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, http://taragrinna-swimwear.com/. 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!