The bathing suit post that is not about modesty!

The bathing suit post that is not about modesty! June 23, 2014

First of all, for that ^^, this


is for me.

Second of all, I agree wholeheartedly with every last word in this post in . . . the Huffington Post:

Moms, Put on That Swimsuit. The writer (who, in the picture, is not at all fat! But she feels like she is, and that’s what counts) says:

I refuse to miss my children’s high-pitched, pool-induced giggles because of my insecurities.

I refuse to let other women’s judging eyes at the pool prevent me from exposing my kids’ eyes to the wonder of the sun glittering on the water.

I refuse to let my self-image influence my children’s.

I refuse to sacrifice memories with my children because of a soft tummy.

Because at the end of the day, it is not just about me.

It is about my kids.

I want them to remember twirling in the water with their mom.

I want them to remember splash fights together.

I want them to remember jumping off the edge of the pool into my arms.

I want them to remember that their mom was there, with them.


More than once last year, I just felt too damn fat to put on a bathing suit. Just couldn’t do it. So I would go to the beach with the kids, and they would ask me to take them in the water and do that swishing thing, or catch them when they jump off the big rock — and I couldn’t, because I didn’t have a suit on.

They were crushed. It didn’t make any sense to them. Why would you not wear your swimsuit to the beach?  And they were right. Yeah, there are skinny, perky teenagers at the beach. Yeah, there are other moms who are frolicking around with their kids, and they’re wearing the same size bikinis as their toddlers. Not even with stretch marks! How do they even do that? And here I am, and I weigh more than I did when I was nine months pregnant with the youngest kid, who is now 2 1/2. How did I even do that?

More to the point, who cares? Feel fat? Stay in the damn water. No one will see you, and you can feel light and graceful for once. Sitting on the sand getting gritty and trying to tug your shorts and tank top over your flabby bits while the kids beg you to jump in? That is a great way to have a lousy afternoon.  If you want to be attractive, have fun. Laugh and be happy. That’s beautiful, even when you’re fat.

Granted, it also helps a lot to have a suit that I don’t absolutely hate! Last year, I got the Catalina Shirred Halter Swimsuit from



The fabric is a little bit chintzy, because it is a cheap suit, but the cut is so flattering, and so is the shirring. It has more support in the bust than any halter top I’ve seen; and it covers all the right spots without being a floppy swim tent.

I remember suit shopping in the 80’s! Boy, is it gratifying to have some choices for people who are neither Denise Austin nor Mother Superior. I also bought a Land’s End suit, but I actually like it less than the Walmart one.

Have you found a suit you’re happy with? Share it here!


"Can The Jerk have this space now that you're done with it? I mean, it's ..."

I’m moving!
"Wonderful Ideas for newborn baby and their parents also, its good to give them handmade ..."

Welcome, baby! 12 gifts that new ..."

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Gretchen Mena

    Yes! I bought a swimsuit from DiviineModestee 3 years ago and I love it. Very flattering, covers all my wobbly bits, still lets me get a tan, and no toddler this side of hades can pull the top down. I only got to wear it once last summer before it didn’t fit my pregnant frame, but this summer, I will likely be not pregnant for all of swimsuit season and I can’t wait to get in the water with my littles. Don’t like my jiggle? Look away!

  • Rachel

    I have 2 swimsuits from Lime Ricki; both basically this style:

    They’re a great fit & made very well. I decided years ago I was sick of shaving & getting razor burn on my upper thighs. So I started wearing shorts, but the lime ricki skirt bottoms are very flattering, so now I wear those. I LOVE being comfortable at the pool & not worrying about what’s showing. I wish I could say it was for modesty, but it totally wasn’t. I just like being comfortable.

  • NurseTammy

    How sweet that you (and other moms of little ones) want to wear a suit to make your kids happy and play with them..I fully support you and think its dear. This week I ordered 3 swim suits and it didn’t make my adult kids one bit happy…in fact they scrunched their noses and assured me it was a terrible idea. My daughter suggested a victorian styled suit that covered as much as possible…oh sigh….the stage of them being embarrassed of me

    • RestWeary

      I’m in the same position. While I am thin, my kids (mostly the teens) are grossed out by my varicose veins. I am too. Sigh.

