June 3, 2015

Bahama Mama: Modest Swimwear (Part 1 - Base Layers)

This series of posts is inspired by my recent trip to the Bahamas and the Atlantis Resort. My best friend Andrea and I went as a belated MBA graduation gift to ourselves.

In the categorization of travelers, I trend on the active, adventurous side. Short stints of laying around on the beach are fun but an entire day of that sounds like vacation hell. I like to mix it up, with some relaxation peppered into a day of activities, excursions, shopping, and adventure.

For a long while, my swim clothes consisted of cotton pants and tees, or I chose not to go into the water at all - both life decisions which made me very sad. After an embarrassing experience at Laguna Beach in SoCal a few years back, in which a major wardrobe malfunction* still leaves my face burning, I decided these decisions were no longer acceptable.

Modest swimwear has long had its challenges. The quickest go-to for most modest swimwear is the burkini**, which is not for me. In addition to what I feel is overpriced clothing, the design of such clothing does not allow me the ability to move freely without being weighed down, a problem for someone who surfs and swims multiple laps. A year ago, I came up with my version of "modest swimwear" - swimwear that enabled me to participate in water activities without compromising the performance of my experience. Additionally, these items are usually in a spend category much lower than the other modest swimwear options I've found. I'm providing some on-sale options for your modest swimwear needs below, but feel free to explore as there are plenty out there!.

Because of how long this post can be, I'm breaking it up into parts that will be released a few at a time in the next few days. That way, you can examine my list at your leisure and determine what, if anything, is needed for your modest swimwear collection.

**I fully support any woman, particularly those whose dedication and determination, creates a wider variety of modest clothing options for women. I would like if quality and functionality was not compromised as part of that dedication.

*You know that wardrobe malfunction I mentioned earlier? I wore a normal bra and cotton underwear under a cotton tee and gym pants. Cotton does not dry as quickly as polyester, and thus, I had a perfect outline of a bra as my shirt dried. Also, I was with my brother.

Part 1: Base layers
One absolutely must have a bathing suit as the first layer. I own a pair of bottoms and two tops (bikini top and tankini) from Athleta. A base layer acts as your sports underwear - giving you support where you need it as you move around. Buy something with a good fit, both on top and bottom; the better the fit here, the more comfortable you will feel. Avoid ruffles or twists - they will show through in your other layers.