On bathing suits and learning as we go

The bathing suit search is on. It’s spring in the Northeast and we’ve learned that although it may be months before we can actually swim – things sell out fast. Modesty is a strong conviction for me – it’s come up around here before. I firmly believe that just because the culture around us is spiraling downward, my convictions do not have to spiral down with them.

Some might say that I’m over thinking things. That they’re just kids and they’re swimming! Loosen up! But I firmly believe that it’s our job to protect their purity and modesty – even before they realize it needs to be protected. This is not about fear or stranger danger, it’s about guarding our daughters and sculpting them in palace style. Treating them like they are precious and worthy of protection rather than like a cheap bauble that needs to be flaunted. After spending days at the local beach over the last few years and seeing too many peekaboos from little girls (completely clueless, innocent girls!) playing in the sand, we have set some fairly high bathing suit standards for our daughters.


I might have a small issue with control. I like things my way and on my time. But as my children are growing up, I realize that they want to express their own style. This does not mean they are allowed to dress however they want. Pants have to look like pants, not a second skin. Shirts can’t be low cut. And bathing suits cannot resemble underwear. Once we have a standard established, we work together on finding an acceptable solution in a style that we both like. (Yes, this can sometimes be a long process.)


In years past, I lightened up on my standards when I got frustrated. I would purchase something out of sheer exhaustion with the battle and live to regret it all summer long. It’s made me realize two things: 1) I need to be willing to return or put aside items that I’ve purchased, even if it means I lose money. 2) I need to be upfront with my daughters when we purchase something online. Just because it looks modest on the model does not mean it will meet our standards when she tries it on.

This also goes for the little girls in my house. We realized  years ago that it was unfair to let the girls dress a certain way and then switch up the rules once they got older. As much as we can, the standards stay the same for all ages. This does not make my life easier, trust me! It’s just as hard to find a pair of jeans that are not designed to look painted on for a 4 year old as it is for a nearly 14 year old. But the standard stays the same, as much as we’re able, and expectations are clear to avoid confusion or hurt feelings.

So we’re learning as we go here and working hard to communicate the how’s and why’s to our daughters, at their level of understanding. It’s a process, you know, this mothering thing. We don’t just instantly get it all figured out when we birth a child. Learning what to stand firm on and when to let go are just part of that process.

How do you handle the bathing suit battle with your daughters? Maybe it’s not a battle with them, but a battle with the fashion industry. Have you found a great source for affordable, modest swimwear? Share it!

5 thoughts on “On bathing suits and learning as we go”

  1. Thanks Jackie! As a mom of one girl I struggle with this same thing. She’s (almost 4) and the struggle is real! I actually start looking as soon as March is here…last year we didn’t find anything until late June and it wasn’t ‘perfect’ but we were getting desperate! I like the 1030’s bathing suit style I think its way cuter than a yellow polka dot bikini.

  2. I love SwimModest.com !! Really cute suits with a little sarong skirt. I also love the gal who runs the company, Diane Hopkins. Wonderful mom who really cares about modesty for kids! Some years we have paired a rashguard shirt (like an spf swim shirt, has short sleeves or cap sleeves) with a cute tennis skirt. Try the tennis section for cute swimwear – really!! The skirts are just a little longer than the swim “skirts” that are in the swimsuit section (that barely cover the buns) and the tennis skirts are usually a fast dry nylon fabric, and come in lots of fun colors and styles. My daughters are now 17, 13, 13, and finding modest swimwear has indeed been a lifelong investment of time and energy!

  3. We had the same issue with our daughter…I’d encourage you to look at sportier brands like Speedo and Reebok at sporting good stores. “athletic” suits tend to be more modestly cut and cover better. Lands End is also a great resource. A little expensive, but in the end, you’ll save yourself time and it’s a great quality. For older girls, we found super cute suits at DiviineModestee.com. They are cute, modest, and offer underwire support (for my older daughter, this became important!).

  4. Just ordered patterns (and material) from SimplyModest.com. It’s a kind of swim dress with leggings. Now I have to find the time to sew…
    If you can’t sew, she’ll custom make your suit for you, and you can choose your own sleeve length (or sleeveless) and legging length, from short to all the way down to the ankle.

  5. I have, so far, circumnavigated this problem. We joined a competitive swim team and all the kids wear what I consider to be perfectly modest team swim suits. You can get them on line for a discount, too. The kids wear the same suits all day at the rec center while swimming with friends. Because they are part of a TEAM, and that is felt to be very cool, they don’t seem to feel they are missing out not wearing they less acceptable(at least to me) suits, even at the beach. Their team suit is a badge of being a ‘competitive swimmer’. Maybe that will change as they get older, but it’s been good til now. Even the 15 yr old boy wants to wear the long-in -the-leg style team suit. The material is lycra, so it’s tight of course, but it covers EVERYTHING needing to be covered. Anyway, it’s maybe a thought. THe competitions are fun and exciting for the whole family, and the exercise is bilateral so you get even muscular development. Few injuries with this sport, too.

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