      • Stephanie

        I just posted above about my solution for veins: athletic skirts with attached leggings!

    • ModerateMom17

      how i it in any way shape or form ok for your adult kids to tell you they are embarassed of you?

  • Elaine

    I bought not one but two bikini’s for the first time in 15 years because I decided that for a lady in her mid 40’s with 5 kiddos on earth and 4 in heaven that I don’t look so bad. I also wanted to start hanging laundry out on the line and I figured if I was getting a tan at the same time (by hanging laundry in a bikini) then I’d be more motivated and it would be a positive feedback loop. Well, it’s working! Kids think it’s a little weird that mom hangs laundry mostly nekkid but hey you only live once. I’m getting a nice tan, and laundry is being dried and sanitized at no cost to the environment. Win, win. Also, I live on 5 acres with no close neighbors so I’m not afraid of offending anyone not related to me. 🙂

  • Eileen

    Lands End lover here. I prefer the full coverage two pieces – Lands End calls them tankinis. However, I really don’t even need a swimsuit top. I’m so pale that I always wear an SPF shirt to prevent burn. I have two different kinds of swimsuit bottoms – the skirts and the shorts, all from Lands End. I think the top I wear most is actually from Kohls. It’s not that I like it best or that it’s most flattering – being under an SPF shirt it doesn’t matter what it looks like. I wear that one because it’s easiest to get off when wet.

    • KarenJo12

      I love tankinis because unlike one-piece swimsuits, it is easy to go to the bathroom in a tankini. Also, like you, I am pale and prone to nasty forms of skin cancer so I keep myself covered.

  • KyPerson

    I’m 63. I’m actually in fairly decent shape, but things have gone south and cellulite has proliferated. You know what? I don’t care. I just get a nice tank suit in a dark color and get in the water with the kids. They don’t care that Grammy isn’t wearing a bikini and they will have wonderful memories of fun years from now.

  • Sheila C.

    My resolution is to get myself board shorts and a tankini top. I have this feeling I’d be a heck of a lot more comfortable with less thigh out and about. Plus, I wouldn’t have to shave them!

    I love water, though, and no matter how corny my bathing suit, I refuse to stay on the sand. That’s just lame. I deserve to have fun in the water too!

    • Sara McD

      Not shaving sounds awesome. I might have to look in the men’s section to find board shorts that fit over my hips though.

  • bearing

    The suit that I love is any suit that’s made for swimming (instead of for just looking good). What cured me of swimsuit self-consciousness was joining a YMCA and taking adult swimming lessons at age 30. After the first mishap (realizing that my “flattering fit” suit was not actually good for moving in the water) I bought a lap suit. Nothing fancy but as I got in the water week after week, got used to seeing myself in a suit, and also got used to seeing lots of other people of all sorts of shapes showing up week after week in swimsuits… I stopped thinking so much about how I looked in it.

    A big part of the reason women feel self-conscious about swimsuits is that they aren’t used to seeing themselves in them, and they are stuck in a mindset that it’s all about how you look and not about what you can do. Taking up swimming regularly is a great way to take the focus off appearances and appreciate what you can do with your body.

    • I think that’s why I’ve never let body/esteem issues keep me from the pool or the beach — I love swimming and frolicking in the water too much.

      In law school I went on this boating trip a friend had won, with a bunch of other people. All the other women had perfect bodies and cute bikinis, but as it turned out, I was the only one who actually knew how to swim.

    • LiveOaksandSpanishMoss


    • Kathleen M. Ritter

      I’ve had the exact same experience. I’m a big girl. For years, I wore a swim dress to cover up the thighs. This year, I’ve been doing a lot of deep water swim running, and found the skirts and dressess really got in the way. So I got some athletic one-pieces from Longitude. Only requirement: straps that don’t fall down. And now, I don’t just wear them for exercise, but I wear them to the pool with my family. Because you know what? I’m rockin’ these suits! I’m still a big girl. But the feeling of being in shape, and seeing other, even bigger women, wear these suits, has given me the confidence to say “screw it, I look AWESOME!”

