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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson
one piece swimsuits

While on vacation up at the mountain house, we were at the lake all the time so wearing swimsuits was pretty much an everyday occurrence. The thing was, I had all these cute suits (all one-pieces—nothing super revealing) but I wasn’t feeling very confident or comfortable playing and being active with my kids. I felt like I was constantly adjusting up and down and felt a bit too exposed. I felt I needed to be more “modest” as a mom being around friends, in-laws, and kids, but was also struggling with wanting to feel stylish and cute. Typical… 

When I started this post, my idea was to find modest but not too “mom-ish” swimsuits that I felt very comfortable in and review them for all of you. But little did I know, this post would become more about a larger culprit, the bikini industrial complex, than about finding the right suit.

So, at first I went on a MISSION to find the suits I actually wanted to wear, and I’m so happy to say I found some that I feel comfortable in while also still feeling young and stylish. Of course, what makes me feel comfortable and stylish could be wildly different from what makes you feel that way, but here are the suit details I’ve found that are working for me: 

  1. I like heavy lining. I look for suits that are either double lined or ribbed so they are thicker, which not only helps the suit itself stay put better, but also keeps more goods in and hides some bumps. 
  2. High necks, scoop necks, and square necks tend to have the best support for my chest. In my real life, I avoid high necks because I think they do make my boobs look even bigger. I thought I needed low necks in a suit as well, but after trying a bunch I can say a high neck is great and still looks cute. 
  3. I prefer to skip the underwire for either just really tight suits or soft cups. Again, I thought that I needed underwire to support the ladies but I found that most of the time with underwire, I’m actually overflowing which is just uncomfortable, not to mention it looks like I don’t know how to dress myself properly. Until they make underwire suits with cups for all frames and sizes, they just don’t and won’t work for me.

In the end, I tried about a million suits to find exactly what I was looking for. The ones you are about to see are ones I will likely be wearing all summer, and feel very good in. I know we have had swimsuit posts before, but this time I wanted to actually show you (yes, on my body), despite the very real anxiety I am having thinking about my body in a swimsuit being displayed on the internet—keep reading to the end for my concluding thoughts on that. Here goes nothing:

one piece swimsuits

The All Buttoned Up Cover Up, $75: Not a swimsuit, but I love this cover up so I wanted to share. It’s light and easy to throw on, and looks really cute on top of a red one piece.

one piece swimsuits

1. Heidi Klein Zip Detail One Piece, $295: Okay, you are going to see a few red swimsuits in this roundup, but this one is my favorite. I love the ribbed texture, the soft cups give the right amount of support, and the gold zipper detail adds a fashionable element so it doesn’t come across completely sporty.

one piece swimsuits

2. The Current, $95: All my boxes are checked with this one. It is thick, lined, has a square neck, a cute cutout in the back, plus GREAT support. The site says to size up if you are a bra size D or larger, but my normal size was fine for me and I didn’t feel like I was spilling out of it. Side note: myself and my staff love love love Summersalt and as we were preparing this post, everyone was ogling over everything on their site. They just have really cute swimsuits that are super flattering and have lots of fun colors. I would definitely go check them out if you haven’t already.

one piece swimsuits

3. Underwire Swim Dress Set, $175: This suit is pretty, and I always wanted to try this shape swimsuit on me (because who doesn’t love a good twirl moment), but ultimately I didn’t fall in love with it. I can say however that it is high quality so for those that like this style, I think it’s a great option. Although, the underwire isn’t nearly as supportive as it could be. 

one piece swimsuits

4. Beach Break Paddlesuit, $128: Wetsuit definitely comes to mind with this one, but in a cool way. It is VERY comfortable and obviously less revealing with the high neck and cap sleeves, but the red color and the mesh detail actually make it feel stylish and flattering. Even Brian said “that’s a cool suit,” which is saying something.

one piece swimsuits

5. Zuma One Piece, $120: Even though there isn’t built-in bra support in this one, the fit is tight enough that you feel supported. It is great for paddle boarding and kayaking because of how much coverage it gives in the front and back (it’s almost a wetsuit), but the scoop neck and color block, it feels stylish.

one piece swimsuits

6. Sofia Flutter Sleeve One Piece, $250: My team loves this one and I really like it, too (hello, ruffle sleeves!). The only problem is that I feel it does not have enough support for me. There are no soft cups or bra support and it isn’t as tight fitting as the others so I feel it wouldn’t keep everything up top in place, but it is SO CUTE. The woven ribbon detail is really special.

one piece swimsuits

7. By The Bay Skimpy One Piece, $128: Again, the cap sleeve and high neck create a sort of wetsuit/lifeguard vibe, but this one has a really cute hole cut out in the back that I love. The bright red adds a bay watch sexiness element, without being too loud about it. The bottom is a bit cheekier than the others but I still feel comfortable in it. 

one piece swimsuits

8. The Mesh Diver, $95: This one feels sporty but not too “swim team.” It is also by Summersalt so it is high quality and thick lined, and has soft cups so it is supportive. I like the racerback and mesh detail that adds a stylish element.

one piece swimsuits

9. Kiki One Piece, $135: I love the scoop neck and T-shirt style swimsuits that are very in right now. They are so flattering and look cute worn with cut-off distressed shorts. The only issue I have with this suit is I wish it came in more fun colors and I also really would love if the pocket details weren’t just details and actually functioning pockets.

one piece swimsuits

10. Doss Demi Underwire One Piece Swimsuit, $240: Brian really likes this one and I do too, but the underwire pushes up the ladies in a way that could cause a slip at any moment, plus the little cut-out, though cute, does make me feel too exposed. I don’t feel completely comfortable in it because it doesn’t fit perfectly up top, but I do like the overall shape and the floral pattern.

one piece swimsuits

11. Lipsi One Piece, $228: Here is another underwire one piece, but this one still doesn’t work cup-size for me and is kinda uncomfortable. So many of the others really are more flattering.

