I’ve been thinking about modest swimwear again. Years ago when we lived in Layton, Utah I went visiting teaching with Shirley. She had grown up in a very conservative Baptist household who had Mennonite friends and leanings, but she had converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormons. Shirley was big on modesty, especially for herself and her girls. The girls in their household dressed much like the FLDS women that we’re seeing so much of in the news lately – long pioneer-style dresses with opaque socks and sensible shoes. Only Shirley and her girls also wore scarves on their heads.
On one of our visiting teaching outings Shirley and I got talking about modest swimming suits. I was curious to know what her girls wore when they went to the local Surf N’ Swim. She explained that they simply wore their dresses. If I were still in contact with Shirley, I’d show her the website for Wholesomewear’s slimmer suits. I think they would have fit the bill for her ultra-conservative modesty standard.
Everyone has their own comfort level when it comes to modesty, but I like what Sister Lori Watts taught us in Relief Society a few years ago. She demonstrated modesty by singing, “Head shoulders, knees and toes.” When she sang “head,” she raised her hands above her head and demonstrated no midriff should be showing. When she came to “shoulders,” she pointed out that coverage should come over the shoulders – no bra straps exposed. “Knees” meant that shorts and skirts come near the knees. When Sister Watts bent to touch her toes, she pointed out that no cleavage or midriff should show. I actually use this handy little song when shopping with my kids. If the clothing they’re trying on can’t pass the head, shoulders, knees and toes test, we don’t buy it.
When it comes to swimming suits, I don’t think it’s necessary that they come near the knee. But you can buy ones that do – even modern looking ones. The coolibar website is probably where I’ll purchase my next swimming suit. As someone with a family history of skin cancer, I like the added sun protection that these swim styles offer in addition to modesty.
I was surprised, however to see that some popular Utah-based clothing lines that tout themselves as being modest don’t really deliver when it comes to swimwear. DownEast clothing company and Lime Ricki Swimwear both have belly baring tankinis. The Shade Clothing Company does have tankini tops that are longer, but the bottoms are slung low on the hips – not my definition of modest.
My favorite place to buy modest swimsuits is Lands' End. You can find them on-line at http://www.landsend.com or in Sear's stores that carry clothing. Best thing is, the suits are made to last!
If you want to go ultra-modest (even by my friend Shirley’s standards), check out Jelbab.com’s line of Islamic swimwear. Now that’s coverage!