I’m never fully convinced it’s summer until the 4th of July. Most of the memories I have of this holiday are venturing out to the Hamptons with my Dad, listening to The Beatles or The Police the entire drive. Every year my Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins would get together for a big lobster boil and fireworks on the beach, and despite my distaste for seafood, we always had a great time (albeit, I always wanted to release the lobsters from their tanks at the grocery store).
The past few years have been different, however. Anthony and I have stayed in Boston, grilling burgers and hot dogs, gathering with neighbors, eating ice cream and watching the Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy, and gazing up at fireworks. This year was our quietest 4th of July yet, but we took some time to head over to Fort Independence where I could show off this stunning high-waist bikini from Red Dolly Swimwear.
Let’s get the obvious out there: I’m not comfortable in bikinis. I never have been and probably never will be. I struggle with my perception of myself, I have some cellulite, I’m neither skinny, nor overweight, which feels like a very awkward place to be, and I either obsessively exercise and eat healthy or give in to my desire for junk food.
But two things happened while wearing this suit. 1. I felt beautiful, which is something I never felt in a bathing suit before. 2. An elderly couple walked by as I was posing for a photo. The husband turned to the wife and said something along the lines of “look at that girl in the high-waisted bathing suit looking beautiful, just as you did in those.” These are the moments I love the most– bringing memories back to those who lived in the era that I try to emulate.
And now for some history. The bikini was invented in 1946 and was similar to what you might see today on a beach in Miami or Brazil: tiny, revealing the entire stomach and bum! These new bikinis were banned by most public beaches until the 1950’s, but they weren’t exactly the type of suit worn by your everyday woman of the 40’s.
For most women, the two-piece swimsuit was the perfect mix of a one-piece and a bikini. It maintained a sense of modesty that was so popular at the time, while revealing just enough skin to be seductive. These two-piece suits looked as if a one-piece has been split directly through the center. The top provided full coverage with either two spaghetti straps or a halter top, while the bottom started at the waistline and continued on to the bum, covering every inch.
Lucky for me, this Bella Red & White Polka Dot High-Waist Bikini from Red Dolly Swimwear is the modern embodiment of a 1940’s two-piece swimsuit. Every detail is perfect. The top is designed with a gathered center bust and thick straps, providing security and support. The bottom covers both the belly button and the backside, which I’m eternally grateful because I am not one to flaunt what little derriere I have.
If you’re looking for a more traditional pinup vibe, you can have padding sewn into your suit for an additional fee ($6.50), of which my suit contains (and it’s totally worth it!).
Part of Red Dolly Swimwear’s mission is to allow every woman to feel beautiful, confident and comfortable in their suits and boy have they succeeded. Their bathing suits come in sizes S-XL, with plenty of room to stretch. For reference, I’m wearing a L and my measurements are 36″ bust, 28″ waist, and 38″ hips.
And when they say all women, they mean all women, as in little girls and infants! Red Dolly has matching girls and babies swimsuits, so you and your little diva can go to the beach in style. And if their bathing suits alone aren’t enough, owner and designer Heather Stepanik creates matching headbands and swim skirts, which are another staple of the 40’s (and I’ve got my eyes on them).
Red Dolly’s swimsuits range in price from $46-89 and ladies, they’re worth every penny. I have never found a more comfortable bathing suit that I can honestly say I felt confident in. If you’re not into two-pieces, they’ve got gorgeous one-pieces as well. They’re based in the U.S., but ship internationally for around $16.
I can’t drive home this point enough: I am not a bikini person, I am not a bathing suit person, but I would gladly spend $86 for a suit that makes me feel as confident and sexy as this one does. If you’re not a bathing suit girl, either, I encourage you to give Red Dolly Swimwear a chance. As for me, I’ll be stalking that Bella Black & White Polka Dot High-Waist Bikini for my size and it’s matching swim skirt.
Special thanks to Heather from Red Dolly Swimwear for this tantalizing opportunity.