This week, we tackle every woman’s least favorite item to shop for: Swimsuits.
I share tips for making the process a little easier, and the results more successful. Grab a good book, a pair of sunglasses, and enjoy your most stylish summer ever!

In Lessons from Linda, I share the story of one of my more frustrating clients–and why your everyday style really matters.

Today’s vocabulary term is “yarn-dyed”. This was asked in a weekly Q&A session in our member facebook group, and I thought it would be a good one to cover for everyone. You might see this in a clothing description and wonder, what does that mean, and why should I care?

In Current Events, I’m giving an update on what used to be one of my favorite times of the year!

Your homework this week is to go through your swimsuits, get rid of the ones that make you feel bad, and start finding one you love. Do a little online shopping, head to the stores if that’s an option for you and you feel comfortable, but just start.

Links & Resources from the show:

Come say hi on Instagram, and show off your statement bottoms!

Yarn Dyed Dress

Garment Dyed Sweatshirt

Printed Shorts

More Anniversary Sale details

Challenges with the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

Take the Signature Style Class!

Wear the Damn Swimsuit

Show Your Mom Bod Some Love

Moms, Put on That Swimsuit 

Get the Ultimate Swimwear Guide–absolutely FREE!

Have a question you’d like answered in Office Hours? Email

**This post may contain affiliate links, which means, that I may receive, at no cost to you, a small commission from purchases made through links we provide. Thank you for your support.

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Read the full episode transcript below! – Ep 57 The Swimsuit Episode!

Hello Hello! Welcome back to the Everyday Style School podcast where we believe style can be easy, and getting dressed should be fun! I’m your host, Jennifer Mackey-Mary, and today, we’re talking about swimwear.

This is an episode I had planned to do in May, but it got the Covid shuffle, as lots of people weren’t sure if they’d be going to beaches or pools, and maybe they wouldn’t need a swimsuit, but as we see things opening up, I don’t think I could let a summer go by without talking about swimsuits.

There is a downloadable guide that goes with this episode–it’s the Ultimate Swimwear Guide, and in it, you’ll find information for finding the best swimsuit for each of the 4 body types-what to look for, what to avoid, along with pictures, in case you’re a visual learner.

I’ve also got answers to the top swimwear dilemmas the women in my community asked about, as well as my favorite resources for swimsuit shopping. You can get it by going to Or there will be a link in the episode notes on our website as well.

Today In Lessons from Linda, I’m sharing the story of one of my more frustrating Lindas.

In Vocabulary, we’re talking about yarn-dyed fabrics

In Current Events, I’m giving an update on what used to be one of my favorite times of the year!

Before we get started though, your homework from the last full episode was to try statement bottoms and a basic top. I know my All-Access ladies have been doing it, and I’m loving the pictures. If you try it, post a picture on instagram and tag @everydaystylewithjen I cant wait to see your looks!

All right, let’s kick things off, with Lessons from Linda.

Today’s Linda was referred to me by one of my favorite clients. Who said, my friend Linda could really use your help. I should get her a session with you.

You know, I’m always a little wary of conversations that start out like that- I love working with women who want my help, but when someone says my mom sister friend needs your help, I’m a little hesitant.

So I said, talk to her about it, and if she wants help, great, but don’t just sign her up. So Linda talked to the new Linda, and the new Linda said she was in!

I sent her my pre-service questionnaire, and when she sent it back, I couldn’t figure out the problem. I’ve been doing this a long time, and from that questionnaire, 99% of the time, I can figure out what’s going on before I walk through the door, but this Linda was truly a 1 percenter.

I arrived, got set up in her bedroom, asked a few followup questions to help me dig deeper and figure out why I was there…and mostly, Linda wanted to look “nice”. Nice is a terrible word. It doesn’t tell you anything.

So I asked, how do you feel you look now. “Fine, I guess”. Fine is another terrible word–it also tells you nothing. Also, to me, there isn’t a huge leap from fine to nice, if you know what I mean. It isn’t like like drab to fab! Terrible to terrific! It’s fine to nice, but whatever.

I gave up trying to figure it out, and we just started trying things on. As always, we started with the bottoms–everything she tried fit fine. Her clothes weren’t my style, but that doesn’t mean there was anything wrong with them–they weren’t at the height of current fashion, but they weren’t noticeably dated.

I’d ask Linda “do you like those pants, or that skirt” and she’d say “they’re fine, I just wear them to run errands or go to dinner. We don’t dress up much”.

I wasn’t learning anything, so I tried another tactic and asked if you could change anything about your wardrobe, what would it be. “I just want to look nicer” I asked, what does that mean, “you know, just to feel nicer when I go out”. Ok….

