My top 6 favorite and CUTE modest swimsuits. Stylish and modern with just the right amount of coverage for kid-friendly beach or pool outings!
Living in Charleston SC with children who are basically fishies means I’m in a swimsuit most days of the week from May-Sept. We’re either at the beach or pool, or both! Before we moved here, I had a couple swimsuits, and it was fine. But I found out quickly that a couple would *not* be enough here!
So I set out to add to my collection of cute and modest swimsuits.
What “modest” means to me
I actually really dislike the term “modest”. I teach my daughters (8 and 11) more about choosing clothes that are “appropriate” and “comfortable” instead of “modest.” It’s not about hemlines and midriffs and shoulders in our house, its about the intention behind what we choose to wear.
We talk about whether we’re dressing for comfort or if we’re trying to get attention. We talk about what type of outfit makes sense for the activity we’re doing.
I’ve written about modest clothes a few times before, in my post about my favorite knee-length(ish) modest shorts and also my favorite modest summer dresses. I’ve found that others are frustrated trying to figure out how to be comfortable and stylish as well. So hopefully I’m helping a bit.
“Modest” means many things to many people. When it comes to modest swimsuits, there’s a whole spectrum, from covering up from wrist-to-ankle like a wetsuit, to high waisted high neck two-pieces.
For me, it means cute swimsuits that are flattering and that I feel comfortable in. I’m not super fit or skinny, so I feel most comfortable in one piece swimsuits. I like to not have to worry about keeping my suit in place if I’m playing with my kids at the beach. I also like good rear coverage, a lot of the “cheeky” swimsuits just feel like “wedgie” to me. No thanks!
But I do not want to wear a frumpy swimsuit! A lot of that has to do with the pattern of the fabric. You know those grandma suits that have those terrible florals? You know what I’m talking about, I stay far away from those. Excess fabric and a matronly cut shape is a tell-tale too. Basically avoid anything that is aimed at the 50+ demographic.
Finding Modest Swimsuits
Modest swimsuits that are actually cute take a little bit of work to find. But there are out there! I suggest sticking with a store that matches your style. For me, that’s usually J.Crew. They have the classic solids and stripes (and gingham!) that I love. I know their suits are modern and cute, and so the only trick is finding the comfortable and mom-friendly one-pieces.
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My favorite modest swimsuits
So a couple years ago, I decided to splurge on one GREAT swimsuit. I ordered 5 or 6 suits from JCrew.com so that I could get some in long torso. I tried them all on, returned most of them, and kept my very favorite: the gingham bandeau one piece.
Welp, there’s me in a swimsuit. GULP. For reference, I’m 6’1″ 200lbs and wear a 12-14. Am I super thin and fit? No. Am I trying to be? Also no. lol But hopefully this is helpful anyway.
But I love this suit! The gingham feels southern and classy, and it fits really well! I like the bandeau top, especially if I’ve got a sunburn from a previous beach/pool day. Its nice to not have anything on my shoulders.
The suit comes with a little removable halter strap that I’ll put on if I know I’m going to be playing in the waves with the kids. Because sometimes those waves hit hard and cause …wardrobe malfunctions…
The ruching on the bodice is flattering and forgiving, and its just an all-around comfortable suit!
Last year I also purchased this insanely comfortable lace-up back one-piece from Aerie, and convinced a handful of my friends (and sister! and mom!) to buy it as well. And we all love it! The lace-up back makes it really adjustable to fit a short or long torso. Its magic!
It’s a little cheeky, but not too bad. Sometimes a higher cut leg can be really flattering! Last year I was able to buy them for around $15 each, which is a friggin steal!
Last fall, I snagged a few more J.Crew suits in their end-of season sale and love love love them. JCrew suits aren’t cheap, I know. But there are often 50% off coupons and sales so you can get them for less. And they’re made well and going to last! You get what you pay for.
My favorite from that batch of swimsuits is this super cute one shoulder one piece. I always get lots of compliments when I wear it. In fact, this swimsuit is the whole reason this blog post exists! I was wearing it in an IG story and had quite a few people ask where its from. And I thought, hey might as well write a whole post about modest swimsuits!
So I’ve rounded up all my favorite cute modest swimsuits here with comments for each. I have bought and own each one! The images are links for easy shopping. You should totally invest in a fabulously flattering and comfortable modest swimsuit this year too!
Sometimes we need a suit with more coverage than usual. These options are perfect for watersports or when you need more protection from the sun.
Just this week, I ordered this rash guard from J.Crew and I LOVE it. My kids always wear rash guards to the beach, to limit sun exposure, and now I can too! It will be so nice to throw it on later in the day when my skin needs a break from the sun. The 1/4 zip is a cute detail, and makes it easier to throw on even when I’m wet or sandy. I did size up to an XXL so that its not super snug.
I also purchased this white swim shirt (pictured above) and love to be able to toss it on when I need a little extra coverage or protection from the sun. The colorful fish flag on the back is my favorite part! It goes great with all my swimsuits. I wore it above with my favorite Old Navy running shorts (I wear a L). They are thin and dry quickly, so they work really well for water sports.
Let me know if you have any questions. You can follow me @thehowtomom on IG. And if you want to check out some of my other outfit guides, you can read about my go-to summer outfit or my summer capsule wardrobe.