Trend Alert: Rashguards

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Years ago my dear friend Sarah came to visit.  She was pregnant – uncomfortably so.  We thought hitting the pool might be soothing…except Sarah was not happy with her one bikini.  Her pregnant boobs were busting out of the top, and she was unhappy with something regarding her stomach (the dark line, maybe?  Stretch marks?)….but it seemed silly to run out and buy a new swimsuit.  Yet…the pool was one of those extra-warm ones, with a lazy river and tubes and waterslides, and it beckoned.  So I dug through the closet and unearthed Mike's old rashguard from a few surfing trips eons ago.  His rashguard was big enough to fit over Sarah's belly, yet in true rashguard fashion, fit everywhere else.  (Magic stretch, those rashguards.)

But the cool thing?  Not only was Sarah comfortable, but when the rashguard was paired with a little string bikini bottom, she looked…sexy.  Like sporty and flirty and all adorably pregnant.  Sadly, we don't have a single pic (adorbs or not, can you blame her, Mamas?)…but to this day rashguards remind me of Sarah.  

And rashguards are seriously rockin' right now.  Not only can you find the usual suspects from the surf brands, but even mainstream retailers are getting in on the game.  The result?  Rashguards with serious style.  I still like them best with a skimpy little bikini bottom, but their sporty-yet-sexy vibe works with a variety of bottoms….and beats the heck out of a dowdy swimdress.

Besides, I'm pretty serious about water play, and rashguards are just the thing for fearless rough-housing.  Yesssssss!  


1. Tommy Bahama Colorblock Rashguard, $78

Love the quirky color-block twist

2. J. Crew Colorblock Sun Shirt, $78

This is rashguard perfection, right here.  Shown with this top and bottom.

3. J.Crew Colorblock Short Sleeve Tank, $98

This is like a rashguard made into a vintage-inspired swimsuit.  Whatever it you call it (suit?  rashguard?), I like it. 

4. J.Crew Striped Rashguard, $78

Because we don't have enough striped tops, amiright?  And OMG:  Lands' End also has a striped one just like this, for $39.  Shown with this top and foldover bikini bottom.

5. VPL Tape Vent Rashguard, $185

I love the sophisticated color scheme, and how this one looks like an actual shirt.

6. Dakine Best Wishes Rashguard, $40

Like a Hawaiian shirt, but so freaking cool.  Also in short sleeve.   Shown with this top and bottom.

7. Basta Surf Rashguard Top, $195

Love the contrast neckline and zipper, and the crazy-stripe pattern is the coolest. 

8. Athleta Zanzibar Rashguard, $54

The other color options available on Athleta strike me as a bit much, but the white is right-on.  Shown with this top and bottom.

9. Roxy Rocker Rashguard, $46

Love the looser cut, and the boat-neckline.  


As I mentioned, rashguards do have magic stretch, so I find that I'm happiest when I've gone up a size (or two!).  

Yay for Summer!


(photo credit:  Lands End!)





About Author

Shana founded The Mom Edit in 2008. She lives with the love of her life (his name's Mike) and their two crazy boys in downtown Philadelphia. She loves a good styling challenge (her engineering side shows eventually), appreciates kindness, and usually picks scotch over wine, sneakers over stilettos, and denim-underwear, always.

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  1. Thank you thank you thank you! I am so jealous of my 2-year-olds cute rashguard swimsuit. I’ve been wanting one for myself but haven’t seen any in my price range (ahem, NOT J. Crew). Off to check Land’s End!

  2. Thank thank thank you! This is perfect for all the pool and waterpark parties where I end up flashing fellow parents in my “modest” mallot.
    As long as that rash doesn’t roll up leaving me with looking like pooh bear searching for huney, I’ll be a happy girl.
    Went for #8 mini cha- mini ching.

  3. I love this idea! I’m 5 1/2 months pregnant and have to be in the pool all summer with my twin toddlers pulling at my suit. I’m trying the Lands End in a few sizes to see what fits over my growing belly:)

  4. I’ve been doing this for years! My torso is so long that one pieces don’t fit and my tummy which bears the signs now of five pregnancies isn’t so cute in a bikini anymore. Costco comes out with them once a year at a good price or to fit anyone’s budget just grab an underarmor knockoff fitted shirt. They add a nice compression to those jiggly spots too!

  5. I’m with Shannon…they look like they’d be sticky and hot and just all-round uncomfortable? (Which makes me a hypocrite cuz I certainly put them on my kids…but still?)

  6. So then my question is, what to wear over/with this on the way to the pool? I have great cover ups for regular suits but would feel weird putting sleeves on over a rash guard. Do you just tie a sarong on the bottom? I’m five and a half months pregnant with number three and board shorts don’t fit too well. Style me please!

  7. I just grabbed one at Athleta. Grey with a half zip. LOVE IT. and they have tons of mix and match suits to go with it.
    My red head hubs has been wearing one for years (and my kids don’t go out without one) so glad they finally have cute ones for me this year!

