Gone are the days of me standing in the JC Penny dressing room and trying on a limited selection of swimwear and feeling awful in all of them. Cute and sustainable swimwear options have blown up online and there is no shortage of feel-good suits to choose from. Here are five swimsuits and two cover ups that I am trying this season.
By Lisa Fennessy
IN THIS POST:
I haven’t bought a new swimsuit in over three years, so this season I’m hitting refresh and I’m doing it sustainably.
I have a couple of pain points when it comes to swimwear. First, I’m not afraid to wear a two-piece, which I do sometimes, but I’m just more comfortable in a one-piece. The problem is I’m 5’11” so almost all one-pieces are way too short on me. It’s the same reason I can’t wear cute jumpsuits either. *All the #tallgirls say AMEN!
Second, I want to feel cute—so I’m looking for something with some pizazz. Some style. Some personality. I’m not looking for anything plain-Jane boring.
Third, I want my suits to be sustainable. Right now this can mean a couple of things but mostly it means suits that are made with a majority of:
- ECONYL, a fiber made from upcycled nylon fishing nets, tulle, textile waste and other unwanted materials.
- Polyester made from recycled plastic bottles.
Most brands will also add some elastane in for some stretch, so the swimsuit functions as a traditional swimsuit.
I’m also looking for swimwear that’s ethically made, pays fair wages and offers healthy working conditions. And, icing on the cake is when brands have OEKO-TEX certification, which means the suit has been tested and certified free of toxins.
Here’s what I’m trying this season.
RELATED: Read my top picks on sunless tanners to bring that glow when you hit the beach.
My Top 5 Sustainable Swimwear One-Pieces
I like the idea of a suit that kinda looks like a shirt so you can throw a pair of jean cutoffs over it and bop from taco stand to ice cream shop to bathhouse looking fully dressed. Although when I put this suit on for the first time I was like, I’m never taking this off because I’m channeling hardcore C.J. Parker Baywatch vibes and I’m here for it.
I mean, how good do my boobs look here?! Oddly enough there is a good amount of support, even when this suit is unbuttoned all the way down. I also love that it’s very lightly padded (with removable cups) too because well, we all know why.
Love that it’s also long enough for my long torso and love the fuller bum cut. Believe it or not I’m wearing a medium here and I always (ALWAYS) take at least a large in swimwear so I would say this runs big for sure.
And lastly, love that you can button up if you need more coverage, although when I button mine, it pulls a bit so I just prefer to wear it fully unbuttoned. Plus it’s cuter that way.
Fabric Content: 82% nylon and 18% spandex
- Ships in polybags made from recycled plastics.
- Uses woven tags made from 100% recycled polyester.
- Uses hang tags are made from FSC recycled paper stock.
- Does not send any unnecessary paper inserts in shipments.
- Is currently in the process of transitioning all fabrics to recycled nylon.
- Is improving freight practices and the emissions they produce.
- Partnered with Ecocart for a more sustainable check-out experience.
- Ensures workers have access to safe work environments, receive fair wages, and paid time off.
- Requires sustainability certifications from all their textile vendors to ensure suits are made with recyclable materials
This suit has been a lifesaver this summer. For those days when you know you are about to get too much sun—THIS!
Great for boat days when you are in the sun all day long but don’t really know how much sun you are getting. This was so good when we took out a pontoon and did tubing and crashed some sandbars like we were putting in a full day’s work.
Also great for sports too. I’m not a surfer but one day I took a lesson and I felt so comfortable like nothing was going to pop out and I wasn’t getting any rashes. But you can even layer it over a bikini if you wanted to just use it for an hour or two of paddle boarding or boogie boarding or whatever beach sport you like.
It’s also a great option for the end of a beach vacation when you’ve been been slathering on zinc all week and your skin just needs a rest from all that. With SPF 50+, I know I’m covered.
Love the zip down look, fuller bum, full arm and chest coverage and also super easy to throw some shorts over and bop from place to place.
Wearing a size L here.
- UPF 50 Sun Protection
- Removable Chest pads
- Medium Support
- Medium Coverage
- Built-in shelf bra
- 82% Recycled Poly/18% Spandex
- 95% of their line is made from recycled, upcycled, and organic materials.
- 100% swimwear is made from sustainable fabrics
- Keeps five plastic bottles out of the landfill with each swimsuit
- Utilizes planet-first packaging.
LONDRE is now my new favorite swimwear site. I’m talking on-trend, flattering, high quality swimsuits that feel good and look good. Put it this way, I never imagined myself wearing a high-cut bum, but the way these suits are cut and cinched, I’m actually like, Wait, I look cute in this!
The only reason I even gave it a try is because LONDRE’s marketing shows a wide range of body types wearing each suit and every woman looked so good, I was like, Maybe I can do this too?
I also love that the material here is a double lined compression material. It’s thicker so I feel tucked in and secure like nothing is going to accidentally pop out.
But what really made all my tall girl dreams come true is they even offer a “long” option. I ordered a long large. This long option actually fits me perfectly which makes me wonder how it would fit someone who is 6’ 2”? (I’m 5’11” for reference.)
LONDRE suits are made of polyester, spandex and chitosante. Chitosante is made out of shells from the shellfish industry that would have otherwise been discarded. According to the brand, chitosante is durable, nontoxic, naturally antibacterial, antimicrobial and odor resistant.
- Offers a recycling program where suits are rejuvenated into new materials.
- Offers a repair program for suits younger than 1 year old.
- Uses shipping materials that are compostable and recyclable.
- Has a textile factory that is OEKO-TEX 100 certified.
- Uses water during production that is free of chemicals and is able to be reused.
