6 Questions to Ask about Your Swimsuit

I recently went to a water park. While I could write about my favorite rides, and why you should always try the thing that scares you the most because you might be surprised, I want to address an entirely different topic today.

Because I got to see a lot of women in swimsuits. And they were not all a pretty sight.

I also recently read an interesting article on Should Christians Wear Bikinis? by Christian speaker Carla Anne. Her conclusion in short is: “I don’t think Christians should wear bikinis.” She gives her reasons and graciously provides links to places where you can find modest swimsuits.

However, as I looked around the park at how women were dressed, I didn’t draw an all-bikinis-are-bad conclusion. There were several issues which determined whether a swimsuit was an appropriate choice for any given woman. Here are 5 ways I suggest you check your own swimsuit:

Women in swimsuits, circa 1920.

Circa 1920. By National Photo Company [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

1. Does it fit? This was BY FAR the biggest issue I saw. Whether you are wearing a bikini or a one piece, a suit that is either too small or sagging can reveal far too much. The bra-area of a swimsuit should fully cover the breast. The bottoms should contain your buttocks. It’s that simple, people.

Thus, separates are your friend. I saw several women with a top or a bottom that fit, and a coordinating piece that clearly didn’t. It’s quite possible for a woman to wear a size-small top and a size-medium bottom or vice versa. You can find such choices with bikinis, or even better, tankinis.

2. Is it age-appropriate? I’m sorry, ladies, but 13 year olds and 53 year olds should not be in string bikinis. The former are too young, the latter are too old. Frankly, I don’t think anyone should be in a string bikini, but some styles really are more appropriate for certain ages than others.

Ask yourself about the pattern as well. For instance, larger polka-dots look better on younger ages than older, and older women tend to pull off solid colors and smaller patterns more successfully. If it’s a suit you could trade out with your teenage daughter, it’s too young for you.

3. Is your husband comfortable with you wearing it in public? Hopefully, your husband is a good source for such information. Many men will be honest is telling a wife whether an outfit is merely appealing or too revealing. Your swimsuit should favor your figure and be comfortable for swimming, but it should not raise the sexual antenna of other males in the vicinity. You don’t want to tempt another woman’s husband, nor do you want to show off to others what God intended for you to reserve for your husband.

4. Is it functional? Remember that you’re supposed to swim in this thing! If you are tugging at your swimsuit constantly and are worried about what might get exposed by the next wave, you need a different swimsuit. Now this isn’t the only issue, of course, because some guy might argue that a Speedo is functional, but we women don’t want to see a bunch of men in Speedos. (Please, no.) For women’s swimwear, though, it is a reasonable question to ask: Am I comfortable swimming in this attire? Can I sit or lie on a poolside chair without showing something that should stay hidden?

5. Will you look back and wonder what you were thinking? Maybe you don’t know that right now, but project yourself into the future or ask trusted friends: Will I regret wearing this in ten years? Will I be happy with photos taken of me in this swimsuit? One of the best things a college friend ever did for me was to dissuade me from piercing my nose. Now I’m not against those of you who have pierced their noses, but I’m glad that she posed this simple question: How will you feel about that hole in your nose when you’re a grandmother? Hmmm. No piercing for me, thank you. Taking that to the swimsuit issue, how will you feel about having worn that swimsuit when your grandkids are looking through your photo album?

6. Will you be happy to see Jesus if He makes His second appearance just as you are completing a swan dive in that swimsuit? Okay, that’s a loaded question. But I’m wondering whether you’ll jump for joy or grab your cover-up first. If you have any doubts, go shopping.

A quick tip here: Three triangles and some thread do not a swimsuit make.

Lest you ladies think that we are the only ones who should give this modesty swimwear topic a little contemplation, I offer the word “Speedo.” In fact, this is a rather hilarious video I came across about “togs” (swimwear) really being underwear.

Let’s face it: If your swimwear doesn’t cover anything more than your underwear covers, get a more modest suit.

So what are your thoughts? How do you make sure your swimsuit is okay for public viewing? Do you think bikinis are a complete no-no? What issues have you seen with swimwear?

