Athleta Swim (#DressingRoomSelfies…At Home)


Hey hey…I got brave for y’all…swim suits!

I recently received Athleta’s catalog in the mail and LOVED some of their new swimwear. Many of the styles that I wanted to try were only available online, so I ordered some for home. I’ve been excited to check out their suits since many of you have said you love them. I agree! All of the suits seem well made. The fabric (Lycra Xtra Life) is supposed to last 5-10x longer than other swimwear fabrics and it does feel very sturdy, especially compared to the less expensive swimwear I generally go for. I tried bikinis, tankinis and rash guards – all mixed with a few different bottoms. Here’s what I found.


Palm Cove Bralette Bralette Bikini | Palm Cove Dolphin Short

I like this combo above a lot and these were the two pieces that made me want to try Athleta swimwear. Love this pairing for sports, beach walks/runs, and playing in the water with kiddos. I think the Palm Cove Bralette is a tiny bit long on me (it bunches a bit) but on mamas with a longer torso it would be perfect. It fits nice and securely but with lightly molded cups and underwires in it it doesn’t flatten your chest like a sports bra. Good. It’s hard to see here, but there are mesh stripes on the bottom part that are super cute, too. (Wearing size Small in both, for reference)


 strappy bikini | palm cove dolphin short

The above combo is my favorite and two pieces I kept. I LOVE the strappy bikini and fit of the dolphin shorts. I adore the print on the shorts and even though I am not historically a fan of boy short style bottoms I love these. I think it’s the wide band at the top that make them flattering. They are a little cheeky in the back, but I think that flatters your butt more than trying to cover every inch of it, honestly. (Wearing size Small in both, for reference)


Strappy Bikini | Not-so-String Bikini Bottoms

I also loved this combo. I wish I had ordered another color of the strappy bikini top to try, too. Both pieces are not the triangle strings of years past…no no. These are made from sturdy material that covers well while still being sexy. I love that the top has a wider band under the chest area. The back of the top has lots of criss cross straps for a custom fit and the material ties very strongly. Same for the bottoms. And these bottoms have good butt coverage, too. Two quality pieces if you’re looking for a good bikini (and I didn’t realize I was until I tried these!) (Wearing size Small in both, for reference).


Shirrendipity Halter Tankini | Colorblock Medium Tide Bottoms

I loved this shirred tankini, regardless of it’s stupid name. A halter is always nice on less-than-perky boobs and for those of us with smaller chest sizes. The shirring on the sides made it a good length on me. I don’t like when tankini tops are too long…you need to show a little bit of skin between top and bottom, IMO. These bottoms I didn’t love. The print is amazing, but they seem to run a bit small and squish my love handles up more. The string bikini was more flattering. Maybe trying a size up would be good. Totally love the pattern though. (Wearing size Small in both, for reference)


Del Mar Twister Tankini | Shirred Short | Warby Parker Sunnies

I like this tankini top just okay. The print is lovely, but I don’t think it’s the most flattering for me. It’s longer than I like and it didn’t do much for my boobs. I think mamas with a larger chest might like it though. It does come in bra sizes, so that’s nice. I’m wearing a 34 B/C. The shirred short I did like. I think it has a bit of a retro feel and I love that. If you paired it with a matching top you’d have a great retro look suit that would look like a one piece but have the convenience of a two piece. (ie. easier trips to the loo). Love that idea and really wish I’d thought of it sooner! Doh. (Wearing size Small in shorts, for reference).



Pacifica UPF Hoodie | Strappy Bikini | Not-so-string Bikini Bottoms

I totally adore this hoodie rash guard. LOVE!  It’s UPF 50+ rated…so good for covering up from the sun or throwing on when you’re chilly or are headed to the beach cafe for lunch. It is so comfy and has cozy thumb holes, too. Perfection. Comes in other colors and also has a key pocket. (Wearing size Small in all 3 pieces)


Boscabell Criss Cross Rashguard | Boscabell Not-So-String Bottom

I love love this rash guard. I totally would’ve kept it if I needed another. The print is gorgeous and the criss cross in front is so flattering. I like it best with the string bottom, but it was cute with the shirred short, too, if you like more coverage. (Wearing XS in the rash guard and size Small in the bottoms, for reference).


