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Autostraddle’s 2016 Swimsuit Issue: Secret Gay Beach Party for Lots of Gender Presentations

Welcome to Autostraddle’s swimsuit and summer guide! We’ve been hard at work putting together looks that we hope will make all your queer dreams come true. Really, we think this is going to be your best summer yet. But we’re burning daylight, so let’s dive in!

Instead of focusing on the entire season – which can sometimes feel overwhelming and unrealistic – we’ve cultivated our looks, tips and affirmations around The Secret Queer Beach Party. To us it combines everything that’s great about summer and being queer: sunshine, friends, and a space all our own. And with looks ranging from Bratty Femme, to Gender Non-Conforming Haus Boi, to Fat Femme, to MOC #1 Dad, we hope this guide will be a helpful jumping off point for a whole spectrum of presentations that we know aren’t always reflected by our current state of fashion. These looks work in a range of sizes for a variety of body types, and feel free to mix and match to your heart’s content! Let’s keep this live in the comments with your tips and links!

Utility Femme – Erin


1. Black Mesh Short Sleeve Two Piece ($22), 2. White/Black Short Sleeved Two Piece ($27), 3. Vintage Metallic One Piece ($33), 4. Black Low Back One Piece ($22), 5. Orange Sleeveless Two Piece ($20), 6. Dark Sole Chelsea Boot ($145), 7. Hoop Earrings ($10), 8. Vintage Scuba Style One Piece ($89), 9. Denim Baseball Hat ($10), 10. Palladium Pampa Hi Boot ($55)

To me Utility Femme is a dedication to aesthetic without a commitment to a lifestyle. It’s about containing multitudes! Which means at this party I’m probably going to be made up but still getting in the water/moving around/possibly playing A Sport but also doing some heavy lounging, so I want suits and shoes that’ll allow for that. With that in mind I typed a mix of keywords into Google like short sleeved, scuba-style, mesh, simple one piece, and ankle boots with rubber soles. I found some great stuff from Lollie Couture, and Etsy is another great resource for minimal vintage pieces you can easily accessorize. The best part about these items? I know every on of them can be thrifted. The short sleeved bathing suit top might be hard to find in that form, but guess what! Go to the athletic or swim section and look for a top with material that’s thick and taut enough that you can craft your own out of. No rules!

Gender Nonconforming – Alaina, self-identified Haus Boi


1. DARE Fanny Pack ($20), 2. American Rag Tropical-Print Shirt ($25), 3. In Tune with the Tides Swimsuit Top ($31), 4. In Tune with the Tides Swimsuit Bottom ($40), 5. Round Sunglasses With Blue Flash Lens ($23), 6. Birkenstock Suede Sandal ($135), 7. Twill Baseball Cap ($30)

My go-to look for the beach is part dad on a Disney vacation, and part “2 güd 4 u”. That means comfy, oversized shirts that protect my delicate shoulders from getting too much sun, a fanny pack for fruit snacks, bandaids, aloe vera gel, and other beach appropriate accouterments and a punny two-piece that shows off my favorite assets. I always go for the two-piece; more opportunities for working on my tan and easy removal is always a plus. I’d finish off the look with a baseball cap I stole from my best friend’s ex—she didn’t need it— some mirrored sunnies to scope out the cuties, and my favorite, most walkable sandals. A fancy-free fun frolic for all.

Androgynous – Danielle Owens Reid


1. Swimmee ($48), 2. Nike Roshe One ($76), 3. ASOS Sunglasses ($13), 4. Football Porthole Practice Jersey ($18) 5. Tomboiers ($30)

I’ve had make shift sports bra / shorts combos for a couple of years and before that I just never went to the beach / pool / etc. I probably spent at least a decade not even trying.

I like this suit [from Outplay] because it’s not particularly feminine and it’s not particularly masculine. I realized very recently that something I dislike is how feminine I look when I’m naked. I ALSO don’t want to look hyper masculine, so it’s a confusing spot to be. I love my body and I feel really comfortable in my body when I have complete control over how my body is presented to the world. If I have the clothes, underwear, shoes, swimsuits – whatever – then I feel really good and love how confident I feel. I’ve had to work super hard to get to this place where I have a shitload of confidence and it was even more difficult because I (still) haven’t seen anyone on TV or in movies that dresses exactly how I would like to dress. The clothes (especially swimwear) have been really difficult to find, but always worth it. On top of the confidence and feeling good about myself parts, Outplay also had great customer service, responding to emails super quickly and being perfectly candid with me. I like how tight it is because, I’m used to being worried that my boobs will fall out or my shorts will fall down.

