Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Return of The One-Piece Swimsuit

MODEL Katherine McLeod

What has happened to the one-piece bathing suit? It seems to have disappeared from pool sides, sea shores, and swimsuit racks around the world. While there was a time when it epitomized chic, it's now only reserved for a select few soccer moms, plus-size women, or seniors who would rather not show everything off. Are these the only women with any modesty left?

Recently, I decided it was time to join the ranks of the modest few, though modesty had little to do with it. The reasoning behind my decision? If everyone else was going to wear bikinis, then a one-piece had to be most stylish the way to go. Don't get me wrong, I've been known to don an itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny, but after seeing women, their babies, their mothers, and their mother's mothers wearing skimpy bikinis I came to the conclusion that this trend has run its course.

There was a time when girls around age 12 understood that wearing a bikini signified their passage into teen-dom. But that time is no longer. Back then, little girls ran around in a one-piece suit or just bottoms dreaming about the day their mothers would allow them to wear bikinis. Now, there seems to be no age requirements, as tots happily strap on flappy little triangle tops that never seem to stay in place for the obvious lack of anchorage.

The same goes for women. Ladies used to draw a line somewhere around age 25 that signified their ascension into Womanhood. Once out of their early twenties, they decided that it was much more dignified to wear a one-piece suit. Dignity? Who needs that? We've got freedom! Where has it gotten us? Well, for one thing, women are left in a rather awkward position when ordering a drink at the poolside bar with everything just hanging out. If that woman is not you, then you're most likely staring at her.

In this respect, the one-piece is the true liberator. You don't have to worry if anything is falling out, or if anyone has noticed the way your tummy wobbles when you walk. You can relax and be the image of self confidence every woman should be when showing their figure off. And let's face it, wearing a one piece is not exactly the same thing as wearing a curtain. When asked, men like ladies in bikinis, one-pieces, nude, whatever. Most guys aren't that picky. The female figure is sexy however you want to display it.

But aside from the freedom from self-consciousness, the one-piece offers several other advantages: for a lady who is more well-endowed the physical support that many one-piece suits have to offer is unmatchable in a bikini top. Some one-piece suits come engineered with additional structure built in to help avoid that unflattering chest flattening, and to help support our feminine form. Secondly, many one-piece suits present a woman's figure as athletic even when she is not so inclined. The one-piece is still the silhouette of choice for Olympians and ballerinas alike. That reference to health and fitness is one most women should love when putting on a bathing suit.

Then there is allure. Admittedly, most women want to draw eyes when they put on a swimsuit. But in a sea of bikinis and belly buttons, there are very few women who actually can draw any attention without making a spectacle of themselves. However, the one-piece bathing suit strikingly stands out amongst all of the bikinis with its bold, block silhouette. It creates mystery, leaving much to a viewer's imagination. I'd rather leave people wishing to see more than begging to see less.

Here's where many of my readers might say, "But I'm wishing for more..." sun, that is. The biggest argument most women have with the one-piece is the tan line. I'm personally too fair to bother with tanning, slathering on 30+ sunblock in order to avoid skin damage, wrinkling, and cancer. But for those ladies who do tan, I would suggest trading out multiple suits with different neck and back lines to avoid the same tan line repeatedly. Same rule applies for your bikinis, and you could even interchange your bikinis and one-piece suits to make sure that you get that even tan you're working towards.

I hope this has gotten some of you ladies out there to reconsider the one-piece swimsuit as an option. Please let me know if any of you still wear a one-piece. I'd be interested to hear about any additional benefits that I've overlooked.

Best wishes,


Amy said...

You've left me a believer. I love the V-neck one the best.

Carrie said...

I like them but I have a long torso and finding a one piece that fits (and I can afford) is not easy. I usually go with a 2 piece.

Eliza said...

Hello Carrie,
I feel your pain! I'm rather long thought the body too. I find vintage suits generally have a longer fit, but also some of the more sport related lines, like Speedo, come in long torso. Another alternative is halters, which allow you to adjust the length. Don't be discouraged. If you really want to wear a one-piece set your mind to the one you dream of, and I promise it's out there.

best wishes,

Anonymous said...

i wear a one-piece often and love it! i feel fab and glamourous--especially if i pair it with my huge floppy hat. mine is black with a deep deep front V and a low back. gorgeous--and somehow--feels more daring and sexy!

Anonymous said...

I am a guy who finds women in a one piece MORE attractive. Modesty is just appealing to me, and also I think the one piece flatters a woman's figure better than a bikini. And I am an artist so I feel qualified to make the observation I have posted here :)

Raphael said...

I am a guy who also loves a onepiece swimsuit on a lady. They are somehow so much more attractive than a bikini, sexy even...maybe more to the imagination?

Perhaps strangely, a girlfriend of mine had me wear one of her onepieces during intimate times and i have to admit i loved it. The feel of the spandex fabric was great....what do you think of guys being able to wear a onepiece also?

E.J. Starbuck said...

Hello Raphael,
I say go where your heart desires! I absolutely love the way the on piece swimsuits of the 1920's looked on men. A sort of wresler- style suit could be a very cool new way to present men's swim at the beach.

best wishes,

Anonymous said...

The power of the imagination is not to be denied. The movement of a woman's body beneath certain clothing is a powerful thing to me, and to many men. The model here is beautiful, and the plain black suit is perfect. It would be even better to see her moving in it. It communicates on many levels, not the least of which is cool intelligence (don't ask me why). There's not so much of the "hey, look at me! (or perhaps look at these!").

Anonymous said...

Nicely Said, I hope that more woman will follow your lead and get back into One-Piece suits, they are so much more mysterious and alluring.

Anonymous said...

