Are You Ready to Suit Up? God’s Word v. Cultural Influences



This is part 3 of our swimsuit series!

You can read part 1 here.

You can read part 2 here.

Bathing suits.  This topic can be so very confusing in regards to modesty.  On one hand, most ladies (Christians included) go with the flow of cultural influences and wear what everyone else is wearing without really giving it much thought.  On the other hand, some Christians do not swim with mixed-gender groupings, or wear a suit that basically covers them from head to toe.  What is a Christian lady to do?

First of all, I would like to say up front that your convictions will not likely match my convictions about this topic.  This is something that every lady must decide for herself.  Secondly, I would like to implore you to please seek out the scriptures and pray about what swimsuit that the Lord would like you to wear.  It might seem like a silly topic to pray about, but modesty is important.  We do not want to wear something that might cause a brother in Christ to have sinful thoughts, which would be sin on our part.

To a large part, we allow culture to shape our convictions.  We believe in the Bible, but sometimes we decide to not follow it’s teachings if we deem them to not be “culturally relevant.”  Sisters, this is wrong, and we can’t allow this to happen!

After much prayer and seeking the scriptures, let’s answer these questions.

What does fabric weave have to do with it?

This is when most people begin talking about bikinis.  They say, “If you would not wear your bra and underwear in public, why would you wear a bikini?”  This is a valid point!  But I’d like to take it one step further.


Many ladies will wear a top like this along with underwear in the privacy of their own bedroom, but would never wear it in public.  This top along with underwear resembles an average one-piece bathing suit.  Does the fabric-type of swimwear (cotton v. spandex), suddenly make this style modest enough to wear in public?


Now the above tank top and shorts style is something that most women do feel comfortable to wear in public to exercise in.  If after prayer you feel that this outfit is perfectly acceptable to wear in public while not swimming, then something of this nature would be an acceptable swimsuit.

But what if in “normal” life you truly feel like your shirt must have sleeves?  Or that your legs should be covered to your knees?  If this is so, please do not compromise your modesty standards just to go swimming.  There are swimwear alternatives that will work for you!

What does age have to do with it?

If we are a Christian, we should be modeling appropriate dress for other Christians who are younger than us and for our daughters.  That being said, if after prayer and seeking the scriptures you feel like certain swimwear is entirely appropriate for your young girls, go with it.  Here are a few examples.


If you do not have any problem with your infant daughter wearing this in public, than a one-piece swimsuit with similar coverage would work for your baby girl.


Gymnastics is a favorite pastime for many of our daughters.  My 12-year-old daughter was a level 8 gymnast two years ago until ankle tendonitis, very long gym hours, and the move of her coach caused her to quit.  I had no problem allowing her to wear a leotard because it was for safety reasons.  If your daughter is in gymnastics and she does not yet wear a cover-up to leave the gym then a standard one piece should be fine.  If she does wear a cover-up to leave and be seen once more by the general public, than you possibly should consider a swimsuit with more coverage.

Why all the rules?

Honestly, there aren’t many cut and dry rules here.  My hope is that you respect your body and your brothers in Christ enough to make sure any private areas are fully covered.  Other than that, my prayer is that we all look to the Lord instead of to our culture when we choose our swimwear.  If you would normally not wear certain things in public, then swimming is not an excuse to do so.  Yes, our culture does influence our choice of colors, fabrics, and styles, but let’s not let it influence our choice of coverage.

In the next post in this series I will be linking to resources of swimwear with more coverage than the average suit.  Hope to see you then!

Possibly linking to:  

Growing Home, Tending the Home Tuesdays, Raising HomemakersBabies and BeyondWhat Joy Is MineA Wise Woman Builds Her Home ,Walking Redeemed, A Proverbs 31 WifeThe Modest MomA Mama’s StoryMom’s the Word , Mommy MomentsHearts For Home,  Time Warp Wife, Graced Simplicity, Christian Mommy BloggerFaith Filled Fridays, Marriage, Motherhood, and Missions,Wholehearted Home,Serving Joyfully, The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Cornerstone Confessions,  Good Tips Tuesday,  Paradise Praises

Also, through Memorial Day everything in my etsy shop, Joyfully Made is 30% off with the coupon code MEMDAY30.  I’ve got clearance applique shirts and tutus, a bit of wall art, and fun printables (including new handwriting ones) available.  If  you order, please remember to use the coupon code during checkout.



