LILLIAN CHARLES

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BATHING SUIT | BODY | BALANCE

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On Saturday I wore men’s board shorts for a promotional photo shoot (can't wait share details when allowed!) When I got the shorts in the mail, I was immediately filled with dread (I know, dramatic!) My fears of looking boy-ish raged loud and I doubted whether I could feel even remotely satisfied with myself in front of a camera (update: the shoot was so amaze and I actually had a blast!) 

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It didn't take long for me to identify
that the thoughts and feelings that
came rushing in were related to
the middle/high school agony
of feeling boyishly figured.

Strong. But flat-chested and masculine looking. I didn't appreciate my body as a teenager or college student because I didn't understand that NOT looking like everyone else was okay. Beautiful, even. Truth be told, I was so unhealthily skinny in high school and the beginning of college that my body couldn't develop curves. But that is another story for another time. 

 Can you even identify me in this 2006 photo?

Can you even identify me in this 2006 photo?

But you know what? I was only "disappointed" with my look the other day because I was a) wearing a horrific "shape" (men's clothes) for my personal body type. And b) drawing on emotions of the past. 

I want this blog post to help you understand that there is nothing wrong with your body. Knowing how to dress your shape is what keeps you from trying to fit into a mold or style that isn't right for you.

I got out of my head and played around with top options for the photo shoot featuring the board shorts. I toyed with tops that provided balance to my lower half and didn't make me look too terribly bottom heavy. Finally, I landed on a simple triangle top. The shoot ended up being FINE and I didn't feel (that much...) of a dude at all.

 courtesy of  @brosbeingbasic

courtesy of @brosbeingbasic

As I slid the 20” inseam board shorts off of my body I thought to myself, “Wow. If I wasn't a stylist and didn't have an eye for this, that could have resulted in a complete melt down!" MELT. DOWN. Sound familiar? That horrible, defeated feeling you've had in a dressing room? Of course. We have ALL been there. The truth is, you can work your ass off in the gym and eat healthy AF but if you don’t know how to bring BALANCE to your shape, getting dressed — bathing suits, real suits, denim, anything — can be a total mind fuxk. That's why I've written this (for you, darling, not me.) I am anticipating receiving back lash on this post but I am going forward with it anyway. Even people with above average figures (I'm okay with giving myself that nod, I know I'm genetically long/lean) benefit from choosing pieces that bring body-balance to their shape. to be conscious of choosing pieces that bring body-balance to their shape.

TRIANGLE TOP + "BOY SHORT" BOTTOMS

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TRIANGLE TOP + "BOY SHORT" reconfigured

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These are the same boy shorts as the first two images. I've lifted them up higher bringing them closer my waist. Eliminating that wide line across my hips and creating a v-shape at the top is more flattering than the line drawn across the wider part of my body (hips.)

I folded the shorts portion under and created angles there, too. The line drawn across my leg is now at a point and not flat across. Here is the comparison:

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TRIANGLE TOP straps crossed + "BOY SHORT" reconfigured

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I really do love my shoulders! When I crossed the straps in front my neck, my shoulders became more prominent, which is great balance for my hips. But it's still too much fabric on the bottom with the stringy-ness of the. top. note: these pieces were not meant to be worn this way and I wouldn't actually wear them all rolled up like this!

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TRIANGLE TOP + CHEEKY BOTTOMS

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I feel good in this! But it's not a go-to because... there's not much material to this set (wheeew my backside is baaarely covered!) 
So, my next option -- for more coverage and balance is this top with the same bottoms:

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kit & ace WRAP TOP + CHEEKY BOTTOMS

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This is how this suit is meant to be worn but I've always crossed the top straps like this:

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Of the two ways to wear the top, which one do you like better? 

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Now, look what happens when I put the "boy shorts" bottoms on with this strappy top...

kit & ace WRAP TOP + "BOY SHORTS"

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We are back to that wide line drawn across the top of the thighs and my waist looks... kinda weird and chopped up with way the bottoms run straight across my mid section coupled with the wild thick straps on top. 

Let's look at shrinking the bottoms to make them an in between style (a hybrid of the boy shorts and the cheeky bottoms!) 

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The right side is definitely better!

kit & ace WRAP TOP + "BOY SHORTS" reconfigured

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My legs look longer and the angles across my thighs have been LIFTED! If the bottoms were just a TAD less thick (remember, I've got the boy shorts rolled up) I'd have complete balance between my hips, waist, thighs, shoulders, chest.

If I could buy a NEW suit that did what this ^ style does for my body, it would be this suit by Solid & Striped:

The high rise, covering the hips and almost to the belly button plus a high, flattering cut across the bum! Perfect bottoms for my booty. The top does what I "need" it to do with front cross  that, ahem, would push my boobs together.

Here is a run down of how I went from style to style...

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MIX AND MATCH! PLEASE!

Sure, you might find a top or bottom that looks BOMB alone but... don't buy a set if only part of the suit works on your body. As you see, they need to be able to play together! A few of my favorite places to grab separates:

ORCHID BOUTIQUE

TONS of mix n match separates brought to you by a variety of brands. Be sure to order multiple sizes in the bottoms to save you from having to order more!

SOLID & STRIPED

The brand that makes me drool when I see it on Instagram... #iwanteverything

J.CREW

I've worn J.Crew suits since the first time I was allowed to wear a two piece (true story!) and I still have some of my originals!

EVERYTHING BUT WATER

Choose between triangle tops and cup-sized, string bikinis and full coverage bottoms.