Thanks to the Baywatch movie and the Kardashian klan’s Instagram feeds, the swimsuit is back in a big way this summer, and for the most part we’re overjoyed. However, cute statement one-pieces aren’t without their issues – especially if you’re blessed with a long bod.

Yep, sticking to bikinis when you’re tall is probably waaaay more functional, but who thinks about function when they’re packing for a week on the beach?!

Perseverance might be the key to finding the perfect swimsuit, but sometimes that’s easier said than done, especially when you’re wrestling yourself into a cossie that looks like it was made for a five-year-old. Here are a few things you’ll only know if you’re a tall girl shopping for swimsuits…

Online shopping is not an option

Buying a one-piece without trying it on first? You’ve got to be joking. Swimsuit shopping would not be swimsuit shopping without approximately 35 ‘WAS THIS MADE FOR A SMALL CHILD?!’ moments in various high street changing rooms. Even watching the ASOS catwalk videos with an apparently 5’9” model isn’t enough to persuade you to place an order.

Speaking of models, you’re convinced they wear specially made costumes in the ads

How else do you explain all those super tall Victoria’s Secret Angels fitting in to the same swimsuits that make you look like Borat in his mankini?

95% of suits will either cover your boobs or your bum – but not both

Good luck finding a long enough strip of fabric to conceal your nipples AND your vagina at the same time. Not that you have to if you don’t want to; we’re not the Instagram police. #FreeTheNipple

When you try to buy a fancy cut-out style, the cut-outs are never in the right place

Again with all the flashing…

Swimsuits made especially for tall girls come with their own set of problems

So little selection and so much extra fabric at the butt. WHY?!

Wedgies don’t just happen to your bum

Camel toe is real, people – Khloe Kardashian knows. She even named hers Camille! Yet, standing at 5’8” (way taller than her sisters Kim and Kourtney), she still manages to rock a suit. TELL US YOUR SECRETS, KOKO!

A lot of the time you feel like giving up

Maybe you just weren’t cut out for that swimsuit life.

But finding the one is better than anything – even the Harry Styles’ album

Please never shrink or go bobbly, you perfect specimen.

Some people think summer begins on the first day you don’t have to wear tights underneath your fave dress. Others think it’s when train announcers start reminding everyone to carry water with them. More still think it’s on the summer solstice or whatever – but those people are (respectfully) wrong.

Summer truly begins when you see the first novelty inflatable pool toy on Instagram. So in the spirit of summer, we’re grabbing this unicorn pool toy from New Look (flamingoes are over, hadn’t you heard?) and hunting for somewhere to use it. Lidos of Britain, watch out. We’re on our way.

White Unicorn Inflatable Pool Float, £19, New Look

Because finding a swimsuit that loves your bazoomas can be a bit of a costume drama…

You will put it off for as long as humanly possible

And then you will put it off some more

When you finally decide to go, there are actually loads of things you like!

“Hey,” you think to yourself, “Maybe this won’t be so bad.”

You try the first one on. Oh, no wait, that must be backwards. You turn it around. Oh, wait, that’s worse.

You try and wrestle your boobs into place, but they put up a good fight.

They. Are. Everywhere.

Who even invented string bikinis? They are so weak a tiny dog could overpower them.

And my boobs are the size and weight of a tiny dog. Each.

You keep thinking about that film where Kate Upton ran along the beach with, like, *NO* support…

So that must have hurt like a b***h.

Remember five minutes ago, when you were all excited and optimistic? Ha.


Now, here you are trying to keep control of your boobs as they spill out over this piece of dental floss in every direction known to man.

You decide to try on a plunging neckline. You are almost certain it will look awful, but there’s that thought in the back of your head:

“What if I actually look smoking hot?”

Where is… where is all the material?

DID THEY FORGET TO SEW ENTIRE BITS OF THIS TOGETHER?

Wait, maybe this is ‘the look’? Maybe everyone is meant to be able to see your nipples?

Maybe it’s a feminist statement!

This is not the look. You are not meant to be able to see your nipples. This is not a feminist statement.

The shop assistant yells, “How’s it going in there?”

It’s probably best not to tell her you’re having an existential crisis in the change rooms.

You start giving yourself a pep talk. You will not be defeated by a swimming costume.

You try on another one and look at yourself in the mirror.

Why don’t people understand that your boobs need support?

They need to be taken care of. They need a buddy to lift them up and help them out.

Right, this one has underwire. Underwire is key. Underwire is your friend. Underwire is life.

Ok it literally looks like I’m just wearing a bra.

Why can’t I just wear one of those cute triangle bikinis like other girls? Why must every bikini that fits me be designed to look like a 1950s pin up girl? I do. Not. Want. Polka. Dots.

And it is so uncomfortable. I want to be able to relax, I don’t want bits of wire sticking into my ribcage while I’m lying by the pool!

