Friday, June 25, 2010

In the Swim of Things

Thanks to my offspring for sending me the following link.

Someone has come up with a line of "super modest" (you decide after you view them) bathing suits for frum women, including pregnant women. You know, bathing suits with 3/4 sleeves, long skirts etc.. I won't mention the uber bright colors on some of those suits, or the form fitting material. I won't mention how those suits, being so completely different from other bathing suits out there, are going to draw the eye of everyone in the vicinity. I won't talk about how everyone in the vicinity is going to be talking about the wearer. I will mention that the designer's intent, as she states it on her site, is that frum women can now go to a beach, lake, pool, or water park and enjoy the water while being tsniusdikly dressed. We are talking public beaches here, open to everyone. So Rochel is going to be wearing her tsnius bathing suit and everyone else she sees will be wearing just what?! Last I noticed those for whom this type of bathing suit would appeal aren't the type to be on a public beach or in a mixed swimming pool or dipping into a lake or using the swim facilities at a water park.

Oh yes, these bathing suits are also available for children. Perhaps one of my favorites is the suit made to look like denim. This is a denim-look bathing suit for people who won't wear denim skirts because they aren't "frum" enough? Yup, Klal has it all--we go from the sublime to the ridiculous in the blink of an eye.

Note: If you want to see the circle turning on bathing suit styles for women, go to


Leahle said...

Not sure whether to laugh or cry. Wearing dresses like the ones one the site--and they are dresses--on a public street would get you stoned in some areas or ostracized from the community. But wear them on a public beach or at wet and wild and they suddenly become tsnius?

Have to agree that any person who would want this type of suit is probably not going to be wearing it any place public. Besides, those type of people aren't supposed to be on the internet either so how will they hear about them?

JS said...

This is hilarious. I love how one of them is advertised as a "4 piece" bathing suit. LOL.

Are you actually supposed to go swimming in these things? It looks like a real hazard - I can't even imagine how heavy these things get when wet. Also, all the women are presumably wearing sheitels. Is someone going to take a sheitel into a pool or ocean?

Is it even tzniusdik to swim or be in a spa around men? If you're not going in the water why not just wear your normal clothing? If you're around only women, just wear whatever you want.

It's really funny to me that people are going to buy this and wear them in front of others thinking they're so super modest and frum.

JS said...

Go to page 11.

"Wear the swimset to the beach pool waterpark then wear it to the kotel...or anywhere else"

Oh. My. God.

Anonymous said...

I personally don't find these swim dresses to be less modest than lots of things I see orthodox women and girls wearing. I also don't think they would get all that many stares as more and more non-religious women like to cover up at the beach to prevent skin damage or to hide the cellulite.
Swimming attire like this has been advertised for years for muslim women and apparantly there is a material they use that makes the suit non-clingly and they are light-weight (don't hold water like a tee-shirt would) so they are safe to swim in.

Ruth said...

JS, read the site more carefully and you'll see that they offer matching hair coverings in the same material, so no problem with the shaitel. Anonymous, the site says they use bathing suit fabric for the suits, not some kind of special non-clingy fabric, and in the illustrations, of the dry suits, they cling plenty--imagine them when wet! Also, those non-frum women who cover up when SITTING on the beach aren't going into the water wearing those coverups.

If modesty is the purpose these suits aren't the way to go. Everybody, but everybody is going to be staring at these women.

A Fan said...

I've never liked the argument that "it's not really modest because you stand out". Oh really? You don't think you stand out walking around town in long sleeves, long skirts, and a headscarf in July? I have similar swimwear from a different company, and I quite like it (although you're right that this looks clingy. Mine doesn't cling). Yeah, I go to the beach and when I'm visiting my grandparents in Florida, I swim in their clubhouse pool. I am glad to have an option that actually allows me to swim without a giant t shirt that gets really heavy when wet. The only unnecessary things on the site are the head coverings. For that, I use a bathing cap, and plenty of people wear those, so that definitely doesn't stand out. But like I said, I don't think "standing out" should be a cause for concern. We stand out plenty just going about our lives, and we don't change halacha because of that.

profk_offspring said...

I find the whole concept nauseating.

First of all, NONE of those suits are going to look good on any woman who is less than a size 2 9ok...maybe a 4). So it totally helps out in inflating the body image issue problems that are currently infecting klal.

If the issue is to be covered while swimming in the ocean in front of men...well, those things aren't tzniustic. I laugh because a cousin of mine and I were at a hotel on vacation and she wanted to swim. She certainly attracted looks as she went in with a suit covered by a top and skirt. And that top got wet and clung in all the right (or wrong) places, totally defeating the purpose (I said nothing because it would not have been received well). Plus, I got worried about the safety issues of actually swimming in the skirt.

And if you're in a pool with women, then there's no issue, so why not get a nice regular suit that's comfortable to swim in. You are most definitely going to be noticed swimming in something like the stuff on the site.

Second: I 100% agree with anonymous that they aren't all that different from the clingy stuff that many frum women are wearing nowadays(and that I would find most definitely not tzniustic). Being covered from head to toe doesn't necessarily mean you are modest. I've gotten evil looks because some of my sleeves come above the elbows by people dressed in those clingy shells that are so tight they leave nothing to the imagination!

Miami Al said...