  • J Jaeger

    I bought the LL Bean scoop neck jogger top and jogger shorts. I’m covered and free to swim, run around with the grandkids, walk, whatever. And no wasting time with extra grooming tasks.

  • Claire

    I have a pair of Lands End swimshorts, and this year, since Lands End doesn’t have any short sleeve rashguards for women, I bought a men’s shortsleeve rashguard. I will just wear it over my bra, along with the swimshorts. So hopefully this year when we go to Cape Cod, I’ll spend a lot more time in the water with my son than I have in previous years.

    • Eileen

      Since I always wear the rashguard, I’m pretty experienced in this area. You may want a real swim top. Even a cheapo bikini one from Target. Sometimes a real bra can feel yucky when it’s wet. You might want to try your bra in the shower to see how it feels.

      • Claire

        That’s a good point. Thanks for the tip, Eileen. I’m glad that this topic came up prior to my vacation.

  • Lynette

    Thanks for posting! I am the heaviest I have ever been (besides being pregnant) and I no longer have a swimsuit that fits… and shopping for a swimsuit that does fit my “post-pregnancy-enhanced-still-nursing-a-3yo body” has been extremely frustrating. But, I recently came across this site…. Finally!! curvy women looking beautiful in swimsuits!

  • Silvia Aldredge

    I love the Garnet Hill house brand swimsuits. Flattering, well constructed, good coverage. They are a little pricey, but worth it especially if you watch the site for sales at the end of the summer.

  • DeirdreMundy

    I have an LL Bean Swim dress I bought 6 years ago. (Wear it whenever I’m not pregnant.) The bra is supportive, but shows a bit too much cleavage. (Not a modesty thing so much as a ‘prone to sunburn’ thing.) So I was stuck on shore bundled up trying not to burn. (I am bad at reapplying sunscreen.) This year, I sprung for one of the Land’s end rash guard tops. (No bra built in..) I wear it over my suit and, voila! Fun to get wet in, no sunburn, and a good time is had by all!

  • MightyMighty1

    I tan deep and quick, and every method of hair removal gives me a rash on anything north of my knees, so I go to great lengths to cover up. I’ve worn board shorts/swim skirts/trunks on the bottom and rashguards over bikini or tankini tops. There may be some body shame thrown in there, but the older I get, the more it really is about wanting to avoid the leather-purse-fate that will be mine if I let loose and tan.

    That being said, I know the point of the post wasn’t “What clever outfit will hide my body?” but “Hiding my body comes at a great cost to my kids.” I think this applies to more than just swimsuits. When Mom dresses like a frump, it teaches the kids to disrespect her–that she isn’t worth spending any time/money on for anything that isn’t critical to keeping breath in the body. I’m not fabulous about this across the board, and there is plenty of room for improvement, but I do try to make an effort.

    Things that are easy: keep pearl earrings in all the time ($10/ebay), tinted sunscreen on face instead of plain, tinted lip balm instead of plain, contacts instead of glasses, throwing out old nasty clothes that nobody should be wearing–especially if it will leave the closet/drawer so sparse that I am forced to buy a few new things, wearing button-downs or floral prints instead of just plain t-shirts all day, owning no graphic t’s so that I am not tempted to wear them.

    Things that take effort, but I like: I keep a fitness log on Google Drive where I track daily exercise, meals, weight, measurements (weekly), and a few things that are meant to force me to examine how much effort I’m putting toward getting in shape (did I snack late at night? did I look at any inspirational stuff during the day?). I even rate the day on a 1-8 scale where each number represents an increasingly healthy day (spotty meals/snacking all day all the way up to 3 square superfood meals & no snacks). Yesterday was a 3. 🙂 It takes me about 10 minutes to chart everything (I do my NFP stuff at the same time). I spend 30-60 minutes exercising. I love the short videos at Literally everyone can find at least 5 minutes to do some floor exercises.