I tried another approach, that I sometimes do with clients–show me an outfit in your closet that makes you feel the way you want to feel. She pulled out a very fancy outfit, which is helpful, but doesn’t really apply to making your everyday wardrobe feel nicer, so I said, what about something you’d wear to dinner, or errands–she kind of picked through the pile on her bed pulled out a few things and said, “these are fine I guess”.

Inside, I was losing my mind. Every once in a while, there would be a moment where I realized I couldn’t help someone achieve what they wanted, for a variety of reasons, and when that happened, I switch to, let’s at least get rid of what’s not working. Maybe we can’t find “nice”, but we can get her closet in good shape, and maybe that will give her more clarity.

She kept trying things on, but would not part with anything, because “its fine, and I just wear it to run errands or go out to dinner. We don’t dress up much”. I must have heard that a hundred times that day.

Linda had a ton of clothes, and all of them were perfectly fine. None were terrible, none were great. She didn’t need to add anything to her wardrobe, but she wouldn’t get rid of anything either. We tried to make some outfits and the end, and I’d put something together, and she’d say, I usually wear that top with these pants.

Our time was up, and I left so frustrated. I cant stand feeling like I didn’t help a woman feel better about herself, or have an easier time getting dressed. I just literally didn’t know why I was there the whole time, and I have a feeling, neither did she.

Funny story though, she called me about a year and a half later to go through her closet for the opposite seasons, and I thought, ok, this is on her own, it’s not because a friend told her to, this time will be different.

I know here’s the part when I share the major break through, but there wasn’t one. The second verse was the same as the first. Everything was fine, but nothing was nice. Didn’t want to use her clothes in a different way, didn’t want to part with anything.

Obviously though, she got something out if it, or she wouldn’t have called me again. Even now I can feel the frustration of “what do you want? Why am I here? How can I help you?” I hate that feeling, and I wish I could go back in time and figure it out, but I have a feeling it would just be a frustrating time travel, so I’ll leave it alone.

There are two things I want you to take away from my time with this Linda.

First, and most importantly, you cannot have a wardrobe you love, made from clothes you don’t. Let me repeat that. You cannot have a wardrobe you love, made from clothes you don’t.

If you look at the majority of your clothes and say “meh, they’re fine”, don’t expect to look at your wardrobe as a whole, or your style and say “I love this” Your wardrobe is simply the sum of it’s parts.

Those clothes you hang onto because they’re “fine” and you can’t part with “fine”? Those are the pieces keeping you from a style and a wardrobe you love. If you look at all of your clothes, and they’re not exciting, or stylish, or even nice, your wardrobe won’t be either.

If you want to look nice for running errands and going to dinner, your clothes need to be nice. If you want to look polished for errands and dinner, your clothes need to look that way. You will look exactly like your clothes do.

Second, Speaking of errands and going to dinner, basically, that was Linda’s entire life. She spent her entire life in clothes she wasn’t jazzed about because she didn’t consider those places important enough to have clothes she loved.

So she settled for fine, and then lived her whole life in clothes that were fine, but not nice, like she wanted. The places you go, and the things you do most often? That’s your real life. We need to stop acting like our everyday lives are just how we pass the time until our real lives happen.

This right here is why women don’t feel stylish. When you look at women with great style, you know what they have? Great everyday style. They look put together when they’re running errands, or going to the farmers market.

Those are the women we look at and say “oh, she’s got such great style” Everyone can put themselves together for special occasions.

It’s actually not that hard…but wearing clothes you love, that go beyond fine, in your everyday life? That’s when true style happens.

Let’s move on to the word of the week.

Today’s vocabulary term is “yarn-dyed”. This was asked in a weekly Q&A session in our member facebook group, and I thought it would be a good one to cover for everyone. You might see this in a clothing description and wonder, what does that mean, and why should I care?

First, what does yarn dyed mean. Yarn dyed means that the individual fibers, or yarns, were dyed before being woven or knit to create a length of fabric. That’s all.

One alternative to yarn dyeing is piece dyeing, which means undyed fibers are woven or knit together into fabric, and then that long length of fabric is run through a dye bath and colored all at once. This works fine for solid fabrics, but not for prints.

You’ll also see clothes labeled as garment dyed. This means that the article of clothing was finished in its undyed state, and then the color was added.

An alternative to dying, especially for prints… is printed fabric, where the the pattern is actually printed on plain fabric, the way you would print on paper.

For the most part, clothing descriptions mention yarn dyed, garment dyed, or printed. You’re unlikely to see stores bragging about piece dyed fabric.