[See Dannielle talk more about why she loves Outplay’s androgynous swimwear here.]

Fat Femme – Bevin, AKA QueerFatFemme


1. The Queen E/F Underwire Bikini ($69), 2. Diet Industry Drop Out Tee ($19), 3. Stealth Muscle Tank ($10), 4. White Beaded Collar ($39), 5. Pearl Cluster Necklace ($10), 6. Vintage Swim Shorts ($20), 7. Gay Pride swim trunks ($23), 8. Unicorn Trucker Hat ($14), 9. Goorin Bros. Trumpet Straw Fedora Hat ($50), 10. Large Brimmed Straw Hat ($6), 11. Detachable Beaded Collar ($38)

I don’t know about you but when I go to queer events I like to really doll up. My Femme identity is very important to me and I love to perform with and for other Femmes and other queers. Whatever dolling up means for your gender performance(s), I’ve compiled some ideas of how to fancy up your bathing suit!

In terms of clothing options, I love supporting small businesses and repping identities! Original Plumbing’s Stealth muscle tank is hot, especially when paired with a set of really wacky swim trunks. My Diet Industry Drop Out crop top is amazing and I love wearing it to queer events! It looks amazing as a beach cover up or over a pair of bikini bottoms. For plus size swimmers, I love GabiFresh for Swim Sexy. The whole line is wildly hot. And why not finish off an outfit with some Gay Pride swim trunks?

Accessories are great for every size and gender and vault an outfit to the next level. Around the neckline the white beaded collar/shawl over something like a teal bikini would be incredible look, you could do some amazing gender blending using the detachable collar, and of course no mermaid is complete without layers and layers of pearls. Hats tend to be less fatphobic than standard clothing, so whether you want to dapper up in a straw fedora, get flamboyant with a unicorn trucker hat, or make a bold statement in a big, floppy hat, you really can’t go wrong.

I leave you with this – your body is already secret queer beach party ready. You and your body are worthy of love and style exactly as it is right now, today. Dolling up and wearing a special outfit is a confidence booster!

[Bevin’s tip for late night beach parties: LED hair extensions, shoelaces and glasses!]

Masculine of Center – Abby, #1 Dad


1. Patterend Button-Up from Wildfang ($48), 2. Floaty Trunks from Wildfang ($56), 3. #1 Dad Hat ($15), 4. Teva Sandals ($34), 5. Nike Sports Bra ($25), 6. Crewcut Nike Socks ($20)

Put on some Jimmy Buffet, because you’re a #raddad ready for a #radsummer. Showing up at the queer beach party, we’re talking clashing patterns, pastels, and everything just a tad larger than it needs to be. Even though you’re the one who is going to take beach volleyball just a little too seriously, you’ll also keep up the beach puns and grill going all day. Being so multi-faceted, you’re going to need some sweat-ready socks with those decade-old sandals. For actual swim action, the ol’ trunks and sports bra combo is always a solid choice, and luckily fashion is catching up with that option! Top the ‘fit with the backwards hat you gifted yourself, and you’re ready to roll! Be the dad you want to see in the world. I’m already proud of ya, pal.

Bratty Femme – Cecelia


1. Paneled Crop Bikini Top ($59), 2. Paneled Crop Bikini Bottom ($49), 3. Rainbow Cloud Print Swimsuit ($65), 4. ‘Weird’ Swimsuit ($94), 5. Pink Heart Choker ($22), 6. Peach Hat ($32), 7. Pom Pom Earrings ($23), 8. Rainbow Zip Backpack ($73), 9. Pink Cat Eye Sunglasses ($30), 10. Jelly Sandals ($20), 11. Fur Slide Sandals ($40), 12. Chunky Platform Sandals ($49), 13. ‘Bondage’ Themed Nail Wraps ($11), 14. Unicorn Trim Sunglasses ($25)

It’s queer party season for this Bratty Femme, and you know what that means! I’m not getting in the water, and you can’t make me. Do you think I spend an hour every day working on a perfect contour and highlight combo so that it can wash down my face in public? No. This is my personal Bratty Femme nightmare. Luckily, there are so many other fun things I can do in proximity, including: looking cute, taking selfies, playing tunes as the queer party DJ, dancing, drinking, doing my nails, kissing mega babes, etc. I do about 90% of my shopping at thrift stores, but when I do splurge on good quality, unique pieces I only shop for three brands: Jaded London, Lazy Oaf, and Monki. These are European and London-based (aka Femme Heaven) brands that, luckily, carry a large amount of their collections online through ASOS. They aren’t cheap, but if you splurge on a piece it will reward you in a lifetime supply of “you are my femmespiration” compliments. Remember, Bratty Femme: you’re so cute it hurts. Use your beach side lounging to put that charm on display.