So, there you have it. These are the swimsuits I will be considering keeping, but as promised, I wanted to share my thoughts and process about this post. When I first decided to do this, I had tried on a bunch of suits in my room by myself in front of my mirror and felt good in them. I told my team, “sure I’ll shoot them on my body, no problem.” Then the day of the shoot I was on my period, felt bloated, and as I looked at the photos on the camera screen I said “nope. Not going to do this.” All I saw were the fat pockets in my armpits and the slight bulge outside my thighs (things that I’m sure only I notice). But then I asked myself why? WHY would I be ashamed. I’m healthy and strong, and those are the words we use in our house to teach our children to use (we NEVER use “skinny” or “perfect”). But I fell victim to the visual story/lie that I have been told my entire life: that of Photoshop and retouching and perfect lighting. I don’t really have any shame or embarrassment in any other aspect of my life, so why would I let the least interesting part of me, my looks and physicality, dictate how I feel about myself in photos and, more importantly, shift this story??

It seems no matter what size you are (be that “too skinny” or “not skinny enough”), no one is safe from the unrealistic, unattainable standards we see perpetuated in advertising and fashion every single day. Don’t get me wrong, the industry has come a very long way, and it is refreshing to see the shifts towards REAL body positivity and inclusivity, but we have a long way to go. I muse with my friends all the time that hopefully someday there won’t be a “modeling” industry. It seems so dinosaur and archaic that we allow one version of the female body show us how we should all look. It is so dated and last century. High fashion can do what they want, but it seems to me that designing clothes for just one small one size seems SO cheap and easy. I wish brands would do the harder job of dressing bodies in all shapes and sizes, celebrating healthiness, and caring about happiness.

I joked with our photographer, Veronica, “have you ever shot for Sports Illustrated, because get your olive oil brush ready.” I’ll be honest trying on 10 swimsuits was embarrassing to shoot and even more-so to “OK” the photos that I liked.

Hilariously as I’ve been writing this post and reflecting (per usual) I see the irony that someone who is a size 4-6, has both hair and lash extensions, and a spray tan isn’t exactly the beacon of “realness”. We all struggle with our own vanity issues and frankly its hard to to de-learn years of mass-media (which, no surprise, is often driven by men) telling us we have “too many” curves or “not enough.” So, hopefully, posting un-retouched photos of myself online is step one in the right direction. That’s not to say that I think doing things that make YOU feel good about yourself are wrong (like putting on make-up or getting a spray tan). But we should be aware of why we’re doing those things, and making sure we’re doing them because WE like the way they make us feel and look, not because we’re trying to live up to some pretty unrealistic body standards.  

Fun fact: all companies have “fit models” which means models that are in every size they offer their clothes in (which frankly is often embarrassingly non-inclusive) to ensure that indeed those sizes will fit. They have size 8, 10, 12 (and often more) fit models AND YET MANY STILL ONLY SHOOT SIZE 2. It’s the easiest solution EVER to simply shoot their clothing in every size. I realize this will cost more resources, but scale it down, don’t bother with photoshopping or retouching. Just shoot like we did in one hour with a cannon. It’s not that hard to be real. It’s actually pretty easy.

Now looking at this post in its final form, it shouldn’t have been that hard, and I shouldn’t have been that hard on myself. When I’m being healthy I feel good and feel that I look good. I’m not embarrassed. I understand I’m considered small, so if I’m “small” and I feel this aggressively self-critical then how the heck does the industry make other people feel? 

I can’t wait until the status quo catches up with this generation that has so much body pride, that promotes body positivity and knows that the picture of one size that every woman should aspire to will be absolute thing of the past. Feeling healthy is what should we should all strive for. To be pressured to look and feel happy while comparing yourself to the ubiquity of perfection is absolutely demoralizing. I believe we can change that. I want to start by buying from companies that don’t photograph one size. If I see a company hiring real women of all shapes, colors, sizes, and ages to model their clothes and suits (which more and more are doing) I want to buy their product. I’m done with the bikini industrial model. Hopefully, you are, too.

***Photography by Veronica Crawford

**The “Bikini Industrial Complex” was coined by  +  I’ve only listened to a podcast about it, but i hear the ted talk is GREAT.

  1. That first red swimsuit is SO CUTE! Thank you for this post, Emily. It really does help to see swimsuits on a real body, as scary as that is to post. I hope you do this again next year, but earlier in the season. I’ve already bought my suits for the season but there are some good ones here I wish I would have seen earlier.

  2. Bravo for being able to do this! I can barely wear a swimsuit at the beach, let alone display on the internet. I will say one thing that is hard for me with swimsuits is justifying the higher price, I’ve always been a Target swim suit kind of girl. Even with bikinis, I’m like why is one piece $50+ ?? But I’ve wondered this since my teen years.

    1. Way to F’n go mama!

      I love this post in so many ways. The suits are so great and I just love this post for the authenticity and joie de vivre it inspires in me and for all of us.

      Thank you!

  3. You look great in all of them!!!

    1. I think you look great! Thanks for sharing, it is nice to see this content! I’m slowly coming to terms with my post-kids body and getting to the point where I just don’t care…I have what I have and I am just going to embrace it! And I am a former athlete and eating disordered/body dysmorphic person, so this represents a real shift for me.

      I have found a few suits from Athleta that work well for me. They have athletic support for women of all chest sizes. For what it is worth, that floral Doss Demi suit looks AMAZING on you. You should keep it, if only to wear in the hot tub after kids are in bed and won’t accidentally yank on your top, ha. Seriously, if I found a suit that flattering I would not pass it up.

