8 girls’ bikinis and two-piece swimsuits that are…appropriate.

Girls' tankini at Lands' EndLast summer, I shopped around for bikinis and two-piece swimsuits for little girls that didn’t make them look like teens before their time. Our readers responded so positively, I thought I’d take a browse around this year and see what looks promising in the swimwear department. Hey, I like a bikini as much as the next diaper-changing mama, but still, I’m okay with a little modesty. At least until they hit, oh, maybe 35.

Honestly, this summer was a little tougher than last, with the teeny triangle bikini tops taking over store shelves big time. Even so, here are a few more modest styles that caught my eye this season.

Lands’ End
I’ll be honest, I was surprised to find swimsuits at Lands’ End that I like so much. I adore this bright stripey girls’ tankini top ($25, seen above) in sizes 4-16, which can pair with either blue or red bikini bottoms
($17) that are modestly cut, but with a fun side-tie. Plus I trust the construction and durability of their clothes. 

Girls' swimsuit picks: ruffle bikini at Mini Boden

Mini Boden
There are quite a few cute swimsuits at Boden this season, but I like this girls’ ruffle bikini
which is girlie without being sexy–the flounce on the sports style top
is terrific. It comes in three different colors, for girls 18mo-8y.

Girls' swimsuit picks: whale tankini at Hatley

This pastel whale tankini
is pretty darn cute for little girls because we uh, older girls might be more
wary of a whale motif on our swimwear. It comes in sizes up to 4T. (on
sale for $35.99 at Zappos with free shipping)

Girls' swimsuit picks: Old Navy swim shirt and shorts set

Old Navy
Navy can be a little tricky when you get into older girls’ sizes (do
six year-olds really need plunging necklines?) but for kids through
5T, this is a very cute rash guard set at a fantastic price. (on sale for $15)

Girls' swimsuit picks: boy short bikini from Polarn o. Pyret

Polarn O. Pyret
Last year I got this sports style boy short two-piece swimsuit
for my four year-old and I’m so happy to see they’re still carrying it!
Not that we need another–she’s still wearing it this year and probably
will next summer too. It’s held up beautifully with a lot of wear, and
its amazing how many people ask us where we got it. ($29.)

Girls' polka dot bikini from Polarn O. Pyret

Polarn also offers a cute polkadot bikini
that isn’t so itsy bitsy teeny weeny. The cross-back design can be a
little more tricky for toddlers to get in and out by themselves, but the
styling is adorable.  ($28)

Girls's swimsuit picks: Cabana Life rash guard

Cabana Life
We discovered this great brand years ago, and love their SPF swimsuits and cute styling. There are five styles of girls’ rashguard sets that each include UV protection. ($50) A few styles are also available at Nordstrom for a little less. ($42)

For more UPF swimwear, also check out Girls4Sport which we recently reviewed, and has a nice 15% discount code for our readers through the end of June.

Girls' swimwear picks: J Crew girls' tankini

J Crew
think J Crew is doing a little better in the one-piece department for
little girl this year than with all those triangle-top bikinis, but they
do have a few very simple girls’ tankinis for girls 2-14 who actually want to swim this summer and not just pose. (This style $29.99)

Cool Mom Staff

We spend our time looking for cool stuff so you don't have to. Hope this one fits the bill.


  • Reply June 11, 2012

    C.C. Chapman

    Thank you for this post. There is nothing worse than shopping for clothes for my daughter sometimes. Still shocks me what some parents will put their kids in.

    This is very helpful. Can’t wait to show my girl when she gets home to see if she likes any of them or not.

  • Reply June 11, 2012

    Angie in Texas

    swimsuit shopping with my 12 year old (who’s built like a 16 year old – not that she’ll be wearing teeny tiny traiangle bikinis then either) was no bueno.

    we finally settled on a tankini from justice. (the added bonus is that when she needs to go to the bathroom, she just pulls bottoms down, not the whole-expose-newbie-boobies when wearing a one piece.

  • Reply June 11, 2012


    Love the lands end one. I did a lot of the old navy boy shorts and rash guards last year for my daughter. I do find that a lot of bottoms gap in the leg area on my girl.

  • Reply June 11, 2012


    Grandma found a cute tankini for my 3 year old at Target, similar to the Mini Boden you show, but with a longer top.

    What do I need to do to stop her from outgrowing cute little girl sizes?

  • Reply June 12, 2012


    LL Bean also has great girls swimsuits. I ordered a tankini set for my daughter. The quality is great and she loves it.

  • Reply June 16, 2012


    Thank you so much for this great post and not being afraid of “standing up” for modesty in regards to young girls’ swimwear. There is no need to having them looking way beyond their years. Adulthood and all its ups and downs come soon enough. These swimsuits are fabulous and perfect for young girls. As a mother of boys, I appreciate swimwear with a little more “material” to them!

  • Reply July 5, 2012

    Kelly Jones

    All of these girls swimsuits are so darn cute. I have been helping my sister pick out a swimsuit for my niece, and it’s harder than I thought. You are right about the styles though, way to revealing for my taste. I will have to pass this post along to my sister and she if she thinks my niece would like any of these styles.

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