Dapper –  Andi

dap1. Pride Tank Top ($34), 2. Work It Out Tank ($30), 3. Color Block Swim Tank ($25), 4. Tailored Fit Board Shorts ($46), 5. Zip Front Swim Top ($64), 6. Flex Deck Shoe ($75), 7. Silver Plated Cuff Bracelet ($19), 8. Original Boat Shoe ($65), 9. Cabana Stripe Swim Trunks ($145), 10. Reader Sunglasses ($8)

A queer beach party means I need make sure every part of my outfit should stands out. I need tailored shorts, shirts that’ll make people want to take selfies with me, sunglasses that are going to make me look great in those selfies, and crisp shoes. Then if it gets too hot, (ahem) relief is a zip away.

Tomboy Femme – Riese


Look #1: Classic / Comfy / Shiny

1. Sweetheart Bralette Bikini Top ($78), 2. Adidas Slider Sandals ($35), 3. Raw Edge Short ($23), 4. Metallic Contrast Bikini Top ($25), 5. Relaxed Short Roll Hem With Rips ($57), 6. Vita Tank ($17), 7. Metallic Bum Bag ($19), 8. Cropped Hoodie ($28), 9. Adidas Trefoil Hat ($16), 10. Stitch & Pieces Tie Front ($24)

This is just me doing your feet a favor by building an entire look around Adidas sandals because they’re really comfortable and I’d like to do everything I can to bring them back into style.


Look #2: Black / White / Sexy

1. South Beach Boy Short and Top ($19, $24), 2. The Wild Tank ($40), 3. Drop Armhole Playsuit ($32), 4. Curve Control Swimsuit ($52), 5. Mesh Bikini Top and Bottom ($42, $35), 6. Raw Hem Denim High Waist Shorts ($49), 7. Vintage Cowboy Boots ($300), 8. Plunge Bandage Bikini Set ($45)

You wanna look sexy but not if it involves uncomfortable shoes or aggressive bikini waxes.


Look #3: Cool For The Summer

1. Curve Underwire Bikini Top and Ruched Bikini Bottoms ($26, $23), 2. Tomboy Femme Shirt  ($22), 3. Glitter Print Romper ($49), 4. Power Lounge Shorts ($47), 5. Metallic Silver Sneakers ($47), 6. High Waist Roll Hem Shorts ($44), 7. Nautical Stripe Bandeau Bikini Top ($57)  8. Scissoring Tank ($22) 9. Scuba Bikini Top ($86), 10. Scuba Swimsuit ($49)

This is for the lady who wants to be sure she doesn’t get hit by a car on the way to her secret party.

Classic Butch – Angie


1. Y’all Tee ($18), 2. Easy Swim Tee ($34), 3. Running Tank ($35), 4. Short Sleeve Running ($34), 5. Tropical Microfiber Trunks ($20), 6. Solid Swim Trunks ($20), 7. Havoc Sunglasses ($45), 8. Merrell Flip Flop ($41)

If I’m going to a party on the beach I’m going comfy! I like Nike DriFit shirts and rash guard tops because they feel secure and are great for the heat, plus they dry easily. Throw in some board shorts and some sturdy sandals and I’m ready to go.

Alright, party starts at 3, see everyone out there!

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Los Angeles based writer. Let's keep it clean out there!

Erin has written 208 articles for us.


  1. I loooooooove how many humans collaborated on this one, a lot of past swimmies articles had to focus one side of center or the other, which meant I read about half of them. Personally, I found Boxer-Brief-Impersonating mens swim trunks, and a tank over my loosest GC2B, both in fantastical patterns worked for me. I boringly wear them under my regular clothes, however, because I’ve only ever lived where everywhere is as hot as the beach, or the beach is as cold as everywhere.

  2. I almost didn’t click this link, as I have no beach parties in my immediate future, but I AM SO GLAD THAT I DID!! All this body and gender positivity FTW! Way to go Autostraddle, as always!

  3. @Bratty Femmes who want to doll up to the max but also get in the water –> Beauty Bakerie lip whips, eyes cream, etc other dessert themed makeup products. You know those videos of people putting makeup swatches on their arm and washing the arm in water and nothing happens to the makeup? That’s this brand! PLUS it’s a black-owned business and their Instagram account is full of examples of all of their products on all skin tones.