52 thoughts on “6 Questions to Ask about Your Swimsuit

  1. Julie Sibert

    Ha! I had to laugh when I opened this post! I just bought a new swimsuit yesterday!! Ugh. Swimsuit shopping. I immediately came home and worked out.

    Anyway, good blog!! And the video… absolutely hilarious. So true!

  2. Anonymous

    Completely agree with your post. I believe as a whole our Christian society is much too lax when it comes to dressing modestly.

  3. Anonymous

    I recently purchased a “swimming/exercise outfit” for when I am out in public with my family. It was custom made with my sizes and fits me perfectly. I love not having to worry if something is showing that shouldn’t be or looking funny. I do on the other hand have a swim suit that is reserved for when it is just my husband and me. 🙂

  4. Sis

    Don’t have to worry about modesty that much; after having a baby, I’ve been forced to cover-up just to hide all the ugliness, also having a 1 yr old makes it necessary to have a suit that I can decently bend over often in and not have to worry about anything falling out.

    1. Aprille

      I know where you are coming from…I feel the same way. But we as moms need reminded that just because our bodies have extra weight, sagging breasts, stretch marks, or even surgery scars, we are not ugly. If anything, we are more beautiful. Because we have allowed our bodies to make one of the greatest sacrifices… forming and nurturing another life. I know you don’t feel beautiful. But you are. And every mom deserves to be reminded of that once i a while.

      ~Aprille (http://www.beautifulinhistime.com/blog.php)

    2. J

      I’m glad you’re covering up, but I’m sure you’re far more beautiful than you feel. Yes, our bodies change with motherhood, but hubbies often stand in greater wonder of us knowing that those bodies birthed their children. You are made in God’s image, Sis! Feel that beauty.

  5. Heather Allyce

    I totally disagree!!! Is wearing your underwear in public OK? I don’t care if you look like a supermodel in your bikini, it is still immodest. What about all the guys that are being tempted by your choice of swimsuit? Are you willingly going to cause them to stumble? Many women have NO CLUE how many guys struggle with lust, and just HOW MUCH they actually have to fight it constantly. Is showing off your body and ‘looking good’ worth causing a brother to sin? I don’t think so. Modesty applies to swimwear as well. 1Timothy 2:8-10 “I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” While I realize the emphasis of this verse is on the heart, modesty applies to clothing too. In conclusion, I agree with Carla Anne, christians should not wear bikinis!

    1. J

      Thanks for your input, Heather. I am not condoning wearing a bikini, nor have I ever owned one. I guess I’m saying that, looking around at swimsuits and the women in them, I saw some bikinis that covered far more than one-piece suits. Fit was definitely the biggest issue I saw because spillage is a problem in ANY swimsuit design if you don’t get a good fit. Thanks!

  6. Anonymous

    I love your points about fit and age appropriateness. My family recently went to a water park and I noticed and was ‘distracted’ by a lady’s swim suit top simply because it looked like she bought it before she started and stopped nursing and things went a little saggy. A little more support and cover would have greatly benefited her.
    * and I have my nose pierced and will be happy to have it and belly button piercings when I’m a grandma- equally important, my husband will be too 🙂

    1. J

      Good point! (And enjoy the nose ring; Rebekah in the Bible had one. That just gave me pause when I was considering it.)

  7. Anonymous

    We just returned from a indoor water park. I was with my 2 kids and husband. There were several women all I wanted to say was “REALLY!” who told you this was appropriate to wear around families. Many men have issues with pornography and lust. These women are not helping! Granted, I think a person should wear what they want, but consider those around you.

    1. J

      It’s almost enough to make us wives want to blindfold our husbands on the beach, at pools, or at water parks. I don’t want my hubby to struggle with constant sexual temptation just because we want to have some water recreation. Thanks!

    2. Anonymous

      My husband finally got it thru my thick skull this is why he dragged his feet in getting a family pass to the local pool for two years now. We have not gotten the passes, even though I wanted to and thought it would be a nice way to spend some family time.

