Summer time is here! (At least in the Northern Hemisphere.) That means hot weather, swimming pools, and beach parties! This season fills some people with sheer joys and others with sheer dread. For those Kaurs who wish to be a little more modest in the pool or aren’t comfortable swimming with all of their kesh exposed, finding swimwear can be challenging. But have no fear! We have some creative ideas!
Tankinis/Tank Tops/One Piece Suits
If you’re strong enough to swim in sleeveless tops or classic swim tops (#hairypitsdontcare), more power to you! That’s awesome! In this case, you can just throw on any top (ie: tankini, tank-top, one piece, bikini top, etc) and pair it with a set of bottoms you like (more on this later). We’ve listed some of our favorite sites to buy tankinis at the bottom of the article; Swimsuits for All is great for findings a range of sizes, Lands’ End is great for specific body needs (ie: mastectomy swimsuits), and Target and Old Navy have wonderful styles.
Some tankinis and swim-dresses are a little longer if you want something that covers your hips.
Water Kaur says that she found a cute tank top she liked and wears a sports bra underneath for more support. “I used to swim competitively in high school. I noticed all the varsity girls would wear two, one-piece swimsuits for extra support. So now, I always wear some sort of bra under my swim shirt, rash guard, or tankini.” Her tip is to find a bra or sports bra with straps the same style as the swim top. For instance, a racer-back tankini can pair well with a racer-back sports bra. “That way, I don’t have a bunch of different straps going all over the place,” she said.
…Now with Sleeves!
If you prefer to cover up your underarm hair, (we get it, being hairy in public can be scary!) there are even one-piece swim suits with sleeves! Funny Girl, SKL, Queenral, Bong Buy all have chic patterns and can easily be paired with shorts or leggings, if you want.
While this options isn’t exactly one with sleeves, it gives the illusion of sleeves: Off-the-shoulder one piece swim suits. It can be worn off-the-shoulder or the frills can be pulled up over the shoulders. We know several kesh-dhari Kaurs who wear this type of swim suit with shorts or leggings.
Rash guards and swim shirts are a cute way to not only protect you from the sun but also provide more coverage. Aleumdr has some cool surf-inspired colors and Beautin has some flattering patterns. Lands’ End, Swimsuits For All, and Old Navy have a lot of options too.
If rash guards aren’t your style, any athletic t-shirt will do well in water. Look for polyester or synthetic materials, NOT knit or cotton (cotton doesn’t dry well and gets bogged down with water). Swimming Kaur told us that for family pool parties she throws on a workout t-shirt with mesh sleeves she found at Target.
Boardshorts have a little more structure than swim shorts and don’t usually hug the body. Lands’ End, Swimsuits For All, and Old Navy have a great selection. Androgynous Kaur said, “I like buying boardshorts from the men’s section. I recently bought these at Target. Tips for when purchasing: Men’s stuff is a bit baggier around the knees, so if you are petite and don’t want a bunch of fabric flopping around look for an above-the-knee cut. Also, don’t be afraid to go up a size or more–men’s clothing is designed for bodies with slimmer hips.”
Swim shorts are usually stretchy and flexible and tend to sit close to the body. Old Navy has some cute stuff. Some swimsuits, particularly racing suits, triathlon suits, and aquatards have attached shorts. There are a few taniknis we have seen with matching shorts included.
Swim skirts are exactly that, skirts that you can swim in.
You can also just wear athletic shorts. Again, look for polyester materials, NOT cotton or knit. Hint: if you’re looking for longer shorts, search for basketball shorts or take a look at men’s athletic shorts. “To swim, I wear a workout tank top with running shorts and bike shorts / yoga shorts underneath that,” said Water Kaur. “I view the bike shorts as my ‘water kachera’. My massi wears her traditional kachera under longer board shorts.”
Leggings or exercise capris are good options for those who don’t feel comfortable in shorts. Luckily, leggings/yoga pants are everywhere these days. You can get water-specific “swim tights” at places like Swim Outlet, REI, and Amazon. But honestly, any polyester/spandex blend leggings will work well in water.
