in defense of the swim dress

I admit it: I, Mary, writer of blog and mother of boys, traditionally wear a swim skirt and tankini top when required to be in a body of water--no bikini, string or otherwise.

And my swim ensemble would probably suit an octogenarian as well as it suits me.

I'm ok with that.

Nearly two years ago I read a post at MODG (warning! not for the faint of heart!) pleading with moms to ditch the "mom swimwear" and find something more flattering to wear to the pool. What she wrote has stuck with me, all this time, and not because I think she's wrong. I actually think she's totally right--it's just that my version of flattering, young and comfortable swimwear looks a lot different than hers.

Last summer we spent a weekend at a cabin resort on a local lake. I packed two swimsuits: one halter cropped halter top with a swim skirt (barring much of my middle), and one tankini top with a swim skirt. Which suit got more use? The one that covered more. I felt more comfortable in it.

I'm not trying to pass judgment on anyone else who can rock a two-piece. With all sincerity I say: If you feel confident in it, then high five! Well done! Splish splash!

Nor am I  indulging in self-body-shaming. I know that I'm a fairly fit, more-or-less trim woman. But I also know that I've carried two babies in three years, had one surgery on my mid-section, and live in a place so devoid of sun, you must frequent an establishment called "Sunny Bunz" to get a tan. No only do I have no desire to wear itsy bitsy, teenie weenie swimwear, I know it wouldn't make me feel confident.

Instead, I find empowering to wear something that flatters, something I'm comfortable and confident showing in a swim setting. While wearing that cropped halter top at the lake, mentioned above, I devoted equal mental energy to playing with my boys as I did trying to make sure my tummy was tucked, not pouching; that my chest was being covered adequately; and that I wasn't attracting the attention of any other male besides Sean within 200 feet.

Who needs that kind of grief? Of preoccupation and self-consciousness?

So this year, I'm seeking to upgrade to, say it with me..... THE SWIM DRESS.

Give me the not-falling-out-of-the-cups chest coverage, the cinched in waist, the dress falling at mid-thigh and some straps. I'll take it--and I'll feel (and look) great in it.

Come on out, ladies. The water's fine.

Linking up with the favoritest Moxie Wife.


  1. I'm a fan of the swim dress too...and really...so many people I know my age wear them, that they don't look "old lady-ish" anymore. I think your number 3 and number 4 are really cute.

    My bathing suit is a tankini though. I wear a black swim skirt iwth a black halter top (similiar to the one shown in dress #4). I love the ease of a two piece.

  2. Found this on the Moxie Wife's link up! I wore two-pieces on my honeymoon, which was in August, and felt comfortable. I'm now 30 weeks pregnant and my body has clearly changed. Lol!! I am definitely going to need something new for summer! Thanks for these very cute and flattering options! Not frumpy at all, but I think they'll cover what I think needs to be covered. :)

  3. Love my Lands End bright pink swim dress. Love it! For me, it's about many of the things you wrote but also for acknowledging what's important in my life right now-- my children and having a fun time at the pool with them. It's hard to chase and jump, bend and grab in many suits while remaining "covered up". The swim dress allows me to be in the moment and not be concerned with if I am flashing or showing too much. And for the haters out there... hate away. I am happy at the pool :)

  4. Ooooh the 2nd one is so cute!

    I nominated you for a Liebster Award over on my blog if you have the time to check it out! :) http://thesweetwonder.blogspot.com/2014/04/liebster-award-nomination-question-time.html

  5. Love these picks and love swim dresses! Will be giving these a second look before our beach trip this summer! Thank you!

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