Thursday, May 26, 2011

Summer Survival Guide- Modest Swimwear for Women and Girls!

Summer brings to mind popsicles, sweaty children playing late into the evening, cookouts with friends, and of course....swimming! Most people enjoy swimming a lot, but it can prove to be a bit of a challenge when you go swimsuit shopping.

It seems common for ladies to rationalize that, somehow, when they go swimming they can "bare all" and basically go swimming in their underwear. When you think about, that's all a bikini is - it's a bra and underwear! We would be mortified to walk around our male friends with nothing on but our underclothes. Yet, somehow when it comes to swimming many ladies think nothing of it.

I would like to suggest that you don't have to compromise your standards of modesty when you want to take a plunge in the pool. There are actually many different options when it comes to modest swimwear. There are companies that specialize in making modest swimwear - yes, I used those two words in the same sentence. While not cheap, these swimsuits are designed to hold up for quite a few years. They generally look like a fitted dress that comes to right above your knee, and the top comes up quite high. You also have the option of having sleeves or not.

Another option that some friends of mine have chosen is to buy board shorts.

If you can find some that come down to your knees, it is a much better option that most swimsuits that are out there! Paired with a swimming shirt, that would work well especially for girls.

It is also possible to buy a swimsuit that looks modest on top but you may want to be more covered on the bottom. You could wear board shorts over the bottom of the suit, or maybe find a swim skirt.

Here is a list that was compiled last year for modest swimwear. There are varying degrees of what is modest, as everyone has their own opinions of what they are comfortable wearing.

Modest Women's SwimWear & SwimSuits

Under Cover Water Wear


Princess Modest Swimwear

Aqua Modesta® Has swimsuits and cover ups

Swim Modest!


Simply Modest –also has multi-sized swim suit patterns

Stitchin’ Times swimsuits for women and girls, custom swimsuits

Lilies of the Field

Cami SwimWear

Modestly Yours Swimwear- sells custom made and ready made swimwear

Meant To Be Modest

Fashionably Modest Patterns – has modest swim suit patterns

Tamanu Sun

Modest Swimwear for Girls

Under Cover Water Wear

Up Stream Girl

Aqua Modesta®

Tamanu Sun

Swim Modest!


Swimwear Solutions – also has multi-sized swimsuit pattern

Fashionably Modest Patterns - has modest swim suit patterns

L.L. Bean

Stitchin’ Times

Lilies of the Field

Meant To Be Modest

I wrote a review here for a swimsuit from Modestly Yours Swimwear last year. I am looking forward to wearing it this year again, and I like that I have no qualms in wearing it in front of anyone!

Caroline Allen is the wife of Sean, and mother to four children seven and under. She keeps busy homeschooling, managing her home, and running her business from home - The Modest Mom, an online store that sells custom made maternity and women’s skirts.

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Lisa said...

I made a modest "swimsuit" for myself. It is a sleeveless top (armholes are quite fitted, so no one can see inside) that was designed for the top of a two-piece evening gown. It is semi-fitted (shows my waist, but isn't skin-tight), and comes down over the top of the top-of-the-knee length shorts I made to go with it. It's navy blue, made out of a windbreaker-like fabric that sheds water even better than regular swimsuit fabric--and stays stiff when wet, so it doesn't cling. I usually wear a regular one-piece swimsuit under it--or even just underwear. The top is long enough to not show anything when I bend over, but not so long that it looks frumpy. I trimmed the neck and armholes in colorful, home-made bias tape, and then used some of the same fabric to make 1" ruffles on the bottom of the shorts. It's really quite cute, and I feel very modest in it!

Joyce said...

What about the males? I think it is just as wrong for a male to go around with a shirt as it is for a female to go around in her underwear. I have on some occasions prompted my boys to wear t-shirts, but they get wet stick and reveal what is underneath anyway. I purchased a modest swimsuit and it attracts many lookers when we go out. I wish I had the strength you have to stay away from water parks and beaches. However, I find going during the week either early or later there are less people. I loved it when my daughter went on a youth trip and all the teens including boys were directed to wear a t-shirt when they swam, way to go!

HappilyDomestic said...

Lisa- I would like to see this. Do you have a blog with pictures of your swimsuit you made? That is great is does not cling. That is one of the things I absolutely hate about swimwear.

Joyce- I totally agree! Guess we should have added what boys and men can wear in with this post. Maybe I will tackle that. I am so glad to hear other woman say they feel men without shirts is just as immodest, because I just got in an argument with my husband over the topic. He thinks it's okay for men to go shirtless. I think it's gross. It's half-nudity no matter how you sugar coat it. ;-) Anyway, my 10 year old son always wears a swim shirt. My own swimsuit is a swim skirt (has attached underwear underneath) and has a long tank top with built in bra. Covers well, but is not so "different" from ordinary swimsuits that it draws attention.

catholicofthule said...

