Study reveals some womens' swimsuit anxiety


by Cathy Marshall


Posted on April 25, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 25 at 1:11 PM

If you think trying on a swimsuit in a dressing room of a store is worse than wearing the suit to the beach, you agree with the findings of a new study.

It showed even just imagining trying on swimsuits can increase a bad mood. More than a hundred college women were surveyed in Australia.

They were asked to imagine trying on suits in a dressing room and imagine wearing a swimsuit to the beach. The same scenarios for wearing jeans and a sweater were also included. It came as no surprise to researchers that the jeans brought fewer feelings of insecurity.

But researchers were surprised to learn women felt worse about being in a dressing room wearing a swimsuit than on the beach. Portland counselor Julie Jeske understands why.

“There’s something about a dressing room that allows you to scrutinize all of your shortcomings, your flaws,” she explained.

Swimsuit shopping she added can increase your tendency to be more critical of yourself than others and why you might be more comfortable on a beach.

“If I’m walking down a beach and I see other women who look similar to me or maybe they have a different body shape, it can make us judge ourselves less harshly,” said Jeske.

Portland swimsuit designer Pamela Levenson realized the downfall of the dressing room long ago.

“One of my rules when I opened the Popina’s stores was no three way mirrors, no fluorescent lighting because that isn’t the way it’s going to be at the beach,” remarked Levenson.

Customer Temira Wagenfeld avoids the bright lights of a dressing room, “It casts shadows and you can see all the imperfections and bulges,” she said.

Jeske reminds Wagenfeld and other women that selecting the right suit is important but so is what you tell yourself when you wear it,

“Ask yourself, how would I talk to my daughter? How would you want her to feel about her body? Then take those words and apply them to yourself because we all need that nurturing and love to feel good about ourselves.”

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