just keep swimming

I'm not a beach person and I have never swum in a body of water that hasn't been heavily chlorinated (snorkeling doesn't count because I can't do laps in the ocean), but I sure love my indoor swimming pools. A combination of being a prude and being uncomfortable in my skin, plus a predictable 1920s/1950s aesthetic have always directed me toward one-piece swimsuits, which, aside from the recent resurgence of retro swimsuits, today seem to manifest themselves primarily as monokinis.

(Which are not my thing.)

Karen Elson for Vogue, flowered swim capAbove, Karen Elson in Vogue

Other bloggers would have referenced the issue of Vogue featuring Karen Elson in a flowery retro swim cap, but nooo, I have to go and pick up the June 09 issue of Reader's Digest in our bathroom and look at Afghanistan's water polo team and then decide I want a retro swim cap and then realize there was a Vogue editorial involving one.

Afghanistan's water polo team, Reader's Digest June 09Above, Afghanistan's water polo team, from Reader's Digest June 09

I'm going to pretend I've actually been thinking about Cecilia Tallis because that is a lot more acceptable.

Keira Knightley as Cecilia Tallis in Atonement, swim capAbove, Keira Knightley as Cecilia Tallis from Atonement

So here is the parade of retro swimwear that I wish I owned, starting with Cecilia Tallis/Afghanistan's water polo team-esque swim caps (with chin straps!):

retro swim cap with chin strap, ClubSwimAbove, ClubSwim Bubble Cap with Chin Strap in White, $5.95 from SwimOutlet

retro swim cap with chin strap, Creative SunwearAbove, Creative Sunwear Molded Petal Cap with Strap, $3.95 at SwimOutlet

(Wow, those two are insanely cheap. Now I'm sad that I already bought a Speedo swim cap. Ah, well. Function over form.)

Another option would be a flowered swim cap. Apparently Headcovers Unlimited is so concerned about image copyrights that they pop-up message anyone who tries to right-click to save an image. But here's a link to the rather annoying website, which offers the "Retro Petal Flower Swimming Cap" for $14.99. If I were feeling spendy, I'd go with the lavender, teal, or white. Or all three.

As for swimsuits, these aren't all retro, but this is all swim-related, so bear with me. The first is the one currently featured in my sidebar. Because it is that epic. Because although I would probably never wear it, the world needs to know about this. Because it is bringing sexy back, wordplay fully intended.

knot-back maillot/one-piece swimsuit by calaossidiana at etsyAbove, Knot-back Maillot by calaossidiana, $295 on etsy

Here's one I would be really likely to be caught wearing:

retro 1950s pinup one-piece floral swimsuit from Revamp VintageAbove, 1950s "Billie" One Piece Swimsuit by Revamp Vintage, $150 at Get Go Retro

And this one's actually very boring in theory, but for some reason I think it is Totally Awesome, like a failed bumblebee:

navy blue and yellow striped one-piece bandeau swimsuit from deliasAbove, Cinched Bandeau One-Piece, $33.50 at delias

I don't know how practical it is to have glass pearl buttons and a velvet bow on a swimsuit, but this sure is cute:

ruched green one piece swimsuit by ladramaqueen on etsyAbove, Absinthe - One Piece Swimsuit by ladramaqueen, $140 on etsy

The cutouts on this one are wowowow. That's three wow's in one. Not to mention the neon. It's definitely a little obnoxious, but then again, so am I:

neon one-piece cutout swimsuitAbove and below, Mitchelada 3009 by ruffeoheartslilsnoty, $175 on etsy

neon one-piece cutout swimsuitAnd this is something which, if it were ever available for less than $50, I would probably beat you down to get to first, because demented square-mouthed fish are absolutely my kind of thing:

Marc Jacobs kissing fish one-shoulder maillot swimsuit from bloomingdale'sAbove, Marc by Marc Jacobs kissing fish one-shoulder maillot swimsuit, $142 at bloomingdale's

I think swimsuits get extra points in my world if they are sold as maillots. (Fancy points.) Wikipedia says that the maillot is "a favored swimsuit choice of older women." (This does not bode well for me.) Wikipedia also says that maillot today refers to any one-piece swimsuit for women, but the term originated in the 1920s to describe the specific swimsuits of the time, which were made of wool jersey, had tank necklines, and were (scandalously) sleeveless. (Thanks, Fashion-Era!) It shouldn't be too surprising that women's swimwear of the 20s looked best on women with the bodies of boys, considering the flapper silhouette, which means it shouldn't be too surprising that I totally go for maillots.

(Down with the monokini! Long live the maillot!)

And now for the sponsored portion of this post:

Meet swimsuitsforall.com, which offers plus-size swimsuits sizes 8 and up. Here you can find all kinds of plus-size one-pieces (or maillots, if you like), along with tankinis and other separates. They also stock swimwear for athletic purposes as well as the usual beachwear. If I were not a fun-size Asian girl, I would be on this particular one-piece halter (surprise) in half a hot second:

Above and below, Marigo® Bondi Beach Draped Halter Swimsuit, available in Coral and Jade, $29.98 $14.98 at swimsuitsforall

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