“Modesty isn’t about hiding ourselves, it’s about revealing our dignity.” –Jessica Rey
The above quote was transcribed from a Youtube video entitled, The Evolution of the Bikini. It’s so funny, how this topic has come full circle. At the beginning of last summer, I was searching hard for a swimsuit with more moderate coverage than the ever so popular “itsy-bitsy,” “cheeky” or “brazilian” cuts offered through most retailers, and though bikinis are pretty expensive, considering it only takes $0.01 of fabric to make them, relatively modest and stylish swimwear costs hundreds of dollars. So last summer, I ranting in the car (probably for days) to my mom about how I couldn’t find a suitable swimsuit that I feel sexy in. Nothing about an “itsy-bitsy” feels or sounds sexy to me, they sound gross, quite frankly, but in the ever-growing era of Victoria Secret fashion, swimwear and lingerie have seemed to merge in solidarity. I searched for weeks online and in stores for a swimsuit to wear, and I found a tankini and high-rise full coverage bottom from VS for like $120. It was totally worth (like I had a choice), and it is still my only swimsuit to this day. The demand and industry of women’s swimwear is ever on the rise, with an annual U.S. spending on women’s two-piece swimwear of $8 billion, and VS has capitalized on that. They’ve gone beyond their usual endeavor of spending millions of dollars to fly their arsenal of international bombshells to some private island beach to shoot a thirty-second commercial, to as of 2015 they’ve gone so far as to program an entire TV special embellished with their luxurious swimwear. bandwagoning on the success of their long-running lingerie fashion show.
Don’t get me wrong, if you are an adult and are comfortable in such attire that is just as beautiful and good on you, but at the same time I question your motivation behind your decision. Do you wear you swim attire because it makes you feel and look good, or because you are an attention-seeker? Do you dress to appease others, to follow the trends or crowds? Do you actually enjoy how you feel and look in your swimwear, regardless of the social media likes and the number of women and men you can get to turn head? What’s more, ask yourself are they turning their head for the right reason, or are you playing the role of the [idol] distraction? Rey’s quote is the most important thing we can teach young women today, to clothe themselves in strength and in dignity, to be the Proverbs woman! So what do we promote?
One-piece suits are by no means the end-all-be-all solution concerning modesty, because those too can be jest as revealing. Being 5’10 and 115 lbs, I have so much difficulty with finding a one-piece that fits, in fact, I have never owned one. This difficulty, made me give up on swimsuits years ago, I only recently started desire to begin collecting them again. As of last summer I have exactly two swimsuits in my collection (YAY!!). It’s as if society is encouraging its female population to wear less because it’s more convenient for the industry. There is TONS of money to be had in starting a modest swimwear line, especially specializing in sizing for us (Taylor Swift) long and lanky types. For the companies who try to include these sizes, they expect a premium be paid (Have you ever noticed that; it’s a lot more expensive to eat healthy than it is to just feed your family McD’s everyday? I may be tall like Taylor Swift, but my bank account isn’t as tall as her’s). The fact of the matter is that I started wearing less coverage pretty early on in my swimsuit wearing career, for this reason.
Even as a small child, my torso was to long to stretch a one-piece over it and tankinis were becoming increasingly harder to find, so my mom would buy what would fit me, and that was the two-piece swimsuit. Those though, got increasingly harder to want to wear because they started getting skimpier and skimpier or frumpier and frumpier (or too childish) for a teenager to wear. It began to bother me so much that I slowly began to eliminate swimsuits from my fashion vocabulary all together.
Society has eroded this innateness (whether intentional or subliminally) so much, that it has conditioned parents to buy revealing swimwear for their young daughter, morphing and molding their minds to view this as an appropriate way to display their body.
The word modest, like the word feminist has been used and abused, down-trotted and downplayed, it has been taken out of context and used to demean women. Modest meaning we are asexual in nature, frumpy, and undesirable, a term now intended to shame a woman instead of revealing and exemplifying her, as it once did. So I have taken it upon myself to create a montage of modest yet sexy women and I want anyone to comment and tell me that modest can’t be both appealing and dignifying at the same time.
My question to all of you, what is it about the word itself or the notion of modesty that incites such a distaste in the mouths of many women? It’s as if modesty is regarded as a curse. I do not believe it is my place to tell a woman to put on more clothes, same as one should not tell me to take more off. Less is not more, more is not less; what makes you feel sexy in the swimwear she chooses to wear? How do you feel when you wear your swimsuit? Do you feel empowered? By what? What gives this sense of empowerment? What do you do with the feeling/power? Why do you think you feel that way for a simple outfit? These are all question I have, and if you take the time to answer a few, I would be extremely grateful! It’s like asking other women what’s in their purse, don’t cha think? And I’m sure if you comment, others will too and we can all benefit from each others perspective and insight.
I believe I explained earlier that I feel the complete opposite of sexy in more revealing swimwear; I feel very self-conscious and self-aware ALL of the time! Is my swimsuit still positioned correctly? Is everything covered the way it should be? Can I really run, play, or swim in this, or is this just for sitting? Why didn’t I just wear more? Where’s my cover-up? I honestly started to feel inwardly embarrassed of how self-involved I was, because swimsuit season is a supposed to be a time of carefree fun. I then wondered if other women have any of the same concern(s), so I look around and see that they don’t and then I wear swimsuits that make me feel the same way, so that I am not weary of strings of cloth. How do you feel comfortable and sexy in your swimsuit, are you just like I look GOOD! Or do you just not think about it? Does it feel natural? Is that why you feel sexy? Tell me below please, ’cause I want to know. Does your gravitation towards swimwear lean toward less or more?