Tag Archives: modest swimsuits

Swimsuit Shopping (without Weeping and Wailing)

1925 Swimsuit
John Oxley Library via Wikimedia Commons

It’s swimsuit season. Now before some of you utter, “dear God, kill me now,” read on. Because I have some tips on finding a swimsuit to fit the beautiful woman you are without ending up in a crumpled pile in the corner of the fitting room weeping and wailing.

Yeah, some of you have been there. Right?

Pass right by the teen section. You know that area, right? The store puts it front and center, with cute little ruffled bikinis and bright-colored halter tops with boy shorts. Now, if you’re a woman who is that size, stay in that section because it doesn’t matter where you purchase your swimsuit, but rather that you have the best fit. But the majority of women need to look the other way and keep walking because (1) if you’re 36, 46, or 56, you shouldn’t be dressing like you’re 16, and (2) even your 16 year old shouldn’t wear a lot of that stuff as it reveals far too much skin. As I have said before, three triangles and some string do not a swimsuit make.

Don’t wallow that you can’t rock a string bikini. You don’t need to. You need to flatter the lovely lady figure you have now.

Get over the size number. Who stinkin’ cares whether your swimsuit has a 6, a 12, or a 22 on the little tag that no one sees once you leave the store? If it fits, it fits. Be pleased with how it looks on you, not what someone thinks that number says about you. Size numbers vary across clothing makers, and they can even change without us — the public — being forewarned.

Moreover, you might wear two sizes. You may need to purchase a two-piece suit, like a tankini, to get the proper fit on the top and on the bottom. Maybe you’re a size 14 bottom and size 10 top. You can make that work, and thankfully separates are much more common now than they used to be.

If the size you usually buy isn’t working, try a different size. Don’t sweat the number.

Decide ahead of time what you want to feature and what you want to downplay. Take an honest, yet optimistic, look at yourself. What are your best body features? What do you like about your body? And what are you currently (or maybe permanently) less happy with?

Maybe you’re sporting a little more in the middle than you’d like, but you have beautiful breasts. Or perhaps you don’t have much in the way of curves, but your legs are long and toned. Or maybe your husband can hardly keep his hands off your derrière, it’s so fabulous. If you can’t decide what you like about your body in front of the mirror, ask your husband and see what he likes. Decide what parts of your body you most want to feature and which you most want to downplay. (Note: “Feature” does not mean “show”! Modesty still matters. I’m just talking about what you’re comfortable and uncomfortable with. It’s the same equation you’d do with regular clothing.)

You can look online or in magazines for tips on swimsuit styles that achieve the look you’re going for. For instance, suits shirred in the middle downplay that abdominal pooch.

Give yourself a decent budget. Maybe you can’t do that. So if you don’t have the money right now, no worries. Watch for sales or coupons or ask around for the best bargains in your area. But all too often I know women who walk out of the store with a $30 swimsuit, boasting about the bargain they got . . . but the suit doesn’t fit, doesn’t flatter, isn’t comfortable, won’t last.

Like it or not, a quality swimsuit may run more than you expected. It’s far better to have a swimsuit that you like and that makes you look good and to wear it 2-3 seasons than to switch ill-fitting suits season-to-season. If the swimsuit that will make you feel fabulous is $100 or more, and you can afford that by cutting back somewhere else, feel okay about doing that.

Set yourself up to try on a lot of suits. It’s particularly hard with swimsuits to know from how they look on the hanger whether they will cover and flatter your body well. Only once in my life have I ever taken a single swimsuit into the dressing room and it fit. It was a total fluke (I wasn’t swimsuit shopping; just saw this awesome suit on massive clearance), and I doubt that it will ever happen again.

What can get you to tears is trying on suit after suit after suit, and feeling like nothing does or ever will look good on you. Stop expecting to find the right one that quickly! Unless you know the manufacturer, its styles, and its sizes, you’ll likely need to make several trips to the dressing room to try on various suits to find the one that makes you feel both modest and confident about your body.

Mentally adjust your expectations. Take a friend and make a day of it. Break up the monotony by eating a salad lunch in the middle of the day or grabbing a healthy smoothie somewhere to cool off. One full day to find the perfect suit might be just what you need.

Remember to stay biblical. Some biblical advice for your shopping experience:

Your body is wonderful: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

Consider modesty: “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” 1 Timothy 2:9-10

It’s fine to wear something that makes you feel beautiful: “Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.” Psalm 45:11

Fashion designers are people too: “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28

Cover what needs to be covered. Remember that you need to be able to actually show yourself in public and swim in this suit. If you couldn’t imagine running into your preacher at the pool and having a conversation in that suit, maybe it should go back on the rack. (Yes, I know, that question may depend somewhat on your preacher, but you get my point.) Also, if a particular suit will have you spending more time making certain everything’s tucked in right than swimming or sunbathing, then maybe you need to exchange it for more something less tug-worthy.

That’s my advice. Now what’s yours? What tips do you have for finding a good swimsuit for the summer?

Also check out 6 Questions to Ask about Your Swimsuit.

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?