Swimmers, bathers, togs, whatever you want to call them, if you’re training for a tri, you gotta have them. But if you’re in the market for a new pair of bathers to cut your laps, whether it be inside or out in the great ocean blue, there’s a few things you need to consider. A recent call out to our very own Ironmum community came up with some fantastic tips on just what to look out for, and what to avoid.
Keeping in mind everybody, and every body, is different. Boobs, no boobs; a bit of wobble or skinny as a rake; tall/short, self conscious or couldn’t give a rats arse. We are all amazing in our shape and size and these opinions are from real women taking on unreal goals.
“Fits my butt but doesn’t dig into the hips’ – Clancy, WA.
The most popular aspect to consider when looking for your perfect chlorine cossie is fit and cut. The only way to really ensure you’re getting an awesome fit and cut is to try them on in the shop. Keep your knickers on (for hygiene reasons), strip off (in the change rooms please!) and knock yourself out with as many different styles you can find. Some don’t like low cut in the back, most don’t like high cut (think Pam Anderson – cut up to the armpits) and none of us like that bit that sticks out and gives us ‘double hip’ or jams up the lady parts and gives you a fanny wedgie, but once you find the design that suits, stay with it.
“Fit and comfortable” - Tina
Right alongside fit and cut is comfort. No point in choosing bathers that fit and look
fantastic but moving makes you feel like your encased in duct tape. Padding in the right places helps with keeping chafe away and picking the right size (not too big or small) will make sure everything’s covered and won’t slow you down unnecessarily.
“Can survive chlorine several times a week and looks cute!” – Tricia, Sydney.
You’re in the pool, A LOT! Training for a triathlon, especially in winter, means you make the most of indoor pools for convenience (think freezing cold or early morning/late night) and those buggers are basically large holes of liquid chemicals. You need togs that’ll hold up in the chlorine so check the label and make sure they are resistant. Prepare to pay for them, but they’ll last!
“I only buy bottoms…..I’ve never found a bathers top that I don’t fall out of if I’m swimming seriously” – Michelle, VIC
Padding/no padding? Shelf Bra/no Bra? Fitted across the boobs? Cup size? Not one woman I know has ‘standard sized boobs’, whatever they are! Look for swimmers that have removable padding (for those who need/want it) and if you can get away with running in shelf-bra bathers, then embrace those teeny taa-taa’s and find one with adequate support. For some who struggle to keep bigger breasts in when going hard, a tight fit across the chest is essential. If you are mix and matching bikinis, an option is to always go a size smaller in the top to squeeze them in (and give you a double chin!).
“I need colour and lots of it!” - Nac, VIC
Not so much a functional aspect, colour is a supremely personal choice. Some like black for the slim show, others like to stand out from the pool/beach crowd and wow with splashes of colour. Funkita and CatfishDesigns are popular for their designs amongst the Ironmums crowd.
TRUE TO SIZE SIZES
“I want bathers that are the same size as my clothes!” – Angela
Chances are, this won’t happen. Different brands design and cut differently, much like jeans and really expensive dresses. You might be a 12 in one brand and it feels amazing (even though you’re a 14 in clothes -yay!) but the same numbers on another swimwear brands tag might leave you looking like you’ve squashed yourself into your toddlers togs. Again – try on EVERYTHING!
“I’m almost 45 and 175cm, I like to keep certain bits more covered these days” – Jo Jo
I’m not in my teens anymore and I know it. I know the value of covering up a little and can’t see the point in paying big bucks for good quality bathers when I’ve seen more material in an odd sock. As more and more women are entering triathlons well into their 50’s, swimwear design is evolving so keep an eye out for fun colours and designs and don’t resign yourself to old lady cossies (I’m looking at you, one piece with built in girdle support and ‘scrunchie’ pattern).
The biggest detail when it comes to selecting bathers is to have fun. Don’t settle for shitty swimwear, ask and look around for something that feels amazing, is functional as well as looks awesome. It’ll make all the difference as you train for your big race day!