Pacifica UPF Tank 2 | Boscabell Not-So-String Bottom

This tank rash guard is really cute. This bright pink is super fun and the capped sleeves are super flattering. This is a great piece for hiding a tummy a bit without having to wear a blousy top. It is fairly long, especially in back. (Wearing size Small in both, for reference).


Paddle Out Spacedyed Rash Guard |Not-so-string Bikini Bottoms

I really liked this tank rash guard, too. I think it’s nicer to size down on this one for a closer fit (XS here for reference). I love the drawstring sides so you can adjust for various torso lengths. I would wear it with a non-string bottom though instead of this combo here…too many strings. Love this top though and it comes in a gorgeous turquoise spacedye color way, too.

Shop These Athleta Faves and More


Do you have some favorite pieces from Athleta? I’d love to hear. Thanks so much for letting us know you like their swimwear, too. It definitely encouraged me to try it out. Also, if you need some lovely swim inspiration, my friend Lisa Congdon’s book The Joy of Swimming just came out! It is fabulously illustrated and really fun to read. My favorite part is her illustrations of swim fashions over the years. I highly recommend it!

I hope this was helpful if you’re updating some swim pieces this year! Let me know your finds! Happy swimming!!




  1. HI Laura. Loved your review. Just wondering – what size do you take in gap jeans? I’d like to order some athleta pieces, but live in Canada, so want to try to nail the size on first go. I’m taller than you, and typically an 8 or 29 in bottoms…. Can you help?

    • Hi Monica. Sure thing! I wear a 4 or 27 in Gap jeans. I wore a small in most of these bottoms, but the color block bikini bottoms seemed to run small in the butt. I do have a butt, too. The dolphin shorts had more give and the not so string bottoms were more adjustable, so I think that’s why those fit better. I hope that helps! Glad to answer any questions.

  2. You look great! So helpful to see these suits on a relatable body – those Athleta models with their six-packs are too intimidating!!

  3. I have an Athleta suit from a year or so ago, and I LOVE the dophin short. So, so cute and doesn’t require as much diligence maintaining the bikini line. Ahem. But seriously, I don’t have time for that. And I want a suit that stays put but is still basically cute.

  4. And now I’m going to have to plan an Athleta try-on visit to the store this weekend- great post! I’m in an awkward phase of post mastectomies, mid reconstruction, mama pooch and thighs that have been loving on the chocolate a bit too much but I want to enjoy paddle pool time with the littles without roasting. Only thing to do is dig deep and accept its going to be a long fitting room session lol!

    • Yvonne…I wish you all the best in your search! I hope this helps a lot. Also, many of the styles I wanted to try were only online, so just be aware. Might be good to go try in store for a size reference first possibly, but the palm cove stuff and various other pieces weren’t in my local store.

  5. I have been looking at athlete suits lately, thank you for the reviews!! I think I’m going to get the palm cove bra and the matching black shorts and a rashguard for snorkeling and the water park. 🙂

  6. I am not a sun goddess at all and have already had to remove two potentially-bad moles: rashguards all the way! Thanks for including these (and the boy shorts– seconding the above-mentioned reasons). Any chance y’all might do a roundup of best mineral sunscreens in the near future? There are many lists out there, but I trust that this would be an honest and thorough review.

  7. Awesome post, you look fabulous!! Any swimsuit advice for us mommas (or maybe I’m the only one….) who really don’t want to show too much thigh (mid-thigh at the highest….), and also not too much cleavage or tummy (not opposed to showing a little though ) but who also don’t want to look frumpy?!!

  8. Love Athleta for swimwear. I bough 3 tops and 3 bottoms to mix and match last summer and have been really happy with them. And it is so helpful to be able to purchase a swimsuit top that corresponds (somewhat) to bra sizes. I agree that the bottom sizing can change with the style- I have both small and medium bottoms depending on the style. Those rash guards are really cute . Might have to get one or two this summer to add to the mix. Thanks for this!

