Little Girls Swimwear (As Chosen by a Boy-Mom)


I see this scenario play out a lot at the pool playground: the adult swim whistle blows.  A collective cry of "awwww!" goes up from the kids as moms breathe a sigh of relief that they'll finally be able to get the babes out of the water to go home for nap, eat lunch or take a bathroom break.  The remaining kids erupt onto the pool playground, where mayhem ensues, with little damp-dry people running, climbing and sliding to great delight. 

Then I hear a weird screeching, which is invariably the sound of some swimsuit-clad little girl's bottom ripping down a hot slide.  It probably feels something like your first bikini wax, and this is one of the many, many moments–though I obviously would have cherished a daughter (who wouldn't!?)–that I count myself lucky to have boys (three!).

The howling from the slide gets me thinking.  Sure, girls clothing and swimwear is a lot cuter, but it is also, generally speaking, a lot less practical.  Why, for example, do I see so few girls wearing rash guard t-shirts?  Is their skin less prone to sun damage than my boys'?  I know, I know, their mamas slather them in SPF 180, but doesn't that stuff wash off?  Especially here, where we're a whole mile closer to the sun, I always feel better when my baby men are armed with SPF 50+ tops and hats, knowing they won't have freckled chests and shoulders while I've had a say in the matter.  And what about bottoms on slides, not to mention unmentionables in baby swings?  Seems like the chickies could use a little more coverage there, too, so. . .  

With pools opening in the next week or two, I've put together this collection of girls swimwear for moms of who want a teensy bit more coverage for their tiny, yet fashion-forward, baby chicks.

Little Girls Swimwear 2012


T shirt
$34 -


Block hat
$22 -



Girls' polka-dot tank
$40 -


Girls' Tugless Tank Swimsuit
$25 -


Girls' Boardie Shorts
$39 -




$25 -



Girls' sun hat
$20 -







What do you think, Mamas?  Am I livin' in a boy bubble?  Would your girls snub the boy-mom swimwear picks?  At any rate, happy May.  Popsicles and pool time are almost here!  Can't wait can't wait can't wait!

– M.



  1. I, for one, love your picks. All of them. I have two little girls. I’m so happy you didn’t pick bikinis with triangle tops and suits with ruching (sp?) in the middle of the chest. I find some of these suits so offensive. Why does my 3 1/2 year old need to look like she’s sporting some cleavage? Ugh!
    Thanks for the inspiration :). My girls have several pairs of what we call “swimming shorts” (board short type things), but they’re super long. I’m thinking I might hem some of them up to the lengths you’ve shown here. That way they’ll still offer more coverage than just the suit, but they’ll also be a bit more “girlish.”
    PS I’m not sure if I’ve ever commented before, but I LOVE your blog! And I’m also from Michigan and went to MSU in the mid-90’s (though I now live in Montreal.) Go Spartans!

  2. Really cute! I love that rash guards are becoming more popular and being made in nicer prints and different sleeve-lengths.

  3. I love the outfit with the heart shorts! I’d wear that myself! I’m a little surprised you didn’t include a single skort-that’s what I would’ve wanted as a little girl. Something like this: or
    with a cute rash guard, of course ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I ordered my baby girl a suit with a rash guard top for this summer. I knew I wanted her to have more coverage and as soon as I saw a cute one, I ordered it. It’s adorable and my sister considered the same for her daughter but it had disappeared from the website (gap) within days… I wonder if lots of moms are snapping them up? Or, if the manufacturers just aren’t making many suits in this style for little girls. These should really be easier to find!

