getting used to stepping into the shaper and pulling it up over my body, since I’m used to putting on shapers over my head. But once it’s on, it stays in place (it ends in the top picture where my fingers end) and it doesn’t feel like you’re in a torture device. You can breathe freely, and your “batwings” won’t flap in the breeze.


20121130-160605.jpgSee how nicely it sucks me in and smooths out my lumps and bumps? I wish there was a little more compression for my “muffin top,” and I occasionally wear a “waist nipper” over it when I want to be sucked in tight. When I look at myself in this picture, I don’t feel like I look like I weight 253 pounds in it.

Slimpressions had a Cyber Monday sale last week with everything 40% off, and I ordered “The Haves” shaper. I like how the “Have Nots”  don’t crush down my chest, and I can wear any bra that I want (and have my boobs look the way I want them to), but I usually wear a HalfTee or Shade WonderTee. I’ll report later on how “The Haves” Slimpressions shaper looks after I’ve worn it a few times. Until then, I’ll be rocking the “Have Nots” with a HalfTee, which means I have to take off at least 5 layers of clothing when I undress.