    • Hi Liz…I think the halter style tops would work great for nursing. The cross front tankini would be too tight, as would the tankini I didn’t show but tried on with the molded cups. The strappy bikini top would work, too, depending on what style you’re looking for. You could even snag one of the tank rashguards and wear a nursing bra underneath for support? Just ideas! I hope that helps.

  9. I absolutely LOVE these posts. Especially with you Laura, since my body type is similar to yours. I have been looking for swimsuit shorts and I’ll have to check out the ones here!! I just wish I could have seen a picture of the back, since you mentioned the cheekiness. I think sometimes cheeky bottoms are okay and sometimes they can be annoying (i.e. Tori Praver swimsuits!!).

    I absolutely hate swimwear shopping… I have already bought and returned maybe 10 or 15 suits from target, Amazon, and Macy’s. I may have found a keeper from J. Crew (oddly enough, one that Shana tried on last year and didn’t like!!!). I’ll send you guys a pic if I remember!

    • One more thing… I bought a swimsuit from h&m online to try on and tried to return it and I couldn’t. Their policy is that they don’t accept returns on swimwear bottoms and one pieces for hygienic reasons (even though the plastic strip and tags are still on the suit)!

      Please read the fine print and only shop online from places with good return policies!!! Don’t make my mistake!!

      • Ah, yes! Athleta apparently has a lifetime policy that you can return/replace their items any time. I need to read whether it applies to swimwear, but I think so! None of the information I saw said no returns as long as tags and liners were in place. Thanks so much for the kind words! I was truly impressed with the quality here. Good luck!

      • That is good to know! I refuse to buy swimwear online unless there are free returns (including shipping, unless there is a local store convenient to me) because I generally buy a ton and return most! J Crew and Athleta have both been AWESOME about returns, with a great attitude. Also Boden.

  10. Thanks so much! Love Athleta. Q: I’ll be moving into second tri this summer and am planning/hoping that I can get by with my regular bikinis and a new rashguard or two (really avoiding maternity anything). Any input on possibly being able to accommodate a growing bump?
    – Boscabell Criss-cross rashguard. LOVE this. You said it runs a little big… maybe the “bigness” and cross front may accommodate a baby bump?
    – Pacifica UPF hoodie – any shirring on the sides?

    Thanks again!

    • Hey there! So. Hmm. The criss cross rashguard size i got was pretty fitted and I didn’t have the size up (S) to compare it to. i would say it would work for a while? The criss cross fabric at the bottom might be too restrictive though. The other short sleeve rashguards and the long sleeve hoodie have more give in their fabrics. No shirring on the sides of the Pacifica Hoodie. I hope that helps though!

    • I have an older athlete suit similar to the Tara Halter they carry now. I wore it for nursing 3 years ago & just got it out again as a maternity suit. Fuller breast coverage but I’m still able to scooch it out of the way for nursing. I sized up in one of the longer rash guards a few years ago & it still fits over my 33 week belly as well

  11. Laura,
    You are so cute and look great! I love, love athleta swim! Don’t fear you can return items! Last year I ordered the shirred short and the scrunch short along with a cute long sleeved striped rash guard. I returned the shirred short but love the scrunch so much! I never want to wear another swim bottom! The scrunch look longer in the pic online so I was worried beause I am 5’2″. I scrunch them all the way up and they are super flattering and cover my booty! I get asked where I got them everytime I wear them. I am petite and would say they run big. I ordered smalls but realized after swimming in them an xs would be better. This year I want to order a shirred short in black to go with all of my other swim tops.

    Thanks for posting. Swim suits shopping is rough!

  12. would you say the cup size of the molded swim top corresponded more with the upper or lower end of the size given? so basically did you feel like the 34 B/C you tried on was closer to a B or C cup? my concern is that my boobs tend to be slightly too large for a C cup but just slightly too small for a D cup. Athleta is having a really good sale so I was hoping to order online however, because this suit I am looking at is final sale I would not have the opportunity to exchange or return it. Thank you in advance for any help you are able to supply!

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