What swimwear to wear is a tough topic for people with scoliosis. For many, they would simply rather not go to the beach at all for fear of revealing their condition. But is that any way to live?
If you have scoliosis and are currently asking this question, know that you’re not alone. There are many people who, whether they have scoliosis or not, do not want to reveal too much skin on the beach.
For instance, some people may be overweight, some may have scars or are disfigured, some have embarrassing tattoos, some simply don’t want the attention, some are struggling with self-image issues, and some do it for religious reasons. Not all of it is comparable to scoliosis, but know that you’re not alone in feeling self-conscious and wanting to cover yourself up to feel comfortable.
For people with scoliosis or other conditions, what is the optimal swimsuit? There are currently no specific “scoliosis swimsuits”. You can try wearing a one-piece swimsuit made with stretchier materials so that they are more comfortable to wear. If one-piece swimsuits are a no-go, you could wear a bikini with a cover-up or a tankini. You could also just have a friend hand you a towel as soon as you get out of the water so you can cover yourself up. Lastly, if you have long hair, you can just let it down to cover your back.
Alternatively, if you are feeling confident, you don’t have to hide your scoliosis. Once you’re in the water, no one can even tell you have that condition anyways. Plus, oftentimes most people won’t even notice unless you specifically draw attention to it by making self-deprecating remarks or making a big deal out of it.
In this article, we want to give some advice regarding the types of swimwear available for people who are feeling self-conscious, whether that’s due to scoliosis or otherwise. That way, you can get a swimsuit you like so that you can finally enjoy the beach on your terms.
Swimsuit options for people with scoliosis
If you never thought you’d be able to wear a two-piece swimsuit, tankinis might just change your mind. Think of this like a hybrid between a one-piece and two-piece swimsuit. It has the coverage of a one-piece swimsuit, but the flexibility of a two-piece swimsuit in that you can mix and match tops and bottoms.
Tankinis are surprisingly good at covering scoliosis, especially if you also have long hair. However, there may be a perception that tankinis are only for younger women, like bikinis, but tankinis are much more modest and more socially acceptable for anybody of any age to wear. Maybe look for one that is less frilly if you don’t want to have that early-teen look and to reduce the chances of it riding up.
Bikinis with ruffles
Bikinis are probably the most comfortable type of bathing suit for people with scoliosis to wear, but essentially you’d have to expose your back which can be nerve-wracking.
For more coverage, you can try wearing a thicker bikini or a bikini with ruffles. Basically, anything that has more fabric will obscure more of your body and draw attention away from your back.
A loose tank top, t-shirt, or cover-up over your swimwear
Wearing a loose-fitting garment over your swimwear is a great option because it’s comfortable, looks cute, and most girls at the beach are doing it as well. You could even wear it into the water. You might get some looks, but ultimately no one really cares or notices once you’re underwater.
If you are feeling self-conscious about wearing a t-shirt or tank top into the water, don’t. Many situations are only awkward or embarrassing if you let yourself feel embarrassed. If you act like it’s the most natural thing in the world and rock the look confidently, everyone will follow your lead.
The downside is that you could potentially be ruining a t-shirt or tank top by constantly exposing it to saltwater. Plus, this garment will restrict your movement when soaked since it’s most likely made of cotton which absorbs a lot of water. Furthermore, a white garment will become see-through when wet, so keep that in mind as well.
A trusty friend with a towel
Come with a friend who knows about your condition and who isn’t planning on swimming to come down with you to the edge of the water. You can walk to the edge wrapped in a towel, hand the towel to your friend and quickly enter the water without anybody seeing. Once you’re in the water, nobody can see your scoliosis.
Once you’re ready to come out, wave to your friend, and have them approach you by the edge of the water to hand off the towel. This way, you don’t even need a special swimsuit or anything and you can still keep your back mostly covered up.
Let your hair down
If you have long hair, just let it down to cover your back. Most girls already have long(er) hair in the first place, and it’s even better if your hair is thick. Not much else to add here.
The stretchiest one piece swimsuit you can find
One-piece swimsuits are probably the most uncomfortable option for people with scoliosis, but if your condition is mild, then you can possibly get away with it.
All swimsuits are designed to be form-fitting, because the closer the fit, the less likely it will fall off underwater. That said, the material must also be very flexible, otherwise the close-fitting nature of the swimsuit will be uncomfortably restrictive, doubly so if you have scoliosis.
Thankfully, many swimsuits are made with stretchy materials to remedy the issue. When you are shopping for a swimsuit for scoliosis, look for a swimsuit with a 4-way stretch with at least a 60-70% stretch in any direction. That way, you can freely move around and the swimsuit will hopefully not be aggravating to your body.
Dealing with comments
If you are feeling anxious, being prepared for any comments about your appearance in your swimsuit can help you handle the situation better. Most people are just generally curious but lack tact. Some people are just plain rude and you shouldn’t pay them any attention.
When responding, if you choose to do so, you do not need to volunteer any information than is necessary. Just a simple, “I have a condition affecting my spine”, is usually enough to answer their question without revealing too much personal details.
Depending on your personality, maybe you’re comfortable and cheeky enough to add a funny quip like, “Otherwise it wouldn’t be fair to the other girls.”
I really have to stress how much people react to how you treat yourself. If you’re self-deprecating and putting yourself down all the time, others will join in. If you own your scoliosis, especially if you have a good sense of humor about it, rather than being freaked out people may find you extremely interesting, or they may never bring up your condition again since they perceive you as normal.
Lastly, make sure never to refer to your scoliosis as a “disease”. Not everyone knows what scoliosis is, which is why some people may (rudely) ask “what’s wrong with your back” or something inconsiderate like that. If you say that you have a “disease”, then they may think you’re contagious. On second thought, maybe that’s a deviously clever strategy. Then these rude, inconsiderate people will run far away from you and you can finally enjoy your time at the beach.