    My mom is naturally thin and my parents kept a lot of snack food around, so I learned to eat that, instead of real food, when hungry. My husband was fat until high school, so both of us make an effort to model better habits for our kids. For me, getting a tiny bit fitter each month is nice, but my efforts are actually more important for showing my family that I am more than a cook and cleaning lady, and that my body needs the same care as anybody else’s body. I also hope my kids don’t spend multiple decades hating exercise; now that I do it every day, I don’t see what the big deal was.

  • Peggy Bowes

    Please don’t gasp, but I buy my suits from Victoria’s Secret online. They actually have a nice selection of modest one pieces and tankinis, and they have plenty of support in the tops. They are also very pretty, well-made and come in a variety of sizes and colors. Some are available in bra cup sizes. If you’re unsure, buy a few sizes or styles. You can always return them to any Victoria’s Secret store, so you don’t have to pay return shipping.

  • Blobee

    Do you know what? Your kids don’t know you’re fat, and even if they do, they don’t care. My mom was “overweight” (after six kids!) and I would’ve hated it if she didn’t put on a suit and get in the water with us. But she did. I never saw her as fat. I thought she was soft and cuddly, and I loved her.
    It’s time to start ignoring your perception of what other people (who you don’t even KNOW!) think of you. Who cares? What do they know about your life? When are you ever going to see any of them again? If they are so rude as to judge you about how much you weigh, then why do you value their opinion? Are you sitting around on the beach looking at overweight people and thinking, “Look at that fat man/woman! Wow, they should just go home! They should NEVER wear a bathing suit!”? I hope not, because if you are, that would be enormously uncharitable. So. If someone is thinking that about you, then they are uncharitable, and they do not deserve your valuing their opinion.
    Go. Live. Be yourself, who you really are. Stop living for people you don’t know, and look at God’s face looking at you. He is not judging your fat. Honestly.

  • anna lisa

    Ahhhhrghhhhhhh. I bet in heaven, the battle wounds on our bodies will be like gleaming medals of honor. My husband *likes* the extra pounds I’ve put on since becoming a beer/wine drinker–it’s not all the sugar, it’s that alcohol gives me the *munchies*. I should never, ever go near cannabis. When I admire skinny women he says “who wants to hug a coat rack?” The truth is that there are diminishing returns if you diet too much. The first place the fat leaves is, –well you know.
    I bought a bikini (actually two) at the DOLLAR STORE last summer. They are simple and cute and in mix and match colors. (yes, one buck ) I never take off my sheer cover up if people are around. I can tan through it. If I’m planning to go in the water, I wear a little tank top over my bathing suit. It just looks a little more hip than a Mom-suit, and hey, all that stuff going on distracts the eye. I’m not sold on splashy prints though. They can look like bedspreads on a one-piece. I think a solid dark color is best with maybe some cool beachy /ethnic jewelry.

    A fifteen foot great white was spotted off of the beach down the way from ours yesterday 🙁 That would be such a terrible way to go, don’t you think? I’m really going to have to work myself up to going in, but yes, my kids freak out with happiness when I do. Thanks for the little push in the right direction. If I get eaten, I’ll blame it on you.

    Okay, one last thing–I can’t recommend this enough. I don’t care what size a woman is–sunbathing in a tiny little bikini at home is AWESOME. Try it. If you have a really private spot (I go on my roof) take it all off. The feeling of the sun on your skin is divine!!!! 🙂

    • tt

      As a naturally thin woman who was bullied in school by both students and teachers for being so and later by co-workers in a Catholic school (the admins excused the behavior with the rationale that stopping it would hurt their feelings because they were overweight…), I have to say that I find your husband’s equating any woman’s body to a coat rack extremely uncharitable and demeaning.

      • anna lisa

        Ah well, he has experience. He married his own coat rack (5’6′, 103 lbs, on our wedding day) So he was referring to his wife who has put on 20+ pounds. My husband used to laugh at me in the ninth grade, referring to me as “Chicken Legs”. He has repented.

  • Sara McD

    Simcha, I bought that same suit in red. It is really flattering.

