ISO swimming top (tankini or otherwise) with specific requirements
December 28, 2021 12:19 PM   Subscribe

I have swim bottoms but need a top for actual swimming in a pool. This isn’t for anything particularly serious or competitive, but it has to hold up to chlorine and stay on when wet and on a moving body.

After reading some other swimsuit questions and poking around online, I got these two tankinis from Swimsuits for all. They are great! Except it turns out that they both have a tight bra lining that is attached only at the top (neckline, shoulder straps, and armhole). This means that pulling the top over my head from the waist doesn’t get it off my body - I have to also grab the bra part right under my armpits and pull it over my head. This is very uncomfortable for me, and I think it would only be worse when the top is wet.

I would like a tankini or similar that doesn’t have this sort of bra and can easily be fully lifted over my head when grabbed at the waist. I am size 14-16 but small-chested and I don’t need “support.” Unlined would be all right as long as it has a pattern, as that should sufficiently hide the, er, pointy bits. A bit of lining or a more fully integrated bra (such that it would move with the rest of the top if I pulled up from the waist) would also work. I am open to bra-like or traditional bikini-like tops, as long as they are somewhat modest and I don’t have to pull them over my head. I would also consider short sleeves, but don’t want long sleeves. Really a tankini would be perfect though.

Please give me some suggestions, from any source available in the US. I have poked around at some of the other sources mentioned in previous questions, but there is nothing in the description of these tankinis that would have warned me about this issue, even re-reading them now, so I don’t know how to know what would meet my requirements. So I thought I would see if any of you folks can recommend a specific top that you own or have seen in person.

(I otherwise like these tops enough that I considered cutting the bra out of the tops, but they are well-made and well-sewn over the entire neckline and armholes, so alas that wouldn’t work.)
posted by 2 cats in the yard to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total)
Best answer: On the tops you like, would it make them tolerable to sew down the bottom edge of the bra insert? I think a decent sewist/tailor/alterationist could do that with a bit of extra appropriate fabric to give it a deliberate belt-y/ribbon-y empire waist kind of look instead of just a inexplicable seam.

I would assume that SFA's zip-front tankinis would be less problematic and also MUCH easier to take off wet, and as such am about to order myself one. I didn't realize they existed until just now.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:59 PM on December 28, 2021 [2 favorites]

I have taken to wearing a bra in a color not totally obvious as a bra, and polyester tank top. Bras without a closure are just nope, esp. when wet.
posted by theora55 at 2:10 PM on December 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I also use a zip-front swimsuit similar to what Lyn Never linked to -- this isn't the exact one, but similar. I specifically bought it for ease putting it on & taking it off, after I had a back injury. And it is indeed very easy! (Googling, I see a company called SwimZip that was on Shark Tank, and they seem to have many different styles of zippered suits, including tank top separates. No idea about their quality though.)
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:11 PM on December 28, 2021

I'm not sure of your budget, but I like Popina in Portland, Oregon, and they have several styles of tankini that don't appear to have a shelf bra. I would call them and tell them what you are after and ask them which styles would meet your needs. Great question!
posted by happy_cat at 2:16 PM on December 28, 2021

Best answer: I have a zip-front tankini from SFA and it works really well. In the past I’ve also had tankinis from LL Bean and Lands End and they are comfortable and durable. I step into them and peel them off the same way after swimming.
posted by serendipityrules at 2:24 PM on December 28, 2021

How about Athleta? Or this high neck tankini. I really like their swimwear, durable and functional while still looking good.
posted by sizeable beetle at 6:44 PM on December 28, 2021

By any chance have you considered a rash guard? With or without sleeves, and with or without a swim bra under. There's a wealth of options available if you search various terms related to rash guard.
posted by daikaisho at 7:42 PM on December 28, 2021

Best answer: I have that exact same tankini top from Swimsuits For All and I hated the bra part as well. I turned it inside out and very carefully cut the bra part off. It's mostly made of a mesh fabric that cuts very easily and it's only attached to the other fabric in a few spots and I just made sure to cut on the non-swimsuit side.
posted by PurpleNico at 10:54 AM on December 29, 2021

Response by poster: Somehow I hadn’t even thought of a zipped style. That would be a good idea. But after reading PurpleNico’s comment and seeing an article about how many returned products just get thrown out, with some trepidation I cut the bra out of one of the tops and now it is just about perfect. I will do the other one tomorrow.
posted by 2 cats in the yard at 3:10 PM on December 30, 2021

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