Fatkinis in Paradise

Back in January, my family and I made plans to go on a giant summer vacation together to Cabo San Lucas. It’d be the whole gang — my parents, my siblings and siblings-in-law, my sister’s parents-in-law (they actually have a timeshare down in Cabo, and are prett much the whole reason this thing is happening), Sean, and me — and the timing, I figured, would be perfect! I’d have more than six months to get my body back to bikini-ready shape after typical holiday-season slacking. It was just the motivator that I needed to get back on the wagon and drop some libbies again, right?

Weeeeell, actually, wrong (as we already know.) I have indeed managed to shave off about 20 – 25 pounds from what I had regained, which is awesome, but in the months since I have clearly stopped making any attempts to hide the fact that I’m not actively dieting anymore. And yet, this tropical vaycay was still looming, looming, looming… and I realized that sooner or later, I’d have to face my body and whether it was bikini-ready or not.

Now, first up, my feelings about the term “bikini body” in general can now pretty much be summer up by the following (adorable) graphic:

But even so, hey, I’m not immune to the pressures that society puts on people to want to look a certain way. I mean, I’m a mass consumer of media in all its various forms, so of course I’m not, hahaha. So I would be lying if I said that the idea of baring skin by the poolside didn’t cause me at least a little bit of stress. But you know me, I’ve never really been able to subscribe to the idea that skinny feels better than food tastes or whatever, so ultimately it came down to whether I wanted to get myself all bent out of shape over how I looked at the beach, or if I wanted to, you know, continue enjoying my life the way it is. And I mean, I know I probably sound super douchey saying it out loud, but my life is pretty stellar right now.

S0 since I am, at least currently, totally uninterested in torturing myself both physically and mentally over a vacation (which, hello, is supposed to be relaxing anyway), I came to realize that the best way for me to get beach-ready probably wasn’t to agonize endlessly over my bodily imperfections. No, I’d take a different approach.

Rather than forcing myself to do a juice cleanse in the hopes that it’d shave another 1/4 of an inch off my general body circumference, I decided to do a mental cleanse instead. I rejected the notion that summer is limited to people who wear single digit sizes. I faced the fact that I am really not as important as I make myself out to be, and people out there enjoying their own vacations really don’t give two hoots what I, some random stranger with outrageously colored hair, am wearing at any given time.

I know, I’ve talked a bit about this kind of body acceptance before, of course, because it’s always been true. But my past posts were written with the looming idea that I still needed to lose weight. So, you know, I could love my body and all, sure. But in the back of my mind I was still telling myself, “Just don’t love it so much that you stop wanting to fix it.”

Weeeeell, obviously I have a little bit of a different perspective about things now. I don’t want to have to fix anything anymore. And you can say that’s just me being lazy, but it’s not going to change the fact that I fully embrace the fact that any body really can be a bikini body. After all, just like bodies, bikinis come in lots of different shapes and sizes. And whether you have thunder thighs or flat butt syndrome or belly flab or big boobs or small boobs or no boobs, you’d be pretty amazed at how great a relatively tiny amount of fabric can make you feel, if it’s the right cut.

This idea of there being different swimsuits for different bodies isn’t news, of course. I’ve been reading magazines for years, all offering advice on what swimsuits work best for different body types. Small bust, wide hips, broad shoulders, hourglass, there were options for all, and the features usually even came with photos of real-life women illustrating the effects of properly allocated swimwear.

In retrospect, though, I realize that while these articles might have been a great way to showcase poolside fashion, they still fell into the trap that a lot of  mainstream fashion does when it comes to dressing one particular type of body shape: they don’t really know what to do with it, so they just cover it up. Which, yes, granted, not everyone has a nice flat tummy to showcase between the top-part and bottom-part of your swimsuit, but does that mean we’re not allowed to show it at all?

I have distinct memories of flipping through magazine pages as the feature addressed pear-shaped and straight-shaped and hourglass-shaped figures and showcased adorable, fashionable bikini looks for each of them, only to finally get to the “Full Figure” or “Plus Sized” section at the end and have it be full of one-pieces and tankinis.

Yeah, kinda like that.

And hey, don’t get me wrong, there are some might fine one-pieces and tankinis out there. I’m a big fan, myself.


Terrible iPad selfies aside, this is literally my favorite suit to ever exist in the history of swimwear. I pretty much just hung around the house wearing it all yesterday afternoon because I didn’t want to take it off, that’s how much I love it. I mean, aside from the whole wet swimsuit + full bladder predicament that surfaces every once in a while, I’m all about the one-piece. But I think you know that really isn’t where my issue lies.