Now let’s talk about why you should care about each process.

Yarn dyed fabrics can be prints or solids, but when it comes to prints, you’re more likely to find stripes, or plaids–it’s more difficult and therefore expensive to make a complicated floral or paisley pattern from dyed yarns, and often the back of the fabric doesn’t look as nice as the front because it gets messy with all the different yarns required to create the pattern, so yarn dying is usually reserved for simpler patters.

Yarn dyed Solid color fabrics, or simple patterns look the same on both sides. Both sides are usuabll. Also, in the dyeing process, every fiber will be subtly different. Not enough to make the variation super noticeable, but you’ll probably see some texture to the fabric that comes from every fiber being just a tiny bit different.

Other benefits of yarn dyeing is that the fabric feels more substantial and often higher quality, and the colorfastness is better than piece dyed fabrics.

In general, the quality of the dyeing is better the earlier it happens in the manufacturing process. So, yarn dyeing is better than piece dying. Piece dying is better than garment dyeing–in terms of the quality of the dyeing process.

Piece dying is the most common process, and most of the solid color clothing out there is piece dyed. Its a more economical process and it produces an even color on the whole roll of fabric.

Garment dying again is dying the completed item as the last step in the manufacturing process. There are a couple of advantages to garment dying.

Because the dye is applied last, and the entire item is washed, and dried, a couple of times, there is very little shrinkage to garment dyed pieces. I get questions all the time, asking “will it shrink”, and if this is a big concern of yours, look for garment dyed items.

The other advantage to garment dyeing is that it creates a softer, broken in feel to the clothes. You’ll see a lot of garment dyed sweatshirts and t-shirts that look like old favorites right off the rack, which a lot of people like.

Finally, let’s touch on printed fabric. Most of the patterns you see, especially complicated, involved ones, are going to be printed. The advantage is that it’s an inexpensive way to produce fabric with a pattern.

The downside is that the front of the fabric has the print, but the back of the fabric doesn’t. It’s solid, or maybe has the pattern showing through a little bit. This tends to make the item look a little cheap, but it’s not a huge deal, and doesn’t come up that often.

The best examples I can give is a few years ago, when the high-low hem dresses were everywhere, you’d see the unfinished fabric at the bottom, which in my opinion looked kind of strange, and cheap. It also happens sometimes when you roll up the sleeves of a shirt or blouse, and there’s no pattern.

If it bothers you, don’t buy it, or don’t roll up your sleeves.

Now you know a little more about what the words in the clothing descriptions mean, and what you can expect from your clothes.

And now, let’s talk Current events.

So, if you’re into clothes, and shopping, and all things fashion, you know that the biggest sale of the year, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, happens every July.

Unlike most store sales that put current merchandise on sale, or discount items that are on their way out, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale puts fall merchandise that hasn’t even hit the racks yet on sale.

It’s always been one of the first looks at fall, and an event that fashiony people live for. Just wait–every single blogger or influencer will be talking about nsale.

If you’ve followed me for a bit, you know I spend the last two weeks of the month sharing my picks in every single category.

Except this year, I won’t be. For two reasons. First, the Anniversary sale isn’t happening in July. It’s been pushed back to August 19-30, obviously due to the Coronavirus.

Now, this could be very good news, because I know it’s hard to even think about buying a faux fur coat in July, even if it’s a total steal, and you’re going to wish you had it later on. This puts the sale a little closer to fall, when our minds start to switch to a new season.

But, even before the postponement happened, I’d made the decision not to do my annual picks, and here’s why. For years, the Anniversary Sale was an opportunity to stock up on basics for fall, and maybe splurge on a special piece or two.

When I was shopping with clients, those two weeks were insane. I swear I clocked more hours than some Nordstrom employees. Yes, things sold out, but even towards the end of the sale, there were still deals to be had, and pieces to be found.

It’s not that way anymore.

You see, Nordstrom used to have a few of days of early access shopping for cardholders, which is totally fair, and it’s a great perk. This year, early access for regular cardholders starts August 13, so 6 days early..

But now, even when early access starts, items are picked over and sold out. By the time the sale opens to the public, its slim pickings indeed. Nordstrom has added even more VIP shopping days for different levels of cardholders, starting with their Icon members, who have to spend at least 15,000 per year net, on their Nordstrom Card.

They get to start shopping on August 4. The next level starts August 7, Then August 10, then August 13, and finally, 15 days after the first group starts shopping, it’s open to the public.

