All You Need is One

All we are saying is give one piece a chance


I want to be profound and say my interest in one piece bathing suits began as a revolt against the over-saturated market of skin. If we’ve become so jaded during this age of transparency that nipples have become just another accessory, then there is a chance that I’m looking to modesty for a new kind of subversive statement.

There’s a chance that when outfits became seemingly incomplete without showing at least some midriff, I began to seek refuge in the irony of what some may consider “matronly” swimwear.

There’s a chance I’ve been been secretly dying to for an excuse to write the word normcore, then use it in a sentence (aren’t one pieces high on that list?), and perhaps the greatest chance of all is that I didn’t feel like doing sit-ups all winter and am now leaning heavy on a trend that more or less hides this fact.

But the reality — the very boring, rather shallow truth — is that I spent the first 4 years of my aquatic life naked, and the other 22 wrestling with my bikinis so that I wouldn’t accidentally become naked (on the beach, or public pool, or backyard barbecue, what have you) and for once I think it would be nice to take a swim without worrying about whether or not I just flashed the neighbors.

Not that I’ve ever had any complaints, badum-cha! Here all night, folks.

Perhaps even more true is that I’m just into the way they look. Ever since Jenni Avins wrote an open letter to J. Crew asking Jenna Lyons (and co.) to resurrect their perfect scoop-back swimsuit of yesteryear, I’ve been reconsidering their aesthetic worth.

My mom used to a wear a black one. She appeared so at ease.

And there’s something beautiful in the simplicity of “one.” There’s no stress of perfecting the mismatched top-to-bottom. There’s no grocery list of styles: the bandeau for zero tan lines, the triangle for zero support, the cup for extra cleavage, the fringe for decoration, plus the need to pack them all so you can Instagram a new suit daily.

When you have one solid, good item that requires zero outfitting, zero consideration, I mean, that’s freedom.

Call it normcore. Call it momcore. Call it boring, if you must.

But for me, the idea of having just one piece to consider before diving headfirst into the ocean — that’s vacation.

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  • Granted, I love a one piece, but I’m sure there are more glamorous one piece suits than these!

    • Tara Edie

      Agreed, these are hideous. There are so many beautiful one-pieces. anything resembling a Speedo is a bad idea.


    All I need is get fitter… and then buy one!

  • Yes! I hate Bikinis, whereas a bathing suit always looks chic and elegant, never vulgar. Also, consider the one-piece as an option for a chic summer outfit – I love to pair mine with some loose palazzo pants or culottes. That also makes it easy to occasionally dive into a fountain if you get to hot in the city…like here in boiling Berlin! How about a one-piece outfit post, Amelia/Leandra?

  • Lucy Martin

    I love my Malia Mills one piece – wait for the sample sale though if you’re starving artist like me. Usually at the end of september for your summer 2015 body.

  • Yes!! I’ve been wearing a black one piece (bought – in true normcore fashion – from the site I used to order my swim team suits from) this summer and I LOVE IT! I feel vaguely ballerina-ish when I wear it and I can just flit around carelessly as my friends tug away at their postage-stamp bikinis – I don’t miss mine at all.

    • Catherine Bohner

      I buy mine at Lands End. I think that’s more momcore.

  • jmt

    To cover this appendicitis scar, I’m relieved that one pieces are trending. It’s been over a decade of limited options.

  • Leandra Medine

    i wish i could just wear a water resistant sache and no clothes at all and call it a day

    • When’s Rosie gonna do swimwear? Need a multi-colored side-striped suit with grommets and a sashASAP!

  • Aubrey Green

    I love a one piece. I think they are sexy. Plus, you can wear them with skirts, jeans, etc. as a shirt :).

    This way when everyone wants to jump in the pool/ocean with their clothes on, you can just pull your pants off and viola.

  • Laura Sofia

    I recently bought a 1 pice number from ASOS, black and caged on the back, just wore it during Spring Break and let me tell you that I hadn´t felt that good in a bathing suit in a long time, I loved it and forgot about everything else.

  • monkeyshines
  • Lyric

    I wish I could wear one pieces, but my torso is long, so any movement sends the already taunt fabric right into wedgie territory. It’s possible I just haven’t found the right brand yet, but alas, I’m too lazy for that.

    • Long tall (torsoed) sally

      yes yes yes….I too am a long torsorian (totally sexier than long legs, no?…no??) if anyone knows a good place for long torsoed malliots please share. I know J Crew does some and malia mills suits work because of adjustable straps…. but I am still seeking the holy long torso suit. (don’t tell me delia’s because despite the surprising inclusion of extended torsos in their wares, those aint long enough for a grown up.)

      • charmystique

        You guys, Black Milk Clothing does beautiful graphic one-pieces in good quality fabric, with long-torso alternatives. Y’all should check them out. Their swimsuits are always featured on The Ballerina Project’s Instagram page!

        • Of torso my dear

          I too am blessed with several bonus inches of torso so I’m grateful for any one-piece advice for us long in the middle gals. Black Milk sure is an unusual line. Some truly extraordinary ideas there in terms of pattern. Personally, I’m looking for something more simple. WEaring the face of the joker on my mid-section I’m afraid would do me no favors. My dream suit: long enough to prevent slingshot styling. A single bright color. A low back. A bit of a low neck. Ideally a semi- high cut in the leg (though not american apparel – super obvious-style). I’m vibing Elle magazine late 1980s/early 1990s. Broad shoulders, long legs, squinting off into the sunset amazon style… Somewhere between the famous suits of Bo Derek/ Farah Fawcette/ Pamela Anderson.

