Since I have begun wearing hijab, I have not yet really felt the necessity to go swimming, and therefore have not needed to look into getting a full-coverage swimsuit. But, being that we have just decided to go to Turkey next week (I know, really crazy to decide at the last minute!), getting a swimsuit has become necessary. Well, necessary as long as I want to enjoy the beautiful Turkish Aegean and Mediterrenean beaches– which I do!
Let me just clarify quickly, that this is my choice and not a necessity due to Turkey being an ‘Islamic’ country. Actually, when I was in Turkey last summer, I got to see that most people actually dress the same on the beach as they do here in the U.S. It is, however, more normal and acceptable to see people dressed in Islamic swimwear in Turkey.
The last time I wore a bathing suit was last year while in Turkey. It caused a lot of anxiety for me, especially leading up to the trip, as I decided what I should wear on the beach. I had not yet started wearing hijab, but I was dressing modestly and was not comfortable with a standard bathing suit, even a one-piece. I had eventually decided to get a cute one-piece skirted swimsuit with high haltered neck, which I wore shorts under. But I was still uncomfortable showing this much skin, so I made sure to cover up quickly when I wasn’t in the water (either with my towel, or I also had a skirt and a loose swim cover).
At any rate, now it is time to look into getting an actual Islamic swimsuit that will fully cover me, including my head. I’ve been searching online the last few days to see what my options are, including if I can possibly get anything in time for our trip. As I’ve been searching, I’ve also come across a lot of articles about Islamic swimwear, both from Muslims and from media reports on the topic. I had some knowledge on the subject already, though. Some of you might remember my recent post Modern Modesty in which I mentioned controversy surrounding Islamic swimwear, often referred to as a ‘Burkini.’ Yesterday, I found a new article which I wanted to mention and share. It’s a piece in The Guardian about Manal Omar’s unfortunate experience wearing her Islamic swimsuit in a swimming pool in the UK. Although she had worn this swimsuit many times before, in many locations including in the U.S., she never had a bad experience except in the UK.
Swimwear for Islamic women has come a long way, and now includes some great styles, with amazing quality. Most garments are high-end, with specially designed fabric to be lightweight and water repellant. Most are generally made out of the same or similar material as many traditional bathing suits, making them very suitable for swimming. Some are even anti-bacterial! While the prices range from around $50 to $170 depending on the quality, it seems very reasonable to me considering the average standard bathing suit costs around $50, with much less fabric!
Here were some of my favorite styles that I’ve found:
Unfortunately for me, however, there is not time for me to order any of these so that they will arrive before we leave to Turkey. But on the up side, Turkey has an amazing Islamic fashion industry and I hope to find a great option there. Plus, it will be better for me to try it on and make sure it’s a good fit. I’ll make sure to update everyone when I come back about my experience wearing an Islamic swimsuit for the first time!