      Once I realized how hard it was for him to go to the pool and not be tempted to look around and notice those other women, I have totally dropped the issue and have thanked him for protecting himself, and me from that situation. We now both share a distaste for public pools and water parks. It isn’t worth it to me to expose him to that kind of torture. He loves me so much to try so hard to keep his mind pure, I am willing to give up the pool time to make that easier on him.

      It is like telling someone, “Don’t think about green school buses!”
      You can’t help but have some thought about what you just read. Same for them, they can’t help it. So why put go there at all?
      Like I said before, simply not worth it to me.

  8. mlmnttlkr

    I think buying clothes that fit is key to most any piece of clothing being modest and attractive, especially with bathing suit. I agree separates are often best for getting a good fit.

  9. VeeRod0202

    Such an interesting debate….I agree with the article christian women probably shouldn’t wear bikinis! But thats a conviction i grew into. I got saved fairly young and married young. I wore one on my honeymoon. I look back and think “oh gosh how embarrassing” LOL I liked your article! 🙂

    1. J

      Thanks. By the way, I have never owned a bikini myself. I once had a two-piece with a top and shorts, and I shudder when I look back at those pics too. I’m much more comfortable with well-fitting suits that cover all the girl parts and the midriff!

  10. Anonymous

    Oh my gosh, this is so accurate. I was recently at a water park and was absolutely appalled at what some of these girls and women were wearing. Let’s face it – a well-fitting swimsuit can be modest AND attractive. A non-fitting swimsuit is just appalling.

  11. lisa

    I really don’t think Christian women should wear bikinis. The closest my girls are allowed is that one of them has to wear a tankini because of her long torso.

    On a somewhat humorous note though, my 40-year-old husband still recounts the horror of going to the beach as a young man with his cousin and her husband who – at over 300 pounds each – we’re both wearing thongs!

  12. Anonymous

    I have to chuckle at this post, especially #5 … My almost 12-year old daughter was recently flipping through a snapshot album of our honeymoon. We went on a cruise, and I wore a two-piece (non-bikini) suit much less modest than I would today (20 years later). She was shocked that I would wear such a thing — even back then. I’m grateful for her discernment at this early age, and only slightly embarrassed at her observation. 😉

    1. J

      If she taunts you too much, remind her that you probably have naked baby pictures of her somewhere. LOL. 😉 Thanks!

  13. Anonymous

    My family and I recently visited a water park. I can honestly say I didn’t enjoy it. Most of the time I was embarrassed for my 11yr old son having to be exposed to all these women in skimpy outfits. I know men struggle with looking at women (including mine although I’ve never caught him looking at women.) Needless to say I found myself feeling a sense of jealousy and trying to ”catch” my husband looking. When we got off one of the slides there was a young lady with her breast out of the cup of her bikini. I have never been so uncomfortable in my life.

    1. J

      Oh yes, the SONS! Another thing to worry about. If you think your husband is struggling around the massive exposure of flesh, you might quiet your jealousy by leaning over and whispering in his ear what he’ll get to see of you later that night. Most men are “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Your hubby would likely turn his attention to the beautiful wife he gets see naked later than some random woman oozing out of her swimwear in public. Blessings!

  14. Amy R

    My family and I went to an indoor water park recently as well and I had these same experiences! I don’t go out swimming much, so my suit (a tankini) was a little old and the elastic broke…I had to use my back up which was a little small on the top, so I ended up wearing my cover up the whole time. I quickly ordered a new suit when I got home. I don’t know why women think it is okay to have their “girls” hang out even if they are very overweight and just don’t seem to care. I was also surprised at the young girls that wore the tiny bikinis. Luckily my 8 yo daughter has no interest in that and hope I can keep her from it. Good post!

    1. J

      I love cover-ups. Whoever invented them is awesome! I have also worn a nice cover-up that can get wet at times — not for modesty reasons, but it still does the job. Thanks, Amy.

  15. Anonymous

    So I understand both those for and against, but help me understand, those of you in favor of modesty; how on earth does one prevent that thin stretchy swim suit material from sticking to ones skin when wet???

    Guys can see it all ladies regardless of whether it’s covering your midriff or not, which is the only difference.

