Ok – real talk: NO ONE likes shopping for a swimsuit.
But Outdoor Moms like ourselves DO love playing in the water: swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing, white water rafting, kayaking, splashing at the pool, tubing in the river, playing at the water park, and even just jumping in the sprinklers at home. And MOST of these activities require a swimsuit. And swimsuits for moms even seem to be more troublesome.
But again, NO ONE likes shopping for a swimsuit. So what’s a gal to do?
Why We Hate Shopping for Swimsuits as Moms
I spent a decade working in the outdoor retail world, and I can tell you that after 10 years of helping women in the fitting rooms, that we tend to set impossible standards for ourselves. We all do it. I’m 100% guilty of doing the same thing! It’s difficult not to focus on all your perceived flaws, to the exclusion of all your assets.
A short laundry list of the self-criticisms I’ve heard the most frequently over the years in fitting rooms relating to swimsuits for moms:
- This swim suit shows my back fat. This swim suit shows my armpit fat. My skin is too pasty. My skin is too dark.
- My boobs are too big. My boobs are too small. I have nipples. I have too much cleavage. I look like a boy.
- My butt looks too big. My butt looks flabby. My butt is flat.
- My thighs touch. I have THUNDER thighs. Look at this cellulite.
- My stomach is too noticeable. I have stretch marks. Look at these love handles. I’m too curvy. I’m not curvy enough.
No one is perfect, or even good “enough.” (Whatever that means!)
Personally, I am an apple shape, so I tend to focus on my love handles and stomach, especially after a pregnancy and new-mom weight gain. I always zero in on how pants, skirts, or swim bottoms look on my middle. (Usually not good “enough”)
I’ve seen first-hand, how we judge ourselves so harshly in a way we would never judge another woman. For example, you wouldn’t walk up to another woman and say, “I’m sorry, you shouldn’t wear that because it really makes your love handles show.” Because really, when have you ever even thought that about another person? You haven’t, because you aren’t a jerk!
The truth is that no one is perfect. Not even those air-brushed, makeup-encrusted, expertly posed and lighted super-celebrities and influencers on Instagram.
How Do We Accept Our Reflection In The Mirror?
Here’s the big secret: Being happy with your body doesn’t mean it has to be perfect. It’s about your knowing your priorities.
We don’t HAVE to have the perfect body to be a good mom. We certainly don’t have to have the perfect body to teach our kids to love the outdoors. And swimsuits for moms should make you feel active and able!
Momma, I’m here to tell you that you are a strong, capable woman, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. Your body might not look like a magazine model, but it can do amazing things.
You grew and birthed a tiny human, which is no small task. You hike, paddle, climb mountains, slay on 2-wheels (or 4!), shred powder, put food on the table, run your whole house, and set a great example for your kids. I bet a little muffin top or cellulite never stopped you from doing any of it.
In the last 3 years, since my son was born, I’ve climbed 14ers, taken some challenging backpacking trips, carried my lead-weighted child on more hikes than I can count, skied double-black diamond trails, and more. I am a different size and shape now, because my life and priorities have changed, but I can still do the hard things that I love and set a great example for my little guy.
Your body is capable of doing great things, but even so, it can be hard to keep your priorities in perspective. Let’s re-frame a few of those self criticisms, to better reflect our priorities as outdoor moms:
- This swim suit shows my body, which is strong and loved.
- I have skin. Everyone has it. It bunches and wrinkles in some places. It shows scars and stretch marks in other places. My skin shows my personal journey.
- Everyone has body fat. Some people get more in some places and less in others.
- My body stretched and changed to grow and sustain a baby for nine months. It isn’t the same shape it used to be, and that’s ok.
- My breasts provided nourishment that I created for a growing child.
- My legs are strong. They propel me up mountains and trails, and give me the strength and endurance to play with my child.
Re-frame how you see yourself in the mirror. Celebrate your body, Momma. Not your body in 3 months, or after you drop 10 lbs…celebrate how it is today. It’s OK to want to improve, but focus on being healthy and happy.
Ditch the self-judgment. Your kids are NOT focusing on your waistline, back fat, or thighs. They are focusing on what you are teaching them, how you treat others, and whatever question it is that they have repeated 400 times since 7:00am.
Show yourself some self-love and as challenging as it can seem… find the things you love and prioritize when you look in that mirror.
Swimsuits for Moms: Picking the right one for YOUR body
A great swimsuit should flatter the shape that you are and make you feel both confident and comfortable. That may sound like the Holy Grail, but it is possible to find a perfect swim suit, so stay positive!
When you first start searching, start with your bra cup size. This is the biggest dictator of how a suit will fit you. If you are a DD-cup, don’t even try a style that is a B-C cup, because it just won’t fit right or be supportive enough.
