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Finding Modest Swimwear on a Budget

Updated on August 2, 2016


In the past, I could only go to the beach totally dressed and huddling under the umbrella to avoid an epic sunburn on sensitive scar tissue. Now, I can wear clothing that allows me to dip my toes in the water (and swim if I wish), without worrying about my skin or my personal preferences regarding coverage being set aside.

Whatever your motivation, finding a swimsuit that provides more coverage than the average suit for sale can be a challenge. However, it is possible to find coverage you’re comfortable with, within whatever budget you set forth. The following are some sites and tips that can guide your search away from frustrating, limited choices, towards creativity, empowerment, and variety.

Think Outside the Department

If you’re flipping through the racks in your local department store, and can’t find anything that suits you, pun intended, it is highly possible that you’re looking in the wrong section.

Have you tried the athletic section of the department store of your choice? Often, there are wicking fabric capris, shorts, skorts, and tops of all sorts available. These can be worn in the water, not just to Zumba class.

As an aside, I’ve had good luck finding workout items with wicking properties at thrift stores, too, so this option is a good one if you’re on a budget and have some time to scour the secondhand stores in your area.

Another section to try is the boys or men’s section for shorts and board tops. You can pair them with a tankini top or a rash guard top or a workout top. It’s an option that many people needlessly overlook.

There’s no need to be afraid to venture into an unorthodox section. If it suits your needs, there’s no reason not to buy it. Furthermore, shorts in this category tend to be longer and cheaper, and are frequently made in a quick drying fabric, and work well with a standard swimsuit.

I’ve also seen people buy a knit t-shirt dresses so commonplace during the summer months, hem them (or not!), and use yoga shorts or capris as a bottom. In my experience, these get a little waterlogged, so they likely aren’t your best bet if you’re an energetic swimmer, looking for optimum water safety, as opposed to someone like me, who has a complicated relationship with the beach.

Anyway, these dresses when made in lycra are more water friendly and are also an economical option.

Shopping Online

All of the above options are easily put together if you like walking through stores, or are in a hurry, and are typically more economical.

If, on the other hand, you prefer online shopping and have a bit of money to spend, the world is your oyster. There are countless shops that sell swimwear with an eye toward coverage.

Style #1
Style #1 | Source

Search Modest

Some sites are geared to religious people who embrace modesty an expression of religious piety, like:

There are many such shops, and the list herein isn’t so much as an endorsement as it is insight into the wide swath of suits all found under the ‘modest’ umbrella.

Some things to consider with these sites can include production times if custom made, though this would be a benefit if you’re a harder to fit person, and the cost. Many times you can have the garment made to your specifications if you work with a small business who custom makes the suits. I’ve spent upwards of $150 USD for a ‘modest’ swim top and leggings with skirt for a trip. In the end, it was well worth it, as the suit held up well and had a good resale value on eBay.

Coolibar Water Shirt

Coolibar is a great brand for UV protecting clothing.
Coolibar is a great brand for UV protecting clothing. | Source

Other Online Tips

Other sites still include secular businesses looking out for people concerned about sun protection. Board shorts, rash guards, and other like garments are common in this category. Using terms like ‘uv protection’ and ‘full coverage’ can help you find suits in these categories.

Overall, buying swimwear from sites like Coolibar are typically worth the investment, if properly cared for and washed, as they last for ages. If you choose to go this route, make sure that you work with the company to order the correct size, as fit can sometimes be varied.

Full coverage suits are typically marketed to women with classic styles. They’re available on most swimwear websites. They can be priced as about equal to a department store, but are less so than a custom suit. They routinely offer structural support and timeless cuts.

In Summary (Plus one more money saving tip!)

The whole point here is simple. You should wear what allows you feel to comfortable, confident, and ready to enjoy your day. These suits may not be ideal for rough waters, or timed events, but the variety means that you can define how you enjoy the water. In exploring these less popular choices, you have options, and no person should ever feel limited to the stock on the racks available in the designated section.

Gone are the days of not being able, for whatever your reason, to miss out. You can find swimwear that allows you to have fun in the sun however you define it.

P.S.: In late summer, suits are starting to be marked down, and if you can anticipate your size and needs for next season, then is the time to buy. In the Fall, sales will pop up more and more as stores work to clear stock. Take advantage of the change in seasons in the northern hemisphere, and get more splash for your dollar.

© 2016 A Marie G


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    • Magicality LM profile image

      Magicality LM 

      20 months ago

      There are plenty of styles available. Just look for surf suits, they exist in all styles and most cover a lot of skin.


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