I’ve been baring my soul on the internet since 2004. My LiveJournal days were desperate and angsty. I over-shared and rambled in ways that make my current content seem nothing short of sparse. And throughout my various online journals, sites, and social platforms, I’ve always wondered where I’d draw the line. Would I show my face in my outfit posts? Would I talk about my significant other? Would I discuss my career? Would I talk about my cancer?
The answers always went from no way to maybe to why not?, except in the case of swimwear. “I’m not a model,” I’d explain to brands or other bloggers. “I can’t do swimwear on my site.”
And then a few weeks ago, I decided I was wrong. Why? Because I can do whatever I want, and I want to rock the hell out of this two-piece.
Lori Coulter Swimwear, the line behind the retro-inspired swimwear you love, recently invited a handful of St. Louis bloggers to a poolside photoshoot at The Cheshire, and I was lucky enough to be asked to participate. Since the only logical answer is “Yes absolutely!” when a major designer asks you to come play dress up, the fact that this shoot would require getting my photo taken in a swimsuit didn’t really sink in until the day of the event. Any OMG-I’m-nearly-naked fears melted away quickly at this body-positive photo shoot thanks partly to the mind-numbing heat and largely to the amazing team of supportive women in attendance and my perfectly fitted suit.
I’m an inch away from buying a kiddie pool to put in my backyard just so I have more places to wear this beautiful bikini. Check out some of my favorite images from the shoot below.
I was styled in the Mindy bikini top and Cora bikini bottom, as well as a Risa sarong. For the photo shoot, Lori’s team pulled inspiration images of the gorgeous Isla Fisher for my hair and makeup (major #WCW alert!) and the artists from Dominic Michael Salon (hair) and Brea Polittle (makeup) got to work. I took serious notes and am tracking down some products this weekend to recreate what’s seen above. While I adore my swimwear and can’t wait to take it back to the water, I kept this perfect hair and makeup look far from the pool to enjoy it as long as possible.
Now back to the bikini… I don’t consider myself to be a shy person, or even bashful about appearances. I love how I look. It would be super hard to run a site that includes this many photos of myself and not be alright with what I look like. But liking your appearance and feeling comfortable in a swimsuit always seemed different from one another. The last time I remember hanging out in a bikini for an extended period of time, I was fourteen at Warped Tour. Things have changed over the past twelve years. In general, I wear more clothes now than I did then. Adult Julia lives for loose layers, not tight two-pieces.
Turns out, swimwear fear can disappear when you find a suit that fits and flatters. The high-quality materials and dedication to custom fits that Lori’s line offers make for swimwear that feels like a second skin. I was feeling so good about this look, I didn’t even get fully dressed to drive home after the shoot. I might have then hung out around the house in it for a bit. It might still be within viewing distance as I type this blog post. You can’t judge me for my swimwear crush.
So here’s my point: Just like all my other former blog rules, the no-swimwear concept was insane. I put a negative idea in my head and I ran with it. You know what happened when I threw it out? I had fun. I looked awesome. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Teenage me in a bikini at Warped Tour had the right idea. Why does growing older come with forced modesty and self-doubt?
From now on, I’ll leave my uncertainty with my towel and hit the poolside with total confidence. It is the best accessory, don’t you think?
Thank you for sponsoring this post and for asking me to participate, Lori Coulter Swimwear. All ideas and opinions are my own. And remember to use code ohjuliaann2016 for 20% off Lori Coulter items until July 31, 2016!