Buying Two Shitty Instagram Bathing Suits Made Me See What’s Wrong With My Whole Life
A Very Specific Interview about marketing and getting so much therapy for the cost of just two sessions.
For my fourth Very Specific Interview™ I talked to writer and designer Rebecca Ackermann about Instagram brand one pieces and much, much more.
Sarah: Rebecca, I want to say how brave you are for stepping forward and admitting you bought one shitty Instagram bathing suit that you despised and then turning around and ordering another one. But before we start, let’s thank Emily Gould, who was brave enough to pave the way in this work by coming forward with her own story about her Instagram bra. Ok. So. The hero begins in their ordinary world, wanting a bathing suit… was it for sports, a vacation or just “shit I need a bathing suit!?”
Rebecca: I am just always searching for the perfect one piece. It is an eternal search. I first tried a ribbed one piece from Andie “swimwear by women for women” that compared itself to the classic J. Crew scoop back.
Is there a reason you didn’t just get the J. Crew scoop back… is it discontinued?
I have a body with boobs so that scoop back is an impossible dream. The Andie version had a support shelf & cups.
Andie scares me as a brand name. It seems disingenuous. I don’t know why but I am hoping the reason will reveal itself to me during this conversation.
It reminds me of Andie McDowell…In Four Weddings & a Funeral specifically. It suggests a weird kind of basic aspiration.
Makes sense. The bathing suit looked good on film but is not so good at acting! At doing its job!
I ordered it thinking I’d discovered a hack where I could get the J. Crew scoop back but for boobs and never have to go into a dressing room.
How did it fail at this?
The top was too low cut and the bottom was too high cut and it looked both way too sexy and way too matronly. Looking at myself in it, I was like, Gee, could I look MORE like a mom but also completely inappropriate? You’re going to ask if I returned it and no, I did not because I am a goblin and cannot return anything. I think I even forwarded a coupon to a friend 😱.
Is the matronly thing because the neck too round and too narrow? I am a neckline expert, with 40 years of neckline research behind me.
Yes kind of. It was scoopy? But too like, square? Squoval as they say in the manicure business.
And is a scoop back for large breasts just an engineering impossibility?
I guess? The suit held the boobs when I was just upright, but it gave up as soon as I started moving around. And then the supportive cups just kind of stayed in place and the boobs were on their own out there? Like a suit of armor?
Yes, I have experienced this. It’s very weird. Supportive cups are liars like,“Oh, here we are, at your service.” Ok, but you’re not doing anything. I’m not stupid, supportive cups!
Exactly. Ok, so then time passed without a bathing suit and I forgot how bad it was. I forgot. And then I got lured by another Instagram brand —
You were trying to right a wrong!
Exactly — so that brand was called Summersalt.Which I keep remembering as Midsommar. So yes I did it again, like, oh no, that bad the Andie suit was the problem, not Instagram suits in general. The next suit was called The Current. I got it because my friend had it and it looked good on her but we have different bodies…but it’s the EXACT SAME style as the Andie suit, which is incidentally called the Tulum, hahahaa, my GOD, but it has a more supportive cross back. I mean, I should’ve known.
But isn’t that the thing about Instagram clothes. Like you should know. And you do know. It’s basically just like betting on the ponies.
I ordered the second suit because I wanted to believe in a better world.
How much were these things?
About $100 each
Yes, I know. More than the J Crew classic scoop back. Which I probably should’ve just tried in the first place since they also will mail you things. But their photos aren’t as good?
Ok, I’m looking at the Tulum…ok, now the Current…bad necklines! Big problem!
You see? I should’ve known. I mean, my question remains honestly as to whether a good one-piece is even possible. Maybe I’m blaming these brands for a more fundamental problem…
I got one from Nordstrom. It has no cups. No support, and it’s really low cut, it’s just like, here everything is. It’s kind of like how when you go to an aquarium and you can go downstairs like look at the tank of fish through the portholes — my breasts in it are like the pair of hammerhead sharks swimming around together.
Gotta have the confidence of being the main attraction.
One thing people don’t get about having big boobs — you either display them, or you look bizarre. You can’t just pretend they’re not there. It doesn’t work.
Maybe that’s my real problem. I want a bathing suit that is not too try-hardy and makes me look sort of sporty and neutral. But that’s just not in the cards for me.
I mean I’m not going to say that large breasts absolutely keep all women from being sporty and neutral. But they have absolutely kept me from being that. Also — now I get why they lyingly called their store Andie…it’s like a boy’s name and a girl’s name and they want you to think that if you buy one of their suits you can like be a woman but also like not have to actually deal with being one…that’s kind of a full of shit analysis but I’m into it. Anyway. I think you need to admit that when you wear a bathing suit you’re not going to be able to put your tits in a sort of lycra-reinforced parentheses.
My problem has been really existential all this time, hasn’t it? This was about so much more than Instagram. I can’t be afraid to have a look. Have to say this whole conversation has me thinking like, “Oh I just want to be a cool neutral, that’s my whole fucking life problem.”
Yeah, like, I don’t have an “amazing body.” Or amazing body confidence. I just know what shapes are. Hey, change of subject — I just read your awesome story in the New York Times about making tiny clay sculptures of food. You clearly need to make clay sculptures your failed Instagram bathing suits.
Oh, yes. That might be a way of healing. You have unlocked something. I’ll do that this evening. Yes. It will help me release the impossible idea of a ribbed scoop back one piece that looks neutrally sexy that I can find on the Internet for a reasonable price, and move into reality, and a whole new life.