From there ask yourself a few questions to help you identify the right style:
What will you be primarily wearing the suit for? For example: Paddling, surfing, lap swimming, cliff-jumping, or splashing in the kiddie pool? Think of what kind of fit is practical for your activity.
What is your body shape? Are you a pear, apple, hourglass, rectangle, upside-down triangle, long or short torso? Pick something to flatter your shape.
What kind of style do you prefer? For example, mid-rise, low-rise, high-waist, full coverage, one-piece, tankini, bikini, racerback, or halter back? Go with what makes you feel the most comfortable!
Once you’ve narrowed your choices down, find a style that flatters the shape that you HAVE, not the shape that you want. Here’s a few pointers:
- If you are self-conscious about love handles or bumps, try a print instead of a solid or a darker color for a slimming effect.
- If you are a pear-shape, or are wider in the hips, wear a print on the top and a solid color on the bottom. That draws the eye up instead of down. Do the opposite for an upside-down triangle. Don’t be afraid to try a swim skirt to flatter your curves.
- If you have a long body or a rectangle-shape, try a style with a v-neck or sweetheart neckline to accentuate your curves.
- If you are petite, or want to lengthen your torso, try a 1-piece or a 2-piece with matching print.
- Don’t go too loose with your swimsuit. Make sure it’s a snug fit. Suits that are too relaxed tend to bag and float in the water, which is annoying because no one likes a saggy-butt.
Most of Title Nine’s suits are “mix and match.” That means that you can pick two different styles for the top and bottom of a 2-piece, and find matching prints or coordinating colors, so you can create the perfect suit for your body.
Shopping online for a swimsuit can obviously seem intimidating. Don’t be scared to try! You can always order multiple sizes, or multiple styles to try all at once.
Title Nine has a no-questions-asked 1-year return policy, so it’s extremely easy to return any pieces that didn’t work. If you are overwhelmed with choices, their customer service gals are A+ awesome, and know their suits inside-out. They can and will help you find the perfect style to fit your needs.
The Best Title Nine Swimsuits for Moms
Title Nine makes thoughtful, well-crafted swimwear. You won’t find any push-up, low-cut, booty-baring styles here… Their suits are designed with action in mind. As we all know, there’s nothing worse than swimwear slipping or even coming off (!) inadvertently during a wipe-out. Each piece is designed to stay-put through waves, dives, splashes, and even groping toddler hands so you can focus, without distraction, on having fun. In general, we found them to be supportive (especially the bra-sized suits) and durable, with great coverage and styling to give us confidence both in and out of the water. Each piece is UPF 50, and colorfast for easy washing.
We had the opportunity to try several of Title Nine’s most popular swimsuits, and we will be adding to this list. As always, our opinions are unfiltered and our own! Here’s what we thought:
Best For: Full-cup and curvy moms who need stay-put support that is comfortable all day!
This underwire-style suit is bra-sized (C-DD cups), which makes getting the right fit simple. Just like your bra, the fit is adjustable. The straps won’t slip in the waves, thanks to x-back styling.
I absolutely LOVE the Metis Underwire Tankini! The fit is absolutely perfect. With several different ways to adjust the straps on the back, this top allows me to adjust the fit to exactly my body type. I was nervous about trying an underwire style, but I don’t even notice them and it is actually super comfortable! I feel completely secure and never once have I worried that the girls are going to come out for an unwelcome visit to say an embarrassing hello to others (I definitely have had my fair share of those moments with other swimsuits….) I seriously have never had a swimsuit top with this type of support and couldn’t be more thrilled with the fit. I can go tubing on the river or lake with the kiddos, jump waves at the ocean, snorkel, swim at the pool and so much more and feel completely confident and comfortable!Michelle
Best For: Curvy moms who want extra support and containment for on-the-go water fun. Also great for shorter women, since the straps are super adjustable.
Like the Metis, the Pele Tankini is bra sized (C-DDD) and has a hidden underwire for support. We think the Pele is the most supportive of all the styles we reviewed, so if you are a bigger cup size, give this one a shot. The racerback styling is easy off/on, thanks to an accessible hook closure. If you are petite, the straps have lots of adjustability, so you can really customize the fit. The Pele comes in both solid and print colorways, so you can really mix and match this suit to find the perfect combination.
When I am swimming I need something to be supportive and allow me to get out and play with my kids. I am usually biking or hiking to our swim spots, which makes that support even more crucial. The more I wear the Pele, the more I love it. I have no fear of “falling out”, the coverage is really good and I am 100% supported. The only thing I would like to see different is a bit more length on the top. But that is just personal preference.Amelia
Best For: All body-types who prefer to keep their assets under wraps, or just want a more casual style for chasing toddlers in the kiddie-pool.