      1. Seconded on the floral! I stopped scrolling because it looked SO GOOD on you, EH!
        Thank you for this post ❤️

  4. You are gorgeous and brave! Thank you for this post – I love all the red suits especially!

  5. You are gorgeous in all of them!

  6. Red is definitely your color! I love the first one!

  7. This is my favorite post you’ve ever done. (And I’ve loved a lot of your posts!) It’s brave and wonderful and so refreshing to see a normal human body modeling swimsuits. And also very helpful!

  8. Hi Emily,
    I was so excited to see this post. I also have secret boobs (before kids, not so secret, but more playboy playmate, “come and get it!”, but now post kids with a middle age belly, they’ve become less noticeable and gone into hiding 🙂 in normal clothes) and find bathing suit shopping hard because i’m looking for the same thing – something i can wear with my kids and other moms and other kids, so kinda modest, but not a muumuu, but with legit support. Anyway, so my question is, with the two red suits that are #4 and #7, I really like those for the modesty, coverage, color, and they’re cool. What kind of support do they have?

    Also, have you tried looking at bathing suits from Bravissimo (i believe they’re a British company)? all of their stuff is specifically made for for-real big boobs and based on their catalog (which I get, but I still haven’t taken the time to try anything), it looks like they have some great suit choices. And i believe that for many/most of them, the tops actually are very bra-like, with the adjustable hook-eye closure in the back.

    Anyway, I have been wanting to order a suit from them and wondering if you had any thoughts on any of their suits?

    Also, you look beautiful and strong and healthy : ) So don’t be anxious!

    1. ah thank you 🙂 Those two red ones are really tight so they kinda smash them down but not great support. I’m almost tempted to take them to a tailor and get some soft cups sewn in. its just so easy – why don’t brands wake up and put soft cups in? when would a one-piece ever NOT want a soft cup? 🙂

      1. Especially when swimming in cold water haha

    2. I love Bravissimo! I was intrigued by the catalog, and now I’ve gotten several bras, bathingsuits and tops from there. I’m a convert.

  9. I have so many things to say! First, thank you for this post. The ones that come straight from you are so refreshing and honest, and it is very brave of you to put yourself out there in a way that is about your *image* and not about your *work*. Personally, if you chose to NOT model swimsuits on a website about interior design, that would also be cool with me.

    Second, as a mom, I had that same moment a few years ago of “this super cute suit is not working for my beach life”. I realized my tush was always sunburned because I spent so much time bending to dig, to hold my son in the water, to… whatever and that I needed another solution that I was comfortable and felt good in, while accounting for how I was actually using my body. So thank you for this post! My own solution is more a collection of two-pieces and rash guards, but it’s so helpful to hear how someone else worked through this!

    For me the Mom element also helped to offset the social pressure on how to look in a swimsuit. While I’m also in that Small range, I’ve never looked like a model and never even owned a bikini until I was pregnant and hot an nothing else fit. I’ve found that my Momness has really eliminated the number of f*cks I give about how anyone else thinks I look in a suit. My job is to grow and protect this child, not to appeal to a bunch of strangers.

    Finally, in future round ups for swimwear, it would be super helpful to see photos of the inside of the suits (or each suit inside out) to inform those of us who are also looking for the right mix of support and cute. Swimwear is so poorly labeled for the kinds of top support involved that a quick peak is worth a thousand words. And as you note, the photographed models don’t generally represent my body’s reality, so the official brand pictures are not very useful.

    Thanks for the post! Rock on at the lake strong Momma!

    (also the link to the gorgeous high necked red mesh suit is wrong)

    1. ah, thank you. and I just switched out the link to the red suit. Totally agree about caring less once i had kids. I just want to be able to play with them.

  10. I love that you were brave and did this!

  11. Beautiful suits! Thanks for sharing your real photos and your thought process about posting them. I especially love suits #1 and #2; they look amazing on you!

  12. Beautiful!! You look WONDERFUL, loved all the suit options too. I didn’t even know sleeves were a thing! 😊

  13. I recently was browsing Aerie swimsuits and was so pleasantly surprised and encouraged! If only I could have seen those unretouched images as a teen. My bum stretch marks might’ve not felt so shameful.

    Always appreciate your honesty and openness – thank you, Emily!

    1. I’ll second this shout out for American Eagle ae.com. They show real bodies and offer reasonable prices. If you pool swim or buy for a growing teen these are easy 1-3 season purchases, especially on sale. That said, I bought a “high end” suit from Anthropologie that has held up nearly ten years now. Not all expensive suits are quality but the quality of lining and material varies. Just sharing for those (like me) who throw up a little bit at triple digit swimsuit prices.

  14. Who makes the Beach Break Paddlesuit? (#4)
    The link brings up something different and I need to find that suit! 🙂

  15. Ahhh you need underwire in cup sizes. Places like Figleaves have good selections and it is a total game changer. I’m not sure why random sizeless underwire suits are even made… yuck!

    But anyway, thanks for actually posting the suits on your body. It’s nice to see them on an actual person.

    1. I was going to say the same thing. Bra manufacturers also make swimsuits. With bra sized tops. that’s the way to go! From someone who does not have secret boobs.

  16. Number five and number seven look particularly amazing on you!

  17. You look lovely! Thank you for braving the cameras and the internet. More than that, thank you for being thoughtful about sharing your insecurities. xoxo
    (p.s. summersalt is WINNING summer 2019, amiright?!)

  18. You look amazing in ALL of them! My two favorite STYLES are 4 (so Baywatch!!!) and 6 (I’m a sucker for blue and feminine).

