what should I wear to an office pool party?

A reader writes:

I work in a team of mostly men and a few women. We’ve been invited to the boss’ home for a barbecue, which includes team activities, bbq, and a pool (!) The boss was clear that we should bring our swimsuits. Being one of the only women (and one of two who are under 40), I make sure that I dress professionally at work. I’m concerned if I do bring my swimsuit that despite the casual and pool party context, I will still be viewed differently when everyone see me more exposed. Also – I tend to look terrible in one pieces and my swimsuit wardrobe consists of all bikinis (with coverups that I can keep on until the last minute) – do I need to invest in a more conservative swimsuit or can I just wear what I own?

Finally, is there a valid excuse I can use to not bring my swimwear at all? I don’t want to look like a downer, nor be the only person who isn’t in the pool. I know everyone will be in their swimwear, which is a great equalizer, but still, it’s weird territory.

I think lots of people won’t be in swimsuits, especially if you have people older than 30 there. You should be fine in a tank top and a skirt, or a t-shirt and shorts, or any other outfit suitable for a BBQ that didn’t involve swimming.

I think it’s highly unlikely that anyone will give you crap for not swimming — again, because it’s unlikely that you’ll be the only person not in the pool, but also because pressuring a coworker to disrobe is hard to do without sounding lecherous. But if for some reason someone does, you can say you forgot to bring a swimsuit, couldn’t find yours when you were leaving for the party, sunburn horribly, wanted to focus on eating as much BBQ as possible, don’t want to put everyone else to shame, or pretty much any other excuse that comes to mind.

(If you did really want to swim — which it sounds like isn’t the case — I’d avoid bikinis and go with something like a tankini or one-piece — something that’s cut as unlike underwear as possible.)

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 296 comments… read them below }

  1. Kristine*

    Ugh, office pool parties. Why do they exist?! BBQs are great but why would anyone want to mix colleagues and swimwear?

    I’m attending a company pool party at the end of the month and I’m going to wear a cute tropical print sundress. I’ll happily dip my feet in the pool but under no circumstances will I be swimming.

    1. SystemsLady*

      The one my company does is more of a family picnic – the swimming option is for the kids more than anything else.

      1. just popping in*

        Yeah, I think it would be a different situation if this was something that family members were also invited to (for one, she’d be less likely to be the only woman under 40!). But it sounds like this is a team-building day sort of thing rather than a hang out and meet your coworkers’ families kind of event.

        1. INTP*

          This. Plus at a family friendly BBQ event, I would expect the wording to reflect that swimming will be an option but not that everyone needs to bring a suit.

          1. Original Poster*

            The boss never said it was ‘optional’…he never specified either way really, he just said to everyone to bring their swim wear.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Right, but unless he’s really, really weird, that’s not meant as an order. That’s the wording people use to mean “we have a pool, so bring your swimsuit if you want to use it.”

                1. Original Poster*

                  Actually I thought about this more and definitely sensed a type of pressure in his tone. See my comment below.

                2. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  I responded to you down there, but unless your boss is known to be a bizarre and unreasonable person, it sounds like someone just being enthusiastically hospitable.

                3. lori*

                  +1 My boss once had a pool party and absolutely insisted that everyone bring swimwear. Only one person did–it felt too awkward (and we were all under 30!). He gave us a guilt trip about having the pool cleaned just for the party, etc. and tried to insist (in a spirit of hospitality). But as a reasonable person he didn’t hold it against us.

    2. Carly*

      I highly doubt many – if any – of the adults will actually go swimming. I was once invited to an office pool party (with family invited) at a coworker’s house and was told to bring my bathing suit, but NO ONE actually went swimming except for the kids. The adults just hung out and socialized. Believe me, your coworkers over the age of 40 will not be very keen on swimming.

    3. Just Another Techie*

      Worse, I was once invited to a coworker’s party (it wasn’t just coworkers invited — it was mostly the guy’s personal friends + a handful of people he’s friendly with at work) where people were in his outdoor hottub completely nude! I begged off saying hot tubs make me faint and stayed indoors.