The Paddle Board Short is designed for every adventure. The style says board short casual, but the built-in swim bottoms say adventure-ready. From toddler-wrestling to boogie boarding, to white-water rafting, these bottoms will keep you comfortable and covered.
I liked the “Paddle Boardies” even more than I thought I would. I’ve never liked wearing bikini bottoms, since I like more coverage. But wearing an over-short gets annoying and always bubbles up in the water–you guys know what I mean, right? I thought the Paddle Board shorts wouldn’t stay put, but it is the perfect amount of snug without being tight. It has an inner liner; so no need to wear an extra swim bottom with them. I am comfortable swimming, digging in the sand, kayaking, and yes, paddleboarding in these. Perfect balance between coverage and athletic cut.Rita
Best For: If you have stronger thighs, are a pear-shape, or just plain want more coverage, this is a flattering option to pair with any bikini bottom.
The Aquamini Skirt is the longest swim skirt in the T9 collection at 15″. The slight A-line cut is flattering for almost any body type. It works over a bikini bottom as a full swim skirt, or you can just use it for a cover-up for your wet swimsuit. We found it to be super convenient for easy on/off coverage for swimming at the pool or biking to and from the river. Comes in two prints that mix and match well with other styles.
To be honest, I am super self conscious about my legs and the fact that I tend to carry more weight there after 5 kids. I lean on skirts especially with swim suits to add a little more modest coverage and make me feel good about wearing a suit in general. This one is super lightweight, has enough length to cover, but not inhibit movement and slips over any bottom I want to pair it with. I loved it so much I got the matching sun shirt too.Amelia
Best For: Active moms who want full coverage on the bottom, that won’t slip or shift.
These classic mid-rise bottoms stay PUT, so bring on the waves! The secret to their success is a hidden interior drawstring, allowing you to cinch them down before you hop on those water skis, or your toddler grabs hold of you. They provide full coverage in the cheeks, so you don’t feel like you’re putting on a show.
These bottoms are amazing! The fit is spot on and actually very flattering. It took me a couple of tries to get the right size (the first size I got was WAY too snug…) but after sizing up, they are just right! I have always struggled finding a size and style for swim bottoms that work for my body type and end up just giving up or settling for something that makes me feel self-conscious and insecure. These bottoms are nearly perfect and I actually feel really confident and comfortable wearing them for once!Michelle
Best For: Moms who want to keep their tummies tucked in, and their swim bottoms to stay put. Also great coverage for women with a long torso who hate a tankini gap.
I’m a tall apple shape, and since having a child, my abs looks a little more like applesauce than an apple. I struggle with mid-rise bikini bottoms rolling down, particularly when I sit in my raft or kneel on my paddleboard. I was SO thankful to find the Francie High Waisted Bottoms… they are JUST the right fit. They come up high enough to stay put with no rolling. Being tall, I also get a wide gap between a tankini top and bottom, which is not very flattering when you carry your weight right in the middle! These bottoms were just the right cut to eliminate that gap and as a result, make my complete suit look way more flattering. I feel confident wearing my bikini bottoms on the river now, instead of constantly pulling on my suit to cover up my tummy!Ginny
Best For: Moms who like to protect their skin from UV rays during long days on the river, or breezy days at the beach.
Soft poly dries in a snap, and UPF 50 fabric protects from harmful sunburn and long-term skin cancer. Cut doesn’t bag in the water, but isn’t skin-tight on land. Our favorite feature is probably the hidden pocket that is perfect for stashing your car key or an emergency granola bar. The Sunbuster comes in several different styles, including a hoodie , 1/4 zip and full-zip.
I have been wearing a Sunbuster Pullover for years, when I’m paddleboarding or rafting on the river. I’ve got fair skin that burns fairly easily, so I’ve always appreciated a little extra sun coverage. It helps to not stop constantly to lather up with sunscreen, when I’d rather be on the go! I’ve also found this top is the perfect weight to layer up for cooler mornings on the water, without worrying about getting wet and soggy.Ginny
Best For: Hiking to a swimming hole, trips to the water park, overnight canoe trips, rafting, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
Ok, these aren’t “swim” shorts, but they are 100% designed to get in the water! Ultra-light Nimbelene fabric, drain holes, and secured zipper and velcro pockets make these shorts ready to go on any water adventure. Best of all, it has endless options with two different short lengths, capris, and a skort!
The Rogue Shorts amaze me at how well they do adventures. I’ve hiked to waterfalls in Hawaii, rafted the Colorado River, and SUP-ed downriver in Moab… all in the Rogue short. They also handle the smaller adventures, like playing in the sprinkler on a hot day, with tons of pockets for stashing phones, keys, snacks, and wallets. These shorts provide coverage and durability, without any weight to bog you down. They dry in a snap (Faster even, than my swimsuit.) and don’t fall down, thanks to a hidden waist-cinch.Ginny
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