I'd consider myself an "in-betweener" when it comes to size - not curvy, but not fit and toned, and definitely round around the edges ("apple-shaped," if we're using the fruit-size guide). I'm not especially self-conscious in clothes, but when I'm wearing a swimsuit, I hate everything about my body. All I see are doughy, jiggly bits.
That is, until I discovered Aerie one-piece swimsuits. I had known all about Aerie and its #AerieReal campaign for a while now, and I love seeing so many women of all different sizes and shapes regularly post photos of themselves using the hashtag. This was the inspiration I needed a few years ago to finally take the plunge and buy one for myself. I thought, if these women can post photos of themselves in a swimsuit for thousands of followers to see, I can find a way to feel good in one as well.
I ordered a ruffly black one-piece with cutouts ($27, originally $55) that was sexy and flattering and comfortable - I couldn't believe how good I felt in it. After wearing it in public, I was even more confident; so much so, in fact, that I went back and bought two more swimsuits in different styles.
For once, I was enjoying summer to its fullest - paddleboarding, laying out by a pool, swimming in a lake - without covering my stomach, self-consciously wrapping a towel around my waist, or hiding in a cover-up. I wasn't even comparing myself to the other bodies around me. It's amazing the freedom you can have to think about other things, focus on relationships and self-care, and just generally feel happy without anxiety when you're not bogged down by self-consciousness.
Since then, these have been my go-to suits for everything from Palm Springs getaways to backyard sunbathing, and this summer, I added another to my collection - this leopard wrap one-piece ($33, originally $55). Again, the adjustable elements and flattering cut make this one just as comfy and sexy as my tried-and-true styles.
Thank you, Aerie, for making such a point to celebrate bodies of all sizes and for creating a swimsuit that makes me feel good about my body. I'm a fan for life.
Shop Aerie one-piece swimsuits ahead - and grab them while you can, they're all on sale!