Spas are meant to be a relaxing experience, but for many plus-size people, it can be more nerve-wracking than calming.
hough I have been to the spa numerous times, I am always riddled with anxiety with concerns about body shaming once I am nude, accessibility of services, or even the availability of size-inclusive garments. My first professional spa trip was for my 28th birthday, and I was not fully prepared. I was only getting a massage but thought that a pair of leggings and camisole would be thin enough for the masseuse to still do their job. When I was asked to take off my clothes, I immediately felt awkward stripping down to my bra and panties. Well, imagine my surprise when the masseuse returned to the room and asked, “Can you remove your undergarments, too?”
Overall, the spa visit was a great first experience, but I wish there had been more conversation about what to expect and how to prepare from the perspective of other plus-size individuals. So, the question lingers, what exactly do you wear to the spa as a plus-size person? Truthfully, whatever you want!
How to Dress for 1:1 Spa Services
The foundation for any kind of spa treatment will be the same. For services such as massages, body exfoliation, or wrapping, customers are generally asked to disrobe entirely. This allows for effortless movement from one part of the body to the next without disturbing the customer every few minutes to request the removal of a clothing item. When (or if) you choose to receive spa services in your birthday suit, you will be given a robe but also draped in a sheet or thin blanket once on the table. Your therapist or esthetician should only uncover the part of your body they are treating and reapply the draping before moving on to the next area. Therapists also are not in the room with you while undressing. Despite the high level of intimacy in receiving spa services, there is an incredible amount of privacy as well.
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Your comfort is most important, so if you would like, you can also choose to remain in your undergarments. This may mean having to adjust pieces of clothing throughout your session, or some areas may forego attention. Alternatively, when filming spicy scenes, you can use a modesty garment—like what actors and actresses wear as a protective barrier. It covers areas such as breasts or genitals but leaves your body relatively exposed. Another option is using disposable bras and panties that are often used for services such as spray tans (also think about those paper undies you may have seen from images of plastic surgery consultations). Conversely, these tend to run in the size range of “one size fits all/most” and may not be the most comfortable or provide the coverage you seek, depending on your body shape.
How to Dress in Shared Spa Spaces
Aside from the common areas (reception, waiting room, or nail salon) or where prohibited, nudity is the name of the game at most spas in shared spaces like saunas or steam rooms. Guests can utilize these services and others, like thermal baths, during their visits. These shared spaces are also generally co-ed, meaning persons of all genders occupy them. It can be a bit intimating to go from being nude or partially nude in a one-on-one setting to an open area where others can be completely nude.
While guests are asked to be robed traveling between areas of the spa, any of the suggested garments above are also acceptable in shared spaces. However, things like paper or disposable undergarments will not hold up well in water. Another great option is to put on your swimsuit! There is also the option to wear shorts and a tank. Whatever you choose, you want to have relatively loose-fitting garments for added comfort and easy maneuverability.
Pro-Tip: Advocate for Yourself
If you are nervous about a spa experience, you can call ahead to see if they would be able to accommodate you or make modifications before your arrival to ensure your safety and comfort. Some questions that I have asked in the past are:
“What is the largest size robe/slipper size you offer?”
“Is there a member of your staff who is more comfortable working with plus-size bodies?”
“Is there an option for a private relaxation room or changing area?”
“Are there armless seating options?”
I am always ensured that I can be accommodated with the robe and slippers provided as a plus-size person but bring along my own just in case. However, do not be afraid to advocate for yourself by asking for what you need. No matter your body size, rest assured that your therapist is a trained professional to provide a service you will enjoy.