  4. i was convinced that my lack of adidas sandals was the reason i was not cool or athletic as a child.

    instead i got tevas, so now naturally i’m on the #1 Dad team.

        • hi santina! although the looks presented in the tomboy femme images are thinner body types (something we unfortunately had to work with in terms of how retailers present their items) sizing for tops and bottoms that are linked can go to 42DD and 12+

    • hey pal! i FEEL YOU! I couldnt find a plus size model for my look (which pissed me off tbh bc i would never look like that in that suit), but i am definitely not thin…and I feel your pain. I’m thinking hawaiian shirts from goodwill, your fav swim shorts, sports bras! there should be more options for people who aren’t thin and it’s shitty that there aren’t. something i’ve also been doing is wearing whatever the fuck i want, and if someone else is bothered by the way the rolls on my stomach look or the sound my thighs make or my back fat, they can get the hell over it. it’s summer and it’s hot and this is OUR QUEER BEACH PARTY and we’ll do as we please and look damn fine doing so!

    • YES ALAINA. also in particular the dapper, butch, and moc looks include menswear and so sizes can go from XL to 3X, something we did want to have as an option for people who don’t identify as femme!

    • same. I want fat options for non-femme androgynous/butch types. or for MOC women with giant boobs! it’s a hard life!

      • Finding a bra in 36h that aesthetically matches my Tomboyx boxers is my current Life Struggle

      • Yes! Another MOC person with 38H boobs here! It’s such an incredibly specific subset, so it makes finding swimwear a nightmare. Sports bras are expensive enough that there’s no way I’m going to wear one in the water, and most feminine swim tops can’t contain my multitudes. The ones that can are expensive enough that I don’t really want to hide them under a T-shirt.

        (Also: anyone here have any luck with finding binders that can accomodate/minimize more generous chest sizes?)

        • Hey Kate! I haven’t made the leap into binders yet, but have you ever tried the Panache full busted underwire bra? It’s the only sports bra I’ve ever been able to wear just by itself without a regular underwire under, and when they’re new, it’s like the hand of god herself reached down to cup my boobs as I run:


          I’m not personally very MOC, but I have been playing a lot with underthings lately, and I’ve discovered that I feel much less vulnerable wearing dresses when I’ve got a great pair of TomboyXs (or cheaper boxer briefs) underneath. I wore girl underwear with a dress the other day to work, for the first time in awhile, and felt so exposed!

          And I really want to try a binder, just to see what it feels and looks like. I’ve been fantasizing about getting rid of these boobs somehow since they first grew in when I was eleven, and I’d really like to know what it feels like to just button a shirt all the way to the top without a gape, or what it felt like if they weren’t the first thing people saw.

          And yeah, swimwear is a nightmare. :-D

          Anyway I’m glad you piped up, us H cup peeps have to stick together! :-D

          • Thanks for the advice! I actually have another model of Panache sports bra, and the amount of engineering that went into that thing is frankly terrifying impressive. It’s more “Madonna cone bra” than “hand of god,” but it keeps everything locked and loaded.

            Also, yes to wanting a binder for practical reasons! Beyond wanting to be able to wear button-up shirts, I’d love to be able to keep everything out of the way when doing things like yoga or even cooking. I’m 5’0.75, so leaning over things like hot stovetops or BBQs is a risky affair (o_o)

            And thanks for the advice about wearing boxer briefs under dresses – I can be stuffed into a dress maybe 3x a year, but you bet I’ll be wearing my tackiest boxer briefs under my dress next time I have to be formal.

          • @laseule, I totally know what you mean about the Madonna cone thing, my sports bras feel kind of like Xena chest plates. :D

            I feel like the more I experiment with MOC looks the more I start to like the idea. There’s a certain…imperviousness that I feel when wearing more butch clothes? And it’s something I like. (I guess that’s what I was getting at when talking about the boxers).

            But then when I dress in those ways, I look in the mirror and get startled – like, who’s that girl who looks like a lesbian? Oh, me! Is that ok? What will other people think?

            I was watching Suited last night, and at the end one of the tailors, Rae, talks about “wearing things that fit and make you feel ok being seen by people, even by people who don’t understand you or respect you.” That very last part felt like a bit of a revelation. Like what if it was about what made me feel powerful and comfortable in myself, instead of approved of by others? (I know it sounds super basic, but that’s kind of where I am in my journey).