    If you want to be modest, don’t ever wear a bathing suit in public. It’s that simple.

    1. Anonymous

      Amen. I also think Christians should not wear swimsuits in public. Let’s show the world we are from another kingdom!!!

    2. J

      I appreciate this sentiment. But from a practical standpoint, what do you wear when around water? There are a lot of people who live near beaches, rivers, lakes, etc., and they will recreate around water.

      As to my own swimsuit, the way it falls doesn’t make it stick to my skin much. I don’t know about others.

  16. becominghiseve

    I have always desired to be very modest. I’m not wearing anything out in public that resembles underwear or that will attract unwanted attention to myself. My current swimsuit is a V-neck with straps and has a pretty little skirt on the bottom. I was actually quite shocked when I went on a vacation last year with my family and my mom and mother-in-law had less modest suits than I did. (Thankfully they were not bikinis.)Frankly, I’d only buy a bikini to wear around my husband and my husband only and even then I’d go with a more modest one. I did find a company right before my honeymoon that sold modest bikinis if you can believe such a thing. Alas I only was able to wear it once since I packed on some extra pounds of happiness post-wedding. But, I’d do the same thing again if I was going to buy a bikini.

    1. J

      Thank goodness for the swim skirt! It’s relatively new to the swimwear scene and much-appreciated addition.

  17. Sarah

    It is so funny that you wrote this post because after a visit to our water park this week and spending time with our church youth this summer, I have really been asking this same question! I don’t see the difference between bikinis and underwear. I believe we should be teaching our young women modesty in all areas, including swimsuits. While I don’t want to be judgmental or legalistic, we do need to teach our girls and women to be in the world, not of it. Just my 2 cents! 🙂

    1. J

      I have talked to teens, and it’s a struggle to find swimsuits that are stylish and modest. But it definitely can be done. Parents may need to take extra time to help them through that process. Thanks, Sarah.

  18. Andrew

    J,

    As a man I have a question about this exposure? Here in Canada it is “legal” for a woman to be topless in public in the same way a man can be. I strongly disagree with this law. However that being said I’ve encounted an issue in the Christian community about exposure of the breasts, especially when it comes to breast feeding a baby.

    The law now allows for a woman to strip from the waist up and breastfeed in public (anywhere it would be reasonable for a man to also be shirtless), and while it is not the most common occurance it does happen and probably more often than one would think.

    I can hear the controversy stirring now, but I have to ask how the modesty rule applies in this situation as well. I know with our children my wife would retreat to a private area, or the car and cover up, but at home she often would strip waist up and feed, simply for comfort (I can only imagine the discomfort it sometimes causes).

    So if I can bug you about your thoughts on a similar but different issue?

    1. J

      This is a GREAT question! I’m tagging it to cover in a full blog post. However, my short answer is that while nursing is natural, so is peeing. Ladies, please cover up to feed the baby. I nursed in public myself, but I guarantee nobody EVER saw a nipple. I am grateful for the tips I received from other nursing moms and experts, the clothing that allowed me to easily breastfeed, and the support of my husband in nursing my children. At the time, I would have appreciated more restrooms, dressing rooms, etc. providing a comfortable sitting spot from which to nurse. Churches also need to help out as much as possible in making space for moms to nurse their babies and still get as much out of the worship service as possible.

      I won’t be surprised if some women disagree with me on this because, as you said, the subject has become controversial.

  19. van Rooinek

    I don’t mind if they wear bikinis at the beach, there’s a time and a place to show a little flesh and if swimming isn’t it, I don’t know what is.

    Biut I’m just sick of seeing miniskirts and visible thongs in the SANCTUARY every Sunday morning.

    I go to the beach once or twice year, I go to church every week. Miniskirts in church are FAR more of an issue than sexy swimsuits that are only rarely seen.

    1. J

      I agree that immodesty on a Sunday morning is just amazing. I do wonder how “mini” you think is inappropriate. I personally have a few dresses that are above-the-knee, but they definitely pass the nearby school dress code and the hubby test. I personally don’t think my bony knees are particularly exciting anyway. But I am curious about your opinion.