  19. Great post! It was really fun to see the suits on a real person. You look strong and healthy and beautiful Emily! I enjoy all the fashion posts so much. Would love to see more posts like this with the whole EHD team modelling (if they’re up for it)! Every person on the team is SO beautiful and you guys all have great style so it’s always a joy to see you all in photos. And EXCELLENT reflection at the end. 🙂

  20. Yeah to positive body courage! It is encouraging to see swimwear on a real woman. Thank you! The red ones really suit your complexion (spray tan or not) and hair. I particularly like the styles with high necklines and sleeves. They are kinda hard to picture until you try them on. I also tend to get overexposed in the upper chest and shoulders areas so having those areas more covered would actually help me enjoy being at the beach more! I agree with previous people that for underwires you have to get a larger cup size and that’s not the easiest to find. I have also sometimes been lucky at TJMaxx in years past, finding DD cup one piece suits of great quality. You gave me some new styles to consider, thank you.

  21. Thank you for posting, Emily! You look great, the content is useful (although not to me quite yet, lol, but still an enjoyable read I can archive for the future), and I really appreciate your insights at the end. I like this type of post as a design break on Saturday morning.

  22. Love the ruffled one. It’s so interesting how our ideas about modesty differ from person to person. I feel very….exposed? …..protective? about the bikini line area but not about my midriff. So I usually opt for a swim skirt (the shorter version) and a bandeau top. But then again, my girls are quite manageable. I think you look great in all of the them and it sounds so nice to be living in a suit by a lake with your family. Enjoy!

  23. You seem to look the happiest in the red ones, but they all look great on you!

  24. All of these swimsuits are amazing!

    Mariya | https://www.brunetteondemand.com/

  25. For the record I think you think fantastic!

  26. Wow! Red is definitely your colour and one you should wear more often. You are beautiful!

  27. Preach it, sister!
    PS you look so happy in the photos:)

  28. You look stunning! Which ones did u keep???

  29. Full disclosure: I just scrolled through to look at the pictures, so maybe you mentioned the brand in here, but I really love Lands End as source for good quality, reasonably priced suits that are flattering for not-quite-fitness model bodies. Yes, some of the designs are simple, but there are also some really cute designs available, and they sell talls and larger bust sizes. I always wait and take advantage of their sales for the best price. I think it’s a great resource for a great, comfortable suit.

    1. I second this, and actually encourage Emily to look at the tankini styles. I love the boyshort bottoms and I just get tankini tops to mix and match. So many flattering ones. I’m finding the ones without underwire to be much more comfortable, and the high necks I just wear all day with shorts in-between swimming. We have a lake house and a teenaged son with friends rotating in and out, so modesty is a must!

      1. I like lands end too. Not super fashion-y but good quality and cute enough. Thank the Lord I haven’t needed this option, but I noticed once that lands end offers not only various cup sizes but also tops for women who’ve had a mastectomy. I am just so touched by a company that would recognize all women, including those who have survived breast cancer. Makes me seriously want to support that company.

        1. I’ve so had success with Lands End, and they offer one pieces in a Long option for those of us with long torsos. I’ve even found some fairly stylish (in a retro way) suits there.

  30. Way to go! As I was first reading and seeing your pics; I thought about how brave you are. As a mom in the same boat, I’ve started feeling uncomfortable with the swimsuit options and really appreciate your perspective and willingness to bare all—especially your vulnerability—to be real and share with us. Thank you for finding and sharing so many options and for for your honesty!

  31. love that first red one on you. We have fairly similar body types so I’m guessing it might work for me. Just kinda wish it wasn’t 300 bucks. I just ordered a bunch of suits too. Was going to try the high waisted bikini this year but not loving it so far. Might try that red one.

  32. Thank you for this post. I know as a real woman it is so hard to put yourself out there like this, but honestly, it’s so needed and appreciated! I’m short, blond, curvy, with boobs and thighs and I never see women who look kind of like me model swimsuits. So, from the bottom of my heart… THANK YOU!

  33. Congratulations! You are being an Influencer in the best way, by sharing the REAL stuff about being a REAL WOMAN who does real life!

    I have had some issues finding suits that are supportive for my “ladies”, but also with a bottom half that isn’t too big. I tried snd fried to find one-piece suits that would work and eventually gave up. I don’t like having my middle exposed, evrn yhough it looks okay. I ended up with a TANKINI, time after time.

    That way, I can get my boobs supported and also a bottom half that isn’t too big, and have my middle covrred, because the top if a tankini goes down lower than thd ‘top’ of the bottom. This style is also so much easier to wear when one needs to go to the bathroom! 😉

  34. That sofia flutter sleeve one is AMAZING!

  35. Thank you so much for this post. As I read it, I kept saying, out loud, “Yes!, Yes!” because are saying everything I think and feel about this topic. It’s so important for us to feel like we look great when we are healthy and feel great.

    It certainly helps that your body looks an awful lot like mine! So it’s wonderful to get an idea of what swimsuits could look good on me. I dread swimsuit shopping, but I’m feeling like I could handle it now after seeing you. Thank you so much for the pics and your we’ll put words.

  36. Wow! You look fabulous in every suit. Hard to believe you’ve had two children. Obviously, souping, running & working out have paid off in spades. You go, pretty mama!

  37. Hi guys. You were so great about asking for feedback that for better or worse I feel empowered to offer some now;). As one who began to read this blog for the styling/home design content, I have a limited tolerance for the clothing posts. I’ve already chosen my style blogs, I am not at all wanting another one. Raising my hand to vote for only one post/week about clothes, possibly on a set day, so that those of us who share your house design tastes and demographic but not your clothing style, can set our expectations. Thanks in advance for listening.