Given the current state of women's swimwear, a woman wearing a one piece bathing suit stands out as being overdressed on the beach... hell, a bikini that would have been quite risque 30 years ago looks like a burka in comparison.

Lion of Zion said...


"imagine them when wet"

if you don't mind, there are men who read this site

JS said...

As a guy, if I say that these tznius bathing suits turn me on, does that mean they're no longer tzniusdik?

Does it have to be a minyan of guys who say it gives impure thoughts? I was never clear on the halacha of this issue.

tesyaa said...

These suits are really expensive. Someone who was wearing one told me that the two piece suit she had one was $70 each piece, so $140. Maybe the children's version is cheaper, but still, $80-90 for swimwear the kid is going to outgrow?

No wonder people have money problems. Not just because of overpriced bathing suits, but because of all sorts of things people buy in the name of being frummer.

sim said...

Let me have my say: I recently purchased a bathing suit similar to those sold by aquamodesta, but much cheaper. I bought one so I could bring my kids to the lake (in a local state park) and be able to supervise them properly in the water without getting my clothing sandy and wet. They're not terribly practical for swimming properly, but that's not my purpose in buying it. The material is great, just like my regular bathing suit, which I wear underneath, and it isn't at all clingy. (disclosure: I wear a size small). I cover my hair with a regular bandanna, as always, since I don't intend to get my head too wet. Do I stand out? In my area, where most non-Jews are relatively conservative but quite accepting, not really. Most people assume that I am covering up from the sun, because my little boys wear long-sleeve rash guard shirts to protect their very light skin, and I am constantly running reapplying sunscreen.
I don't particularly care for the tone you are using regarding this topic. Forgive me, as I am usually a fan.

Anonymous said...

I second sim's comments and I think you are being overly harsh.

These types of bathing suits aren't designed for swimming (although plenty of women at the Women's Swims I've attended insist on full coverage and I'd say this beats T-shirts over a suit and many wear these at all women's swims.).

They serve some very practical purposes such as a mother being able to provide better supervision for her children in the pool (it doesn't need to be a public swimming pool, but a motel pool on a vacation). There are families that don't want sisters and brothers to be in a state of undress even at a private pool, so they serve a purpose for those families too. I have a friend who had to have water therapy would have loved to have a suit like this.

I took my little kids to a local pool this week and the new swim style definitely includes short and long sleeve rash guard shirts for boys and girls too. There was even one non-Jewish girl, 7 or 8 years old, with a rash guard shirt and matching mid-thigh skirt. These suits might stand out still, but there is definitely a trend towards more coverage in the pool, which is nice to see.

ProfK said...

Sim and Anonymous,

Did you peruse the whole site? First, these suits are made to be in the water--author touts they are made of bathing suit material and will dry out quickly. They are made for swimming, or so they claim. That much material, even if made of bathing suit material, weighs down the swimmer in the water and could cause a safety issue. Second, she never once mentions sun protection nor does she specifically sell rash guard shirts, not for adults nor for children. Third, I'm not buying hot pink/hot blue tight bathing suit material dresses as being particularly tsniusdik if that was the intention. Fourth, as pointed out above, her models are bordering anorexia if not there--if they are made for "normal" people use normal people as models. Fifth, as pointed out by a reader above, the dresses are being sold as multi-purpose--head out of the pool and go straight to the Kotel--which of those dresses would most people feel comfortable wearing to the Kotel? Sixth--and then there is the price for these four piece suits.

Aviva said...

And conspiculously absent are any tsnius bathing suits for men. You think those speedos are tsniusdik?! If we're talking sauce for the goose and gander, let's get the guys covered up from neck to shin bone, let's ditch the tight suits and get them into sacks. Let's protect them from the sun with long sleeves and long skirted trunks. Let's put 'em in three piece suits at a minimum. And that's just when they swim with each other. For public use let's make those caftans longer and looser. And if they should drown, getting tangled up in those skirt layers, or get those skirts snagged on something in the water? A small price to pay for extra vigilance of tsnius.

Maybe we could recognize that this is about making a buck, lots of bucks, off the backs of the frum?

Leahle said...

I'm confused here. First time I'm hearing about rash gaurd clothing. What is it? I could see protecting the kids from getting a sunburn but what kind of rashes do kids get in a swimming pool? And how would a wet suit protect from that rash?

I swim every day in the summer at a pool with separate hours for men and women and I take my girls with me. Never yet saw one of these suits in the pool. The pool is indoors and there is no need for sun protection. And we are all women in that pool! Nobody is really saying that we should dress in those shmattes when swimming with women because we might have improper thoughts about each other?!!!!

Rose said...

I think you guys have it wrong. I bought an Aqua Modesta and LOVE it. I use it for rafting/canoeing/tubing. I used to go dressed in a t-shirt and skirt and once the cotton t got wet, I was soaked all day and the pack up was a pain too. These dresses dry really fast. Secondly, when you go on vacations to places with many pools or a hotel with a deserted pool and you want to swim with your husband but not bare all or be in clothing, the Aqua Modesta works great. They come in black as well if you are uncomfortable in bright colors. I am most impressed with the product and think that it is great for certain times and activities. Yes, you will stick out like a sore thumb on a beach with e/o wearing bikinis but that's not what this is for. I find it a rather ingenious aid to frum women who enjoy water sports and other water activities.