22 thoughts on “Are You Ready to Suit Up? God’s Word v. Cultural Influences

  1. agilitynut says:

    clearly laid out thoughts. Sorting through modesty issues is a challenge… sometimes less of one than people think though, and you’ve laid it out clearly.

  2. stasia says:

    Stopping by from the link up. This is an encouraging post for me, because it is something that I have really just begun being convicted about with the birth of our first daughter a little over a year ago. If I wouldn’t want her to wear it… why am I wearing it? I have made excuses for a long time, but now I am finally starting to make some changes! 🙂

  3. jesthepilgrim says:

    You make some good comparisons here, Nicole. I stopped wearing swimsuits in public years ago because it became too uncomfortable. My daily wardrobe consists of short-long sleeved shirts and long skirts. To transition into a bathing suit in the summer began to feel like I was stripping ~ thus the end of the bathing suit came to be for me… Thank you for linking this up to the Art of Home-Making Mondays. This is good “spiritual food” for thought!

  4. Heather@ To Sow a Seed says:

    We’re definitely on the more modest end of swimwear; even my boys wear rash guards. 🙂 I do find it curious that you give gymnastics leotards a pass, however. Is it because of the fabric? “Safety” seems like an odd call, since it’s the same thing many people say about swimming in less fabric.

    • Nicole says:

      In gymnastics, any loose material can get caught on fingers or equipment (especially while on bars) which can cause a huge problem. I don’t really see how that could be a problem while swimming. When my girls were in gymnastics, they usually wore bike shorts over their leos unless they were competing. 🙂

  5. April says:

    I was just talking with a friend about this the other day. Now that her teen is well a teen, she wants her in more modest swimsuits but realizes she should have started younger. I am blessed enough to be learning from her and starting earlier with my girls starting this year. Unfortunately a lot of the more modest options are more expensive. I normally wear a skirt bottom suit and a tank top. I normally wear a cover up unless I am in the water. I am interested in your suit collection coming up!

  6. Heather says:

    I found your thoughts about the leotard in regards to gymnastics really interesting. It is something my husband and I are currently wondering about. Our four year old daughter is in her second year of not only gymnastics but also ballet. She wants to be a professional ballerina when she grows up (at least, at this point she does). Her gymnastics and ballet classes are combined so she only wears one leotard to both. We have been pushing more of a ballet type with the skirt, and we are looking into getting her the long-sleeve shirt to wear over her leotard as well. We will be spending more money in the long run on each individual piece, and really don’t have control over costumes when it comes to performing, but we think that on a weekly basis it is worth it. Now to just figure out recital makeup for such a little girl.

    • Nicole says:

      This can be a difficult decision to make. 🙂 My oldest two daughters competed in dance competitions when they were 4 and 5 until about 8 years of age, and they wore tiny costumes, lots of make-up, etc. It was a struggle for us at first, and then just became normal. Then God got ahold of me! So we came from that extreme. We are now at a Christian dance school where no midriffs are exposed, and I don’t mind make-up for the stage (not clown make-up, mind you) :-). I grew up competing in dance competitions as well, so I have always been familiar with dancing and policies. I always would prefer for my girls to wear a skirt at dance as well, but at a certain level they are not allowed in order for the teacher to see their lines to make corrections. I don’t mind that, and they wear “street clothes” in and out of their school. I absolutely LOVE the school that we are at, only Christian music is played and there is prayer and devotions in every class. They go on missions trips and do outreach. I *always* came across some sort of conflict of interest until we found this school. Blessings to you as you discern what is best for your family!

  7. Danita Carr says:

    Thanks for linking at Family Fun Friday. Looking forward to your next post. I am always looking for new places to find truly modest swimsuits for myself and my daughters. Our general rule is: If I wouldn’t wear this to sit in my living room with you , I’m not going to wear it in front of you just because there’s some water nearby.

  8. Yolanda says:

    I came here from Kendra’s link on, and you did a good job with this post. I am of the school that does not do mixed-gender swimming, but you make other valid points.

    I realize from observation that when it comes to dressing babies and younger girls in a way that is different from your own modesty standard, it causes problems down the road when you want to raise the standard higher than what they’ve been used to all along.

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