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Welcome to our Modest Swimwear Guide

Modest swimwear is gaining broader appeal beyond the religious community, with sunburn protection being a major consideration. No longer a niche market, it appeals to both men and women, especially teenagers.

Gone are the days when modest swimwear was dowdy and embarassing, or looked like it was from the 1920's (maybe it's retro). Breathable, lightweight clothes are becoming popular as modest swimwear. If you prefer stylish modest swimming clothes over skinny swimsuits, you can still look good and have a lot of fun. The comfy swim clothes on this page avoid sunburn, feel pleasant in the water, and dry quickly in the breeze after your swim.

Modest Swim Clothes Advantages

  • Wholesome style with sun protection.
  • You can wear them when you're not swimming.
  • Comfy loose fit feels great both wet or dry.
  • Pockets take keys or money.
  • Pools like man-made fibres that shed no fluff to block the filters.
  • They dry quickly while you wear them.
  • They fold into a small stuff bag to take anywhere.

Indonesian Swimsuits


Look out for a soft breathable fabric. Most suits are made of a silky soft nylon or polyester fabric. The better ones are made of windproof Pertex, also very soft. The fabric should be quick drying and breathable. When used as modest swimwear waterproof is not important, so focus more on the feel and fit of the fabric.

Cool Cotton

Cotton shirts and jeans are ideal for warm climates as they dry slowly and keep you cool. Dark shirts provide better cover against sunburn. Sweatshirts, hoodies or anoraks go well with T-shirt and jeans. They just feel awesome when wet.

Fit and Feel

Apart from the right fabric, a good fit is very important. Arms and legs should be your normal size, not too long or short. Your modest swim clothes should be loose fitting to feel good. Too loose and they get in the way, too tight and they restrict your swimming movements or may rip.

Sun Lotion Alternative

Modest swim clothes are a comfortable alternative to traditional sun screen products. They remain wearable after you've been in the water and feel pleasant as they dry in the breeze. No need to get changed on the beach and drop your towel. The loose fit keeps you cool on hot days with good air circulation.

Hooded Swimsuits

Muslim women may enjoy these modest hooded suits. These sun suits are a great solution for playing on the beach or in the water.

If you have light sensitive skin, you may appreciate a hooded sun suit for the head protection it provides. The hood covers head, neck and ears without gaps. No need to carry a hat which could get lost.

Mix and Match

Matching anorak and pants make this a practical outfit on land or in the water. Combine different tops and bottoms for a new look every day. This swimming outfit packs into a small pocket that you can take anywhere, just in case you fancy a swim or other fun in the sun.

You can find these generic suits in the adventure or rain wear section of good sports shops or department stores. Check also the boating, golf or hiking sections. You can sometimes buy them cheaply in the local markets, even second hand. Cost ca. €20 to 40.

Tops with no zip or just a short zip are less bulky and easier to swim in, while long zips let you adjust for more ventilation. Some suits have a zipped chest pocket so you can keep keys or money with you.

Travel Advice for South and East Asia

Modest swimwear is the norm in most of Asia. From Pakistan up to Korea and all the way to Indonesia local people swim in clothes. Modesty is one reason, the other is that they don't want a tan that looks common and downmarket, like they work in the rice fields.

As a polite traveller you do well by following these customs out of respect for their traditions. This will be much appreciated by the locals.

Go Casual

Casual clothes are the modest swimwear of choice in most of Asia for both men and women. A tan is often avoided because pale skin is considered more fashionable. Modesty and sun protection are major considerations. Wet clothes keep you cool in hot weather. No need to get changed when you want to go for a swim.

modest swimwear
modest swimwear

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