My boyfriend and I may be opposites but travel is one thing that we have in common. When he surprised me back in August by booking us a Western Caribbean cruise, I was beyond excited and immediately started planning my plus size travel looks.
As excited as I was, I didn't know quite what to expect from the entire cruise experience. I have had motion sickness my whole life and I always shied away from cruises because I assumed I would be miserable. Ironically, I was the only one in our group of ten who didn't end up getting sick which I credit to wearing sea bands the entire time!
I also really didn't know what to pack. I consider myself to usually be a pretty efficient packer but since we didn't pick out any excursions in advance, I just didn't know how to plan accordingly for activities. I honestly could've packed an entire suitcase just of shoes but since I didn't know how far I would be walking or how easy it would be to walk while on the ship, I tried to think somewhat practical.
As much as my anxiety tried to imagine every possible possible scenario, of course, I wasn't prepared for everything. I definitely learned a few things I would do differently next time while other situations seemed to work out so perfectly, I couldn't recreate them if I tried.
1. Spread Wisely
It didn't matter how many of you told me in advance to be wise about my sunscreen, I still managed to burn on my very first day at sea. I put on spray screen but I didn't rub it in so my arms, legs and face were totally streaked while my stomach and chest were just plain red. There was really nothing I could do to hide the streaks on my arms so I just worked with it even on cruise formal night.
The rest of the week, I skipped the spray sunscreen completely and went classic lotion Banana Boat which was much more effective. I took a good amount of time to rub it and re-applied it often. Burning, especially on the first day of a trip, is the worst so I swear I'm going to be better about sunscreen in the future, I promise!
2. Accessorize With Shades
I used to pack a ton of accessories for trips only to find myself wearing the same pair of earrings the whole time. For this trip, I mainly wore the same pair of gold hoops with everything. I focused my accessory space to sunglasses and wore each of the five different pairs of sunglasses (all from Ready to Stare) that I brought.
3. Never Let Go Of A Good Look
I found this jumpsuit in the plus size section a local discount store but it was actually a size large. I tried it on based on the urging of my best friend and much to my surprise, it fit my 3X body. It's no longer available online anywhere that I can find but here's a similar jumpsuit in plus size. I made my boyfriend take my photo in three different locations before we nailed it with this spot.
Also, I wore the Ashley Stewart convertible butterfly bra with this jumpsuit due to mesh top and it was a life-saver for most of my evening outfits. It was actually comfortable and supportive to wear as a strapless bra. As someone who has hated every other strapless bra I've ever worn, I highly recommend this one!
4. Pack For Adventure
I really wasn't sure if I was going to be able to zip line but I packed something to wear for it just in case I did. I wrote more extensively about my plus size zip lining experience for On The Plus Side. One thing I will say is that I am glad that I wasn't wearing just a bikini because the harness wasn't rubbing against my skin anywhere. As much as I resented yoga pants for taking up space in my suitcase, I'm sure glad I had them for this.
5. Chaffree Is For Me
I got the opportunity to try out Chaffree anti-chafing underwear and I knew I wanted to put them to the test on my cruise. I wore a sheer skirt that I designed (and might make available for Ready to Stare) with the women's knickerbockers in short leg and black. I wear chub rub shorts often so these underwear did the job that those usually do but with a much thinner and breathable fabric. Based on their size chart, I got the XL/2XL and they fit perfectly. In this look, I'm also wearing Ready to Stare round sunglasses and the five layer chain necklace.
I really fell in love with the Chaffree full waist briefs. They are high-waisted and super stretchy. The fabric is thin but not-so-thin that the briefs are see-thru. Wearing them felt like a second skin and I think I took the most selfies when I wore these under shorts with a Society Plus caged crop top. I get asked a lot about what I do to prevent chub rub and I'll definitely be adding Chaffree to my anti-chaffing arsenal.
6. Always Selfie When There's A Monkey On Your Shoulder
The days leading up to this trip along with the ones that followed were some of the most challenging of my life but I look at these images and I see pure happiness. I'm so glad I had this opportunity.
On a lighter note, like sunglasses, I'm glad I packed a lot of lipstick. This one was K'AOIR "Show Stopper."
7. Don't Fear Flats
Y'all know I love wearing wedges, but for this trip, I needed flats I could count on. I brought a few pairs but I love these Target slides for a casual look. They are pretty cheap and perfect for a wide foot. I also paired it with a Becca ETC swimsuit coverup. I wore this both to the pool and to the animal sanctuary because it totally works for both. Sunglasses are Ready to Stare.
8. Take A Beach Shot
The island of Roatan was one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. You know I had to take a shot on the beach. This bikini is an older style from Swimsuitsforall. I always stalk their sales because you can get some good deals!
9. Maximize With Separates
Although it looks like a dress, this is a crop top and a maxi skirt. I brought a minimal amount of tops so that I could mix and match and pairing it with this skirt dressed up a more casual look. I borrowed the skirt from my best friend but here's a similar plus size black and white maxi skirt and the acid wash crop top is from Charlotte Russe.
10. You Can Never Have Too Many Fatkinis
When I asked my boyfriend how many swimsuits to bring, he said one. I brought four and I wore all of them at least once. You can never have too many bathingsuits on a cruise because relaxing by the pool is probably the most exciting thing you can do during a day at sea. Don't play the bingo, it's a rip-off!
But back to swimwear: this suit was my favorite of the whole trip because I love the colors. It's my first flounce-style bikini top and just like the first Becca ETC bikini I wore back in December, trying a new style worked for me. As someone with a smaller bust than bottom, the halter-style fit me better than a lot of the underwire styles I have tried. And the blue bikini bottoms were high-waist dream.
11. Wear Wedges With Caution
I bought these hot pint striped wedges for a gaudy nautical look that I was only able to achieve for one evening because the boat really did feel like it was moving most of the time and I wasn't about to twist my ankle on the ship. But this night, I was really feeling myself in this bardot-style dress from Proud Mary Fashion. The fit was amazing. I will definitely be wearing this look again soon on solid ground.
12. Always Take A Chance
I'm used to being a fashion risk-taker and I try to take the same approach to travel. But I was afraid about how I would fare on a cruise. I'm glad that I conquered that fear, wore four different fatkinis, ate a bite of iguana, tried zip lining, and so much more. Traveling as a fat person is not always a given and each time I sit on a plane, I do not take it for granted. This trip was one that I will not forget!