So What Counts as a Modest Swimsuit?

With summer in full swing, let’s talk about swimsuits and modesty! If you haven’t already watched the above video with fashion designer Jessica Rey, I highly recommend you watch it. Especially if you have daughters, and especially if you have daughters who want to wear bikinis. Watch it, and then talk about it. This video got a lot of shares on Facebook. Ms. Rey refers to a scientific study that confirms what any modest woman has known all along, which is, modesty protects you from unwanted attention from men! According to the study, men look at you differently when you hardly have any clothes on. Is that really news, people? Do we really have to have scientists study men’s brain waves when they look at scantily-clad women to know what is going on in their heads? The LDS Church leaders have shown a lot of wisdom through the years by asking female church members to cover up when swimming.

Over 12 years ago when I was pregnant with #4 I bought a maternity swimsuit, to upgrade to a more stylish suit compared to the one I bought when I was pregnant with #1. I thought my new suit was perfect! It was stylish and feminine in classic black. I hunted high and low to find it. It matched my black nursing swimsuit that I already had which I got from Motherwear, which allowed me to nurse at the pool without taking half my swimsuit off. I have to confess, I  wear both these suits now even when I am not pregnant. I like the dress attached to the maternity suit to help cover me up. I also wear black shorts with it. Sometimes I even wear all three.

That’s because  when all I wear all three, my upper thighs are covered, as well as my cleavage.The dress attached to the maternity suit makes the whole outfit look more feminine. I think when I was pregnant I was a lot, shall we say, bustier, so that helped to hold up the bust part up. Now that I am no longer nursing or pregnant (first time in 20 years when I am not doing one or the other or both!) I am having second thoughts about both of these suits. I had thought they were modest when I bought them both over 12 years ago, but since then I have learned about a stricter definition of swimsuit modesty. According to the Duggars, modest swimwear covers the shoulders and upper thighs, in addition to the other parts of the body that I’m used to covering for a “modest” swimsuit.

Jessica Rey’s swimsuits are pretty. I love the classic, elegant looks with the nod to Audrey Hepburn, but for some people, like the Duggars, they are not really modest. 

So I appreciate the Duggars’ modesty, but those Wholesome Wear swimsuits just look kind of funny. Why can’t the girls just wear diving suits like the boys? 

When I first learned about a new definition of modesty in regards to swimsuits, it was from Diane Hopkins and her Modest Swimwear. It gave me a lot to think about. Well, I thought, I know the LDS Church leaders encourage young women not to wear sleeveless or backless dresses, because they are not “modest.” So why would swimsuits that are sleeveless and backless be OK?

Here is what it says in “For the Strength of Youth”:

Immodest clothing is any clothing that is tight, sheer, or
revealing in any other manner. Young women should avoid
short shorts and short skirts, shirts that do not cover the
stomach, and clothing that does not cover the shoulders
or is low-cut in the front or the back.

If you go by that guideline, pretty much all the swimsuits available out there are immodest!

I think most of us grew up wearing regular one-piece swimsuits, with straps over the shoulders and then with the leg holes cut above the thigh. I always thought of these as modest. But if I use the “For Strength of the Youth” standards, they are not OK, because they are tight and don’t cover the shoulders. But maybe swimsuits don’t count as clothing? I am not wanting to be facetious or split hairs, I am just really wanting to have a discussion about what modesty in swimwear is. I just bought a swimsuit for my little girl and didn’t have time to save up the money to buy a more modest swimsuit that costs upwards from $60. 

I think the Swim Modest line is prettier:

These swimsuits are prettier, but do we really have to pay over $60 to have a modest swimsuit? Sigh, Diane, I guess maybe so. You do get what you pay for. It makes sense that if you have more fabric to cover up more of your body, then you are going to have to pay more than the $10 swimsuit I found that fit my budget for my daughter. I think I better start saving for the next time we go swimsuit shopping. Here’s one mom’s solution. I think it’s very creative, and affordable, at less than $20, but sorry, nice woman who made the video, I just don’t think it’s very fashionable. 

And we haven’t even talked much about modest, according to the new standard, swimsuits for pregnancy and nursing. I would love to hear your thoughts! One of our TOLM network members shared a blog post about modest maternity swimsuits a few years ago, and she mentioned Mermaid Maternity. I like the rash guard shirts and think I would wear shorts with them and then a skirt over the shorts, to just soften and feminize the lines of shorts. 

What do you all do for swimming? 

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