When I think about going swim suit shopping, I think curling up into a ball in a dark corner of my closet for a few hours sounds like a much more appealing alternative.
When I think of traveling to Target or the mall or wherever else one might go to buy a swim suit and searching through the racks upon racks of bikinis and the tiny section of tankinis and the super tiny (and ugly) section of one-pieces and taking the meager selection of swimwear that might possibly have a chance of fitting me to the unflattering light of a dressing room and trying on these pieces and realizing I look naked and feel naked and, yep, that 'kini top does not fit...when I imagine all that, my dark little corner starts to sound mighty nice and comforting.
Sadly, I don't live in Alaska where I could probably get away with not owning a decent swim suit and still go on to live a satisfyingly full life. No, I live in Florida where you really cannot be a well-functioning member of society without one. Especially in the summer. Life outside in the summer revolves around pools and beaches and splash parks.
Until recently, my usual game plan for situations involving water has been to wear a t-shirt and sport shorts over the same bikini I've had since high school (that was almost 10 years ago). And this has been slightly embarrassing and more than slightly uncomfortable. Cotton takes a lot longer to dry than spandex, and it's a lot heavier when it's wet.
I've been wearing clothes over my bikini for a few reasons. For one, I feel extremely self-conscious with the amount of my body being exposed for the world to see when I wear a bikini. I feel this even more so now after having given birth to a child, who is precious but, nonetheless, has done things to the skin on my stomach I'd rather not exactly showcase. Also, when I do manage to find a swim suit I'd consider wearing in public, the swim suit either is cute but will never fit me correctly or the swim suit fits (hooray!) but is really unattractive. This is my second reason for failing as a Floridian: shopping for a swim suit, as I described earlier, is a pretty defeating experience.
But this post is not about defeat. This post is about victory. Victory in the form of a super cute, gloriously fitting swim suit that I have worn confidently in public a few times now. And yes, I wore it without shorts and a t-shirt, as you can see.
It was made by Rey Swimwear, and let me just say, I love this company. I want to hold a big sign outside of their office (actually, I have no clue where it is) thats says "I Heart Rey Swimwear" and cheer and jump up and down.
Finally I feel pretty while wearing a swim suit. I feel comfortable. I feel properly supported.
Finally, I don't feel naked. I don't feel self-conscious. I don't feel frumpy.
Rey Swimwear has managed to make lovely, high-quality swim suits while keeping modesty as a top priority. After all, its designs are inspired by Audrey Hepburn, who is the perfect example of beauty and modesty working together. If you haven't seen its founder, Jessica Rey, speak on the evolution of the swim suit, you should. She does a great job explaining why this is so important and how we lost sight of it as a society.
This company is also awesome because all of the swim suits are made ethically in the U.S., which means fair wages and respect for everyone involved in the production process.
I've worn my suit several times now, and it's held up great. It's definitely mom-friendly and perfect for running around the beach with little ones or laying in a chair by the pool when you need a break. I found the size chart to be fantastic and accurate (not to mention low-stress) in figuring out which size to order. If the suit I have isn't exactly your style, not to worry, there are several others to choose from, both one- and two-pieces. Mine is technically a two-piece because the bottoms are separate. They also sell suits for girls, and they are adorable.
I wasn't compensated to write this post, and it isn't sponsored by Rey Swimwear. I've just found something pretty great, and I think it's worth sharing in case you've ever felt stuck in a dark closet of hopelessness, like I have, when it comes to swimwear.
It's true I never felt immodest wearing my shorts and t-shirts. But I never felt beautiful, either.
I'm so thankful for this company that is sharing the message that beauty doesn't have to be sacrificed in the name of modesty. And modesty doesn't have to be sacrificed in the name of beauty.
As it turns out, beauty and modesty actually make quite a lovely pair.