    BTW, this is surely because I am a) over-50 b) astringent rather than chipper in my personal style

    1. Agree. The blog used to be must-read for me and now many days I don’t even bother to glance at your headline in my feed reader. For me, this quest to post every day has resulted in you being lost in a sea of mediocre content.

  38. BTW, you look absolutely beautiful and I am sure this particular post serves the community very well.

  39. You look great in all of these. Have you tried on the retro-style Esther Williams suits? They’re so comfy, modest and cute and they come in lots of colors. They’re double-lined too.

  40. This made me love you even more.

  41. Check out June Loop – woman owed swimsuit company that are flattering, comfortable, great quality, and STYLISH! Fit women of all ages and body types – win/win!

  42. Love both the red high neck ones! And they look great on you! As a new mom I’ll be looking for a higher neck to chase after my toddler.

  43. Thank you for this post!

  44. They are all really good! Fave is #7. Also where is that tile from? It’s so pretty

  45. You look great in all of them, congratulations! I also love the floral one – maybe you can wear it for sunbathing only…so adorable on you! It’s indeed very difficult to find the right suit. I have a long torso and also plenty of
    cha-chas to protect, but finally found a red-white checkered on on JCrew a few years back and that’s my go to ever since. I just ordered a beautiful floral one and I keep my fingers crossed it fits me – I will have to make it fit because it’s so darn cute. Thank you for showing us mom bathing suits that are so hip and cool.

  46. Thank you for doing this! You look great. I especially love you in the By the Bay. Very flattering! Happy swimming.

  47. Okay so first I love you. I love that you did this post which I feel is so brave, and I think you are awesome. I have a question and feel free to ignore me because it’s personal. I am large breasted, 34 G, mercy. You talk a lot about making sure you are choosing clothes that hide that fact. Can i ask why?

  48. I agree with you Emily! The industry has to change. So many cute swimsuits you found!! I love them!! Thank you for being brave!

  49. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!! For your authenticity and honesty. It’s encouraging to see that we all have the struggle and relationship with our bodies, no matter our size. You look fabulous, but the realness and discomfort is still there. Thanks for making the rest of us feel normal and encouraging the world to embrace real bodies as beauty. You are beautiful and this post is perfect!

  50. This is a beautiful roundup.

    You might check out bathing suits from Athleta as well—it’s all I’ve bought the last two years and got rid of every other suit in the drawer too. There’s something to be said about an athletic apparel company making bathing suits. High quality material and tons of options for one and two piece, as well as lots of board shorts and rash guards depending on what you’re looking for.

    I swear I don’t work for these folks, just love their products. 😊

  51. I hear you! When I moved to a neighborhood near the local public pool, I didn’t realize I’d be spending a good portion of my days meeting the new neighbors while wearing my swimsuit. Even though I’m comfortable with my body, some days I’d rather keep my skin to myself. 🙂 And to add to the excellent mix above, Title Nine has supportive bra-sized suits with options for more or less coverage.

  52. thank you for your brave self and pictures and your kind, considerate and thoughtful words. You’re a wonderful person, Emily, and I am always so amazed and thankful that you keep putting yourself out there and using your platform for new, exciting and challenging things! Hurray to you and this fabulous post!!

  53. Several were pretty good. Some were yawn. The first one-the red, was most flattering I thought, followed by the floral that you felt wasn’t quite enough.
    Good points you made also.

  54. The bright floral is the most flattering color combo on you – it’s too bad they don’t have that in a more supportive, non-underwire version.

    I’m in my mid-50s with a total mom bod (5’5”, 150, size 12, gut bigger than butt). A few years back I went to a family reunion of my SO’s family on a farm with a great pond for swimming. Despite the mom-bod, I went swimming anyway because it was hot, my kid was there, and we love swimming dammit. But out of 100+ people there, only me and one other mom went swimming. Most of the men didn’t, either. It’s a crying shame. I say: “get in that suit, no matter what you look like, and get in the water!” BTW, I get black one-pieces at discount stores every 2-3 years and look for ones that will stay on, support the girls, and not creep too much.

  55. Heidi Klein! Doss Demi! Definitely the best two…

  56. Love these recommendations. Thanks for posting, and thanks for putting in the work and being vulnerable.

  57. What a helpful article: thanks for being brave on the internet for us!

    Wanted to put in a plug for rash guards for anyone that wants optional added coverage, plus sun protection on no your arms/chest/back without worrying about reapplying sunscreen after every dip in the water! I’m partial to the ones J. Crew makes because they coordinate with their French style bikini tops (perfect fit for my little 30b boobs) but Athleta makes cute ones as well.

  58. The underwire swimsuit definitely does not fit your chest, but you can find underwire bra size swimsuits! Freya makes them up to 30gg I think, and other UK based brands tend to have real people sized bras/swimwear

  59. I love this post! I feel the struggle as a mom to find a bathing suit I feel comfortable in, functional to run around after my kids in, and cute! Especially when so many swim suits seem to be offering less coverage these days 😳

  60. You look great in all of them. I think the floral is my favorite. Great post!

  61. “Until they make underwire suits with cups for all frames and sizes, they just don’t and won’t work for me.”

    Preach it, sister.

  62. You look fabulous in ALL of them! It would be hard to decide if you were just picking one!
    Thanks for the review on one piece bathing suits…cuz I’m not wearing a bikini this year…or ever!
    BTW I love your home style too!

  63. I loved the Zuma one piece on you, as well as several others, but the Zuma just looked both comfortable and stylish. Think I will have to order that one for myself! Fun post.