  5. I do like your choices but I will add that the difficulty I run into in trying to find a cute but practical and MODEST suit is that my daughter has a lot of trouble with irritation from the center vertical seam in the swim shorts. We wind up cobbling together suits since she’s still young enough to make quick pee pee access a must. Our favorite solution was a 3 piece set from Target last year with an added rash guard shirt. The 3 piece set had a bikini bottom, board shorts, and a bikini top. We replaced the bikini top with a rash guard. This year, I couldn’t find 3 piece sets anywhere and wound up buying a bikini and then a sort-of co-ordinating rash guard to replace the top. By the time you’ve gotten all the pieces, her bathing outfit is more expensive than mine and she only wears it a year! I have my fingers crossed that board shorts and rash guards will start being even more popular so selection will increase. I almost wound up trying to convince her to go to the boys section this year.

  6. Love your picks – especially the heart shorts and baseball hat together. My daughter did a rash guard and bikini bottoms every year until she confessed that she hated not having shorts like her younger brothers. Now it’s long shorts and a rash guard for all three. Who knew? I like the Land’s End rash guard for girls – princess seam details give it a girl shape. But we had to abandon the white rash guards for girls – see through tops on boys are fine, but even my daughter called foul on that one!

  7. I agree with you and my baby is only 1 year old. I live in Texas and it is HOT, I want to ptotect my baby girl. I’ve been putting rashguards with bikini bottoms, but now I realize that she should have shorts too. Great post! (I’m from Michigan also)

  8. Lands End has the BEST suits for girls. My girls love the skort suits and tank tops. I always get at least one rash guard to coordinate. Now that they’re getting older (6 and 3) they are getting more vocal about what “style” works, but bikinis won’t be an option for a LONG time.
    Having hubs wear his rash guard helps a lot.

  9. I love the choices, but we don’t do two-piece suits (for Mama or the girls…). So I might do a one-piece with board shorts, but a rash guard over a one piece AND board shorts seems a bit much. (Like Becky said above, that gets pricey!) I don’t know. We live in Florida, so it’s HOT and SUNNY. Our current techniques include: a) only go to the beach/pool around 9:00 a.m. or 4:00 p.m.; b) wear a dress over the swimsuit while not swimming, but swim only in the suit; c) use SPF 3,000 sunscreen (kidding, but definitely the highest I can find); d) add a floppy hat and sunglasses. On that note, I love the hat choices you have above. I think I want to go out and buy the Gymboree one right this minute!

  10. I LOVE your picks, and think you’re right on mark. I’m so annoyed with catalogues showing girls in bare arms and shoulders and legs, and boys with rash guard shirts and nice long shorts. My preschool girl has delicate skin too! I bought exactly those LandsEnd seersucker shorts in green, and I wish I’d seen the striped jcrew rash guard. I got her a plain purple rash guard. So far she loves them, but I hope she still will when we get to the pool and she sees all the other girls in frilly skippy suits.

  11. My pet peeve is that it is much harder to find a long sleeve rash guard for baby/toddler girls. I end up putting my little bug in her brother’s cast offs for full coverage. I agree with you! Is our daughter’s sun safety so much less important than “fashion”?

  12. Oh my, I wholeheartedly agree!
    I found the cutest tankini for my little red-head at Old Navy (which is INCREDIBLY practical now that she’s potty trained! oh, the memories of struggling with my own wet one-piece!), but cute rash guards are pretty hard to come by. I did find a darling one with polka dots and ruffles(!) at Janie + Jack a couple of years ago, but they’re so few and far between.
    Huge thank you!

  13. Love your pick! And THANK YOU for not choosing any two-piece suits! Beyond your points of practicality… I think modesty is an issue that deserves a little more attention when dressing our little girls. I know they look cute in a ruffled bikini when they’re two, but how do we explain to them that a similar ruffled bikini isn’t so appropriate when they’re 15 and all the male eyes are on them at the pool. At our house, we’ve established those kind of rules early on, and hopefully the consistency will make arguments over bathing suits and hem lengths that much easier as our daughter grows.

  14. I did the Disney princess rashguards from the Disney store to make it easier for my 2 and 4 year olds to agree to though they hurt my eyes! I will try some of these for sure! I am looking for rashguards for myself that aren’t too sporty/surfish for a Cleveland area pool. My chest and back are the areas that get hit hardest. Anyone seen any cute ones for women? I was thinking about this but wish I could find something I didn’t have to layer over another top.