These higher rewards tiers used to have a day or two before early access, but now they’ve got 9 days before regular cardholders, and two full weeks before the general public making it really difficult to make great picks from what’s left.

You can actually preview the sale and add items to your wish list starting July 24–it’s fun to see how fast your items sell out starting the day Icon status shoppers can purchase.

As much as I love the NSale, the last couple of years, they have not done a good job of having enough inventory to get through the sale.

Its felt like the sale is over by the time it officially starts, and there have been a ton of issues with orders being cancelled, and unhappy people. Besides, I think Fall is going to be another tricky inventory season, so I’m not anticipating an abundance of product. For all of those reasons, I’m going to sit this one out.

So, if you were looking forward to the Anniversary sale this month, sorry, you’re going to have to wait a little longer. If you were looking forward to my picks, sorry, maybe 2021.

Let’s see how this one goes. I know there will be lots of influencers out there sharing their picks, but I just can’t get excited about it this year. There’s an interesting article about the Anniversary Sale and the challenges this ridiculous early access situation has caused.

When we come back, I’m going to share a few tips for finding swimwear you love–and that loves you back!

The Summer 2020 Capsule Wardrobe Guide has retired, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have great style! If you listened to the Personal Style episode and you’re struggling to find your Style Guideposts, or you don’t even know where to start to create a wardrobe that feels like you, I’ve got the solution.

Our Signature Style Masterclass is available to everyone this month, not just our All-Access Members. This video class will teach you how to find your style guideposts, build your personal must have lists, and develop a signature style that’s as fabulous as you are.

As a bonus, you’ll discover how to create outfit formulas that make getting dressed for anything easier than you thought possible. If you’re ready for a style that’s unique and all your own, head over to our website to sign up now.

This class will save you so much money by helping you find the items you’ll actually want to wear, and keeping you from buying things that will languish in your closet. This class is only available this month, so head to now to get started.

And now, back to the show!

Does the phrase “swimsuit season” fill your heart with joy, with images of the beach, and the pool and sunny days flashing before your eyes?

Or, does “swimsuit season” spark a little less joy, and you look at putting on a suit as a necessary evil? Or, does “swimsuit season” make you say, no thanks, hard pass, I’ll stay fully clothed thank you very much.

Regardless where you fall on swimsuit season, I think we can all agree that swimsuit shopping can be a miserable task at best, and a soul sucking experience at its worst.

A lot of women give up, and retire their swimsuits for good, or only put one on under duress. I think we need to change that, and celebrate swimsuit season.

I’ve worked with a lot of clients who can’t remember the last time they willingly put on a swimsuit–usually citing unhappiness with the way they look in a bathing suit, and feeling like they’re not swimsuit ready.

Remember that in order to have a swimsuit ready body, all you need is a body and a swimsuit. That’s it

I believe that no woman, regardless of her age, or her size, should feel like her swimwear days have passed her by. If you love the beach or the pool, don’t deny yourself the joy of getting out there!

Now, if you don’t love a good beach or pool day, I have some serious questions about your sanity, but that’s a show for another day.

The mission of Everyday Style is to inspire women to love the way they look, and give them the tools to do so. For this one, I’m going to let some more talented voices than mine give you the inspiration.

In the shownotes above I’ve linked to some really great articles about why you should put the swimsuit on.

Today, I’m going to focus on the tools. I think one of the reasons a lot of us dread swimwear season, is the swimwear shopping. I’m going to share some tips for making finding the right suit easier, and more successful so you can find your best suit ever.

When you go swimsuit shopping, remember this is a numbers game. Usually when I’d shop with clients, I’d pull a few tops or a few bottoms to find the ones that worked, but when it came to swimwear, my clients tried on a lot. And that’s with a trained professional.

The secret is to take more than you need into the fitting room, and not get discouraged when it isn’t going well in the beginning. Pull every style that interests you, and take two sizes of each suit–the size you think you are, and one size up. Most women need to size up in swimwear, so anticipate that, and again, don’t get discouraged. It’s the bathing suit, not you.

Swimwear shopping is a time where I recommend bringing a friend. Not for her opinions, because what matters most is how you feel in the suit, and let’s not put our friends in an awkward position of having to tell us something really isn’t flattering…but rather to be a runner.

To put the ones that don’t work on the rack, run for different sizes, different colors, a different style–whatever.

I often say that we give up when we have to put our shoes back on, and trust me, after 2 or 3 trips out of the fitting room, most women are just ready to say screw it, bring on the coverup and not keep looking.

Get a friend and do a swimsuit shopping trip together. Focusing on one person first, then the other. Now, as I record this, I realize that you may not be back in stores, or in fitting rooms, and you may have to do this online.

