India and I have been embroiled in a debate for the better part of the summer over her desire to wear a bikini.  Or, as she called it, “the kind of bathing suit that is like underwear, but with triangles over your breasts”. 

Except she’s four.  And doesn’t have breasts.

This debate is coming quite a bit sooner than I expected.  India’s argument?  Everyone else is wearing them.  And you know?  For the most part, she’s right.  Everywhere we go, girls her age are wearing bikinis.  It’s even been difficult for me to shop for full-coverage suits because the market for bikinis is apparently so strong.  They are everywhere.

My argument?  It’s three-fold:

1. I’m a fan of using swimwear with SPF.  Sunscreen is full of chemicals, and rash guards are an easy and natural way to protect the skin of my fair-skinned children.  Alright, I make my not-fair-skinned children wear rashgaurds, too.  But still, bikinis expose a whole lot of skin to the elements, and provide a lot more opportunity for burnt skin.


2. At four, I think bathing suits should be about function over fashion, and there is NO WAY you can convince me that tugging on a triangle top and skimpy bottoms makes it easier for girls to be active. At this age, the point of swimwear should be playing.  Not posing on a lounge chair.

3. I just don’t think little girls need to wear bikinis.  There I said it.  It’s not age-appropriate.  I’m kind of judgey about it.

If I had my way, India would be wearing a suit with a rashguard and boy shorts or a skirt.  Something cute and feminine, but something that won’t ride up if she’s running or swimming, and that will offer a lot of sun protection.  Or a swimdress!  Like this:


But she’s been fighting me on it consistently.  She really, really wants a bikini. 

Last week, I was buying up some of the sale swimwear at Lands End, and wanted to let her make some choices in the hopes that it would quiet some of the bathing suit drama.  This is what I wanted to buy:

swimsuit modest

Cute and feminine, lots of sun protection.  A swimsuit that will let her look like a little girl and be free to play without readjusting her top.  She was completely opposed to this option.  Her choice?
swimsuit bikini
She begged, I mean BEGGED for this little bikini.  I said no.  I actually think this one is pretty tame, but I also feel like if I cave right now, there will be no turning back.   I’m holding my bikini boundaries.  We finally settled on this: 
swimsuit one piece

Less coverage than I would like for being at the beach all day, but it’s a compromise.

I’m curious, though.  Why are so many little girls wearing bikinis?  What’s the appeal? And why are so many moms buying them? Does your daughter wear one?  Did you cave to the pressure, or do you think I’m being too Amish about it?

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