  • anna lisa

    I’ve been mulling over this topic, and I can’t help but wonder why a good Catholic woman can’t push for having a few things fixed after generously supplying housing and a food factory for her babies. I know money is a big factor, but I also can’t help but feel that we get this guilt complex which whispers “vanity of vanities!” to us, if we wish we could fix a few things. My OB told me (after my fourth) that no amount of diet and exercise was going to put my stomach muscle bands back together. My insurance company paid for most of my “hernia” repair. Five more (almost)full term pregnancies didn’t part them again, but they could use some tuning up for sure. I didn’t like the doctor who performed the surgery, and overall, it was not a great experience, but I *am* glad that I did it. But I’ve suffered with feelings of guilt too which made me needlessly anxious about the subject. I think what pushed me to it was watching all the car repairs/bodywork that we shelled out for. It’s perfectly conventional to fix cars and houses when they get dents…but a mother? She can suffer a lifetime of poor body image, post children and people say, “suck it up, you’re a hero. Walk tall, and decide not to care.” Doctors may not be magicians, but still, a woman’s body shouldn’t have to be in last place after a lousy motor vehicle. I AM really leery of our culture’s obsession with perfection and youth. Silicone doesn’t float my boat either, but I DO think we could approach the matter of maternal damage with a more balanced, honest and compassionate outlook. What if a woman had a mild cleft palate, and instead of saying, “hey, we have the technology to do something about that” we said: “you look like you’re able to eat pretty well with that”…

    • That’s a perspective that’s worth looking at…

    • Eileen

      I think if your conscience is clear and you know a little nip and tuck will make you a better wife and mother, you should do it. Come on, anna lisa, we’re too old and have experienced too much to worry about what a bunch of judgmental church ladies think. If they had their way, we’d all be dressing like Duggars all the time. If you can afford it, and your husband’s ok with it, everybody else needs to butt out.

      • anna lisa

        🙂 xo. Eileen, if you ever come to my neck of the woods I’m going to serve you the best margarita of your life. But I’m still going to suffer from guilt if I treat my body as well as our STUPID cars, –which aren’t even treated that well. What’s up with that.

        • Eileen

          I’ll gladly drink the margarita, just don’t ask me to sunbathe naked with you! Because, you know, Google maps. 🙂

          • anna lisa

            Lol! You should be more worried about the margarita. Climbing to my rooftop perch could be lethal after just one. I have to climb a shaky ladder past a beehive. Once I’m up there it’s glorious. One of my teens had the temerity to pop his head up and see what I was doing once, but I roared and my head spun around a few times and, AND my modesty radar had alerted me to his approach in time. Seriously. This is the first time in decades that I’ve had any space to myself.
            You know what? The Google plane had actually occurred to me. Ah well. Choosing my battles.

      • $1028912

        I think that even if your husband/partner is NOT okay with it, a woman should do whatever she wants to do, with her bod — and this goes for whether her partner wants her to do get plastic surgery, or tells her not to. Sure, she can consider his input — but she, not he, is the one who has to live inside her body.

        • Eileen

          I see what you’re saying, but due to the money and the risks involved and possibly even some aftercare, I still think plastic surgery calls for a couple’s mutual agreement.

          • $1028912

            Well, a lot depends on the extent of the procedures –money/aftercare can be issues, as you say, and I would think that a caring spouse would try to discourage his/her partner from anything that would be too medically risky. But the bottom line is that the person whose body it is should have the final say — and that goes for deciding NOT to undergo surgery, too.
            Of course, I have known women who let their husband even choose which supermarket they shopped in, so I guess not everyone feels the same way I do!