  64. I don’t typically comment, but I absolutely loved this post! As a mom who just went to the lake for 10 days with her 4 kids, I went from self conscious on day 1 to wrestling big kids into the water and just plain having fun! I felt like so many body image issues were obliterated in the name of having a blast with my family and friends…. never going back. Can’t wait to try out a few of these suits. ❤️

  65. Thank you Emily! For the thoughts, the recommendations and the real photos!

    I was on the same quest until I found Lilly and Lime swimwear- they actually do underwire for every cup size in cute (and modest) designs and their customer support to help you get the right size is sensational. (I’m not affiliated in any way, just like it when a brand does a good job!).


  66. Thank you for being brave! I love this post!

    Also – it’s too late to comment on it, but I originally put Orlando’s post about his show to the side, figuring it was just a “watch my show!” Type post. It was so beautiful and sweet – thanks for publishing it!

  67. I just have to say how STUNNING you look in red!!! Seriously! It’s such a great color on you! And you look beautiful and so classy in all of these! I love that modest one pieces are having a come back and that there are so many more options. 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

  68. Ahhh I love this! You are absolutely stunning in the suits and I love the many cute, stylish one-piece options you’ve presented here. I think the Beach Break Paddlesuit is my absolute favorite. Just a smart looking suit that you look absolutely fantastic in.

  69. Here’s the thing that drives me crazy about swimsuits – the over padded bra. I feel like I could float for days in the ocean with those things. I have a favorite swimsuit that had that padding so I took it out. Mistake. Now I can’t wear it because there’s no support. I can’t seem to find happy medium.

    BTW, jealous of your thigh gap!

  70. Hi Emily,

    I’m not sure if you are aware of this, and I realize you didn’t coin the term, but “Bikini industrial complex” is a play on the terms “Military Industrial Complex” and “Prison Industrial Complex”… Those both refer to industries in our society that profit off of the loss of human lives, or the loss of human liberty, which for some, may as well mean the loss of human life. As the sister of a mentally ill man who has spent his last several years within the federal prison system, my brother and our family have suffered tremendously at the hands of the prison industrial complex. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has almost no oversight or accountability. I will spare you the details of the injustices my brother has endured behind those bars, but suffice it to say, it is no laughing matter. The term “Bikini Industrial Complex” in place of “Military Industrial Complex” or “Prison Industrial Complex” is a bit like taking the term “Black Lives Matter” and changing it to “Fat Lives Matter”… It takes a very serious life or death issue and turns it into a punchline, for shock value. I am in no way implying that the pressures women face in society to conform to certain standards of beauty can never be a a serious issue, as they certainly can be problematic, but perhaps another more sensitive term would be more appropriate than “Bikini Industrial Complex”… Again, I know the term didn’t come from you. I also know you are a compassionate human being who cares deeply about the suffering of those in our society who suffer the most. The title of your post just took me aback, and although I am generally so introverted that I never comment on blog posts, I was compelled to do so this time. Because I know you are a kind and compassionate person, I’ll thank you in advance for reading my comment with an open mind and heart. Also, since I’m here, and for what it’s worth, your blog is always the first one I read every day and I have learned so much about design and style from you, so thank you also for the endless inspiration. 😉

    1. Really powerful and important comment. Thank you for taking the time to share it.

      1. Thank you, Molly, I appreciate you taking the time to reply to my comment. I am really hoping Emily sees what I wrote and understands what I was trying to convey to her about the use of that term.

  71. Great post! Most useful swimsuit round up I’ve seen!

  72. I love the flowered one. Look at amazing you after 2 kids! Wow!

  73. I love this so much! Thank you for this post! Here is a body positive company I found that sells swim wear. They have models of all sizes and unretouched photos!

  74. Thank you for saying this, Emily. Good on you.

  75. Emily. You look absolutely fantastic in these suits. Healthy, sexy, womanly, you name it. You should be proud of this post and how the suits look on your real woman’s body. I have to say, my absolute favorite was the underwire floral number. You look great in a V-neck!!! But I also really liked the Heidi Klein red number and the Zuma One Piece. I liked the latter so much that I’m ordering it for myself!! You GO girl!!

  76. I’m big fan of tankinis, both for fit and function. Another question, why do women’s suits have to be so revealing? I’m not a prude, but I don’t really enjoy walking around in my underwear in front of people. Men basically wear shorts as swimwear, but we wear lingerie. I’d much prefer cute suit options with shorts.

  77. You MUST try Seafolly. Their bathing suits are such good quality/thick. You feel totally supported and their sales team is amazing. My experience when I have gone in there has always been so pleasant for an activity that usually women dread. They are so knowledgeable about their product and recommend things that will look good on you that you might not ever have thought about. I complimented them on this the last time I was in there and she said they have to try on every suit so they know how it fits on them and on other figures. No, I don’t work there just a very happy costumer and want to spread the word!

  78. Bravo. 👏🏻 Thank you for this post and for your honesty. I’m very excited to see that your aim is to promote size inclusive brands!

  79. Love this post! You look amazing!
    Since I have the total opposite body shape of you, I’d love if any of your team members would be willing to do this too! Especially for us short, pear shaped, small chested girls!


  80. You look amazing and this was really helpful.

  81. You look stunning in each of those suits. Thank you for such a real post. And for showing suits that us moms can wear!

  82. Bravo! Well done! Now, on to the tile. This looks like the Cle tile from your house, but in the square version which is what I have in my kitchen (but smaller size) and I brag to anyone who will listen that I have the same tile as Emily Henderson!

  83. I agree with Brian! I like #4 and #10 best on you! I also really like the first red swimsuit.

  84. Thanks for posting and sharing AND for sharing that it was hard for you to post and share! You are lovely, inside and out! Have fun playing with those cute kiddos AND looking fire while you do!

