A Tale of Two Swimsuits: What to Expect When Swimsuit Shopping at Brio

You walk into Brio with a stomach knotted tight and a tight mind resistant against the task at hand. You do not want to be shopping for a new swimsuit today. But after a year of being inside, the fit of your old swimsuit was not kind to you when you tried it on in the mirror a week ago.

You walk slowly over to a rack and begin half-heartedly going through swimsuits, trying to decide if you are in a bikini place mentally, or if you should stay safe with a one-piece. One-pieces really had a moment a few years ago. Celebrities and shiny Instagram influencers shed the formerly drab garment of its dowdy reputation so it wouldn’t be a fashion faux pas to pick one …

“Hello. Is there anything in particular I can help you find?” A smiling sales associate is beside you.

“Um. I was just thinking a black swimsuit.” Black’s classic right? “Maybe a one-piece.”

“Sure thing. Any particular styles you like?”

You blink.

She rattles off a few examples, halter tops, V-necks, high neck, etc, and you pick your favourites from her list. You absolutely insist that you don’t want high-cut bottoms. She takes your size, too.

While she trounces off, looking like a woman on a mission, you turn your attention back to the rack in front of you. The swimsuits are beautiful, high-quality pieces but you barely seem them.

When the sales associate returns with a bundle of black swimsuits under her arm, you take the one-piece you were holding with you into the change room.

Once in the change room, you slide on one of the options she picked for you and frown at yourself in the mirror. It is not as bad as you feared, it fits okay, certainly better than the atrocity you have at home, but it’s just not quite right. You dance around a bit in the small room to ensure it’s at least decent to show to the sales associate.

Bathing suit passing the dance test and after her insistence, you emerge.

“Oh, this is a great start,” the sales associate says. “What do you think of it?”

You tell her the truth, and she nods, before peppering off what does and doesn’t work about it. Now you’re nodding along as she points out the things that flatter and the things that don’t. It becomes clear to you that this woman knows what she’s talking about, and had you asked, you wouldn’t at all have been surprised to learn that she’d gone through hours of training, as all the sales associates at Brio do, to become an expert in finding the perfect swimsuit fit for people. Her eagle eyes know how to assess what styles will flatter and function for customers’ needs.

You head back into the change room to try on another swimsuit with surprisingly little tension in your shoulders. As you do, she begins asking questions, making conversation. Sometimes it is clothes-related, like what colours you typically like to wear, and sometimes it’s about the hobbies you’d picked up during lockdown. By the time you’ve finished your trial with the second bathing suit, she’s gone to find more swimsuits that she feels “are more you.” She’s talked you into trying on two-pieces with high-cut, high-waisted bottoms in patterns of colours that are decidedly much louder than plain black.

She returns and brandishes the two-pieces she’s chosen for you like a magic wand. All of them are an improvement on the black ones you’d previously tried on, but one in particular makes your fitting room dance genuine. You giggle, feeling giddy. When you show it off to the sales associate, you notice that your shoulders are back, chin is up and there’s a large grin across your face.

She grins in return. “Wow,” she says. “This one fits great.” Then she launches into what about this bikini with the originally dreaded high-cut bottoms makes it so superior to the others you’d tried on.

After that, it becomes a process of trial and error until you’re standing with three swimsuits in your hand, one one-piece and two bikinis (including that first one that’d made you feel amazing), trying to figure out which one you like the best, and for once the problem isn’t which one you hate the least.

“I don’t know which to choose. I love them all,” you say. “Which one do you like best?”

The sales associate smiles and goes through the pros and cons of each suit again.

You ask twice more before finally getting an answer.

“The last one you tried on with the red is really great on you. The colour and fit are really flattering, but it’s also a really practical two-piece because you did say you wanted this swimsuit to be used for more than just tanning.”

You bite your lip, knowing she’s right. But the feeling you got when you tried on that other bikini … It had been the first time you’d felt like that in a bathing suit, even if the other two suits meant it wasn’t the last.

“Would you be able to hold this one for me?” you ask, holding it out to her.

“Of course,” she chuckles, taking it from you. “It’ll be right here if you decide to come back for it.”

You make it through the checkout, but you aren’t even back to your car yet when you turn around and go back for the bikini you’d left on hold.

After all, you deserve more than one swimsuit that fits so well and makes you feel so good.

So, after checking out a second time, you head back to your car with an extra hop in your step, an extra big smile on your face, and an extra bikini in your shopping bag.