10 best places to buy gender-inclusive swimwear
Every body deserves to look great in a swimsuit
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Swimsuit shopping can be nerve-racking no matter how your body looks—whether you're tall, short, curvy, athletic, or just struggle in any kind of way to feel empowered in the skin you're in. But finding the perfect swimsuit can feel even more stressful if you identify as transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, and/or gender nonconforming, or as a human who finds that many of the most popular swimwear brands online just don't offer swimsuits designed with your body in mind.
There's good news, though. There are some amazing inclusive swimwear brands out now that offer a variety of styles for those of all shapes and sizes (including those who may have disabilities), and which can help you look great and feel euphoric in your body and gender expression. From binders you can wear as swim tops to retro-inspired unisuits, gender-neutral swimwear options abound at these retailers. Below are 10 of the best places to shop in time for summer.
Looking for gender-neutral swimwear that's great for surfing, paddleboarding, and other water-based sports? Outplay is a Florida-based business that not only specializes in swimsuits for all bodies, but in the kind of gear that's great for active lifestyles, as well.
You can shop for a range of full-coverage and mid-drift tops, all of which are available in low- or high-compression fit. Outplay also sells a variety of bottoms, from jammers to bikini fit and more, which could pair perfectly as a set with one of the tops or as a solo piece of swimwear.
2. Rebirth Garments
Innovative and playfully retro-inspired, Rebirth Garments was founded by Sky Cubacub, a non-binary Filipinx human, and is based out of Chicago. If you're searching for gender nonconforming lingerie and swimwear that embraces color, vibrant patterns, and above all else, just feels fun to wear, this top-rated shop (available through Etsy) is worth a look.
Rebirth Garments' line of swim wearables includes binders, crop tops, tank tops, shorts, singlets, and other versatile pieces, all of which are meant to flatter bodies across the full spectrum of gender, size, and ability. (Editor's note: This shop is currently on vacation, but will return end of June 2021.)
When it comes to gender-neutral apparel, TomboyX is an incredibly popular brand that offers bras, underwear, swimwear, and other form-flattering wear for all bodies.
Established in 2012 in Seattle, Washington, by Fran Dunaway and Naomi Gonzalez, TomboyX swimsuits are made from Oeko-Tex certified fabric and have an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50, so if you're looking for water-safe tanks, shorts, unisuits, and other swimwear that's both eco-friendly and ideal for sun protection, be sure to bookmark this brand in your browser.
4. GenderBender Apparel
Standout Picks: Ruffle Top—$49 and Pride Elastic Gaff—$67
Sizes: XXS-6X; XS-3X (for tucking bottoms); custom sizing also available
Return Policy: 50% cash back within 14 days or free exchange for any unused item; exclusions may apply for custom or intimate orders
Operated out of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, GenderBender Apparel was founded in 2018 by Xander Shephard and offers an assortment of gender-inclusive swimwear, shapewear, and swim-safe body tape for those who identify as male-to-female (MTF), female-to-male (FTM), and non-binary.
From stretchy board shorts inspired by the transgender pride flag to tucking bottoms, binders, and more, this shop (available on Etsy) focuses on creating handmade swimwear solutions that are comfortable, stylish, and can help make the experience of going out to swim more euphoric for those in the trans community.
5. Beefcake Swimwear
The Roaring '20s have come again—well, sort of—and if you're looking for a gender-neutral bathing suit that reimagines the spirit of 1920s swimwear, Beefcake Swimwear could be a great option.
This business, which got its start on Kickstarter in 2017, is based out of Portland, Oregon, and founder Mel Brittner Wells embraces ethical manufacturing practices—each suit is produced in small batches and made by folks who are paid a living wage. Unisuits like The Original (the shop's specialty) are made from compressive fabric that smooths, shapes, and has a UPF of 50+, so while your look might be retro and flattering, you're also getting protection from harmful rays, too.
Based out of New York City, Chromat is a brand that believes beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and abilities, and that every body deserves to feel empowered in swimwear. Drawing from a background in architecture, founder Becca McCharen-Tran established the shop in 2010 with an eye toward using each collection to explore the intersection of fashion, technology, and architecture, and you'll notice that much of Chromat's swimwear has a highly structured look to it, and includes everything from mesh suits to zip tops and bottoms, and more.
Additionally, all Chromat products are produced in fair-wage factories in New York City and Sofia, Bulgaria, and made from sustainable, regenerated nylon, which was spun from fishing nets and post-consumer plastic bottles. Working with an international diving team, they've been able to remove more than 160 tons of fishing nets from the world's oceans, so if you're searching for a sustainably-sourced, gender-neutral swimwear brand, Chromat should make the shortlist.
7. MIGA Swimwear
Founder Maria Luisa Mendiola officially launched MIGA Swimwear in 2018 as a way to challenge established beauty norms and help those with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and other visible differences feel beautiful and empowered in their own bodies.
While the brand's first collection was dedicated specifically to burn survivors (and featured patterns that recreated the look of burn scars), subsequent collections have been made with all bodies in mind, as well as those who have had an ostomy. Using regenerated waster material fabrics like fishnets and post-consumer polyamide yarns, these swimsuits are also sustainably made and offer an SPF of 50, which may help provide a crucial layer of support against sun damage, especially for those with skin grafts.
8. FLAVNT Streetwear
FLAVNT (pronounced "flaunt") Streetwear is an Austin-based brand that offers apparel for all genders and is meant to be worn with pride and confidence. Co-founders Courtney Rhodes and Chris Rhodes established the business in 2014, and while you can find a big selection of shirts, sweats, and more online, the best-known product is the Bareskin Binder, which you can also wear as a swim top.
Available in a range of nude shades (innovative within the binder market), the Bareskin Binder began as a Kickstarter campaign in 2015 and could be a great option if you're looking for a racerback binder that'll really blend and move with your body in ways that other binders may not.
9. Hirsuit Swim by Otherwild
Hirsuit Swim is a much talked-about line created by Rachel Berks, founder of the New York City-based retailer Otherwild (which was established in 2012), and could be a great choice for those whose gender expression transcends beyond male or female. Made from heavy recycled polyester and spandex, these unisuits are inspired by early 20th-century swimwear (similar to Beefcake Swimwear), as well as wrestling uniforms and unitards for modern dance.
The original Hirsuit Swim is also reversible and features hidden side-seam interior pockets, while the Hirsuit Swim Simple is unlined and features wider straps, longer legs, and a higher neck. Currently, sizes are limited with this much-sought-after swim line, but you can still get certain swimsuits in inclusive sizing for 3XL or 4XL, so if you've been on the lookout for androgynous swimwear that has a retro aesthetic to it, proceed directly to the Otherwild and give Hirsuit a try.
10. Origami Customs
This Montreal-based business—which was founded by designer Rae Hill, a non-binary queer femme—offers swimwear and lingerie beyond the binary. Using "deadstock" (materials that were headed to a landfill), recycled polyester, and/or regenerative bamboo, Origami Customs creates custom and handmade pieces via sustainable manufacturing methods, and these are pieces that can fit any body, size, or shape and are intended to last for a lifetime.
When it comes to swimwear, the inventory fluctuates, but you can purchase adjustable binders that can be worn as swim tops. Also, note that because of the custom and handmade nature of each piece, there can be extended wait times, but this shop could be great if you love the mission and are looking for form-flattering binders, bottoms, and more.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.