Personal Style, Pop Culture, Swimwear

Yes, There is Such a Thing as Modest Swimwear

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Every body is beautiful and deserves its moment in the sun—but still, it’s February, and maybe you’re not ready to strip down just yet at the water park or on your vacation.

Bare Necessities swim buyer Megan Puma firmly believes that’s swimwear’s problem to solve, not yours. “Your bathing suits should be working on your behalf,” she says. “These days, you can always find something to meet your needs without changing anything about your body or your style. All you have to do is identify what you want to gloss over,” Megan says. “Think of it like ordering from a menu. What special benefits do you want?”

So if showing a lot of skin isn’t your thing, or you need to minimize the potential for wardrobe malfunctions on an extended family vacation, be sure to check out Megan’s modest swimwear recommendations.

TO COVER YOUR TOP, TRY: a modest one-piece or a modest tankini

Freya Freestyle Underwire One-Piece: The quintessential tank suit gone sporty, this bra-sized one-piece is cut to both flatter and support. The red and light blue panels along the sides visually whittle the appearance of your upper body for a long, lean line. It’s also chlorine- and puncture-resistant, meaning it’s made to swim laps and make you look good. (One reviewer happily wore it scuba diving for the day.)

Fantasie Santa Monica Underwire One-Piece: A classic print will take you confidently on a cruise, a Caribbean getaway or whatever else you have on tap for spring break ’20. Inside are mesh-lined underwire cups for support, and outside are wide fixed straps, so it’s like having a bra and a maillot at the same time. The V-neck isn’t deep but the shirred detail isn’t overly demure, either. “It’s so nice at my age to find a suit that has enough coverage and support but isn’t frumpy. The underwire makes me feel secure, and the cutouts make me feel (somewhat) sexy,” a customer writes.

Panache Anya Spot Underwire Tankini Top: If you love the look of Fantasie Santa Monica but fancy a tankini, here’s our seasonless winner. The wide, open neckline flatters a full bust as the internal bra (up to a J-cup) shores it up. “I never felt self-conscious about my body while wearing it at the beach all week,” says a reviewer. “This is the first swimsuit I’ve felt comfortable in since I’ve been a 38DD. It’s just like wearing a real bra, with that much support. Pretty modest, too. Didn’t show much cleavage.”

Sunsets Pansy Fields Avery Underwire Tankini Top: A tankini is so good because, like a bikini, you can pick different sizes for your upper and lower body and, unlike a bikini, conceals as much as any one-piece. On this new style, the floral print artfully camouflages anything going on underneath the top (which comes in a vast size range) while the adjustable ruched neckline can be changed up at will from a deep sweetheart to high and straight. Pair it with a skirted, high-, mid- or low-rise bikini bottoms in the same pretty pattern.

TO COVER YOUR MIDDLE, TRY: a romper or swim dress 

Magicsuit Solid Bianca One-Piece Romper: Rompers are on-trend in real life, so this innovative idea translates easily onto the beach. The vibrant colors are a do on everyone, as is the halter cut of this suit. Flowy fabric conceals a firm-control one-piece within for a booty-concealing, boob-draping, tummy-flattening update on the swim dress that goes to a posh resort as stylishly as it does the kiddie pool.

Magicsuit Solids Mila One-Piece Romper: Similar in terms of function but not design to Bianca, the Mila gives off more of a two-piece vibe. Reviewers love the comfy, concealing yet youthful style that manages to take your mind off taking a dip in public. “I just turned 50 and no longer wear a bikini. This suit fits great. The shorts are fun and flirty, and the top has nice coverage but still looks a little slinky and feels younger than most of the tummy-control suits. Definitely worth the money,” says a fan.

Miraclesuit Must Have Pin Point Marais Swim Dress: You already know the power of the little black dress, so the swim version logically follows. Take a dip in this fit-and-flair swim dress with a décolletage-enhancing twist front: It’s inherently feminine and swishy, and it just so happens to smooth, shape and screen hips, tush and thighs at the same time. You could easily wear this one out to lunch or on the boardwalk and no one would be the wiser.

Coco Reef Safari Tropical Cascade Swim Dress: Have you ever felt completely unselfconscious in a swimsuit? This is your chance. In a pretty print, the mesh straps and ties on this A-line cutaway swim dress convert for multiple looks and fits (or remove them entirely for a sweet strapless style). It hits just below the behind for a not-overwhelmingly-swathed-in-fabric silhouette.

Trimshaper Solids Dakota Convertible Swim Dress: In this lower-priced shaping suit, you’ve got nothing but options. With the tie on the side, you get to decide how much coverage you get out of it: Wear it like a typical one-piece with the shirred waist pulled tight or untie the skirt to let it drape down. The plunge neckline, foam cups and adjustable straps all enhance your chest; in the middle, firm control tames a tummy. Throw in some gold hardware, and you’ve got yourself one smart suit.

TO COVER YOUR BOTTOM, TRY: swim skirts or boy shorts

Sunsets Olive Sporty Skirted Bikini Bottom: Resort-bound? Don’t forget to pack this little swim (or tennis, honestly) skirt, with built-in shorts and a zip pocket for stashing cash and a key card. The nine-inch length is as ideal and as becoming as a swim dress, but you can do whatever you want up top, be it a tankini or teeny bikini. Olive green is a neutral that goes with any number of things you probably already own, but a million other iterations can be found here.

Anne Cole Signature Live in Color High-Waisted Skirted Bikini Bottom: Hello, hotness. For coverage and shaping, you’ve found the right skirt. Designed to go with any Anne Cole Signature top, this pencil skirt-inspired microfiber bottom has a stay-put brief underneath. The side ties are functional, so you can scrunch it up into a mini for swimming or sunning, then lengthen it for walking around.

Magicsuit Jersey Swim Shorts: Who knew shorts for swimming were even a thing? These are practically perfect in every way—they go with literally everything, they’re comfy but cute, they’re slimming, they’re fully lined, and they prevent you from ever having to deal with a wedgie-inducing little brief again.

Sunsets Black Seascape Swim Short: Like bike shorts, but for the ocean. These full-coverage, sporty black boy shorties can go from gym to swim in a flash, and they make your tush look good while they’re at it.

TO COVER YOUR SWIMWEAR, TRY: a generously cut cover-up

Dotti Summer Sarong Long Pareo Cover-Up: Wrap legs in a chic chiffon sarong (say that five times fast). It hits from mid-calf to ankle, depending on your height, and it goes with every single suit in your drawer.

Magicsuit Draped Cover-Up: Such a pretty dress in its own right, made sand-and-surf-friendly. With higher coverage at neckline, this tulip-hemmed frock moves seamlessly from beach to brunch.

Robin Piccone Michelle Swim Cover-Up: Providing good arm coverage, this timeless, tie-front airy linen version is sure to become a suitcase staple.

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Brooke Glassberg
Brooke is the editor of this here blog. In a previous life, she was an editor at Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine. Brooke has written for Glamour, Travel+Leisure, New York Magazine and more. She’s into concerts, travel and her exceptionally adorable daughter and husband.
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