            Anyway. Who knows where I’ll end up :D

            And @chatlala, I have heard nothing but wonderful things about the gc2b binders! I need to give them a try!

        • RE: Binders, I really like gc2b! Granted, I’m more of a medium chest-size (32DD), but their sizing goes up to 5XL, so it should be able to accommodate most larger-chested folks. Also they just released a new line of five different nude shades, which is handy if, say, your shirt’s neckline is a little wide.

    • Yes! Someone tell me where I can find these clothes that fit my boobs and hips. Just because I have massive boobs and hips doesn’t mean I want to look like a 50s pin up every day.

      • YES. With all due respect to the amazing and perfect and lovely women who wear the following, I personally do not want to wear the stuff that apparently makes fat women acceptable or desirable:

        + dark lipstick, winged eyeliner
        + crop tops
        + rockabilly stuff/cherries
        + giant jewelry
        + high-waisted fatkinis
        + relentless ‘camouflaging’ prints

        like i don’t want to be a pin up or a body warrior or Mary Lambert or Tess Holiday, I just want to be a person.

        • Also this totally off-topic rant is courtesy of the fact that I am currently reading Lindy West’s new book, and I’m sorry.

          • i hear yall! we’ve updated the intro to include that a lot of these looks that aren’t labeled femme have been approached to include sizing for all body types even they’re not marked as such. “fat femme” is a label bevin identifies with whereas other contributors didn’t as specifically make a point to include their body type, but we know how frustrating this all is and don’t want you to think we’ve overlooked you! it’s why we wanted to keep the comments open for people to share what’s worked for them because we’re aware there’s no way 10 looks could possibly cover everyone’s style/presentation/body type. let’s kill the fashion world as we know it and create our own here <3

          • oh no erin! my thing was in no way connected to the wording of this post, i love bevin’s work…it just ended up being a space to talk about that, the thing where to be fat and femme you have to be, like, larger-than-life, you have to ‘own’ it instead of just being allowed to exist, or something?

            anyway tho, i’m glad we’re having this convo and i appreciate the diversity of the looks you guys included!

        • Thank you so much for calling out the cherries. What is with that?

          Of course, my beach-going standard is a black one piece racerback speedo (old swimteam habits die hard, y’all) and a loose, short skirt as a coverup (old thunderthigh habits also die hard.) Birks if not swimming, Teva flipflops if planning to get wet. Ball cap if windy, floppy hat if not windy. And all the sunscreen.

          • Lol I mean when I was a kid I loved my dress with cherries on it, but that was before I realized their connotations…

            Also I MUST stress that any and all of the stuff above is great for so many people. But if I, me, wore that stuff it would be because I felt compelled to, like, perform my fatness, to wear clothes not because they made me happy but because they shouted I KNOW AND I AM OK WITH MY FATNESS, SEE HOW I TOO CAN BE DESIRABLE.

            Anyway I’ll be over here in my lazy/tomboy/utili/Middleton-weekend femme clothes…

            Also I am working so much stuff out right now in my own head around presentation! Yay! Like camp was really weird because so many people were so stylish all of the time and I felt knocked off-kilter by that, because I will always be the girl who’s most comfortable in Old Navy bermudas and a flannel, which should be fine, but my sense of self was really shaken by being around so many confident people presenting with such fly clothes, and I am just thinking thinking about presentation and performance and self and lalala I’ll be over here don’t mind me!


            i’m kind of regretting the all-caps there, but it really captures my full support of your #look

    • Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Personally, I bought a couple pairs of guys’ trunks from L.L. Bean which fit well and have pleasantly obnoxious patterns on them. I’ll probably spring for a top from Outplay. But man, I really had to do some serious legwork to track that stuff down- better body type inclusion on the non-femme front in this article would have been much appreciated.

  5. i never knew that ‘bratty femme’ was the presentation label i’d been looking for my whole life

  6. I’m thankful for all the bikini bottoms listed here that cover the entire butt. They are so hard to find.

  7. Erin, I am very jealous that you live in a place where you can find those things at a thrift store. There’s two goodwills in my town and they are both GARBAGE.

    • goodwill is hard because they don’t have as many “anything goes” sections – they like to keep it pretty orderly! not sure if you have no chain thrifts around you, but those typically have a wider variety of stuff!

      • I’m pretty sure all we have is the two Goodwills and a Salvation Army store. :/

        I definitely need to move to a new city.