There are a few brands that have started specializing in women’s swimsuits for Orthodox Jewish women and Muslim women. If you’re looking for something that is more modest, something you can just throw on quickly and be ready to go, this might be an option for you. Tumon Bay, Belloo, and Wellwits have some creative swim apparel. Googling “modest swimsuit” or “Jewish swimsuit” or “Muslim swimsuit” brings up a lot of ideas. While we haven’t tried it out, Lyra looks pretty chic.
Self Love in the Swimsuit
The media, paired with Western and South Asian body-shaming and body-policing, can make a lot of women feel unworthy of swimsuits or feel bad about their bodies. Social media can exacerbate, if not create, self-image and self-esteem problems in young girls and women.
“We all have our unique bodies. Size, shape, and ability are largely out of our personal control and no one should criticize our bodies for any reason,” said Lakhpreet Kaur. “Sometimes when I catch myself self-hating with phrases like, ‘I’m so fat, so hairy, and so ugly!’ I think, ‘Wait. Would I ever say these unkind words to my friend? I would never! It’s so hurtful!’ So, I try to treat myself as I would treat a friend. ‘Who cares if you don’t look like a magazine model! You’re wonderful in your own way! Go enjoy the pool!’ ”
Alice Seuffert has some great, body-positive advice:
A perfect beach body is your body.
Your body is swimsuit-ready.
No special foods.
No crazy abdominal workouts.
Just be you.
Put on your swimsuit.
You deserve to be at the pool.
You belong at the beach.
Loving our bodies as they are, and living a full life, will teach our children the same.
Check out these body-positive women who remind us go get out there!
Colors & Patterns & Cuts
Learning to love your body for what it can do instead of just what it looks like can take a long time. In the mean time, different colors, patterns, frills, and cuts can be your best friend if you’re trying to camouflage an area of your body you may not feel comfortable with yet.
Lands’ End has a search feature that let’s you pick from “Swim Solutions” which include: flatten tummy, full body slimming, minimize bust, conceal thighs, etc. Underwire swimsuits may work well for women who want more support for their chest. Or, adding a bra or sports bra underneath can do the trick too.
If you’re a curvy woman who wants to look more sleek and are opting for a rash-guard or swim shirt , and look for vertical stripes, color panels that are along your sides or along the waist, and busy patterns, like florals. If you go for checks, pick small checks with low contrast.
A quick Google search of “Body Positive Swimsuits” results in a range of different brands that are trying to promote self-love by leaning towards greater inclusivity in advertising and by offering a large range of sizes and designs. Hopefully, one day, they’ll embrace body hair too!
Enjoy the Water!
We don’t think clothing or kesh should stop you from getting the water, chilling poolside, or walking along the beach. Get out there! “Swimming is too much fun to let something like showing body hair stop me from enjoying the water!” said Harjot Kaur.
If you’re feeling self-conscious, remember, most people usually only care about what they look like and don’t really care about other people’s look. Gather a group of girl friends and hit the water together! It’s always more fun and there’s strength in numbers. If you’re nervous, share your concerns with a close friend, and we bet they will support you.
“You can’t keep me out of the water,” said Lakhpreet Kaur. “At first, the idea that strangers would stare at my hair, look at my cellulite, or judge my alternative swimwear really bothered me. But I finally came to the conclusion that I didn’t want them to stop me from being in my favorite place, the water. Having that new determination is liberating.”
If you’re still nervous, take it slow; spend a little bit more time in the water each day, and soon, you may get over your nerves and feel very accomplished.
It may take you a few times of mixing and matching different options to find what you like. Don’t get discouraged! “I have several different swimming outfits depending on the occasion and what activity I’ll be engaging in the water,” said Water Kaur.
“Most of my swimwear decisions came from how I would be gawked at by other people,” said Isha Kaur. “Once I got that out of my head, I was able to enjoy swimming in attire that made me happy – even if that meant showing off my hairy legs. Whatever you wear, don’t let other people’s comfort come before yours!”
Do you have creative swimwear ideas? Let us know!
Our Favorite Shops
Disclaimer: This is not a promoted or sponsored post. Kaur Life has no financial interest in promoting the above shops, brands, or products. Kaur Life is not responsible for any less-than-ideal swimwear or related purchases, and transactions with the above shops.