By Leah McLaren
In my view, every bathing suit shop in the civilized world should be legally obliged to post one of those orange signs you see beside the doors of saunas. WARNING: Exit immediately if uncomfortable, dizzy or sleepy. Avoid if pregnant or in poor medical health. Bikini shopping in conjunction with alcohol or drugs may cause unconsciousness. By the time I found out, it was already too late. I was naked, weeping, red-faced and five-and-a-half-months knocked up, under the fluorescent lights of a fast-fashion change room on Oxford Street in London, England. A discarded pile of solid colour bandeau and triangle bikinis lay in a wilted pile beside me. No, it was not a good look. But then again, what was I thinking? Swimwear shopping is a self-esteem crapshoot at the best of times, let alone with a sore back, swollen tummy and bazooka breasts.
Since then, upon much sober reflection, I have compiled a list of wisdom gleaned from years of swimwear-shopping trauma. Whether you are a gangly tween contemplating your first padded two-piece or a post-partum mum longing to reclaim your inner Gidget, the following advice will help guide you seamlessly from change room to checkout.