          • charmystique

            I can understand. They used to do simpler suits, but in recent times tend to gravitate towards more themed ones. I’ve a ‘Ribs suit that looks absolutely amazing on. They also do a lowback, all-black suit called The Amazing Suit, which is unfortunately OOS on the page now. If you’re looking for something more simple, you might want to consider that when they’re back in stock!


          • Catherine Bohner

            Land’s End.

          • Catherine Bohner

            No, I take it back. I’m not a fan of their current selection.

  • So interesting that a one piece is more risqué for a public appearance than a bikini. That flaunt-it-while-you’ve-got-it sentiment is so instilled in the culture that when people see a young woman on the beach in a one piece they assume she’s a) Mormon or b) a devastatingly easy “burner.”

    I happen to love the look of a one piece but I typically just wear a sport bikini when I go to the beach so that I can swim and dive and float in the ocean without the constant worry that a wave will wipe all my coverage away.

    • Yes, you are so right! Fortunately the options are getting better and better. Two years ago I had a hard time finding something nice and elegant which then sadly did also cost me a big amount of money only to find myself in the situation that everybody kept telling me that I don’t need to feel bad about my body?!?! I mean WTF nobody could imagine that I chose to wear a one piece because I wanted to look stylish and not for hiding myself!!!

      I even wrote on that some time ago as my friend released her own bathing suit line:

  • One pieces can be glamorous for sure and you don’t have to worry about them falling off in the waves like a tie bikini.

  • I have to say, I find one pieces to be cooler than a two piece. I think they’re sexier.

    Check out the B.A.D Blog…

  • Quinn Halman

    ha! Amelia, if only you knew my struggle. I’m what you would call a summer camp kid; I spend 10 months of the year waiting for a special 2 (months). But at my conservative Jewish sleepover camp, only one pieces are allowed because modest is hottest. Sure I’m not nearly as self conscious as I would be if bikinis were ok but it is hard to find a good and inexpensive one piece. We would always think of this rule as a burden but as we got older we understood why it wasn’t so bad (besides how hard it is to find a nice one piece that isn’t stupidly expensive). Hopefully the links will guide me in my quest for a bather that is both a nice and modest *angel emoji goes here*

    • Exactly! Good fitting one pieces are so expensive!!!

  • lindsey

    I think one pieces are great, but the SWEAT… I’m in steamy South Carolina. I tried to wear one out on my porch (the fit is indecent until my rear shrinks) and it was like my own personal sauna. I need all the breeze I can get.

  • ac

    Please please please the fourth picture, where did you find it? I love this suit!

    • Amelia Diamond

      the one of kiera knightly from atonement? i might be wrong but i’m afraid it was designed for the movie!

  • Angie D’Armetta

    high waisted bikini bottoms are the way to go!

  • YES!!! Got a couple of one-pieces for a beach vacation last year. Best decision ever.
    Here’s proof!

    • Amelia Diamond

      this is awesome you look awesome

      • Thanks, Amelia!!! I want to see your one-piece! Don’t forget to post pics! Xx

        • Viva

          What brand is this gorgeous suit? Maybe the best looking one-piece ever.

          • Thank you! It is by Robin Piccone. I got it at Nordstrom last year. I was instantly in love!

    • hot hot hot

    • awww monica i just want to roll you up in that hammock like a burrito! though you’re so skinny it’s more like a taquito

  • I do agree with needing just one but this day of instagram when I’m even debating if I wore my running shoes too many times yeah I need two more trunks to make it the rest of the summer.

  • Tamara

    i love them on other people but i am small chested and have a tiny (disproportionate) short torso sitting in the middle of ridiculously long arms and legs…one piece bathing suits make me feel like a spider!

    • Amelia Diamond

      hahahaha this image made me laugh but i bet you do NOT look like a spider at all!!!!

  • Ariel

    Oh my gosh, Amelia! This perfectly states my feelings the past few months in my search for the perfect one piece. It’s time has come, indeed, though so far I have been unsuccessful actually finding one.. it can be tough to find a flattering one just like two-pieces!

  • I chose to pair an american apparel high-cut one-piece with disco pants for a show with my disco band last Friday and it was not a mistake. Highly functional.

    • Anne Grauso

      I am a redhead(ghostly pale). Swimwear is a life-long nemisis! I have been wearing one-pieces my whole life. At beach/pool/lake I need skin coverage,so I also wear a cute outfit,based on the tank suit . ERES makes magic,but this is an investment. Mine are 10 years old and still awesome. Large Dept. stores(Macys,Nordstrom,Target,Bloomies) have the most to chose from; shop in April for the most choices, Sept. for cheapest, on sale.

  • Brittany Sage

    My thoughts exactly. I had this revelation 2 years ago when I impulsively picked up a one piece for its graphics and it ended up being perfect for so many reasons I was previously unaware of! Long live the one piece!

  • john
  • mvg

    Amelia! Check out sexiest one piece swimsuits I’ve ever seen. It’s like 80s supermodel Sports Illustrated material. They are indulgent, vulgar and fun. Not too manrepeller though.

  • Marc

    One piece are hip, I couldn’t be a happier man. I never understood bikinis.

  • I love one pieces for the same reasons you do! It also seems like bikins are getting smaller and smaller each summer. Not super down for that…

  • Amy

    Just wanna say that I stopped wearing one-pieces when I got too lanky for them. Nothing relaxing about a suit that digs (simultaneously) into your crotch, ass, AND shoulders. BUT! I just found this one and it’s really great for tall people. 10/10.