  8. Ironically enough, I just jumped on the rash guard bandwagon after realizing how handy they can be. I went for a navy striped one from Lands End over a navy floral print with a swim mini skirt. I tried the whole thing out on a recent vacation and was concerned about two things: 1)that I would be hot with so much one and 2) that it would look odd to have the rash guard over the swim tank top. I can assure you I looked super cute and wasn’t hot in the slightest. Also, it blocks the sun so I could worry less about overexposure! Thanks for the style guide!

  9. So do you wear a bikini top underneath? Doesn’t the material show through or look silly? I put my boys in rash guards all the time, but they obviously don’t need something underneath…

  10. I’m so happy to read this! I have been looking at the Land’s End rash guards and I’ve been very tempted to buy one. I already have some bottoms that are screaming for a cute top to go with them.

  11. I love this idea…I have my girls in long-sleeved rash guards for sunscreen application ease, and I am getting jealous! But I am with you on needing a size up. I am normally a medium or large, but the last two I tried on (at our local surf shop) were large-sized and made me feel like a sausage. I’m not plus size, but I think I essentially need a plus size rash guard to be comfortable! Any XL or larger options out there?

  12. I’ve loved the idea of a rash guard ever since I met a super-chic, blond German mom on the beach here in Massachusetts, wearing a simple black rash guard and cute little boy shorts. It seemed to totally opt out of the slutty/prudish equation that most swimsuits feel like they enter into, and yet still be enviably cool. Anyway! That’s all to say I want to try it. I ADORE combo #4 but not sure I can pull it off with a large chest and a 7 months postpartum chest. Would love to be able to try some on in store.

  13. Lauren, Land’s End does have their rash guards in plus sizes, I just noticed. Although the reviews of the regular sizes imply that they run a bit big. Not sure I believe them though!

  14. Thanks for collecting all of these! I wore one all last summer – we were at the pool daily – and loved it. So glad to see many more choices this summer, and at good price points. Really, the right fabric is not hot; it feels great in the water, and then the coolness continues as it dries. Wearing one over a bikini is my favorite. Having had a few bouts with messy skin cancers and the daily scar reminders, I don’t mess around anymore. I really love not worrying about burns and sunscreen. Rashguards and cute hats are every day summer wear for me now.

  15. I love, love, love the look, but who wants to wear long sleeves when it is 100 degrees out? I just can’t get past that!

  16. I love, love, love the look, but who wants to wear long sleeves when it is 100 degrees out? I just can’t get past that.

  17. I love, love, love the look, but who wants to wear long sleeves when it is 100 degrees out? I just can’t get past that.

  18. I have lots of skin cancer scars, too (thanks to my pasty white teen aged self who thought laying out with lots of baby oil was a good thing!). I think I’ll have to get a rash guard this summer!

  19. I ordered the navy striped one from Lands End…30% off right now, so great price! I’m going to wear it over a Victoria’s
    Secret bikini that I have been afraid to wear…we’ll see how it goes…
    Rise and Shine Mom

  20. I like the idea- but one warning w/the white ones- I bought my kids white Lands end rashguards last summer and they looked NASTY halfway through the summer- the pool turned them yellowish, and little flecks of sand got stuck in the material. I’m guessing the adult ones are the same material. I stick with the dark colors now!

  21. My husband bought my son a white one last year, and I thought it would be trashed in a week. I found that oxiclean was the best way to keep it looking decent. I soaked it in oxiclean on a regular basis and then washed it and it is still looking pretty good. I hope that helps!

  22. I love mine! I have been wearing these since last summer for extra protection from the sun, and this summer I am pregnant so it does a lot to cover a bikini with my belly sticking out. I found a navy one at REI and love it!

  23. I forgot to mention that for any of you who are pregnant, I bought one that has adjustable ruching and a half zip. Here it is:
    You can loosen or tighten as needed. I wear board shorts by Roxy that have a fold over waistband, which is very convenient! Neither one of these are maternity, but they can both be worn long after a pregnancy and are super cute! I pretty much hate anything maternity, so I am always trying to find alternatives.

  24. This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Apparently, I have developed a sun allergy where I burst into this horrible rash when I get out in the sun too much (mainly on my arms and chest). My mom developed the same thing in her mid-30s. So I’ve been trying to figure out how to manage sun time this summer without a ton of sunblock- hello rash guards! I ordered the striped one from Lands End along with a couple of new bikinis to try out. Thanks for a great post!

  25. I wear one every time I am at the pool and I have to tell you that you can actually stay COOLER in a rash guard than without one. You just have to jump in and get it wet. And then while you sit out in the sun that damp rash guard keeps you so nice and cool while everyone else is roasting.
    It feels great!!
    I have to tell you ladies…you are all pretty young still. Wait until the age spots start to come out on your arms and your chest. That’s the main reason that I started to wear one. I have done a great job keeping away the wrinkles on the face but you don’t realize just how much sun your arms/chest are getting. Nothing will age you like liver spots-mortifying.

  26. What do you wear over this to and from the pool? Do you take off the rash guard and slip on the coverup or is there another option?

  27. I love my rashguard but since I have been nursing for 4 years through 2 babies it has to have a zipper…rip curl makes one that I love 🙂

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