Itsy, Bitsy, Teeny, Weeny Tall Bikini

Teenage girl enjoying a swimming pool

Here’s a random thought about how we learn confidence.

Summer is upon us here in Oz.  Yes, sorry all you Northern Hemisphere folks, I know you’re facing winter now.  But I’m not particularly sorry for you: you’ve been blogging about your summer holidays and your peaches for months now, and it’s been driving me MENTAL.  I am such an Aussie girl, I resent the cold when it inevitably comes back around every year.

Ahem,  so anyway.  As soon as the frost is done with and the mornings are light, I’m off to the pool with my goggles and swimp3 to soak up the Vitamin D and do some laps.  It’s one of my favourite things in the world.  I love the way the sun plays in the water.  I even love the smell of chlorine that seems to hang around on my skin even hours later at the office.

How is this relevant to a tall blog?  Well, I’m one of those ‘serious’ lap swimmers, and my attire in the sporty fast lane is unorthodox.  Specifically, it’s been twenty years since I wore a one-piece — I’m a bikini girl, though I’m naturally on the modest side and would likely never have tried one on if I wasn’t this tall.  Why?  Tall options in women’s swimwear are limited.  You can either wear a black plus size one piece doozy with huge bra cups, or brave the belly button in an itsy, bitsy, far too teeny weeny for comfort bikini.

I used to feel very self conscious about it.  But it’s been years now that I’ve had to bare the tummy button, whether I was feeling fit or not.  Want to swim?  Gonna have to be brave!

I’ve grown so much more confident wearing it with the passing years, that it surprises me when women say they “can’t” wear a two piece.  I wonder why they are so worried — I know nobody is looking at them, just like they’re not looking at me.  Most of the time, everyone is too busy doing their own thing.  Occasionally I get a look from some lady that says “huh, doesn’t she think she’s hot”, and the world doesn’t end.

And that’s been a great lesson for life, in general.  Being noticed — well, it’s not going to kill you, when it does happen, and that’s less often than you might think.  So you might as well enjoy yourself, whether that means being dressed “wrong” (whatever that means) or doing something else that’s entirely unique to you.

Confidence, then — it seems to me that you become confident when you have no other choice.  Risks and scary situations propel you forwards.  Being a tall woman seems to come with a whole set of these situations!  So remember my bikini next time you’re worried “what people will think” of your heels.

Are there other aspects of life in which you’ve been forced out of your comfort zone because of your height?  Did it turn out well or not?  I’d love to hear your stories.

Anne Shea is the founder of the Sarah Vain and Tall clothing line: find her at


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