Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Once again, the trivial provides food for reflection. As I prepare to head for Hawaii, I'm gathering the clothing needed. The one area I'm kinda short in is in the swimsuit department. I have precisely two swimsuits: one for indoors, a normal suit of the sort meant for swimming rather than sunbathing, and one for outdoors, which is basically a diveskin with a skirt. You see, I'm very pale and will burn in under an hour. Despite their promises, even "waterproof" sun lotions don't do much for me, and I hate smelling like a pina colada.

As a kid, I basically wore my swimsuit as a kind of undergarment, with a cotton tunic over top which at least protected my shoulders. Even then, I fantasized about owning a swimsuit made in the cut of those bulky suits from the 1890's, simply because I wanted to go out without any chance of being burnt to the point of blisters. (Yes, I get second degree sunburns.) Today, I have a suit made for me by a woman who designed some extra modest swimwear for religious reasons. She also sells the pattern. Except that mine was modified to even better sun protection with longer legs and arms. This was an expensive option, but well worth it for me. And now I want a second outdoors suit, and have discovered that another modest swimsuit company has everything on sale, some of them even half off. It's really tempting not to have to sew a swimsuit in the next few weeks - finding fabric, etc. On the other hand, they're not quite as nice as the pattern.

But completely aside from my personal dilemma, I did a Google search on wholesomewear and discovered that the Washington Post's fashion consultant and a few bloggers would rather see women wearing skimpy suits. All kinds of reasons are given for this, my favorite being that one can't swim in a dress. Well, one can't swim in most skimpy swimwear, either. The first wave to come along, and you're in violation of indecent exposure statutes. Now, I have nothing against regular swimsuits. But it would be nice to see some suits showing up with an awareness of solar radiation. It would be especially nice to see them in a variety of shapes and sizes, and made by workers paid a living wage in decent conditions.

Until then, I get to dither over whether to buy from a seamstress or make...


Blogger Plain Foolish said...

Oh, and mine is sparkly purple with black leggings. My husband thinks it looks like an ice skater's outfit.

And as for the question why guys don't have an industry of modest swimsuits for guys - um, my husband's swimsuits have always been knee length, and plenty of guys wear t-shirts with their swimshorts.

9/19/2006 8:08 AM  
Blogger Little Black Car said...

I always wear a T-shirt over mine. I have a hard time finding swimsuits that fit because I have a long body and short legs, and everything gives me wedgies or cuts into my shoulders (I don't do two-piece). I finally found one with a racer-back and a high neck, but it was torture.

I think I've worn it twice in about four years. Ha ha.

9/19/2006 4:59 PM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

I'm growing attached to my two piece suit - mind you, it's a two piece suit with bracelet length sleeves that comes down to my ankles...

I found a pattern that I'm looking at modifying for my next one - I'm thinking green holographic stuff this time. Essentially, I want a suit that is suitable for diving in the tropics, which means I'm going to be copying wetsuits more than swimsuits. Which makes me happier, anyway. I want swimsuits I can be outdoors in. While indoor suits are fine, they don't work well outdoors for me, because I burn so easily.

My husband is even looking forward to a matching set - he wants his sort of space adventurer looking.

9/19/2006 6:27 PM  
Blogger ef (Pam) said...

Wow, I can just imagine you in your matching green holo-suits, amazing!

I have somehow, after well over 30 years of being intensely ashamed of my body, almost completely lost that somewhere recently. I swam naked at midday at a crowded beach at least weekly for much of the summer.

I have also embraced tankini type tops (I bought a very expensive, but well-fitted one from decent exposures this summer) which I wear with men's swim trunks (having had my fill of swimsuit wedgies, and of worrying about "bikini line" even though I haven't shaved my legs in years) which works really well when my preferred mode of dress would get me arrested.

Fortunately, for me, I don't burn much. I didn't burn at all until I was 16, and I still don't (generally) burn badly.

I can totally see the appeal of the old style swimsuits, or of diveskins.

I do have concerns about "modesty" - just because I think body shame is so popular, and the idea that it's somehow counter to God's will to be naked (when that's how she made you, after all) really rubs me the wrong way.


9/21/2006 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those are interesting suits, as age creeps up on my I also wish for a more modest swimsuit. But the mention of swimming in a dress. why couldn't you swim in a dress. I suddenly got this vision of an ankle length spandex flowig along in the water as i swam or maybe some other fabric that doesn't hold a lot of water. You wouldn't win a marathon, but i think it could be done.

9/21/2006 5:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh my gosh i just noticed you linked to me, thank-you so very much!!

9/21/2006 5:46 PM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

Pam, actually, commercial diveskins don't come in my size precisely because they think that large women will have too much body shame to wear something that outlines every curve, every bulge. So I'm making a couple.

And to further aid your imagination, my suit will be mostly a solid color, because those are cheaper than the holo fabric, but have a goodly section of the top in the contrast fabric.

Dragonfly, welcome, in case I didn't say it before. Actually, I've swum in clothes before as a training thing. I used to be a competitive swimmer. And trained to be a lifeguard. I failed the test however, after they had me pull a very tall, muscular (i.e. heavy as an elephant) guy out of the pool. Because I'm very short, I tried to use the pool edge as a fulcrum and very nearly pulled his speedo off. Oops!

Lycra/spandex skirts that long would be a problem, I've discovered through testing out my modest swimsuit. Too heavy - lycra catches the water and creates more drag. My skirt is knee length, and I would have trouble with any more than that. (and I'm an extremely strong swimmer - a distance racer, not a sprinter. I've gone miles in a day.) Maybe the stuff the wholesomewear skirts are made of, but they're really ugly.

Besides, for this trip, I really don't want a skirt at all. I'm going to be swimming in the ocean, near a deep sea drop off. While I do not particularly have a shark phobia - I'm more likely to be hit by lightening than bit by a shark - I also don't care to send signals that I am a wounded jellyfish. And the surf will be higher there than anywhere else I've ever been in the ocean. While I know what to do about riptides (don't try to swim back to shore, swim parallel since they're usually only a couple yards wide), I don't care to tempt fate in the ocean.

I look like what I look like. And I'm going to look like an extra on Star Trek or maybe Buck Rogers when I'm done with my diveskin.

9/22/2006 5:05 AM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

Oh, and thee, Hannah!, have you looked at racing suits, some of which are made for longer body types (like, oh, say, most freestyle sprinters...) and Kwik Sew has patterns for swimsuits, unitards, etc...

9/22/2006 7:34 AM  
Blogger Posmena Sales said...

Here is a link for very modest swimsuits:
- modestswimsuits.co.uk

7/02/2008 9:58 AM  

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