Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Swimsuit Season

With the seasons changing, I have found that a number of blogs are going back and showcasing older posts on swimsuits and modesty while swimming. What has been striking me as interesting has been the belief that if you wouldn't wear your bra and underwear in public, or even in front of your own family, why on earth would you wear a bikini that covers (or doesn't cover for that matter) the same amount of skin? or even less?

I think this is an interesting idea. No, I don't wear bikinis. At least never in the traditional sense of the basic bikini bottoms and a string top with triangles. Why? Well, even when modesty wasn't all that important, I still held myself to certain standards. I did grow up in a Christian home after all. I also found that those string bikinis offered NO support and were honestly just not very flattering on me. But I couldn't pull off a one piece. I tried. They were always too big on top and too tight on the bottom (blame it on my pear shaped body), and two pieces were always so much easier. Especially when it comes to needing to use the bathroom. Plus, I love boy shorts, and the coverage they offer :-)

Now, I believe in modesty. I however, also believe that different situations call for different things. For instance, when I go camping, I find it incredibly difficult to go camping in a skirt. I tried it. It's comfortable to wear the skirt in the heat, but makes going in and out of the tent and hiking and biking a bit more difficult. I also find it incredibly difficult to swim in a skirt or with more clothing on. Maybe it's from hanging out with the swim team in high school (i wasn't on it but most of my friends were on the swim team and water polo teams). Maybe it's from growing up in South Florida, where a bikini was standard uniform for swimming. Which brings me to another thought...

Maybe our ideas of modesty, and what God expects of us in the form of modesty, depends on where and when we live. I remember reading recently about how a few hundred years ago (think Elizabethan England and even colonial America) fashion for men included tights and heels. Now, I cannot imagine my husband in heels. I would say I couldn't imagine him in tights but he went as Robin Hood to a Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2 years ago. :-) So, if at one point, tights and heels were considered appropriate attire for men, what dictates whether an item is feminine or masculine? I think it has to do a lot with society. I think it has a lot to do with the situation. For instance, I have seen women, myself included, wear skirts and tops and end up looking more masculine than if we had put on a nice pair of modest (non frumpy) jeans and a pretty blouse. I've also seen women wear jeans that make them look much more masculine.

If you are going purely for modesty, then that's great. But I'm not. While modesty, and dressing modestly is extremely important to me in my fashion choices, I also think looking feminine is just as important. Part of what brought on this interest in skirts and modesty was a desire to dress in a more feminine manner. Because, after all, God made me a woman, and I wanted to embrace that. My journey has led me to a place of discovery and learning. Learning about myself, and learning about other people.

My desire to embrace the feminine has led me to look at feminism and the sexual revolution in ways I never before considered. To reconsider a lot of things in my life. One thing that changed in me is my desire to put my feminine forward. It also came at a time when my body was going through a lot of changes. Mostly because of some unexplained weight gain that I'm currently seeing doctors about to try and understand, since it was about a good 25 almost 30 pound gain in a short period of time with NO change in diet or exercise regimen. So, we're trying to figure out what it could be. In the meantime, I've been trying to make changes in my diet and exercise and only seeing limited results. All of this together, changed my taste in fashion. Even in what I considered a decent choice in bathing suit.

Then there's also the whole thing about your body type dictating whether or not something looks modest on you. For instance, one of my friends, Neola, who i miss dearly, has a completely different body type than I do. What works on me, doesnt always work on her and vice versa. Things I could wear when I was thinner would not longer work on my body type now. My friend, who is at most a size 2, can wear shorts that even at my thinnest I could NEVER pull off and still look in any way modest. The opposite is true too. Certain types of blouses that I can pull off very well, don't always fit her in a way that is flattering and feminine. What is considered modest seems to change in so many different situations. That's true even for femininity. At least that's whatI have been learning lately.

So while I have seen all this in practice I'm still learning where I fit. I'm still learning. I'm still trying to find my way through everything, and learn where it is that God wants me. I don't think I know it all. In fact, I KNOW I don't. I KNOW that everyone has their own sense of fashion, and their own ideas on modesty. For instance, I had a conversation with my mother in law about bathing suits. Specifically about modesty, and how everyone has different standards and she shared with me that my late sister in law (hubbys brother's late wife) did not think two pieces were appropriate attire. She refused to put a two piece on her daughter (my niece) and may mother in law was, not complaining, but saying how difficult it is sometimes to find a one piece bathing suit, even for a young child.

It hasn't quite reached swimsuit weather up here in MI just yet. So, normally I would have a little time left before I have to really think about what kind of bathing suit I'm going to wear on the off chance that I go anywhere that would involve swimming. However, my father is coming up in about two weeks and we are going to be hitting up an indoor water park. I've never been to one and I'm really curious about the whole thing. Which means, that worrying about swimsuits, and staying modest and feminine is on the forefront of my mind. I"ve always had a hard time bathing suit shopping because I want something sporty. In fact, I had one bathing suit that I absolutely loved, but it was one I bought when I was about 12, and it was a very sporty top that we paired with boy short bottoms. Best swimsuit I had and I wore it for as long as I could, but I finally outgrew it, and haven't been able to find anything even remotely similar within an appropriate price range since. *sigh*. I did find a swimsuit i like, but unfortunately, it's about 85 bucks more than I can really afford, and since it's online, with NO chance of trying it on for size, I don't think it's going to work too well for me.... So I'll pray about it, and if nothing comes up, maybe I'll wear my old staple from high school, a bathing suit top with boy shorts and a big t shirt over it. :-)

1 comment:

Sarah Ann said...

I know what you mean... Growing up I always had a one piece bathing suit, but that was also because it was either a one piece or a skimpy bikini. I believe that you do need to feel comfortable in your swimsuit. now I wear what I have heard a Tankini, basically a tank top and boy short two piece. I like this because it makes it so much easier to go to the bathroom and gives as much coverage as a one piece. As you know, and I have heard many times, I have a body that can wear just about anything, I have tried on bikinis and Never felt comfortable. Like you said it is like wearing your bra and panties in public. I will put my little girls in two pieces for a while and until maybe 5 or so I think that's ok. plus it is hard to find something that will fit that young. I do try to look for one pieces for them but can't always find them.

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