I just don’t love the message that it sends when the media showcase all these different kinds of women looking fab in two-piece swimsuits… except for one kind. Because even larger, thicker, curvier, whatever-er women can still look totally bangable in ‘kinis, and not showcasing that fact, as unintentional as it may be, still perpetuates the idea that we should be hiding our bodies because there’s something wrong with them.

Luckily, I think the tide is finally beginning to turn on that front. Maybe it’s due to the resurgence of vintage-style clothing coming back into vogue (high-waisted bottoms FTW!), or maybe it’s because of body positive figures like GabiFresh (I believe she’s the originator of the term “fatkini”), but either way, I am so on board with all women being able to wear whatever the hell they want and hopefully feeling beautiful and confident while doing so.


Which is why next week you will see me, proudly rocking my own fatkinis (given how much I’ve admitted to hating the word “fat,” I actually really love the term “fatkini”) and maybe even inspiring other women to do the same. It’s your body, after all. Wear what you want!

And that goes double when on vacation.


  1. Melaniesays:

    Hey Gretchen, I have been reading your site for AGES. I am a total lurker, and have never commented before. I just thought it was time I let you know that I really appreciate your blog. I love the way you write and I love what you write about. The new blog suits you by the way. I hope you keep writing, because I plan to keep reading. I couldn’t agree more with your latest sentiments. I am a similar age, and different issues, but same realisations. We have one body and one chance on this planet. We don’t need permission from anyone but ourselves to love ourselves and our lives. Permission from ourselves is the hardest to get though, which is why I really love what you are doing lately. You are one step ahead of me, but you inspire me to just accept me as I am and start living.

  2. Hi Gretchen! I’m a newer reader but am absolutely LOVING the new direction your blog has taken. You have such a fun and refreshing style of writing, and I’m finding myself looking forward to your posts! (not to mention, your fun instagram account as well). This post is amazing, and truly resonates with me. YOU GO GIRL! I’m loving every single suit you posted on here – the black bikini might be my fave, it looks fab on you! – and I just wanted to tell you how much I admire your outlook and love and passion for life and all things fun! Keep it up, girl!

  3. FREAKING FABULOUS! Get it Girl.

  4. Elizabethsays:

    Where did you get those suits? I love them!

    • The one-piece and floral ‘kini are from Modcloth and the other two (black + cherries) are from Swimsuits for All!

  5. Those polka dots are adorable! Where did you get that one? I want it, too! I haven’t worn a bikini since I was five (my mom was pretty modest, and it rubbed off on me), and my swimsuits since I was twelve have had skirts or skorts on them, but I’ve recently started wearing a two piece suit this year, and was surprised at how comfy it was. I might be a convert. 🙂

  6. This is such a great post and I just love you so much. I wish I had read something like this when I was younger! You look awesome in ALL those bathing suits, and I love that you’re totally rockin them with confidence, which as we all know is the best accessory 🙂 Have fun on vaca!

  7. Larasays:

    First, I love that you’re back to blogging! Reading makes my day. Secondly, the black one, where did you get it!? Lastly, you look awesome!

  8. Ahhh I’ve missed your delightful blog posts! You look SO cute and I’m so jealous of your big trip! Also, while I love the fuck-it-all attitude that comes with the fatkini, I NEED that one piece!

  9. i really appreciate your new voice and direction of your blog. i have been following you for a while and i have recently moved towards accept what you have and enjoy what you can do vs looking at what needs to be fixed. love the bathing suits. you look hot!! enjoy your vacation!

  10. Love it! Fatkinis are the best!

  11. A mental cleanse. I love that. I am in desperate need of one. Since I picked up running and revamped how I feed my body during the day, I’m once again about the same size I was in high school. By definition, I am thin. However, I’m still shy to put on a swimsuit because the little negative voice in my head says, “Oh, but your stomach could be a little flatter …” Just know that you and your posts are SO inspiring and are causing me to work more on my attitude than my body. And you look amazeballs in that polka dot swimsuit. You have a gorgeous, voluptuous, WOMANLY figure and a beautiful face and spirit to match. Kudos to you. You rock those bikinis like a BOSS.

  12. Pure gold: “people out there enjoying their own vacations really don’t give two hoots what I, some random stranger with outrageously colored hair, am wearing at any given time.”