  15. As a mom of six girls, I love your picks! My girls and I think it’s unfair that boys can play and not worry about their suit falling off, but we’re supposed to just sit around looking pretty and feeling uncomfortable. We said ENOUGH! I found cute board shorts for some of them. One of my teen daughters wears a really cute pair of boys swimming trunks with a tankini top. She gets to do flips off the board and have a great time right along with my boys. No worries about anything hanging out the bottom. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. My little girl only wears a tank suit for swimming lessons at the indoor pool. She’s got a purple rash guard for summer, and when I let her pick her own trunks/shorts at Target, she wanted the boys ones with blue motorcycles. (Blue is her favorite color.) So she’s not gonna match, but we’ll both be happy.
    Now if you’d like to address why little girls shorts need to have inseams so short their diapers/undies show, and boys get knee length shorts, I’d love to read it.

  17. I like sets like this for my daughter:
    Last year Target carried several choices, but not this year. This year I found a set at Kohls (Carter’s brand) and a different set at Costco that inlcuded a hat (and the shorts were more like board shorts than the above example). I like the sun protection of a rash guard and the coverage (for running around and playing outside the water) of the shorts! And they are still cute and girly.

  18. Cute pics!
    I see a lot of people here opposed to two pieces, but I really like them for easy bathroom access, and in the case of my two year old, belly button access! (It’s an odd comforting habit of hers to find her belly button.) Maybe bikinis at a slightly older age of childhood become ambiguously over-sexualized (in a creepy way), but looking at my two year old in a bikini at the beach – well, there was 0.0, I mean nada “sexual” about that!
    But to your main point – in the sun we cover up with long sleeve rash guards. (Thus negating the bikini look in the first place, I suppose.) You should have seen us in Florida – all 5 (mom, dad, and 3 kids) in long sleeves in the pool. I love it, though – just that much less surface area that you have to worry about “maybe I missed a spot?” with the sunscreen. It’s so convenient, I’m surprised that more moms don’t opt for rash guards for girls, and especially long sleeves — I always have to hunt a little online for the long sleeves.
    My husband’s rash guard is from Land’s End and he loves it. Mine are from Athleta – also great. Pricier, but they have lasted a few years now and are still going strong.
    My girls’ rash guards are from Lands End and Hanna Anderson, and in years past we have also found long sleeves at Mini Boden. My son’s is from Target.

  19. M, there’s something totally genius about a trucker hat for little girls – LOVE it!
    For the Mamas who want to (also) wear rash guards, you gotta check out the Zimmerman rashguards at Shopbop. Crazy expensive, but very high-style for you die-hard rashguard wearers:
    Also, reefgear has a great selection:
    And Jaimie – while M wasn’t a Spartan (like me)….her husband WAS. So both families cheer for the green & white. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. I’ve found cute swimwear for my daughter at UV Skinz. The founder lost her husband to skin cancer and started the company to help protect others. They have some cute styles and while they are a bit pricey, they do have sales periodically. Also, check out their Deep End Discounts section which is always on sale.

  21. Love the shorts, eliminates visible suit wedgie. My 7 year old said she wants to order the polka dot tank and the heart shorts “now please, mommy”.

  22. My mom just bought my daughter some swimsuits for her birthday. One was a really cute one-piece from Gymboree, but the other one was a pair of shorts and rashguard shirt. I think she found it somewhere random like Sam’s or Costco? BUT, I love the two piece option because she’s more covered, and we’re starting potty training this summer. It’ll be perfect for the beach when she spends more time in the sand than in the water. The one-piece will get more use at the pool.
    And all of your hat options are so cute!

  23. Thank you so much for this! I am also a mother of boys but will have my niece staying with me for the summer. My sister didn’t pack any girls swimsuits for her and I wasn’t sure what style would be appropriate for her. All of the ones you suggested would look great on her.

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