My advice to you in this case is to order way more than you need. Look for stores with free shipping and free returns, and order a lot, if you can. Its going to be a lot easier to do that than it is to try a couple of things at a time.

The silver lining here is that you’ll have your own mirror and your own lighting–and don’t we hate fitting room mirrors and lighting? I sure do!

My next tip is to look for suits that replicate your favorite clothing styles. Obviously this doesn’t work for everything–I don’t know of any boot cut bathing suits out there, but there are things you can copy.

Necklines are a big one. If you like the way you look best in v-neck, go for a swimsuit that mimics that v shape. If you like a boat or bateau neckline, go for a high neck swim top.

Also, that old favorite advice of mine–never put a horizontal line across the widest part of anything– applies here, too. If you don’t like tucked in, or belted styles in your real clothes, avoid horizontal lines and seams in your swimwear, too.

You can learn a lot from your everyday clothes that you can apply to swimwear.

Women with a balanced bodyshapes–meaning women who are the same size on top and they are on bottom, can do really well in a one piece suit, but if your body is out of proportion, like an apple or a pear, you’re going to better in a two piece, where you can mix and match sizes to get a proper fit.

I had one client who wanted coverage, but felt like tankinis were for old ladies. She wanted a one piece. The problem is, she was two sizes bigger on the bottom than she was on the top, so every suit she tried was either too big on top, or too big on the bottom.

Finally she agreed to try, and we found a tankini that didn’t feel “momish” her word, not mine, to her and got the perfect fit right away.

Next Use color and pattern strategically. I’m not going to tell you to buy a black suit because it’s slimming, because there are likely better choices out there for you.

I know I’ve said this before, but there is no “black magic”. ALL dark colors make things recede and have the same effect, and if there’s a color that looks better on you than black, it can give your whole look a boost.

Try navy, or dark purple. It might give your suit more personality and make you feel like you’re not stuck in a boring old suit with no fun options.

Also, patterns are a great way to highlight the parts you love, or disguise the parts you don’t. Remember, patterns that are sparse and repeating will emphasize an area, while patterns that are dense and non repeating will deemphasize an area.

This is another reason for mix and match tops and bottoms, especially if you’re trying to balance out your body. You can do the same trick with color–put a light color on the area you’d rather highlight, and a dark color on the area you don’t.

You can also use color-blocking on a swimsuit to make the most of your body.

Dark panels on the sides do wonders for making your torso look longer and leaner. Diagonal panels can add curves and move the eye around.

So many women go for basic and solid when they choose swimwear because they want to fly under the radar so to speak, but color pattern, ruching, draping, and other details can be your best friend when it comes to swimwear–and actually, clothes in general.

When it comes to balancing out a body that’s bigger in one area than another, something we don’t often think about is adding volume to the smaller area. I know everyone feels like I don’t want to make something look bigger, why would I do that?

You have to remember that nothing is really big or small on it’s own, but in proportion to the rest of you. You can’t minimize an area all that much–you can some, but I can’t make my broad shoulders look narrower than my hips–not gonna happen.

What I can do though, is add volume, like ruffles, or a pattern that emphazies across my hips.

In proportion to my hips, my shoulders look less broad. I think a lot of women think about the minimizing strategies, but don’t factor in the balancing strategies, which are often more effective.

My last tip is that you should wear what makes you feel comfortable. I worked with a women who hated her thighs, but refused to try a skirted bottom because she said she wasn’t ready for that phase of life. I get that, but if it means you feel more comfortable at the beach, wear the dang skirt.

I also worked with a woman who liked the way she looked showing more skin in a bikini, but felt like she shouldn’t because what would people say at her age. Honestly, no one cares, and the most important thing is that you wear what you feel good in…confidence is more important than the right pattern, or the best cut.

Those are just the tools to help you feel confident. Focus on feeling good.

This summer, I challenge you to get back in a swimsuit if it’s been a bit. If you’ve never invested in a good bathing suit, make this the season you find one you love!

Throw on a pretty sun hat–mine says “do not disturb on it” some good sunscreen, grab a book and wear your suit confidently, knowing you look amazing.

Your homework this week is to go through your swimsuits, get rid of the ones that make you feel bad, and start finding one you love.

Do a little online shopping, head to the stores if that’s an option for you and you feel comfortable, but just start.

Don’t forget to grab the Ultimate Swim Guide. It’s free, and it will help find the best suit for your body type–it’s got all the tips we talked about today, and more. You can get it at or in the show notes above.

That’s it everyone–I’ll see you Monday with office hours!

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