Today, we are tackling a delicate but vitally important topic: how we might help trans women look and feel their best in swimwear to conquer bathing suit anxiety. Trans women feel the same pressures and anxieties about swimwear as any other woman, but often deal with certain issues specific to their needs which require, and deserve, special attention and consideration. Lands’ End is committed to helping everyone enjoy the fun and pleasure of an active lifestyle that includes the delights of the beach or pool—water and sunshine are one of the great joys of life, for everybody, and every body. And when we say every body, we mean every body.
Generally, fashion articles on this blog will feature “Five Tips to. . .” or similar. Here, we are going to pull back from our usual position of educating and editorializing and instead amplify the voices of the trans women we interviewed. We understand that no one person speaks for the whole community, and at the same time accept that good allyship is about holding space, creating or sharing platforms, and amplifying less-heard voices. Then we’ll share some styling ideas, because we just can’t help ourselves!
One woman pointed out that a conversation about swimwear for trans women is desperately needed within the context of helping feminine-presenting women with the pressure they face to meet impossible beauty standards. This is bathing suit ground zero for all women, and something that we at Lands’ End are committed to alleviating in any way we can. There are as many ways to be attractive as there are women in the world; looking like a photoshopped supermodel is simply unimportant when compared to the realities of being active, having fun and making memories with your loved ones! We definitely have ideas to share about this—consider reading our blog posts on overcoming bathing suit anxiety, and consider some of the styling tips included here.
More specifically, trans women and non-binary people who present themselves with a feminine-leaning aesthetic may face a lot of anxiety around swimwear because they want swim pieces that fit their body contour and do not exacerbate feelings of body dysphoria. Meaning, trans women are sometimes just looking for swimwear that doesn’t make them feel greater anxiety about or dissatisfaction with their bodies; looking and feeling great can seem like a very tall order when having one’s basic swimwear needs met is already a challenge. And, one of our interviewees added, that is outside of the very real concerns of feeling safe in public changing and swim areas. Especially for people who don’t feel truly comfortable in any fully binary space, the reality of preparing for a day of fun in the water is trickier than loading up on sunscreen and choosing the best monogrammed beach towel to complement your new Tugless Tank.
So now, I’m talking to you. Yes, you. When we say “every body,” we absolutely mean every body. We encourage every Lands’ End shopper to build their ideal swimwear ensemble with mix and match separates if that’s what makes them feel like their best, most confident self, and the plethora of separates available these days mean that your ideal swim ensemble can be anything from an “itsy bitsy” bikini to skirted swim capris and a long sleeved rash guard. Most importantly, both of those options and everything in between are completely acceptable at any beach or pool. Everyone, from toddlers to grandparents, of every gender expression, of every fashion sensibility, from the most conservative to the most flamboyant, is wearing whatever they like from the vast array of swimwear readily available both online and in brick-and-mortar stores. If you want to be covered head to toe for sun protection, modesty’s sake, or to ensure your privacy, you can, and in all likelihood no one will even notice!
At Lands’ End, for example, the swim bottoms available in our women’s swimwear collection range from traditional low-rise bikini briefs to skirted swim capris which reach well below the knee and feature a skirt for complete coverage and privacy. If you want a full-coverage brief, we have that! Flirty little skirt? Take your pick! Board shorts for maximum ease and comfort? Just name your ideal inseam length! Pair any swim bottoms you like with a swim top you love and build your ideal bathing suit. This is especially great because whatever feature you love, you can lean into, while perhaps covering more of another area. Beautiful shoulders are well-framed in a racerback style, a terrific bosom is well-suited to a sweetheart neckline, and gorgeous gams are all the lovelier in a retro-inspired shirred skirt. Something for every body.
If you prefer a one-piece bathing suit for their traditional good looks, you’ll find a wide variety of options to suit your needs and taste. Or perhaps feminizing your swimwear look is a priority? You might consider a full-skirted swim dress, or even an offering from our Mastectomy Swimwear line, which all feature secure pockets for swim prosthesis. Whether your taste is modest, athletic, or something with maximum va-va-voom, we truly believe we have a one-piece that will suit your look, your mood, and your needs.
This is a new area for us, and we are eager to be good allies. Our interviewees expressed that sometimes their bathing suit anxiety stemmed from being a woman and feeling the pressures of Western beauty ideals, but that sometimes, 100% of their bathing suit anxieties were a product of being trans, worried that they would be unwelcome. . . or worse. We understand that trans people face realities that many in the fashion industry do not face and perhaps cannot fully understand, and at the same time we at Lands’ End are determined to try. We affirm that the trans community, as well as everyone else, deserves the joy and pleasure of a healthy, active lifestyle that includes fun in the sun and water. Everyone automatically deserves respect simply because they are human. No matter your taste or gender expression, if you wish to shop among women’s swimwear, we are eager to help you find something to help you look and feel your best, most amazing self. We offer high-quality swimwear for everybody, and every body. Every body.