- Uses dyes that are nontoxic and free of harmful chemicals.
- Is based in Vancouver and workers are paid fairly.
- Made in small batches.
- Continues to donate to environmental and women’s health initiatives including Amazon Watch and The Ocean Clean Up Project.
I went with their best selling suit THE MINIMALIST, which has a low coverage back, flattering butt cut and a low scoop front. #socute
But the best part? I picked up this suit for less than $100! Now I kinda want one in white too.
RELATED: Check out my picks for the best sustainable white t-shirt.
Um, how cute is this suit?! Fell in love initially for two reasons. First, a turtleneck?! YASSS! Love that this suit provides all the chest coverage and it actually looks good too.
Makara says this suit doubles as a shirt/bodysuit which I’m not 100% sold on, but I can see why they would say that. Maybe if I lived in Bali or Kauai, I would feel different.
Second, I love the full coverage and functionality of this suit. I can run, play, swim, surf (I mean, if I knew how to surf, I would feel good surfing in this)…all with full coverage and full STYLE. The bum on this suit is cut slightly high but I would still consider it full bum coverage and there is no fear of anything popping out as I hang ten or dive playing volleyball.
Some fun surprises are that this suit is actually made for people with longer torsos. I ordered the large and it fits snug and is long enough. I also love the zipper extension in the back so I can fully dress and undress myself. And I love that they chose white for the zipper as a fun accent.
Makara suits are made with 78% ECONYL (recycled regenerated nylon lycra made from ocean waste) and 22% elastane.
- Produced in small batches.
- Practices zero-waste by using fabric scraps to make accessories like scrunchies or bikini bottoms.
- Supports small, surfer-girl communities in Indonesia who can afford sustainable swimwear.
- Supports beach clean ups in Bali.
- Collaborates with Healthy Seas and Aquafil SpA.
- Made in a small, Indonesian family-run factory with fair wages.
- Suits offer SPF 50 protection.
- Uses minimalist packaging with suits arriving in a small linen bag.
I’ve been obsessed with Pattern Village ever since I got their Tropical Bliss Dressing Gown (made from 100% recycled polyester), which is so fresh and fun to wear around the house as a robe OR as a beach coverup.
So it was only right to try their recycled swimwear as a natural next step. I went with their Safari Lust suit, which is a fun giraffe pattern with a plunging neckline and a cheeky bum. (All of a sudden I’m so swimsuit daring after LONDRE made me feel like a supermodel in a cheeky bum—lol.)
This suit is made from 100% recycled polyester made from rPET yarn (no additional materials like elastane), so there is no stretch and it does not cling to the body like a traditional swimsuit. Because of this, I would categorize this as more of a lounge-wear bathing suit. Not ideal for romping in the sand or hanging 10 (read: your boobs will pop out), but uber chic for sitting by the pool and asking for margarita refills.
This is also a tall girl option because it comes with adjustable straps.
Pattern Village also:
- Offers UPF 50 sun protection.
- Is a lined suit, so it’s not see-through.
- Ships in a compostable outer with an FSC certified sticker and tissue paper.
- Plants one tree for every dressing gown purchased.
- Is manufactured in Brooklyn, NY.
- Uses fabric that’s tested PFAS-free and certified by Interteck.
Pattern Village is continuing to add new patterns so be sure to check back!
My Top 2 Sustainable Swimwear Cover Ups
I saw this and knew I had to have it. Super cute for the beach but you can also layer it for everyday wear too. Comes in a full length option too.
Pros: cute, layerable, stylish
Cons: no bum coverage, no warmth and tends to get caught on things that stick out like hooks on doors etc.
Wearing a size medium and I would say this runs TTS.
- Materials: 100% Organic Cotton
- OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certification (certificate # SHYO 048142)
- Open knit crochet, unlined. Intended to be worn over a swimsuit or cami.
- Drop shoulders, hip length, relaxed sleeves
- Partners with factories who have a commitment to responsible production.
- Is eliminating all virgin plastic throughout all packaging.
- Is transitioning to 100% compostable packaging by the end of the year.
- Ships directly from the factory to the consumer to reduce the carbon footprint.
I’ve had this coverup for two years now and it’s a gem. So cute right?!
Pros: Doubles as a shirt, looks cute tied up, buttoned or undone, long enough to cover bum, color is everything.
Cons: A little scratchy but gets better with every wash, doesn’t provide much SPF protection.
- Made from 100% Linen
- This breathable material is earth friendly and biodegradable.
- Shell buttons
Vitamin A also:
- Created EcoLux™—the first premium swim fabric made from recycled nylon fibers.
- Use only recycled and plant-based materials.
- Give back a portion from every sale to organizations that protect our oceans through partnership with 1% For The Planet.
- Sustainably manufactures in California, USA.
- Works with vertically integrated facilities where everything from dyeing to knitting is done in one location whenever possible.
- Partners globally with fair trade artisans to produce materials ethically, providing women with fair-wage jobs in safe working conditions.
- Utilizes digital printing to reduce water use (since it requires less wash and rinse cycles) and fabric waste (since they can adjust a print to fit a garment).
- Utilizes low energy and eco-friendly office practices.
- Ships in mailers that are 100% recycled, recyclable, and biodegradable.
- Packages each garment in a flap and seal bag that’s 100% biodegradable, recyclable and backyard compostable.
Do you have a favorite sustainable swimwear brand you love? Shout it out in the comments!
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We see two main fabrics: 1) ECONYL, a fiber made from upcycled nylon fishing nets, tulle, textile waste and other unwanted materials and 2) Polyester made from recycled plastic bottles. Learn more about sustainable swimsuits here.