    This goes double for those of us with ordinary hair; there’s always that moment when I get to the beach and take off my coverup and think “oh no oh no who is looking oh no” only to realize that nobody is looking and I need to get over myself and focus on remembering to reapply sunscreen.

  13. Shawnessysays:

    Oh, girl. Love this post. Like the folks above, I am thrilled with your new blog. I really missed reading your posts and I feel so inspired by your messages. I just turned 39 and wish I had had your outlook back in my 20s, but I’ll tell ya what, mama ain’t dead so there’s no time like the present to adopt it for myself. Thank you!

  14. Megsays:

    Gretchen that black bikini is SO cute! I’d be wearing that one everyday. Have a blast in Cabo!!

  15. Caitlynsays:

    You look AMAZING, I love all of your suits, I am now looking at Swimsuits for All for myself and OMG they are awesome so thanks for sharing (ordering different sizes for top and bottom = game changer for me!).

  16. I love all your bikinis! So cute. I also love how body positive you are. Diets are definitely not the way to go. When becoming more healthier, I believe everyone should make eating healthy and exercising a lifestyle so it lasts forever.

  17. Ellesays:

    Gretchen, you are rocking the shizz out of those bikinis! You look glorious, confident and happy – how ANY girl (regardless of size) should look in a bikini. Well done, thanks for your inspiring post and your positivity 😀

  18. Enjoy your vacation!!! You look amazing and you are rocking those bathing suits!

  19. Great post! Confidence is the key and if someone has that factor, everything is possible. Don’t be ashamed, everyone is unique in our own ways. We must be proud. Thanks for sharing!

  20. I, too, just bought my first bikini since, like, age 11. I refuse to call it a fatkini, though. Skinny girls don’t call their “skinnykinis,” & I think the modification of the word implies that we’re somehow using bikinis differently, that they’re not meant for us so we need to specify what KIND of bikinis we’re wearing, just to warn people, or something.

    But anyway, mine arrived from swimsuitsforall yesterday, all black & white & polka-dotted, & I can’t wait to wear it on vacation next week! Rock on.

  21. Gretchen, you look AMAZING in those fatkinis!!! Love them all, and love what you have to say. I have always been shy & often felt terrible in a bathing suit. Lately, some of that is going away because when I’m in one, I seem to be more focused on having fun with family and friends and not worried about how I look. As you said, not everyone is paying that much attention to ME! Maybe I’ll work up the courage to rock a fatkini next year! Thanks for this!

  22. I love the red polka dot one fo sho! And I apologize in advance for all the comments I just left. I only just rediscovered your blog & it’s redesign right now so… here I am, reading and commenting away. 🙂

  23. You’re awesome. That is all.

  24. David Craigsays:

    There is nothing inherently wrong with ur bodies but the reality is you give more sh!ts about it than anyone else. You are fat. Plain and simple. This is simply because we are blessed to live in a circumstance that allows excess calories. It doesn’t matter how you spin, being fat is not typically a physically attractive trait. You can try to look sexy in a whole number of different outfits but being sexy is generally something that the normal male can determine within an instant and has nothing to do with hiding rolls or unflattering angles. You need to wake up and realize this whole ‘fat crusade’ is simply spawned out of the ability for people to sit around all day and

    • David Craigsays:

      still delude themselves into thinking “my way or the highway”. I’d have more respect for fat people if they didn’t give any fucks about feeling sexy but at this point its fucking sad and pathetic that they think being perceived as sexy is simple down to how the media portrays them, or how they look in certain clothing. They claim to be the most secure people, yet at the end of the day they all operate on the basic primal level we all do, physical appeal>anything else. Unfortunately for them, the majority of people do not find fat attractive no matter how many morning shows or complicit magazines say so.

  25. Nikolaisays:

    I honestly think you look beutiful in a bikini, or any swimwear! Hope I don’t sound like a creep. XD

  26. I don’t think that was a “terrible selfy” in any way, shape, fashion or form it’s my opinion that you look absolutely incredible in all of those swimsuits. And any one or anything that makes you feel like you are anything less than a goddess doesn’t deserve to exist in the same world you do. It is a true honor just to be able to say that I know OF you, let-alone to have any sort of friendship or relationship with you… You are a living goddess, and anyone or anything that makes you feel otherwise shouldn’t be given any attention to at all <3

  27. Chrissays:

    The black bikini is hot af

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