  8. Also I always thought Tomboy Femme was the term I had been waiting my whole life for but it turns out Utility Femme is now at the top of the list. “dedication to aesthetic without a commitment to a lifestyle” is 100% my m.o. and I’m pretty sure roughly half my life is spent trying to put together outfits where I could literally go anywhere/do anything and look good while still blending seamlessly into whatever’s going on. Main goal: swiss army knife outfits at all times.

    • This was also my reaction to this post! My usual m.o. is wearing things that are “too femme” for the activity I’m planning to do and then doing it anyway (i.e. biking in heels). Erin, thank you so much for introducing this term into my life.

  9. This is definitely the best pool/beach style guide on the internet/ever existing in the world.

    Now I’m imagining what my preppy sporty femme style guide would look like.

    Gosh I love queers.

  10. truly in love with the number of great hat choices made in this! I am very into the baseball cap renaissance that I see happening amongst my queer kin!

  11. I was just thinking yesterday about how uncomfortable I am with all gender-presentation labels (I’m not genderfluid, but maybe gender-presentation-fluid-ish? If that’s a thing?) so I love seeing you all make up ones for yourselves.

      • Kinda maybe, but it’s more like it moves around on the scale depending on circumstances.

    • also chandra if you decide on a label i’d love to hear yours, even if it’s I DON’T HAVE ONE THX

    • i feel this feel a LOT. i am gender fluid, in a way where i want to feel like i have access to ALL OF THE ABOVE & even when i am strongly leaning one way i am forever afraid of labeling myself one thing because i feel strongly that that could change & isn’t the way i want others to always&forever see me

      anyway i see you & hope that was in any way validating

      • Thank you, it is! I see you too! It’s definitely just the presentation aspect for me – I’ve never felt like I’ve questioned being cis, so I don’t want to appropriate anyone’s struggles in that area which I’m sure are even more complex. But as far as gender presentation goes I COMPLETELY relate to this: “even when i am strongly leaning one way i am forever afraid of labeling myself one thing because i feel strongly that that could change & isn’t the way i want others to always&forever see me”

  12. I used to think my gender presentation was fluid between tomboy femme and just very femme depending on my mood/what I’m doing/where I’m going.. but now I realize it’s fluid between utility femme and bratty femme. Yass!

  13. This is maybe the greatest post in the history of autostraddle???? i love these aesthetics so much?????? i love you guys so much?????

  14. GREAT JOB EVERYBODY we did an admirable service to the queer community, ensuring everyone looks ridiculously hot this summer

  15. “You wanna look sexy but not if it involves uncomfortable shoes or aggressive bikini waxes.”

    No single sentence has described my sense of summer fashion more completely or succinctly. Thank you so much, Autostraddle.

  16. I think I am somewhere between bratty femme and chaotic futch (as shown by a gender alignment chart.)

    although I am totally getting in the water.

  17. If I had to pick between these presentations to describe my swimwear it’s calamitous mash up of utility femme and classic butch that has more to do with water conditions, UV index and budget than style.
    But damn does my ass look nice and nothing can slow me down in the water.
    Fuck you non-competitive swimtrunks and your cumbersome airbag ways.
    While I’m at it fuck you too ruffled swimtops, I’m a person not a cake. Just because mine booblets are small doesn’t mean they need any help. They are small, proud and can boob along all on their own thank you very much.

  18. Utility Femme and Tomboy Femme are aesthetics that speak to me on a primal level… though I think I can picture my ideal beach outfit as a nice baseball cap and the short sleeved two-piece that near the end of the day I can peel off and just wear an oversized tropical shirt as a shirtdress.
    Or feel like a hot babe in http://margaritamermaid.com/collections/one-pieces/products/venus topped with a crochet dress.

  19. i love this thank you…i’ve 99% never ever been able to find a swimsuit in a store that i feel comfortable in (the last time i bought one i was 13, it was mandatory for p.e. class, and my older sister chose it for me), but the moment i saw the first utility femme section i felt like it would be something that i would wear and still feel like myself. it’s so helpful to see such a large spectrum of examples

  20. In some fit of…I don’t know…I tried to find rashguard shirts to match each of the above presentations and after managing to find an item fit for a Fat Femme that went to 3x and was not shit I need a break, plus one of the sportswear sites is under going maintenance at the moment. The search for the perfect amount of dadness in a rash shirt is put on hold.

    BUT who the fuck decides on making a “plus size” a rashguard in some gad awful print that looks like fucking cow print? I want answers and knuckles to rap.
    Baby Jesus is probably very disappointed and about to cry at that person because pre-cry induces more guilt.