Last summer my wife and her sister went to Cape Cod for a few days. The women are Chinese, and my sister in law is fairly tall. She wore a light blue one piece that was made for a shorter woman, which left it a bit tight at the bottom, giving a wonderful view, especially in front. Guys, think about it! Men, we need to get the word out, one piece swimsuits can be sexier than bikinis!

Anonymous said...

I just love wearing a one-piece and have several. They are far sexier than a bikini and you have such a choice of styles too. My favourite is the high leg athletic suit sometimes with a high neckline too.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that i think modestity is more attractive then sluttly..bikini= slutty. lets bring back the 1920s

Anonymous said...

I just love how one piece swimsuits feel. I love how they feel on the stomach, especially after a swim. There's nothing better than standing in the waist high water in the pool and pulling on the suit and having it do the suction thing and slurpy noise.. SSSHHLLUPPP

jennifer jane said...

I'm a little late to the picture,
but I wear a one piece.

I've become tired of the shopping around bikinis.
Nothing ever matches and when you've got curves like me, you're in trouble. Even if your tummy is flat and tight.

There's something classy about the one piece, although I admit, that I always felt a bit of a granny in one.

Thanks for this post, it was nice to stumble across and now I feel a bit better, and a little less granified.

Ashley said...

I love to rock a one piece! I wear both, but a one piece is key if you are actually swimming. I love your photos with this post

Anonymous said...



Mitchking said...

I realize that by now this is out of date, but the one piece is by far the most. Most what? Practically the most of whatever category you'd choose. Most sexy. Most hiding. Most elegant. Keep going, it's all that and more. Not to mention you are a wonderfully lovely woman.

Remember the 1940's movies where the camera pans out of the room, through the window, to show the waves crashing on shore? This is the one piece. Another simile while I'm rambling, is when you read a book even though the author may take great pains to give enough details that fourteen people in a room will all imagine the same character, each will still put a bit of their own imagination into the equation such that they're each unique.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. I wish more people would follow the same stories as well...

Thanks for sharing, and letting me as well.

Anonymous said...

Hi again,
I wrote a comment a way back. I now wear a onepiece swimsuit often. I have a pretty unisex looking one i wear to the beach, pool, gym, an cycling. It is a Speedo Hydrasuit style one, high neck, zipper back lycra. It FEELS AMAZING....I;m in love! it is black. I sometimes wear bike shorts over it as it is not a super low cut and but respectable still. not too many comments when wearing it, or even looks.

I have had to introduce my wife to my love, and she LOVES me in my swimsuits, particularly during intimate times.. I have got her a matching one by a different brand (zedar).. she is a size 20 and looks (and feels) fantastic in it.


Roy said...

Very well presented and articulated. Like I tell my wife, her one piece suits act more like the beautiful wrapper on a piece of candy as opposed to the bikini which gives too much away.

By the way--my wife has an amazing collection of vintage leotards that work beautifully as swimsuits. She is going to begin selling some of her collection (the pieces that have never been owned before) and can be contacted at lauradeyoung@hotmail.com. Here is a look at some of the suits.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the earlier post by Raphael. I myself love a 1 pc suit on a woman, and think it's time men started wearing them too. Unfortunately in our narrow minded society, I don't think it would ever happen where a man can openly go to a beach and/or pool with a one piece. I myself have a few one pieces that I would love to openly wear out in public. Maybe the recent appearance of Justin Timberlake in that video in whcih he's sporting a black leotard might change things for guys like me. I for one do not see what the big deal is, and I believe a man should wear whatever he wants. But until society can accept it, I guess I can only dream of ever wearing any of my 1 pieces in public *sigh*. Here's a you tube vid I would like to share about men in "women's" swimwear... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0On7Hs9-mM

Anonymous said...

I am 15, and i am very short, about 5'3", very skinny and athletic. I can barley find a one-piece that fits without it slumping in some places, that it really shouldn't. I wear BOTH kinds, bikini and one-piece, and BOTH look stunning on me. I usually wear the one-piece bathing suits kinds that celebs wear (with a showing stomach, back, and sides). I don't look 15, i look like 18-21. (hence- breasts and buttox, very big). It's very hard for me to find something that will fit PERFECTLY for my body, like stomach, back, buttox, and breast areas. Any help? My URL is here.

Anonymous said...

hi, i am 12 years old and i am like the girls you described; one-peices until you are a teen. i have always felt secure in a one peice, but now i want a 2 peice. :/ my mom made a comprimise with me : i get one 2 peice(bikini top with shorts on the bottom) and one one-peice. so this summer i get my first 2 peice... im so excited: branching out a little, but im still keeping a modest style. Hope you have found this helpful, I've found your blog VERY helpful!


Anonymous said...

As I don't like showing off my legs i went for a two-piece, but its a tankini - shorts and a top with only a small gap inbetween, so this is almost as good as a one piece!

Anonymous said...

I wrote to the Speedo company and requested that they make men's one piece swimsuits. They are very important to those that got skin cancer or are prone to skin cancer, and make you swim faster for best performance.

Take care.

Sean Gilfillan said...

i am 16 male and i find womans one piece swimsuits comfy and quite warm to wear under my clothes(i live in shetland its very cold up here)they are also more protective from the sun so i think more guys should wear them
another note for modest guys they are good too

Shen said...

Je suis un homme et je ne porte que des une pièce à la piscine comme à la plage. C'est très esthétique et cela me va bien.

libertomx said...

as a male, i like both: women who wears one piece swimsuit, and I am a male that wears single piece swimsuit.

AS you said, being a male, it's a liberating experience, you can concentrate on your swiming and you dont have a string or elastic band cutting your waist, you can do whatever jump or acrobatics you like and not worry about something falling os slipping.

Search for "men wearing single piece swimsuit" is like "men wearing skirts":; if women dont like them anymore, there is a lot of men who will like to become socially acceptable to be worn by males.