      1. give up give our soul away*

        I’ve been to nude beaches on numerous occasions and to me the strange part is just how quickly one’s brain adapts and it becomes totally ordinary. Although being with a group of co-workers would probably make it weird. Naked strangers: not a problem. Naked co-workers: probably problematic.

        1. Original Poster*

          YES. I could care less about being with strangers, friends and family. But coworkers?? It’s odd to even see one of the guys in shorts and flip flops (they don’t at work as it’s business casual, but if I did it would be odd). In a party context it would be fine. But seeing them with their shirts off will be odd. I wonder if the guys will wear rash guards? I’ve never seen adult men wear them, but I see kids do so all the time. Surfing yes, but not for swimming. I see some guys go in with t shirts at the beach.

      2. Koko*

        Sometimes, you just have decide whether you’re going to invite your work friends or your nudist friends to a party. You can’t have your cake and eat it naked too!

        1. Today's anon*

          I was once using a gym locker at lunch, dressed already in my gym clothes, and a co-worker saw me as he was going to the showers and he stood there totally naked talking to me for 10 min. He did not even put a towel around his waist. It was so awkward!

      1. Merry and Bright*

        Mine too. I get most of my excercise from swimming in the public pool. But I will not wear a swimsuit in front of my coworkers.

    4. GOG11*

      I was just thinking, “seriously, this is a thing?” At least there are other activities to do, and the pool aspect seems like an option rather than the point of the event (like having a corporate retreat at an indoor pool or something).

    5. Kelly*

      I’m convinced they exist because men want to see their office mates in bathing suits.

      1. Original Poster*

        Lol. Interesting that I read a study that men and women (whether attached or not) tend to fantasize about people they know, especially coworkers.

    1. cardiganed librarian*

      It’s such an awful thought that I first thought pool as in billiards, not swimming. The latter is just too much to contemplate.

    2. Terrible True Story*

      Not if, like, one of your office mates makes bikinis as her side business! Which she talks about constantly, at work.

      Like, maybe you would like a bikini. Well, some of you. Like, bikinis aren’t for everyone.

      /hair flip
      /meaningful look at coworkers size 6+

  2. Squeegee Beckenheim*

    If I were you, I’d wear my swimsuit under my clothes and then play it by ear to decide if/when I want to take off my dress and get in the pool. You could also wear a rashguard/shirt over your swimsuit if you don’t want to get a new suit.

    1. k cat*

      That’s what I was going to recommend. I’m a big fan of a short sleeved rashguard (over a bikini top)+ board shorts for situations when I want to swim but not be too exposed. Plus out of the water they just look like clothes, so you don’t have to deal with a bathing suit coverup.

      1. Brisvegan*


        I love the option of something that looks like shorts and a T-shirt and always swim in a rashie and board shorts.

        Also, living in a sub-tropical region of Australia, it has a huge bonus in avoiding sun damage/skin cancer. It’s pretty standard swimming attire here. (Parents get subjected to a huge side eye if their kids don’t swim in rashies, for example.). I’m seriously considering getting a full arm length rash shirt for next summer. I am seeing a lot of them around now for adults as well as kids.

        You might not have time before the party, but if you shop online from Australian swim wear stores, surf stores or department stores, you would
        get a big range of cute womens rash suit/ board short combos.

    2. Ann O'Nemity*

      Yep, I’d probably do something similar. I have a cute tankini+skirt bikini set for awkward swimming situations like this one.

      1. Anx*

        Where did you get this!?!

        I loathe most one pieces, but I do prefer coverage. Especially bottom coverage.

        1. Squeegee Beckenheim*

          Lands’ End carries a lot of coordinating swim separates (and in a pretty wide range of sizes). I wear a lot of their tankinis with bikini bottoms, my sister wears a tankini top with a board short bottom, and a friend wears a tankini top with a skirted bottom.

          1. Wren*

            YES! Love Lands’ End for my size 24/26 self! If I can find something cute and that fits, I think 99% of the world can!

            1. limenotapple*

              I was just coming here to day the same thing! I wear a Lands End 24 in swimwear and they had a wonderful selection, even this late in the season. The Swim tees are really awesome and perfect for the OP’s situation. Plus, built in SPF!

