The Shmooze

'Kosher' Swimwear On the Rise

By Margaret Eby

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1894: A Victorian woman dressed for the beach.

Just when it seemed that bathing suits couldn’t get much smaller, modesty struck back — and now it seems like the old-fashioned, leave-something-to-the-imagination look has become the new itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny bikini. Thanks to a stream of new buyers, many of them searching for more coverage than the average swimsuit can provide, fashion-forward conservative suits are flooding the market.

The New York Daily News reports that four-piece swimsuits — long-sleeved dresses made of synthetic fabric, some complete with headscarves — are allowing young girls to be appropriate and still get in their beach time.

The audience for these full-coverage suits includes Muslim, Mormon, sun sensitive and plus-sized women, who sport “burkinis” and form-covering clothing, but shops like Brooklyn’s Aqua Modesta cater specifically to tzniut, the Orthodox Jewish code of modesty. Regine Tessone, the designer behind Modesta, calls her cover-ups “original kosher swim wear.”

And it’s not just out of the goodness of her heart — the demand for more cover-up options means that Tessone does swift business. Just don’t expect to see her designs on the cover of Sports Illustrated any time soon.


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