Dear Swimsuit, I Love You.
An Eres suit similar to the writer's own.
For most of my life, I've been an extremely non-monogomous swimwear consumer. From as far back as I can remember (’80s color-blocked tankini from third grade, I'm thinking specifically about you) I've had a drawer overflowing with bathing suits — kind of a quirk since I didn't grow up on the beach but in the concrete jungle of Brooklyn, where we were fortunate enough to have a backyard ... and a baby pool. My mother has a bit of a swimsuit fetish herself, so I'm guessing it's a genetic trait. Throughout high school and college, I'd load up on cheap, colorful suits from fast-fashion sources, wearing a different bikini every day on a winter trip to Aruba or packing an entire suitcase of bathing gear for a week out in Montauk. Then, something changed.
I was 27 and just pregnant with my first child, working at a now-defunct fashion magazine that was all about shopping and style. Part of the joy of a gig like that is being surrounded by clothes and samples, a never-ending wardrobe replenishment on tap. This included swimwear, and once a year the racks in the office were absolutely overloaded with suits of all stripes, as we edited down the ultimate selection for the season for our readers. This particular season there was a brilliant cobalt blue maillot from Eres, the ultimate in French swim chic. I was unsure how I could work around a pregnant belly in a bathing suit, and though it was a sample size and I'm not, my department's assistant urged me to try it on. Miraculously, the thing fit like a glove over my new bump and super boobs — and looked, admittedly, beautiful. I felt incredibly confident and stylish, and luxuriated in the feel of it—cut from much more luxe fabric than I was used to, it was smooth and supportive and revelatory. This was what the high price tag was about, and it was absolutely worth it.
An image from a recent Eres campaign.
That summer, I wore my new favorite suit nearly every time I hit the beach, sometimes for days on end. Every night, I'd diligently hand rinse and dry it flat, and the way it retained its shape was remarkable — I was used to suits getting droopy and baggy after a few wears and washes, but this was a garment cut from another cloth entirely. As my belly grew larger (and larger) the suit accomodated my growing body with grace — perhaps towards the end of the summer my décollete outgrew the bounds of the suit's neckline, but that's part of the fun of pregnancy, isn't it? Summer ended and my newfound treasure was put away in the fall, making way for tall-panel maternity pants and enormous sweaters. After my daughter was born in January, the haze of that winter and spring left me no time to think of summer, but sure enough, it came, as it always does.
I unpacked my non-pregnant warm-weather clothes, rejoicing at the sight of them after nearly two years. There was a slew of bikinis, mismatched, their ties tangled in knots after so much time in storage, but I wasn't ready for them. My body wasn't back, and I couldn't think of baring my pale, soft stomach to the world just yet. I redisovered the jewel-blue suit, tucked hastily into a suitcase, and thrilled at the sight of it—so bright and joyful and beachy. But would it look good? I despaired at the thought of having stretched it to its limits with my super-belly, but after slipping it on I was assured that this was, indeed, a magical swimsuit. Its thick straps fell flat against my shoulders, my wondrous new nursing bosom nestled into the sexy, deep-V top. The extra pounds I still carried postpartum didn't seem outrageously obvious when tucked into the super-strength Peau Douce Lycra, a signature of the 40-year old swimwear company that fits like a second skin and subtly sculpts, making you feel svelte and sexy without any effort on your part. Relief. Parenting might be tricky, but figuring out what I'd be wearing a the beach would still be a breeze.
Signature Eres blue.
It's now nearly five years later, and my Eres one-piece is still my summer go-to. I've flirted a bit with some triangle bikinis, looking to show off the fact that my body, which has now been pregnant twice, has in fact bounced back (I was faithful to the blue swimsuit through my second pregnancy, too, wearing it to the beach the day before my son was born two years ago). But there's nothing that makes me feel as beautiful, sexy, or comfortable as that blue one-piece.
Over the years I'd read advice from stylists, celebs, and fashion editors, all who sing the praises of investing in quality pieces over quantity wardrobe fillers. Now, at 35, I get it. One great white shirt is worth more than five not-exactly-right ones, and wearing a well-made pair of beautiful shoes every day gives me more joy (and comfort) than scuffling around in inexpensive styles that kill my feet. I plan to pass on the Eres swimsuit to my daughter like an heirloom, and I hope that when it's hers she'll adore it as much as I have. It sounds romantic, but I hope that when she's its proud owner, she'll remember me on the beach with her, digging in the sand or splashing in the waves, happy and free. Because, as silly as it sounds, this swimsuit makes me happy. And happy is such a wonderful thing to be.