May I ask if the red patterned swimsuit in the top picture is in any of the links? I would love to purchase a nice modest swimsuit. Of course, I'd more than likely have to pay import duty and VAT and stuff bringing it into Norway, but it would be worth it if I knew for sure that it was good quality.

modestmaternity said...

When talking about modest swimwear for men, I think there are two things we should keep in mind - modesty and safety.

MODESTY: While it's true that women are visually attracted to me, it's also true that it doesn't even come close to the degree that men struggle with this. Thus, there has always been (and rightly so) a greater emphasis and carefulness regarding female modesty. Secondly, think about which physical parts women tend to be attracted to - a man's face, his shoulders, his arms and hands and his chest. Wearing a t-shirt or rash guard is only going to cover up ONE of these, thereby not making much of a difference.

SAFETY: Swimming in a t-shirt can be unsafe, as the material really clings and "drags," creating resistance while in the water. In fact, after reading tons of posts in a Christian men's forum, I found the number 1 reason for going shirtless was "it's extremely uncomfortable to swim in a tee."

I think we should be careful about making the blanket statement that it's immodest for a man to swim shirtless. In many places around the world, this has always been considered an acceptable social norm. Realize, too, that we all expect to see less clothing at a beach or pool (yes, even the modest swimsuits we wear). It's a different social setting. That's why women should not gawk or be "shocked" if they see a man swimming shirtless.

Keep in mind that the social standards shift somewhat. The "Modestly Yours" swimwear we like to wear now would have scandalized our Victorian counterparts.

Having said all this, I personally will be buying short sleeve "rash guard" tops for both of my boys this summer (a first for us), but that's only because I think it's closer to the ideal, and because it will protect them from burning. It's NOT because I think it would be immodest or sinful for them to be shirtless while swimming.

modestmaternity said...

Correction: that second sentence should read "While it's true that women are visually attracted to MEN"

Caroline said...

I'm sorry that I neglected to mention swimming for males! My husband does swim with a shirt on, and I for one really appreciate when other men do so. I don't see why men think it's ok to walk around with their shirts off, I find it offensive and it's NOT ok around here! My husband does lawn care for a living, but you won't find him mowing in a sleeveless shirt, or worse, no shirt on at all!

Sarah said...

Wow, that's a great list of resources! I have a Wholesome Wear suit myself, and it's been great! I love the look of the Princess Modest Swimwear as well - that is a company I hadn't heard of before.

Poiema said...

thank you for all the great resources. I have yet to find, however, a modest swimsuit for nursing mothers. Does anyone know of such a swimsuit out there? so far what I have decided to do is purchase a rash guard for the top and board shorts for the bottom.

HappilyDomestic said...

Poiema- You can find modest nursing swimwear at the Stichin Times link here:
They are about $60 and made custom just for you! :-) Seems like a good deal.

HappilyDomestic said...

Modest Maternity- Thank you for your comment and opinions on the matter of men wearing swim shirts. I did not mean to make it out that it is sinful for a man to go shirtless. It is not sinful, but it is also in no way modest. I just think it is sad that we have declined in social graces so much over the years that it is now acceptable for men to walk around half naked. If it's in the privacy of owns own home (or yard) that is okay, but to go in public I personally would rather not see it. As for safety goes, it is no more unsafe for a man to wear a swim shirt (made and designed specifically for swimming) than it is for a woman to wear a swimsuit. But, we are all entitled to our own opinions and I in no way think you are being unreasonable. Hope you don't take offense to my opinion. :-)

HappilyDomestic said...

Catholicofthule- Yes! The red suit picture can be purchased here:

Gabe said...

Great post! I mostly just avoid the pool, or wear capri pants and dip my feet in while watching the little ones at the kiddie pool the few times we do go. I may not be able to keep that up much longer! Thanks for the links, I'll have to check them out!

catholicofthule said...

Thank you, Happily Domestic!

Southern Belle said...

Thank you so much for sharing this post and the links!

rharder said...

Cotton t-shirts are really annoying in the pool. I know, because I use them, but $40+ for a t-shirt only to use in a pool? Ugh.


*MeandMineinaSmallTown said...

Oh wow I love these! Thanks for the post.We never go swimming and wouldn't ever need these but one day if we did I would like to have something like this to wear!

Marci Rapp, MarSea Modest Swimwear said...

I see that MarSea Modest Swim & Gymwear is not listed. Perhaps you have not heard of us? We offer over 30 styles designed for women who want modest swimwear coverage * for religious reasons * for personal modesty (to cover age/weight/medical imperfections)
* for added sunprotection

Made from high-quality Italian nylon/lycra swimwear fabric which is chlorine resistant, non-transparent, UV50+ protective, lightweight & quick-drying.
Some styles suitable for maternity wear.
Plus sizes available.
Mastectomy option available.
Made in Israel
Please visit our website & contact us for further information.

Marci Rapp, MarSea Modest Swim & Gymwear
Cover what you style!

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