          • Eileen

            Speaking of supermarkets, my husband doesn’t like that I shop at Walmart. He thinks they’re a little sleazy. But I’m too much of a cheapskate to give up my monthly trip there for yogurt, frozen pizza, and a couple of other particular items I can’t get at BJ’s and Costco. Low priority for him though. If it really bothered him to the point he wouldn’t eat the pizza or yogurt or felt ethically compelled to handle a portion of the family grocery shopping, I’d almost certainly switch stores. 😉

          • anna lisa

            I still cringe from the word “plastic surgery”. Is a hernia repair that was non life threatening plastic surgery? Maybe so…Nobody feels bad if they get a porcelain crown on their front tooth. That’s cosmetic too…See what I mean? Insurance pays for an aesthetic solution.
            I guess I’m a hypocrite to boot because we all whispered and giggled when my sister went for an upgrade “upstairs” . She nursed seven kids and has never looked so good.
            My husband swears he wouldn’t change a thing about me and that he even loves the marks that are testimonies of my having borne the children he loves.
            He says he really wouldn’t want me to, but that I can do whatever I want –and hey, even with a perfectly flat stomach, I’d continue hiding out under something. Those “Real Housewives” shows, where the women strut around sporting their wares appall me.

          • Eileen

            I grew up with bad teeth. It was only when I was earning enough to pay to get them straightened and bonded on my own that I could smile in public. So I understand the desire to pay a professional so one can look and feel better – I’ve lived it. Furthermore, like it or not, it’s a shallow world in which we live. The better you look, the more deferential complete strangers will be. This can be super important if you’re looking to advance in your career or you’re on the front line of the pro-life movement, for instance.

            Right now, it would take more than a little nip and tuck to make me look truly good. Besides, I don’t really have to impress anybody – I’m pretty much a suburban housewife. I personally will settle for healthy at this point, but I would never judge another person for a little procedure. If it makes them look better, that is. Sometimes, the botox and collagen on top of several facelifts just make people look like the Joker. Maybe I’m not judging them so much as their lousy plastic surgeon?

          • anna lisa

            Yup, it’s a fine balance and a judgement call. I think women owe it to their husband and children to at least work at their appearance –within reason. Same goes for husbands. My husband loves that kind of stuff and thanks me all the time for silly little details. Undies can make the man’s day for gosh sake’s.

            We call too much surgery: alien face. I know –not so charitable eh? Some people get addicted to procedures. It’s pitiful. But Catholic Moms can behave like even bigger monsters when they get all high and mighty or UGH!–martyrish. I laugh when I recall the war my homeschooler friends used to engage in. One of them once asked the other how she would describe my style and she replied “plastic”. I smiled because I thought she said “classic”, and thanked her. Boy was I corrected! My dubious use of make-up and heels was a serious irritant. That was one of the many whacks over the head that it took for me to stop looking up to them and realize that vanity can wear some pretty elaborate get ups.

            On a higher note–Yesterday I read something about the new push to get every kid in a dental chair by the age of four. I have my obvious problems with Obamacare, but if it means that kids won’t have to suffer as much (ex utero), there are some silver linings…

  • Lani

    I HATE being in a swimsuit, and often sit on the sidelines while my husband jumps in with our boys. But this year, I have an infant, and he LOVES the water, so I decided to get over myself. It helped that I found this swimsuit that is very flattering and cute!

  • Suzanne Emery Andrews

    Thank you for this! We’re on vacation, and it will include water, and I realized I left my suit. I wasn’t going to bother picking one up, but now I definitely will. I’d like my 5-year-old’s memories to include Mom being in the water with him, and I want to set a good example for my teen daughter. THANK YOU! (and maybe I can finally fix my Kansas farmer tan)

  • Stephanie

    I apologize for not having read all of the comments yet, but I just thought I’d share my swimsuit solution: yes, I’m a few pounds heavier than I want to be, but I swear my bulging varicose veins could clear a pool & make small children scream. (I’ve already had them stripped once, then had 4 kids. Since there’s still potential for a few more babies, I don’t see the point in having surgery again until menopause.)

    What to do, if I’m determined to frolic at the pool? Well, I took a second look at some cute hand-me-down atheltic jogging skirts with leggings attached & thought, “Why not?” I pair them with my cute halter swimsuit tops, and have a great time & don’t give my legs a second thought.

  • I wish I had this confidence but I am obese and I believe I am doing everyone a favor by sitting on a towel completed covered and out of sight.