Styled Out: A butch’s guide to bathing suits


Oh, my little queer darlings! Wouldn’t you know it? Swimsuit season is upon us!

It’s taking awhile for it to warm up here where I reside in the Pacific Northwest but a plea from a Styled Out reader for recommendations on swimsuits for ladies of the butch persuasion has prompted this post. You ask and I deliver! Plus, you know that I’m always full of suggestions and giving advice is, like, my third favorite thing to do. My number one and two favorite things are either unmentionable or destined for future columns — I’ll leave that bit of mystery for you.

If your local pool will allow, I suggest pairing a plain, full coverage one-piece with a pair of swimming trunks. The one piece can undoubtedly be feminine but when coupled with the right shorts, I think you’ll start to feel a bit less on display.

Roxy is a great place to look for board shorts that are designed for women but are not overtly lipstick, if you know what I’m saying. I especially like the Premium board shorts because they are not too long or too short and come in a couple of colors for one to choose from. The Reef shorts in their wet suit collection are a good choice too, as they’re more elastic and look like a longer version of the boy short style i.e., you’ll likely get less lip from lifeguards concerned about your shorts getting snagged on their slides or whatever with these guys. Your call, though.

I’m a fan of the tankini for a lady desiring to play down the femininity of her swimwear simply for the fact that it’s relatively easy to find a cut that averts attention from your breasts and almost entirely covers your middle and gives you the option to choose the style of bottom that’s right for you. Gap actually makes a very modest tank and they have a lot of solid prints this season, per usual, so you’ll have no trouble finding something a bit more plain if that’s what you’re aiming for.

If you can’t find a top that meets your standards, I say find a tank top that is tight enough to hold up to water and wear it with a pair of the fore mentioned longer board shorts. It’s important to remember that materials like cotton will sag and look like hot hell if you try and wear it in the pool so opt for something that’ll stay up, preferably something with some nylon or spandex in it. I like the coverage on North Face’s Cayenne racer back sport’s tank.

If you don’t like this particular style or are looking to cut corners and aren’t specifically shopping name brands, no problem. Just make sure to check the label to ensure that whatever you choose to by will retain it’s elasticity when submerged in water.

What’s your butch beach wear solution?

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