  85. YEA!!!! Fantastic post and so appreciated. I love your look and your “cuteness”. Great job in selecting cute suits and in presenting us with some outstanding choices and places to go to get a suit. Thank you.

  86. Thank you for this! I live in Florida, so swimsuits are practically nonnegotiable. I loved the suits you chose. I love suits with sleeves for paddleboarding and to skip 30 minutes of sunblock application. More than the suits, I appreciated your take on trying them on for us. I can’t say it better, so just “amen.”

  87. Wow! Some really interesting and fashion forward suits. Love it. You rocked them.

  88. Thanks for doing this post and putting yourself out there for it! As strong and body positive as we try to be, most of us still have internalized toxic stuff we grew up with and it’s an ongoing process to weed it out.

    Also thank you for talking about swimsuits you can be active in! I also have trouble finding activity swimsuits. If I’m putting on a suit I’m getting in the water to swim and play. I’m not a lay on the beach all day person. (That’s another issue I have with the bikini industry model. They’re not only designing for one body type, they’re also only designing for one lifestyle.) I love a racerback but usually can’t find them in stores now, and the wetsuit look is great! I’ll be checking out some of these styles.

  89. You.Are.Brave (and isn’t it ridiculous that to do this requires bravery? Thanks Patriarchy!).

    As someone who has big boobs no matter how skinny I can get, I highly recommend british and polish swimwear manufacturers– where you can get a size small swimsuit that is also a fit for 30gg boobs (UK measurement scale).

    while I’m at it, everyone deserves a little abrathatfits reddit in their life.

  90. All are so cute Emily! I wanted to tell you I have a one piece from Albion Fit that I love! High neck with a tight sports bra like chest, fun fabric and a fun back detail, and good coverage so i never feel like I’m going to fall out. Cost about $150. They also have lots of cute high waisted bottoms and sporty cool bikini tops.
    I also agree with you about the bikini complex. There are such unrealistic expectations set by mass media and I think it affects women of all sizes. I’ve been a size 0 almost my whole life but I resonate with woman of all different shapes and sizes who talk about this. Then feel bad about resonating with them because do I really have the right? But I do, I’ve struggled with it too. Objectifying women’s bodies harms all women. @katejbauer on instagram has been talking about this lately and I’ve appreciated all she’s had to say especially.
    Thanks for talking about this 💛

  91. You look so so beautiful. My goodness, everything looks good on you! But, you’re right, there are many more interesting things about you…..your amazing style, humor and intelligence, for instance.

  92. Can I just say that you look amazing! Thanks for posting and putting yourself out there. You are awesome and so beautiful.

  93. You’re cute. The bay skimpy one piece looks so good on you. 😀

  94. Thank you for being a positive body role model. You look beautiful!

  95. Check out Paula beachwear I love the one piece classic good suit

  96. Thanks for sharing all of these! They are so cute and your body is rocking girl!!


  97. These suits are gorgeous and all look great on you. It’s nice to see cute styles in a one-piece. I no longer wear bathing suits as I clock in at just shy of 200 pounds and can’t find anything that hides enough of me. But please, for the love of God, would you guys please do a bra roundup like you did that great swimsuit roundup last year for all kinds of bodies? I’m desperate for resources!

  98. I bought that Norma Kamali suit years ago and it is still going strong. Never would I think I would pay so much for a bathing suit but hers are worth it. In the same amount of time I would of had a few cheaper ones that did not make me feel as good. Just wished they were sized better for tall women with more room for adjustment on the straps. Heck that applies to anything with straps.
    Do have to admit my favorite running around in the water suit, really for when I am alone or being very active, is a well designed sport bra or razor back sport shirt with a built in bra and bike shorts. That is what I consider a really comfortable real world bathing suit. Love the Normas though.
    Congratulate you on going real world. No photoshop and a real, in shape body is a delight to see on somebody who not only talks the talk but actually walks the walk.

  99. Love love loved all the swimsuits…except the prices! Are you kidding me? $90-300?
    Sorry….too too high dollar to wear in a dirty lake or a pool that will eat the lovely ruffles off the suits in a few weeks time! How do I know? I teach water wellness in a pool 11-15 hours a week!

  100. I love the first suit and the floral the very best!!!
    Thank you for putting yourself out there 💗. It’s not easy being in a swimsuit sometimes. I imagine, it’s even scarier being photographed and then posted for all to see in the blogosphere 😲. You look wonderful!!! 🥰

  101. By the Bay red One Piece is so incredible! I would live in that. You look great and I’m so inspired by your courage to post this! Well done!

  102. Thank you for this gorgeous and color-filled post! I truly appreciate the vulnerability of putting yourself out there with these photos. Thank you for sharing!

  103. I love your fashion posts; they are so fun! I love the red suits, the color-block one, and the floral. (I find it odd when people complain about content of a post, if it’s not for you, just ignore!). Love your voice and your realness.

  104. Thanks for your real thoughts on making this post. As a lifelong swimmer, I’ve always felt great in an athletic one piece that is made to swim in. They might not always be cute, but they function, so I enjoyed looking at some new brands that might be a beach alternative to my classic functional workout suits. (Lap swimming requires a workhorse suit that will not drag or rub)
    Your notes on sizing are also appreciated (as well as your recognition that you are small!). Shopping online is a struggle as the typical models are so different my curvy busty frame. Brands like Madewell have gained my following, because they often include 2 sets of models in varying sizes.

