Friday, May 27, 2011

Is Modest Swim Wear an Oxymoron? I think not.


"A modest heart comes before modest dress." Fashion and Following the Savior, Carolyn Mahaney

I think modesty is a struggle for any woman of God, myself included. It is not easy to be modest and still look cute, but it is possible. It isn't easy because most fashion designers do not think about modesty when they are designing their clothes, because let's face it, modesty doesn't sell. I know it is especially hard for those sisters of mine who are well endowed. I do not have that problem.

I am thankful to my college ministry for helping me think about the way I dressed. Every summer we had a summer beach project where we would go for ten weeks to work full time jobs and grow in our relationships with God. There were strict guidelines for attire. We couldn't wear spaghetti straps, anything that drew attention to our breasts or was too form fitting, nothing that showed cleavage, we couldn't let our stomaches show when we lifted our arms, our shorts had to be to our finger tips, and our skirts couldn't show too much skin when we were sitting down. Our pants couldn't be too tight, and we had to wear one pieces. One pieces! I hadn't worn a one piece since I was thirteen! 

The reasoning behind all of this? To protect our brothers in Christ mainly. Even godly Christian men struggle with lust, so I learned. But isn't that their responsibility? Well yes, but it is also ours as their sisters in Christ. We should dress in a way that protects them from lusting and points them towards Christ. I am thankful for brothers in Christ that helped us learn how to dress in a way that protected their hearts. It is not that I didn't want to protect them, I just hadn't given it too much thought before college. After dressing so modestly for three summers it definitely affected the way I dressed throughout the year and the years following. I am very sensitive to showing any cleavage at all (not that I have much) or wearing dresses or shorts that are too short. And swim attire is something I am probably most sensitive about. 

My own personal conviction is to not wear two pieces or bikinis, unless I am in private away from men (besides my husband of course) or only among girls. I am fine with tankinis and have a had a few really cute modest ones, but this summer I really wanted a skirt  bottom. The more I thought about having something tight on my butt that was practically spandex underwear the more uncomfortable I felt. I would never walk around in my bra and underwear around men, but to me that is basically what a bikini is, just made out of different material.  I decided I didn't want something hugging my butt, so I searched for cute swim attire that included a skirt. 

The picture above is exactly what I settled on. It is from Land's End and I really love it! No cleavage, no tummy, and no butt! Perfect. I am not saying that my convictions have to be yours, but this is what I felt convicted to search for when buying a swimsuit to wear. I do encourage you to think about your swim attire and if it could be causing your brothers in Christ to stumble. Some of those brothers may be your friends husbands. Think about drawing attention to your face and to Christ. I know many women that dress modestly all the time, but then throw it all out the window come bikini season. It is possible to find modest and attractive swim wear. Trust me. 

Disclaimer: I am still on my modesty journey and haven't arrived at any standard of perfection. I am sure I have blind spots just like the next girl, but I really do try to think about what I am wearing before I walk out the door. If you are a "real life" friend please feel free to challenge me on anything I wear that you don't feel is modest. Thanks! 

Here are a couple of GREAT resources to help you think about modesty from a biblical perspective:
The Soul of Modesty, CJ Mahaney

What about you? What are your thoughts on modesty? modest swim wear? What are some questions you ask yourself before you walk out the door? What is your modesty story?


  1. That's really cute! has some really cute modest bathing suits, too. I got one from there last year and I love it. Most of them are for tiny busts, but they have a couple for larger busts, too.

  2. There was a woman I saw last year with a really cute, modest suit. The difference between hers and mine was the length of her skirt. She actually found a two-piece suit (tankini) with a skirt that came to just a few inches above the knee with a really cute ruffle. This is my new step to think about in terms of swimsuit modesty. The tankini I currently own has a skirt bottom that is teeny-tiny (shorter than the picture above). I wouldn't be caught dead in my bathing suit bottom at church or at any other public place. Why do I think it is okay at the pool/beach?? Search my heart O, God. Our poor men are bombarded every day. Alas, why is it still so hard to give up the idea of my entire leg being tan instead of just half of it?! I just HATE tan lines. I spend the entire summer in strapless tops for this exact reason. If I don't have a strapless shirt I am constantly pulling the straps down to avoid tan lines. I don't wear sunglasses because of tan lines around my eyes. It is ridiculous! Tan lines or my brothers' in Christ purity? Come on, Melissa. For the record, it is easy to write this post, but actually getting to the store (or finding the website) to purchase something different in my correct size will be nothing short of a miracle. What to do? I loved being pregnant last summer. I found it so much easier to find modest maternity suits! Time to search... Thanks for this reminder, Chalise!!

  3. Oh hey, I like that. I've never worn a bikini because I don't feel comfortable showing that much skin, and besides most of them don't work well for the, ahem, 'well endowed.' And post baby, who WANTS to show off a pudgy stomach and stretch marks?

  4. Thanks for this! Great stuff!

  5. I can't find this suit on Lands End! It's so nice!

  6. If you are not sure about the fit or what size to order, Sears has a Lands End swimwear section where you can try them on. They can also order you a swimsuit with free shipping.

  7. If you are not sure about the fit or what size to order, Sears has a Lands End swimwear section where you can try them on. They can also order you a swimsuit with free shipping.