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The Most Revealing Swimwear

(Jessica Rey Swimwear, “Eliza”).

It’s summertime, and when heading to the beach or local pool, it’s no newsflash that bikinis are the norm. For goodness sake, the two-piece has been around for over 80 years–by now, it should be easy to assume that we’re unaffected at the sight of skin, right? However, a  Princeton University study found that when men were shown images of women dressed in bikinis, the region of the brain associated with analyzing a person’s thoughts and feelings was deactivated, and the part associated with objects of use (like “tool”) lit up. In the minds of these test subjects, the women were quite literally objectified and dehumanized.

Regardless of how you feel in a bikini, the realization that men might not be totally desensitized may make you think twice before suiting up. Many women may respond, “Wearing a two piece screams confidence!” But is it possible that it takes more self-assurance to wear a one-piece? Won’t you stand out in the beach crowd? You may… and that’s a good thing!

From my personal experience, a great suit that highlights my figure and allows me to comfortably hit the waves or catch some rays is the most freeing feeling. I end up focusing more on having fun and less on how I look. Wearing a one-piece invites others to notice all of you, not just one body part. It’s not about covering up out of shame or embarrassment, but quite the opposite–it’s about revealing the best of you to others.

Here are some of our favorite, truly revealing, swimsuit options. Why not try one on and let us know how you feel!

1. Madewell, $90.00 / 2. J.Crew, $84.00 / 3. Old Navy, 27$.00 / 4. Seafolly at ASOS, $157.42 / 5. Anthropologie, $148.00 / 6. Target, $27.00 / 7. Joe Fresh $34.00

By: Janet Sahm

- Co-Founder and Style Editor. Nothing is more exciting to Janet than discovering and celebrating true beauty; whether that be through spontaneous photography, delighting in thrift store treasures, or simply being inspired by cherished girlfriends, women who know what is truly important in life. After interning for over a year at Elle Magazine, writing for as well as other online venues, Janet has a new found passion to explore fashion’s ability to enhance and highlight a woman’s irreplaceable worth.


  1. Tessa says:

    I very much appreciate this blog post. I have a lot of really good, guy friends, and they constantly tell me how hard it is to get to know girls as “people” when all they are looking at is their very revealed bodies. I try to protect them with my own choice of dress and have been told numerous time that I look very nice, but not revealing (and they say it’s awesome).

  2. Aisling says:

    This was SUCH a joy to read. Thank you, thank you for thinking reflectively on womanhood and sharing such refreshing pieces of food for thought! I really appreciate what you’re doing! Keep up the good work. :) Aisling

  3. I have the confidence to wear a one piece (or tankini with boy shorts) I don’t have the confidence to wear a bikini! I will admit… I have never owned a bikini but every spring I look at all the new bikini’s out there and see a few with prints that I looove and am tempted to buy one. My friends even encourage me to ‘bite the bullet’ and get one telling me that I have the body to pull it off so I might as well. The reason I don’t have the confidence to wear a bikini is not because I’m out of shape or have image issues it’s because it feels wrong. I would never let anyone see me in just my bra and underwear. In fact when I’m changing and someone comes to the door and all I have on is my bra and panties… I scramble to throw on a blouse and jeans/shorts/skirt. I would NEVER open the door for a family member, friend or stranger in just my bra and panties (even if I’m wearing cute, lacey ones). So why am I going to go to the beach and walk around in a bikini that is the equivalent of a bra and underwear for everyone to see? In my mind it just doesn’t make sense. So I happily and confidently hit the dunes & water in a cute tankini and never worry about adjusting myself or being self conscience and worrying about what people are thinking of me. It’s definitely a freeing!

    Am digging #5 & #7… super cute!!!! Am also a huge fan of Rey Swimwear! ;)

  4. MG says:

    Both Modcloth and ShabbyApple have some great, stylish one pieces that are super flattering.

  5. Laurel says:

    So, men objectify women and the solution is for women to “cover up”? This is a problem with how men see women, so why should I, as a woman, have to change *my* behavior when it’s not *my* problem? And then you get to the sticky situation where women who don’t cover up are seen as inviting men to see them as objects…once again, it’s the woman’s fault. Blame the man’s shortcomings on the woman, why don’t you. Where is the male responsibility in all this?

  6. Amy says:

    Back in my surfing days, I the only swimsuit I could find that didn’t get tugged off in the surf of the pacific was a specific bikini top with swim trunks. (I couldn’t afford a wet suit.) Under the circumstances, the two piece seemed more modest than unintentional nudity. I wore a cover before and after going into the water however. Thanks for writing this piece. I love how many cute swimsuits are coming out. Seems like women, culturally, are catching on that it is more fun to be covered.

  7. Amy says:

    I appreciate your selection of modest swimwear, but would you consider also showcasing some modest two-piece options? As a nursing mom, I find tankini-type suits a lot more convenient for my current season of life, but I’d like to know what affordable and fashionable options are out there!

  8. VERILY says:

    […] had overwhelmingly positive responses from last week’s “Most Revealing Swimwear” as readers chimed in to share their personal stories, opinions and support for sporting one-piece […]

  9. JacquelineW says:

    I’m glad you mentioned that particular study about men tending to view women in bikinis in a dehumanized manner. I have heard of that study before, and it has always served as a reminder to me every time I’ve been tempted by the sight of a cute bikini to be brave enough and risk being thought of as “prudish” or “ashamed” in order to respect both myself, and also to make it easier for the guys around me to think of me as a person instead of an object. I think it’s really great that you bring this up because women and men tend to think so differently, it’s sometimes easy for women to not realize the impact their clothing (or lack thereof) can have on the minds of the men around them and what that means for how they’re being perceived. Thank you for this.

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