  105. It’s funny how much things change from Country to Country. I’m Italian and here almost 100% of women of all ages wear bikinis. They don’t even sell suits as modest as most of those you tried on. We are not necessarily better fit, we just don’t care. I am 33, have a 1y old and I’m very slightly pregnant (you know, when you look fat, not pregnant), but I’m packing up my bikinis, and they are tiny too. Who cares…
    My mom (60y) also wears bikinis, although more modest. My grandma wore a bikini until well over 70, until she stopped going to the beach.
    I remember when I went to California I felt naked compared to others. Only at the campus pool I felt I blended in.

    Anyway, you look fab in most of the suits! I personally love the second one.

  106. This post is SO MUCH better than the other swimsuit post you did where you guys didn’t show any of them on. Like you’re saying, it makes such a difference to see a real woman wearing these bathing suits, rather than just linking to picture perfect models on a website. Thank you for sharing!!

  107. By the Bay!
    I mean really buy the bay…
    Hands down you’re rocking that suit!

  108. I love the realness of this post so much. So refreshing and inspiring! Way to go and thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. The internet needs more of this.

  109. Bravo… thank you for being vulnerable and love how you are supporting brands that are inclusive!

  110. As a mom myself, you are so beautiful. We worked hard to bring those kids into the world! You are rocking a voluptuous, feminine, gorgeous body. When you’re 90, you’ll look back and feel wistful for every little imperfection. Because you’re perfectly imperfect!
    Kudos for putting it out there. We all need to see more unedited, unglossed real life so we stop comparing paintings with humans.

  111. You look PERFECT in each and everyone of these swimsuits. I just want to buy all of them. Great Mommy options for beach day with the kiddos.
    Side not – Emily you are such a gorgeous beautiful woman, please consider replacing your brow studio. As someone with very hard to style brows (mine are really thin) I know how hard it is to find the perfect stylist, but once you find one – it’s winning the brow lottery. Your face will look entirely different, for the better.

  112. Red looks amazing on you! And I LOVE the floral, though I get not wanting to worry about a “slip.” And anyways, you’re just my favorite and I appreciate this post even if it was hard to do! I am always wanting to see what suits look like in real life and I’ve been on the hunt for a cute suit that I can feel comfortable in, so thank you!

  113. Thank you SO much, Emily — I don’t think you realize (though I hope you do!) how much this post means to so many. Not only do you look gorgeous (truly, I was only thinking ‘man, she looks so– in no particular order– STUNNING and PEACEFUL and CALM and KNOWING-HERSELF-Y while also looking so deeply beautiful in every single photo), but this is exactly a perfect example of what one of my favorites, Brene Brown, talks about when she says that there is no such thing as courage without true vulnerability. It may seem like a small thing to be vulnerable in this way, but it is a HUGE thing to so many in your audience to see such honesty and courage. Thank you so much. I smile thinking of Birdie and knowing how proud she is already and will be to have you as a mother (of course Charlie is and will continue to be too!!! But it’s different for mothers & daughters) The best gift my mother ever gave me was to teach me what my value was beyond my body, and it wasn’t easy for her to do so in a world that screams so loudly the exact opposite of that message day in and day out. You should be so proud of yourself!!! I’m honored to read every day, and while I would read every day no matter what (going on 6 years!), posts like this always make me feel proud to me a loyal reader. Thank you for your bravery (and amazing recommendations too!). Please always keep being exactly you — we love you!

    (As a quick aside, this recent post from Elizabeth Gilbert over the weekend made me think of this topic and would love to share with anyone who needs to hear it — I certainly did! https://www.facebook.com/GilbertLiz/photos/a.556279917787461/2451469518268482/?type=3&theater)

  114. Emily, these are awesome! Love this round-up and you look fab.

  115. You look amazing! I have the same issue and thoughts and a few years ago I went the black boy shorts & high neck tankini top route and have never looked back! I have really dark hair and my bikini line has always been an issue and with these tops there is way less boob concern. 3 years ago I had to dig to find a top that was cute and now brands have way more stylish colors and prints! https://athleta.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=405896002&CAWELAID=120299870000475125&CAGPSPN=pla&CAAGID=60443829540&CATCI=pla-554230160154&tid=atpl000007&kwid=1&ap=7&gclsrc=aw.ds&&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhcagrvi54wIVy8DACh1BMAhOEAQYASABEgKXFvD_BwE#pdp-page-content

  116. You look amaaaaazing, Emily! I can’t believe you can see any flaws. I definitely didn’t!

    I like a lot of these suits, but most of the price points are waaaaay out of my reach.

    I wanted to share that I just discovered a new swimsuit brand: JoLyn. They are pretty “swim team” but in a super stylish way! They make one pieces and two-pieces. So many different styles AND the BEST colors. Almost every style comes in 3 different color sets: brights, bolds, and darks. Some styles come in lights (pastels) too! Color is SUPER important to me, so this is a big deal for me.

    The fit seems great too. I’ve only ordered one suit, but I followed their sizing instructions and mine is perfect.

    And…I’m a mom to 2 young kids too, so I have to be pretty active with them in the pool or ocean. I should probably wear a one-piece (because my abs have yet to return after the C-section I had with my youngest 😒) BUT I love bikinis AND I’m not sure what size I would wear in a one-piece since I usually order a size bigger TOP than BOTTOM. 🤔

    Anyway: check out JoLyn everyone!

  117. For all the ladies looking for great support on top that’s also stylish and flattering, I’d like to recommend this new Minneapolis swim brand: https://shop.wildislesswim.com/

  118. I’m very late to this party but I wanted to say that I loved this post. Usually I skip the fashion posts because it is just not what I’m into, but this one felt more about loving yourself, rejecting others’ arbitrary and unrealistic standards, and wearing things that reflect your values. Those are all things that I can relate to and need a reminder of. Just wanted to say you go girl! 🙂

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