  21. “Utility femme” – I feel like this is exactly my gender presentation! Can we have 1000 utility femme articles? Could we get some kind of practical item in the shop with utility femme emblazoned on it, like a swiss army knife, bottle opener, fanny pack or multipurpose giant scarf / beach wrap / one-person picnic blanket?

    Anyone else want to share your current swimwear situations? I feel like I’ve finally gotten it figured out this year, as I decided to replace my five-year-old black bikini with some pieces that actually fit me and make some kind of statement beyond “whatever”. I have these polka-dot bikini separates from Monki: http://www.monki.com/de/Swimwear/Nami_bikini_bra/1818392-15429606.1#c-47958 http://www.monki.com/de/Swimwear/Margie_bikini_highwaist/1818392-15429829.1#c-49929 for public pools and other situations that require me to wear a top, and these high-waisted briefs from Weekday: http://shop.weekday.com/de/Womens_shop/Swimwear/All/Nova_Highwaist_Swim_Panties/8278058-6891596.1#c-47958 for topless beaches and more private places, where I can wear the ultimate utility top, nothing. I LOVE the seams on my Weekday briefs, and high-waisted everything just feels right.

    Basically @cecelia is right, Monki is great and if you like its selection, definitely try out its sister shops / fellow members of the H&M conglomerate, Weekday, COS, and & Other Stories. I’ve been so spoiled to live in Europe and have all these stores at my fingertips. And also topless beaches.

    • Super envious of your adorable bathing suit situation and general proximity to topless beaches!

  22. I LOVE THIS!

    I especially love the obnoxious pride trunks and even though I don’t have the money I’m probably going to buy them, which I’m justifying to myself as needing because I lost enough weight this winter that a couple of my old pairs of trunks no longer fit (thanks, illnesses) and I need trunks for work, if I’m ever able to work this summer. (Not that I’d wear those ones at work, yikes, I don’t think they’d go over well, but I still need another pair if only so I’m not changing into wet boardshorts at work because that’s like the worst feeling ever and I will do many things to limit the times I will ever need to put on wet gear).

    And if people are looking for sports bras to serve as swim tops, I can’t recommend under armor bras for it. They dry suuuuuper fast and come in a variety of colors like black as your soul, boring/neutral gray, and bright purple and turquoise, so you can live up to your #aesthetic goals.

    I also need to invest in a few obnoxious hawaiian print shirts because for some reason they’re A Thing for raft guides? I’ve been guiding for almost 6 seasons and I’ve never owned one and I’m starting to feel like I need to bow to that pressure and pick up some eye-hurting bright patterns for work. (I mean, I make up for it with my bright patterned shorts and tie-dye off the river, but y’know, I just need to be one of the cool kids).

  23. “Remember, Bratty Femme: you’re so cute it hurts. Use your beach side lounging to put that charm on display.” I’m accepting that as a part of my July/Summer horoscope

  24. Inspired by this and a few other things in my life, I have decided to make this the year I invest in Swimsuits I Don’t Hate.
    And my destination has been…. don’t laugh… Hot Topic.
    I know… nothing says “I’m a sophisticated adult lady” like buying a swimsuit from Hot Topic. But LOOK HOW CUTE (and reasonably non-ostentatious as fandom-themed clothes go) this Poison Ivy themed swimsuit is! http://www.hottopic.com/product/dc-comics-poison-ivy-bombshells-swim-top
    Of course, if you like more ostentatiously fandom-themed swimsuits, you ALSO cannot go wrong here!

  25. @Danielle I see you! Thanks for your selection. I’m right there with those same andro feels and woes. I’m mostly vibing Androgynous and Utility Femme. If that first set in Utility Femme did anything for minimising boobage, I’d be set for life.


    I started this real late or early in the morning a couple of days ago so…some of choices might be a bit dubious

    Utility femme

    Serious, no nonsense, feminine cut close to the body


    Gender Nonconforming was attempted but Alain-ness answered, I think o_O



    Not cut too close to the body, could totally be from the men’s department maybe, whatev it’s cool and dudely

    Yes the Caviar and Shadow one, snerk SHADOW

    Fat Femme

    Essentially something cute that says fuck you I ain’t hiding, but I am protecting my tender dermis from UV rays while having fun in the sun and sand
    Sadly this beautiful shirt is only available from Old Navy in size 1x because it’s probably sold out.

