I've always been a bikini girl, and let me tell you, my collection is as packed as Carrie Bradshaw's shoe closet. But when it came to cheeky bottoms, I had always looked the other way. Cheeky bottoms on my booty would be like pineapple on pizza or ketchup on spaghetti — the combo works for some people, but not for me. I just couldn't ever picture feeling completely comfortable in the look. I have always hated miniskirts that ride up for fear of showing too much, so could I imagine a few extra inches of tush exposed for all to see? That would be a no.
But then here's what happened: I started falling in love with tops that only came with barely there bottoms. Sure, I could've mixed and matched with something I already owned, but when I first laid eyes on this complete Ookioh set, I think it took me a solid 10 to 15 minutes to X out the page and get back to work. I loved the sporty contrast piping and the tangerine shade, which had become imprinted in my mind. "Maybe the extended tankini will make me feel more covered up on top, so that I can just let it all hang out on the bottom?" I thought. No, no, no. It was just too much — or not enough, I should say. The tiny sliver of fabric meant that my stretch marks would definitely be visible on my butt and inner and outer thighs. I scrolled from photo to photo, trying to imagine this bottom on my butt instead of the model's, but it was impossible, even when I closed my eyes and squinted hard.
And then there's Mickey. I've always been pretty secretive about it, but my sister and I have a very small outline of a hidden Mickey tattooed on our butt cheeks. I know that doesn't sound sexy at all when other women probably have, like, dainty hearts or their SO's initials in cursive. It just sounds . . . weird. But that's the point of a hidden Mickey. They're special to Disney geeks like me, and they're supposed to be hard to find. So why should I reveal mine to the world, or, OK, the beach I happen to be building a sandcastle on that day?
Now, everyone has her own personal reasons for feeling comfortable or uncomfortable in a certain style suit. I know that my own reservations probably don't mirror yours. Maybe you like cheeky bikinis and you're hesitant about bandeaus or cutout maillots, who knows! I'm just here to tell you how I got over my woes so I could rock that orange two-piece that I loved so much, just in case it helps you this swim season.
I started to think of cheeky swimsuits like this: they're not made to fit a mold, they mold to you.
First, I searched for designs that weren't incredibly skimpy. Maybe they had a longer top (like the Ookioh suit), sleeves, or trendy little details that would attract the eyes upward, meaning that my behind wouldn't be the focal point of my beach look. I stayed away from thongs and G-strings. Then I looked to Aerie role model Iskra Lawrence, who is pretty much the queen of the cheeky suit. But I wasn't looking at her Instagram page for fashion inspo, I was reading her captions.
"Love your booty regardless of its size, lumps and bumps, tiger stripes, scars, soft, firm, flat, round, dimply or smooth. It's yours and it's the only cushion you really need," the curve model once reminded her followers. I like the sound of that, because it makes me think of my own butt as a pretty powerful thing. It's a body part that I'm proud to own because mine doesn't look like anyone else's.
I started to think of cheeky swimsuits like this: they're not made to fit a mold, they mold to you. And with that, I bought the orange Ookioh swimsuit, along with a few others I had been eyeing for quite some time. I challenged myself to wear a whole bunch of them on vacation, and I felt confident when I sat by the pool or got up to get a drink at the bar without my cover-up on. If someone was to spot my hidden Mickey, 10 points for Gryffindor! But I think even more obvious than my Mickey was probably the fact that I was just a girl who really liked her swimsuit.