Modeling Modesty…at the Beach

I must admit, I am a proverbial clotheshorse–especially when it comes to swimwear, but I don’t let today’s styles dictate my convictions. 1 Timothy 2:9a, 10b states, “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety (a regard for spiritual things)…appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”

So how can a Christian fashionista balance the two? As I set out on that journey while writing my book, Fashioned by Faith (Thomas Nelson); I broached the undeniable question of swimwear. Through prayer and research, these were my findings: Modesty is an issue of the heart, not the hemline, and its primary purpose is to distinguish women who profess to worship God (1 Tim. 2:9,10). Secondly, it should never be a stumbling block for men. After establishing the heart issue, it is important to examine that the purpose of clothing is to cover “the parts of the body that should be treated with special modesty” (1 Corinthians 12:23).

One-piece suits obviously cover more, but we should note, a one-piece doesn’t guarantee modesty. If it has a plunging, revealing neckline or Rio-cut back, it can actually be racier than a two-piece suit. In fact, most one-piece suits on me, stretch to reveal too much cleavage or too much in the rear. That’s because I have a long torso. And long torso suits don’t come in a size 6. Because of my long frame, a tankini works perfectly for me and I think it’s suitable for every body type. I am able to swim, play volleyball and football, or jog on the beach comfortably while still maintaining modesty.

The big question everyone wants answered: Is it possible to wear a modest two-piece bathing suit? (I’m not talking about bikinis–two pieces and bikinis are two different things) While some may not agree, I believe that it is—but it’s tricky. If the swimsuit is at least three-to-four finger-widths thick on the hips and covers your bottom and cleavage entirely, It could be considered modest. They’re not my suit of choice, but as always, honor the guidance of your parents or the preference of your husband.

Fit plays an important role in swimsuits and after some wear; swimsuit straps can get stretched out and can constantly fall off your shoulder. They can be taken up or the suit can be retired altogether. Also, if the suit has lost its elasticity, it’s time to shop for a new one.

Additionally, we should make sure the suit is thick enough to cover us on top and bottom. A well-lined suit is a must, especially if it’s white. If there is any question about it, test it in the shower first.

One final thought on swimsuits: We should be careful to wear our suits only at the pool or beach. Many times on vacation I’ll notice girls running up the stairs to their hotel room or hanging out in the lobby in their bathing suits. An easy fix is to put on a cute cover-up, sarong, wrap, or even a pair of coordinating shorts before leaving the swimming area. It’s both tasteful and fashionable.

In my search of finding fashionable, modest swimwear, I came across the fantastic designer, Tara Grinna, While some of them may be less modest, there are plenty to choose from that are certainly respectable, like this one. I own many of her suits and other ladies often compliment me on them. They’re well constructed, beautifully designed, and I can wear them without anyone questioning my intentions or integrity. Ultimately, we must set our standards of what a woman who professes God should look like in her wardrobe choices before we head to the water. Because integrity is always in style!

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7 Responses to Modeling Modesty…at the Beach

  1. Thank you thank you thank you for being a voice on this topic!! I often struggle with what types of swim wear to wear wanting to enjoy a cuter two piece, but want to honor God as well. I am very sporty and “do” things in my suits, so some of the really modest ones just don’t work out well. Thanks for your advice!

  2. Stacey says:

    I really appreciate your view on this topic! I tend to get really legalistic sometimes, and I needed a more level headed opinion 🙂 Have you ever seen Hapari suits? I just ordered one to try, and I think it looks pretty promising on their website.

    • Rachel Lee Carter says:

      Yes! They have some really sure suits! I especially like the SOS and Sport tankini tops. Thanks for sharing this great find!

  3. Deanna says:

    I’m not sure how you can say any of Tara’s swimwear is modest. I looked at everything and found nothing even slightly modest. Every single suit would draw a mans eye. And every single suit is designed to ‘show off’ a woman’s body. Not sure this was a good site to broadcast.

    • Rachel Lee Carter says:

      HI Deanna,
      Yes, you’re right. Many of the sues on the site are not modest. And she is not a “modest designer.” In fact, the KGB Collection of her daughters is rather Immodest. I understand your concern. However, this was one of the suits I had in mind: It’s flattering, but covers her cleavage and has very low cut legs. Also, the “flaps” are attractive but concealing. I haven’t found a great “modest” swimwear site yet, so I often choose suits from different sites I feel are modest. Thanks for your input.

  4. Jennie Manley says:

    One website that I have found that I really really like for swimsuits is They have some very modest suits for women of all sizes. They offer many different fits in one pieces and two pieces as well. I find it very hard for me to find a swimsuit from most retail stores that I feel comfortable in wearing out in public. I am a size 14 and most bathing suits are not made for a woman my size. When I found this site I was very pleased to see that they actually went up to size 26 and they were modest and fashionable. One thing to remember is that you can be modest and fashionable at the same time. I am trying to teach my daughter this as she is very quickly approaching her pre-teen years. I want her to understand that she can respect her body and cover it up while still being pretty and stylish. If you don’t respect your own body no one else will either.

  5. Ashah says:

    Just thought I would like to share a site I found:
    I think these swimsuits are the nicest ones I’ve seen so far that are modest (without being “too modest” if you understand what I mean).

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