New Challenges, Bikinis, and Ageism

Posted by Rachel Garza

I did it, y’all.

I made my own bikini.

Plaid Fabric: Nylon Spandex || Lining: White Techsheen
Notions: Amazon

One of my Me-Made-May 2018 goals was to create something that I’ve never made before. Phee Fabrics issued the challenge and made it easy to find all of the fabric that I would need. Jalie provided the pattern and amazing instruction. Wine gave me the confidence to take these photos.

{Just kidding… I didn’t really drink. Much.}

In going through this process and preparing for Phee FabricsSwim Week, I’ve been more aware of the gorgeous women in my sewing groups – real women – of all ages and body types, rocking their “me-made” swimwear with confidence and glamour.

What really takes these swimsuits up 10 notches is that they are custom made to fit each individual’s curves – or in my case, lack thereof. How lucky are we, as members of this international sewing community, to have the basic skills to make our own swimwear?! We’re not confined to the pre-sized boxes that the fashion industry tries to place us in!

It’s pretty darn empowering. And soooo much easier than I expected.

In my heightened state of swimwear awareness, I was pretty upset by the recent ageist drama over the Instagram post of 47-year-old Kelly Ripa in a bikini. One comment read, “Kelly’s gorgeous, but isn’t there a cutoff age where age appropriateness comes into play? Just because you can rock a bikini, doesn’t mean you should.”

I’m sorry, what?

Having just turned 40 myself, I began to reassess everything… is there some implicit code of swimwear appropriateness for women over 40? Who makes these rules? Would I suddenly be shunned at the pool for my love of playful prints, obnoxiously bright colors, and – yes – bikinis?

That moment quickly passed as I came to my senses and, ultimately, felt really sorry for the person that posted that comment. Age isn’t really the issue here. You know she’s struggling with her own ready-to-wear swimsuit. Gaping cups, see-through fabrics, and bottoms that ride up are definitely worth getting mad about.

I’ll think about her as I’m rocking my own wedgie-free bikini on the beach this summer… at the age of 40.

No more excuses, ladies! You can do this, too. Visit the Phee Fabrics blog during Phee Fabrics Swim Week to see more inspirational swimwear, read about others’ tips and tricks for sewing your own, and buy all of the yummy fabric you need to make it happen.

Go forth and make yourself a swimsuit!!!

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