modest when it's hottest

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Summer is here. If you hadn't noticed the warmer weather, don't worry - just look at what the ladies are wearing around town. 'Tis the season to be skimpy, and I think Montreal might just be the capital for the scantily clad. And there is a lot to say about this, but today I just want to write about one element of modesty in the summer time. Bathing suits. Because even the shortest shorts don't often resemble underwear - that's the bikini's job alone! Check out this informative video. Seriously worth the 9 minutes. Men, feel free to watch too!

Isn't that insightful? The idea that dressing a certain way gives us women power, but in the end we lose power and respect. This isn't even a moral assumption - it's scientific! I think there are many contributing factors to modesty, and I do agree that each culture defines modesty a different way, but I don't think we can ignore that bathing suits are getting smaller and smaller and the reaction men have to this isn't changing towards respecting and valuing women more.

But I get it. Finding cute bathing suits that are also modest is almost impossible. And I'm a girl who likes to swim! Until recently, the only one piece options out there were super sporty, and not made for girls with long torsos like me (in some cases one piece bathing suits were less modest for me than a well-fitting bikini!) But thankfully there are so many more options this summer, and I really wanted to share them with you all. Just in case you're in the same boat as I've found myself in summers past - desiring to wear something more than lingerie to the beach, but still wanting to be fashionable and flattering to my body type. It's actually more fun swimming in a modest suit too, because you're not forever readjusting your top or bottoms or afraid something came off after you jumped in!

Hope you find all this choice helpful! Many of these bathing suits are under $50, too!

1. Mod Cloth - $90    2. Albion Fit - $112    3. Mod Cloth - $90    4. Old Navy -  $45
5. J Crew - $136    6. Albion Fit - $128    7. Lime Ricki - $45    8. Lime Ricki - $43
9. Target - $40    10. Lime Ricki - $55    11. Target - $35    12. J Crew - $138
13. Lime Ricki - $55    14. J Crew $88    15. Mod Cloth - $90    16. Old Navy - $31


  1. great post! I dont currently own a bathing suit b.c I dread the idea of going out and buying one. I borrowed my mom's this past weekend and it had a cute skirt to put over top, which I loved because I just hate wearing bathing suits because it shows EVERYTHING...even full pieces! My issue is that I get major cleavage in everything I wear so most of these bathing suits would show a bit more than I'd like. Even my mom's bathing suit did that. I find that the hardest, even with tops. Especially wiht carrying a baby around, a lot of the time my shirt gets pulled down and it's not remotely modest...I try to always wear an undershirt but that doesn't even always fix my problem!

    1. What you need is a neckline that goes straight across! I've been there and must bathing suits aren't that cut, but some of these are! Like a tube top neckline. I've seen it work for women with extremely large busts!

    2. Bri- check #5 and #8! Lime Ricki had really affordable ones with skirts, I just didn't add any here :-)

    3. ya I like that Lime Ricki one alot!! :) I will look into thhat. And I wouldnt say I have an extremely huge bust..lol. Just a problem for me I guess!

  2. Em this was such a great post and I loved the video! I was actually bathing suit shopping the other day and I cannot buy from my work bc all American Eagle sells is the itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikini. So thank you for sharing all these great swimsuits! I shall have to take a run into Old Navy sometime this week ;)

    1. Check out Lime Ricki too Amanda! Great prices! AE (and Abercrombie- similar) isn't generally a very modest store so I'm not surprised!

  3. I just watched the video this morning after a family member posted it on fb, my husband and I found it very interesting

  4. Roxana19.6.13

    Great post and great video! Thank you! I love this topic and wish more women would address it!

    I struggled with the issue of modesty for a while, or rather, I didn't really struggle with it and just wore whatever seemed fashionable. I cringe when I think of some of the things that I used to wear (or not wear - yikes)! I was also not in the best place spiritually.

    Getting married and hearing from my husband about these things really helped me to understand. I don't walk around wearing a burlap sack, but I'm also not showing every part of my figure.

    As for bathing suits, I used to wear bikinis all the time. I am all about the beach, and I had a ton of bikinis. I only owned one one-piece and that was because I used it for white-water rafting. When we married my husband gently pointed out how men perceive women who are immodestly dressed, and that with respect to my swim attire he wanted to be sure that only he was seeing certain parts of me. Of course, I agreed, but I confess that I did struggle with giving-up my bikinis. I could go on and on. . .

    Anyway, thanks for sharing these really cute bathing suits (I'm all about J. Crew suits, they fit me well and they are well-made) and thanks more for addressing this issue in a relatively light-hearted way. It can get sticky, quickly!

  5. Ah! I'm so excited about this! I haven't had a bathing suit for a year and for the life of me I can't find a decent one that I like but I love so many of these in your post. Thanks Em!

  6. Anonymous22.6.13

    My wife asked me to look at this video and give some feedback, so I did some digging into the Princeton study quoted. Although I'm sure you mean well, I would strongly warn against taking this video to mean that wearing bikinis causes men to lose respect for women.

    The woman in the video mentions two Princeton studies to support her idea that women lose power by wearing bikinis, yet she actually left out some critical information: the men who were least likely to think of those women with third-person statements (her cue that they were being objectified) were those who were also revealed to be the most sexist according to a survey given to them before the brain scans were done, and thus were generally more likely to have negative views of women or tendencies to objectify them anyway.

    The researchers also suggested that a lot more work needs to be done, as the studies involved less than two dozen participants and only used pictures rather than videos or real-life situations. Indeed, the three researchers involved in this study did not see this tendency as evidence that a woman could gain more respect by wearing more clothing, but rather a sign that ingrained sexist behaviours of some men tended to make those men respond in specific ways toward bikinis.

    Finally, the researchers mentioned in an AAAS forum when they presented these findings that, from previous research, there was reason to believe men could override these tendencies toward disrespect.

    This study thus does not confirm your proposition about an inherent connection between women revealing more skin and losing men's respect. The former only seems to lead to the latter in specific cases, and through a rather roundabout way. As I said before, I know you mean well, but I would always recommend going to the source of scientific studies before posting them. You may find something you didn't expect to see!

    Colin (husband of long-time reader)

    1. Roxana24.6.13


      While there might be elements to the results of the study that seemingly undermine the woman's argument/support, it's just "seemingly" (at best). The truth of the matter is that the overwhelming tendency of men is to objectify (to some degree) women who are immodestly dressed (bikini or otherwise). It doesn't matter if we're talking about men who are more prone to respond in a specific way toward bikinis vs. those who are not. Why would we want to encourage the former or the latter to have less respect for us?

      Additionally, while gaining respect is always something to be desired, I think women should at least be encouraged to behave (dress, etc.) in a manner that will lead others to maintain what respect they might already have for them. Just because you might not gain respect as a result of wearing a one-piece or more clothing, I venture to say that (and I'm not a scientist) you are far less likely to lose respect because of it.

      That said, even the researches conceded that men had tendencies toward objectification/lack of respect, etc. when they made a point of saying that these tendencies could be overridden.

      While it might be true that the research does not show an "inherent" (by definition) connection between women revealing more skin and losing men's respect, one would be hard-pressed to find evidence against a very strong causal connection.

      Despite all this, I still don't believe this issue even needs scientific evidence to confirm what's going on. Every day life and common sense both confirm what the woman in the video was essentially saying about the way women dress and how men respond (maybe not specific to a bikini vs. a one-piece bathing suit). We all know this. Marketers the world-over know this which is why they use images of scantily clad women to sell everything from cars to beer.

      While it's always a good idea to go to the source, there are genuinely some issues (like this one) where going to the source is really not necessary.