    It goes to 3x and has tunic styled rounded v-neckline

    http://goo.gl/PuIFYe (It’s Torrid, one of 2 rash guards from they have that only go to 2x)

    Masculine of center, but I aimed for parrot head dadness


    I think I succeeded, but some alternatives

    Bratty Femme

    Not pastel but I could see a Bratz doll wearing it so I think it works with the aesthetic alternatives that are closer to a pastel palette

    Dapper- is the most foreign of things to me so I just went looking for something that made me think of nice sweater type things

    or marinas
    or golf

    Tomboy Femme

    sporty and cute


    would match an addias sandal

    Classic butch

    just bit more color and goes to XXL

    In men’s rashguards the XXXL has a lot of variety, but women’s tends to cut off at XXL and reduce in variety rather sharply in the 3 primary sites I did my gathering from :(

    Lands End is only place I found femme-y XXL

    In “tunic style” that I rather like, but I’m a medium sized person (at current) who likes being rather covered in public because the sun. But I can still remember when I wasn’t as medium sized and among idiots the burning sting of being told to cover up, of feeling hideous like I needed to cover my self in the biggest loosest layers as possible.
    Got the Gabi Fresh bikinis, but like where are the rashguards? Or is that too “sporty” an item to be made for fat girls stupid mainstream swimwear companies.

  27. Great write-up. I guess I’m tomboy/utility lez but with chacos sandals.

    Also good to note that I was totally a utility/tomboy lesbian before I knew myself–sewing practical swimwear as a young baby dyke. Fun times in my rural hometown.

  28. So I went into the men’s section of a department store today, a first for me. I talked to an employee, something I was pretty nervous about doing. I tried on a bunch of swim trunks, mainly trying to figure out sizes. I had measured myself, and expected to be two sizes bigger than what I finally found comfortable. I grabbed a nice 30$ pair, and just ordered a more expensive pair online.

    When I got out of the changing room for the first time, I looked around for that rack they have for you to put your clothes that you’re not taking on. I didn’t see one, so I asked the employee. He laughed, and told me that no one had ever asked him that before, they usually just give him the things they aren’t taking. Which was… Weird? I also asked for the ‘dressing room’, and then blushed and corrected myself to ‘fitting room’.

    But tops… Swim tops. I think I’m going to go the rash guard route. I realised yesterday that the most comfortable I’ve ever been in a bathing suit was when I could wear a t-shirt over top of it, so a rash guard is an obvious move. Unfortunately the ones in the Men’s section hang like a sack on me, even the small ones. So I guess I’ll try to find a ladies one that isn’t pink, and doesn’t have a huge logo on the front?

    I also bought sports bras for the first time ever, since I was reading online that people typically wear a bathing suit top under the rash guard, in case it rides up and to provide support. I looked for a really simple swim top, but everything was just too much.

    Looking through the bathing suit section though… I can’t tell you how excited I was to realise that I could just wear some nice long swim trunks and a t-shirt. Thanks for the article, this was a great eye opener for me. I definitely turned down spending time at the beach a few weeks ago because I was embarrassed by my (oh god) 7 year old bathing suit.

    And that ends my chatting about how I FINALLY bought some mens clothes. I’ve wanted to for months and months, but I’m just embarrassed by the idea of standing out in any way? It’s silly, and I’m trying to move past it. I wanted to thank this site for helping!

    • Go you!

      I’ve just been down online shopping rabbit hole and I must say if your local shops only carry the close fitting ladies’ rashguards in pink alternatives do exist in great variety be you under XXL.
      Also that close fitting (athletic/slim) as well as looser fit exist in the men’s and women’s departments just it seems loose fit is the most common in a men’s department that isn’t like a high performance sports gear type of shop.
      Women’s is a mixed bag or sliding scale of ‘fit’ but in my local preferred sports store the looser fit reigns supreme. The one I own clings at the shoulder and edge of the waist. The goal seems to be anti-floatation device rather than ATTN-Thar May Be Boobs Here.

  29. I mean it would be cool to have positive representation of fat queer women who *aren’t* femme just for once. Don’t get me started on how hard it is to find fat clothes that aren’t frilly and sequined. Also, since when is being fat an entirely different category of femme than a thin femme? Meh.

  30. Good to know I rocked the classic butch look for my entire adolescence. I think I’m ready to move into the “androgynous” category now.

  31. Fat utility femme here, desperately seeking a source for a cropped short sleeve “rash guard” esque swimsuit top ala #s 1 and 2 of Utility Femme section. Lolliculture does not appear to cater to plus sizes. Is anyone making these in larger sizes? I can’t find anything.

  32. Hi, can you please do an updated version of this? and pretty please include stuff for the big-boobed among us?
    -a lost 32H (UK) wearing lesbian in 2021

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