Every summer the question arises. I dread it as I try to ignore that particular section in every store I walk into, knowing that I’m not going to find anything that fits my particular (and apparently peculiar) standards as I seek an answer. And yet I keep asking, making compromises and trying to find something that works for me…
What am I going to wear as a swimsuit?
The answer used to be easy. I have about a dozen string bikinis in various drawers that for some reason haven’t been tossed (it’s that whole, maybe I can find something useful for these very expensive, very small pieces of fabric, mentality). I was a lifeguard for eight years and pretty much lived at the pool March-October in college and spent a bit of time on weekends driving up and down the coast looking for surf spots. Few of the suits from those days come close to meeting the requirements I’m looking for these days.
It’s not that I think all bathing suits are inherently immodest. I see plenty of one pieces and takinis that seem perfect for the girls and women wearing them. But they don’t meet my personal standards for me these days (outfits can definitely vary with body type and fit) and so the search continues.
Earlier in the year I bought a dress, and was pretty thrilled with it. It’s the closest I’d come to finding what I was looking for since my modesty standards have shifted (it may be more accurate to say: have come into existence, since they were pretty non-existent before my conversion began about five years ago, as a topic that was completely off my radar).
The swim dress arrived and is very pretty in peacock blue. But there was still a compromise to be made, as there always seems to be with dresses these days. When I browsed the swim dresses I found they fell into the same categories most dresses in store fall into: they were either “long enough but too low cut” or “high enough in the chest, but too short.” I went with a longer swim dress with a halter top, hoping to be able to tie the halter shorter for more coverage. Alas, the built in cups prevent that, and I’ve yet to dare modify it on my own until I’ve experimented a bit more with sewing lyrca. I’ve worn it but I still felt self-conscious the entire time.
I don’t think my standards are ridiculous, although after walking down the beach in South West Florida they may well be… I’ve never seen so many teeny tiny suits on both men and women in my entire life! It totally shines new light, for me, on the subject of “modesty for men” that always comes up on the forums. Apparently it is a topic that could be addressed a little more…
Anyways, here’s what I’m looking for:
I dream of a suit that doesn’t have me constantly tugging because I feel like it’s too short and/or too low. It can be fitted, as is practical for swimming, but I can do without all the plunging lines and cutouts. It can be shorter than what I would regularly wear, because modesty is situational, but I’d like it to be mid-thigh length at least. And I’d really like a swim dress that couldn’t be mistaken for a negligee of some kind (which is kind of what the skirt on my peacock blue dress reminded me of when I tried it on).
Basically I’d like something better than the suit I wore yesterday, (which is from college and might be okay if it weren't too small... but all I could find as I was searching through boxes as the girls grew impatient...) and is the red skirt suit pictured, which had me asking my husband every five minutes if it looked “okay.” I’d like to be comfortable taking the girls to the water park and teaching Sadie how to swim without feeling like I’m showing way, way too much.
I had a fifty percent off coupon and ordered three yards of swimming knit fabric yesterday. I’m going to see what I can come up with. Whatever it is can’t possibly be worse than what I already have. And maybe I can come up with something cute that won’t stand out too much (another dream I have).
I know I can’t be alone in wishing for something different from what’s currently available, not only for modesty reasons, but also because showing everything God gave us isn’t always, or even isn’t usually, all that flattering. I’m ready for designers and stores to realize that less really is more… in more than one way!
Unfortunately the recent articles I’ve seen have implied that clothing is expected to be skimpier in the coming seasons for “economic” reasons. Oh well. It’s just one more reason to keep on sewing…
What do you do when swim season rolls around? Do you feel comfortable with the choices you have? If you don’t how have you dealt with it?