Everyone deserves to have a bathing suit they love. Feeling truly awesome is harder when you don’t have a swimsuit you’re really into–except when you’re wearing a long-sleeve bathing suit, because seriously, unless it’s a wetsuit, what is the point of these? I bring this up, by the way, in light of The Daily Mail noticing an alarming rate of growth in the long-sleeve swimsuit market among stores ranging from ShopBop to ASOS to Urban Outfitters (the leading provider of expensive discomfort)
Long-sleeve one-pieces are awful in nearly every way. As I have mentioned before, I absolutely hate tankinis. However, in the comments on my post about why plus-size women should wear bikinis, a commenter pointed out that tankinis offer the same coverage and look of a one-piece, but without the bathroom-related inconvenience of a one-piece. In the case of long-sleeve swimsuits, they are even more difficult to take off whenever you need to pee. I do not know how frequently that is for you as an individual, but I would assume it is at least once per day and much, much more often when you are drinking margaritas at your friend’s pool party.
Also, is it just me, or are the majority of the ones online pretty expensive? (Relatively speaking, of course. I’m the kind of person who thinks it’s a massive splurge to get a $68 bathing suit, so take that with a grain of salt.)
Comfort-wise, the long-sleeve swimsuit is not a frontrunner in the race for the most relaxing beachwear. Let’s say you’re at the beach. You get wet, then decide to get out and head to a nearby restaurant with your friends. You could just put on a beach coverup, but no! You don’t need it, you already have long-sleeves–you’re good, right? Except then those sleeves are still totally wet, just like the rest of your bathing suit from crotch to sternum and down to your wrists. Fun! The more fabric, the slower it dries; the more wet fabric your body is covered in, the more itchy you’re going to be whilst hanging out, enjoying the sun (or not, because you’ve chosen to conceal the majority of your body from it anyway).
But what about wetsuits? you wonder, aren’t those all long-sleeve and actually keep you drier? Yes! Indeed they do, because they’re made of specialized materials that are tested and proven to keep wearers dry for sports like surfing, waterskiing, and scuba diving. Patagonia‘s Women’s R1 Long-Sleeve Spring Wetsuit ($189) is made “with high-quality neoprene and a lightweight, fast-drying 50% recycled polyester lining,” and features an array of structural qualities that are intended to increase its performance abilities for the wearer. The ModCloth Best for Splash One-Piece Swimsuit ($130) and ShopBop Long Sleeve One Piece Swimsuit ($190) are both made with 80% nylon and 20% Spandex, so it’s almost exactly like wearing an American Apparel Nylon Tricot Long-Sleeve Bodysuit ($40) but into the water–and in the hot, hot heat. All day long. Ugh.
If you truly think that a long-sleeve swimsuit is for you, then by all means, go for it! After all, you do deserve to feel great in your bathing suit (and all the time, in all your clothes). But please, if you do opt for one, let me know if it is as terrible as I think it is.