You wiggle out of the cozzies and heap them into a pile to give back to the shop assistant.

You are Julia Roberts, except you have nothing but anxiety and mild neck strain to show for your efforts.

Screw this. Go and take your knockers out for cake.

This is what ASOS was invented for.

@LilyPesch

Image: Amber Griffin

We caught up with Alexandra Heminsley aka @Hemmo, the author of Running Like A Girl and Leap In, to talk about the benefits of exercise and why you should force yourself to go for a run on your period.

Ladies, you can do anything you want. Want to be an astronaut? You got this. Want to be a DJ? Sure thing. Want to breed puppies so that you have a constant stream of puppies to cuddle? THAT SOUNDS LIKE THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD.

Want to go for a swim when you’re on your period? Dive right on in.

Seriously?

Seriously. If you feel comfortable going for a dip when you’re on your period, there’s no reason why you can’t.

It’s actually an awesome idea, because exercise releases endorphins, which can help reduce the fatigue and cramps that sometimes come as an unwanted side order to your monthly visit from the uterus unicorn.

What if I TURN THE WHOLE POOL RED?

Ok, this is where tampons come in handy. Lots of people try them for the first time in order to go swimming, because they’re really the easiest way to prevent leaks. Just swap it for a new, dry one in once you’re out of the water. Bombs away!  

TLDR? Here’s the important stuff:
  • You can abso-freakin-loutely go swimming when you’re on your period. You might actually find that it helps reduce aches, pains and argghs.
  • Your best bet is to use a tampon while swimming, to keep leaks at bay.
  • If tampons are a no-go, try a menstrual cup – but pads aren’t your pal at the pool. Sorry!

But if you’re strictly a pad person, things can be a bit tricker. Pads are designed to absorb fluids, so wearing one in the water means it’ll become soggy pretty quickly, and won’t be able to do its job properly – or stay stuck to your bikini bottoms either.

So it’s tampons or nothing?

Keep your cossie on for the moment, because there are some other options.

If you don’t fancy tampons you could try a menstrual cup, which is inserted in the vagina and captures the blood rather than absorbing it. You just empty it out in the loo every few hours, and pop it back up.  

Or if your period is light and you’re happy to go with the flow, you could try wearing a dark coloured swimming costume to hide any small leaks or stains. Don’t believe people who tell you your period stops in water – that’s a big ol’ myth – but it’s true that many people find they can have a quick dip with no disasters.

BUT WHAT ABOUT SHARKS?

Nope, total lie. They can’t smell your period, we promise. (And especially not in a leisure centre in the Midlands).

So in conclusion: just because you’re riding the crimson wave, doesn’t mean you can’t play in the actual waves too. Pool party, anyone?

Fu Yuanhui became one of our Olympic sheroes last month when, after representing China in the Women’s Swimming 4 x 100m relay, she told an interviewer:

“I don’t think I performed very well today. I feel I let my teammates down.”

They came fourth. In the WORLD. She then explained:

“It’s because my period came yesterday, so I felt particularly tired – but this isn’t an excuse, I still didn’t swim well enough.”

Mike drop.

Fu’s candour was particularly brave, because while periods can still be a bit of taboo here in the UK, in China, they’re reeeally reeeally taboo. As in, prime-time commercials for sanitary products have been banned in China because they’re considered “vulgar” and “disgusting”.

The vast majority of women in China also still use pads, partly because of the persisting belief that women who use tampons are no longer virgins (we promise this isn’t true). Sex education in China is scarce and unregulated, which can lead to misunderstandings about the female reproductive system, a high rate of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, as well as many women avoiding tampons because they’re not sure how to insert them properly.

It’s estimated that tampons make up a minuscule 0.03% of the sanitary market, and while Chinese manufacturers produced 85 billion sanitary pads last year, not a single one of them made tampons.

Of course, pad popularity itself isn’t a bad thing; pads are comfy and easy to use and are excellent for mopping up your spilled Frappuccino – but they don’t work for every single situation. Such as, to pluck a random example out of the air, swimming.

Which we imagine would be kinda annoying if you’re an Olympic swimmer. Yeah.

Fu’s statement is so important in a worldwide context because it made people everywhere (yours truly included) pause and say: “oh yeahhhh, I never thought of athletes having periods!”

After all, we’re used to thinking of these people as super humans whose bodies can do things that ours couldn’t even begin to fathom – so it’s easy to assume the rules of nature that apply to us shouldn’t apply to them. But of course, as Fu reminded us, they do.

And just as significantly, a Chinese Olympian speaking openly about her period might finally spark a conversation within China about female reproduction, and trigger some really positive change for girls and women in the country.

All that, and an Olympic medal.

Fu, you’re our shero.

Image: Getty