Fashion Update: the Burqini

5 Aug

I am posing a serious question here – and I want your feedback!

On our glorious trip to Sweden, where it was raining and in the 60’s for 8 of our 10 days (not exactly Phuket) I was introduced to a new piece of swim fashion – the Burqini. I was left with some confusion, however, because it was a picture of a cartoon duck* wearing a Burqini, so in my limited Burqa experience, it looked like any other Burqa that a cartoon duck might be wearing. It has been on my mind ever since, so I finally had a free moment to Google it. Image search blew my mind. I want one. No. I want ten, one in every color!

My personal color choice.

And you can get them sans head gear if you like…

My hair is always a train wreck at the beach anyway.

You are probably reading some heavy sarcastic tones into my post right about now. I assure you, I am not kidding.

When I go to the beach (pool, water park, or anywhere outdoors where sun, water, and the occasional breeze coalesce) the iconic image of Bo Derek running down the beach in the movie 10, I am not.

Without exploring the realm of body-image issues, and what this style might or might not accomplish for me, allow me to be practical and state only the facts.

1. I am WHITE. I do not mean Caucasian (though I do happen to be), I mean literally WHITE. There is rarely a foundation shade created for my skin tone, and I know – I spent 14 years working in the cosmetic industry. I will burn in under 10 minutes without sunscreen. I will blister in 20. I love the beach and I love the water more, but do you have any idea what a trip to the beach is like for me? Every 60 to 90 minutes, I have to stop everything, completely dry off, and perform the dreaded 20 minute sunscreen ritual with absolutely nothing less than an SPF30. It actually makes me whiter. And a little bit glowy. And, I ALWAYS miss a spot – normally the tops of my hands, the back of my neck, one shoulder, or the tops of my feet. I figure it out during my next re-apply when a few grains of sand accidentally enter the mix. No matter how hard I try, I always get home with a searing reminder of my “fun in the sun”. There are Burqinis available that are rated SPF 50. I bet I can successfully apply to hands, feet, face in less than 5 minutes.

2. Melanoma, the most serious and dangerous type of skin cancer  kills nearly 8,000 Americans per year. Metatsatic melanoma (if you don’t catch it before it spreads) kills 9 of every 10 people diagnosed. Risk factors include living in sunny climates or at high altitude (check), one or more blistering sunburns during childhood (check, check, check), and close relatives with a history of melanoma (check and check). Every sunburn in your life increases your risk. My grandmother and first cousin have both been diagnosed, but luckily they caught it very early. I don’t want melanoma. I can’t change the past, but did I mention there are Burqinis available that are rated SPF 50? Perhaps there are many more people in the world who should be contemplating this same question.

3. From a fashion perspective, I have spent more than my fair share of summers cloaked/swimming in long tee shirts in an effort to prevent sun exposure. The longer A-line model is reminiscent of several dresses currently in my closet. How is this so different, except that it happens to be made for water sports? And, who doesn’t own a pair of leggings right now?

4. Head gear or No? Personally, I would like a removable option. For vigorous activities and for shaded times of the day, I certainly don’t want to be bothered by one. However,  my ears burn. My scalp burns wherever my hair parts. But you know, when I swim, I do develop a very summer-sexy, wind-tunnel-frizzed-wet poodle look. Who doesn’t want to see that?

5. I am 35, married, and have given birth to giant twins (6lb, 6oz and 6lb, 13oz at 36 weeks, thank you very much). My days of caring about delighting my fellow water enthusiasts with my choice of swimwear are behind me. OK, who am I kidding, my days of having the ability  to delight my fellow water enthusiasts with my choice of swimwear are long dead. Sorry, Captain, you had a hand in this, too.

At this point, the answer seems like a total no-brainer. BUT we live in this overly-sensitive world that truly confounds me. Everyone is supposed so accepting and open, free to live, think, and pray as they please. We are supposed to be intelligent, enlightened, and advancing beings cohabitating and improving our world together. So why does my interest in swimwear ignite a socio-political-religious discussion? I really don’t get it. And so, I am asking you, dear public. Guide me. Let me know what you think so I can weigh my own desires against the sensitivities of my potential fellow beach-goers.

Without being offensive (or potentially accosted) may I wear a Burqini if I am not Muslim?


*Before anyone gets all up in arms about disrespect and why a cartoon duck was wearing a Burqini, we were at a Swedish “Summerland” which is a sort of amusement park/water park/petting zoo all rolled into one, and the parks mascot was a cartoon duck. The duck was modeling all varieties of acceptable swimwear for the water park area.

6 Responses to “Fashion Update: the Burqini”

  1. Jan August 6, 2011 at 5:29 am #

    ANSWER! It doesn’t have to be a burquini – – -it has nothing to do with being muslim or dressing muslim. It has everything to do with being Sun Smart, being body conscience and modest! And apparently you are not the first!

  2. Jan August 6, 2011 at 5:36 am #

    and there’s more of course:

    • window2chaos August 6, 2011 at 6:19 am #

      Exactly the type of scrutiny I was concerned about! Unbelievable! And I am so glad to know I am not the first venturing in to these (shark infested) waters. So, we know Whitey Fear is alive and well… any info on Muslim backlash? You can bet I’ll be Googling…

  3. Karin August 6, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    I want one too!!!! /Karin

  4. Barbara October 9, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    I want one too!! I am 46 years old, have had three children and now I have a grandchild. I WANT to take her to the pool – but I am uncomfortable in swimwear. I am also a white, white, white – 1/4 ginger on both my mother and my father’s side – to be exact. I have had “bad” moles removed.

    I know that there are “Christian” makers of covering swimwear as well. There is nothing wrong with modesty – and modesty does NOT have to be religious in nature. Haven’t we all been to a swimming pool and seen the “Oh NO they DID not!” swimwear?

    I am shopping for one! Besides – if nothing else – I would consider it to be “respectful” to others to be dressed appropriately for one’s body type.

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