  20. Christy

    Ok since I have been reading ypur blog for a long time and always comment I feel I have the right (ha!) to be honest and up front with you. When I first read this post
    At night I was kinda annoyed. Like seriously, what does wearing a two piece have to Do wi anything really? I have been a Believer for over 20 years and don’t think it has anything to do with the maturity of a believer or the choices I make. It covers everything and I even wear board shorts with it so nothing’s getting exposed. But then God got a hold of my heart and I decided to Do what you suggested and asked my husband…..he said,”well honey maybe you should switch to a tanking to be an example to the girls.” Yikes! So I thought about it long and hard and came to this conclusion; I ordered a new suit today. Ha! Anka for the thoughtful post even if I didn’t agree with you right off. Lol!!

    1. J

      Oh no, not the hubby! LOL. Thanks SO MUCH for your honesty. I remember being appalled by my husband asking me to get rid of a miniskirt I owned when we married. I was incensed, and then I realized that maybe he knew a thing or two about men so I tossed it. Now HE’s the only one who gets to see that far up my thigh. 😉

  21. Cassi Duncan

    To any of the ladies who have commented that they don’t find swimsuits of any nature appropriate: I will assume that you are speaking of (and I don’t really disagree) commonly available swimwear, like you find at the department store. May I offer you a link to an etsy shop I’ve recently discovered? http://www.etsy.com/shop/CreationsbySavannah She custom makes very modest, yet attractive suits that somehow don’t, like many, come across as “strange” looking. There’s even an available nursing option for the new moms. With that topic on the table, to the gentleman who asked, I completely believe that a woman has the right to nurse a baby in public, and the responsibility to be as modest as possible when doing so. A woman having the right to completely strip from the waist up? Ehhh. . . yeah, I have a problem with that. But I also have a problem with people who come up to a woman nursing a baby who is showing literally NOTHING inappropriate, and start scolding her for her “disgusting” behavior, as if nursing a baby was a sexual act.

    1. Andrew

      I completely agree with you that nursing a baby should not be shameful, and is completely natural and not disgusting at all. But I also don’t think that the breats, one or both, need to be on display for this to occur.

      I don’t, and my wife agreed with me while nursing, see any problem with using a small receiving blanket or nursing bib to cover the breast and baby. My wife went further and would usually go to a sitting area in a women’s, or family washroom if we were out in public or if nothing was available would go to our vehicle and nurse there, still covered.

      I know there are women out there who will get mad at this but as a man I can tell you that breasts are sexual to a man no matter what, and that I do know of men who find something very arousing about the act of breastfeeding in general.

      So for me, I didn’t want my wife possibly exposed to that in public, nor did I want any part of her on display even if it was for the purpose of feeding our children.

      I understand the laws are in favour of allowing this, but just because it is legal (as is wearing some of these unbelievable bathing suits) I just don’t find it appropriate.

    2. J

      Thanks for that tip, Cassi! I checked out the site.

      And Andrew — love you adding your two cents from the guy perspective on the nursing issue. I agree that it’s still a breast even with a baby on it. Just as it was still MY stomach when a baby was in it, and strangers SOMEHOW thought that entitled them to touch my belly. (Um, hello!)

  22. Kate

    For me, I like to have at least two layers on, especially on the bottom half. Through Lime Ricki, I was able to get a swim skirt that has a built in bikini bottom under it. My reason? While looking up bathing suits online, I came across a website of candid pictures some pervert took of close-ups of women’s crotches in bathing suits. The whole premise of this disgusting site was that this pervert and all his viewers were getting a kick out of seeing the shape of a woman’s labia through the thin fabric of typical bathing suit bottoms. That scared the crap out of me that at any given time in a public swimming area, some guy could snap a picture of my nether regions and post it on his perv site for other guys to lust after…or make fun of…without my knowledge.

    My swim suit consists of this swim skirt bottom, a bikini top and a tank top or rash guard over the bikini top. Stylish, functional, comfortable, swimable, modest.

  23. Pingback: Swimsuit Shopping (without Weeping and Wailing) | Hot, Holy & Humorous

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