          2. sam*

            Lands’ End Swim Shorts. Except for when I go scuba diving, when stuffing the extra shorts material inside a wetsuit is just too much of an annoyance, these are the only things I wear, combined with Old Navy tankini swim tops.

            (and I’m plus sized. Wearing swimsuits, whether or not co-workers were present, was never appealing. I spent years not going near pools or beaches until I discovered these. Life changing!).

            1. Original Poster*

              Lands End – whoa!! I just looked at their site and the swim skirt is adorable. Totally buying it.

                1. zora*

                  make sure to check the reviews for sizing tips when ordering. I have found their sizes are a little bit different from other designers. I have always ordered the two closest sizes so I can try them on at home and then return one.

        2. HumbleOnion*

          I just bought a rashguard & board shorts from Land’s End. I love places that sell tops & bottoms separately.

        3. Paige Turner*

          Athleta, Zappos and Nordstrom/ Nordstrom Rack also have lots of options. I love my rashguard and boardies :)

        4. Ann O'Nemity*

          I got mine at Victoria’s Secret when they were having some crazy online sale. I’m tall so I love that they offer a long option for the tankini.

        5. Ani*

          Athleta is where I’ve gotten some rashguards that are among my favorite fashion items ever.

        6. Anx*

          Thanks everyone!

          It’s been admittedly years since I looked into buying a swimsuit, but next time I am happy to have more options.

        7. Pennalynn Lott*

          Years ago (2000 – 2001?) I found a company online that made plus-size swim clothing. As in, they made Bermuda and bike short length shorts, actual tank tops, crop tops, t-shirts, “sports” bras, and other pieces of “normal” clothing in swimsuit material. I bought at least one of everything they had in my size, especially the bike and Bermuda shorts. Because I hate the skirt swimsuits from the likes of Lands’ End because it exposes too much of my [very large] thighs. It was great to be able to wear the “normal-looking” swim clothing on a trip to Kauai with other coworkers. We went snorkeling and took dips in the pool, and I never exposed more flesh than I would have if, say, we’d had to come into the office on a Saturday in the middle of summer.

          That company went out of business but I’ve gotta believe someone else has filled that niche.

        8. Sarah in Boston*

          Also check out Coolibar’s stuff. It’s all SPF 50 rated clothing and swimwear. I often wear the shorts and short sleeve short option because a) it’s good for snorkeling/scuba and b) I don’t have to put that much sunscreen on.

    3. Engineer Girl*

      I’m a huge fan of rash guards. There’s lots of cute ones out there. Lands End has several that are sporty and fun. Sears carries many of them and they’re on sale right now. They’ll look cute with your bikini bottoms. If you’re uncomfortable with bikini bottoms then consider a skirted bottom or even boy shorts, bike shorts, or board shorts. It’s a great combo for canoe trips and white water raft trips too.
      I also have problems with pool chemicals so use that as an excuse not to go swimming in pools.

      1. Engineer Girl*

        BTW, if you do get a rash guard make sure it fits snugly. If it is too loose you’ll get the dreaded bubble bust. Just saying…

      2. Anonsie*

        A rash guard and men’s swim trunks over a bikini are my usual thing. I can take them off if I feel like it and if I don’t I can still get in the water and all. I lived near the ocean for a long time and I hate laying or sitting on bare sand, so I normally wore men’s trunks all the time.

        They make women’s board shorts that are more fitted and some people prefer those, but the cut of them is always surprisingly confining to me. I like the men’s better.

      1. the_scientist*

        I am a particularly white shade of pale and more sensitive to the sun than usual due to a medication I’m taking . I am a swimmer and into outdoor sports/activities etc. so I’ve worn a rashguard for years and would recommend them as being something that everyone should own, and essential for children (any aussie readers can confirm this for me but I understand that it’s basically the norm for kids in Aus to wear rashguards with bathing suits due to the intensity of the sun and thinness of the ozone layer). They are great- they provide a little more modesty when wanted, help keep your bathing suit top in place when doing high impact activities (I was wakeboarding this weekend and was quite glad to have mine), add a tiny bit of extra warmth in cold water, and I can float in an inner tube all day without having to worry about my shoulders getting burnt! I bought my rashguard for $20 at old navy, but any sports-type store should have them.

        1. Brisvegan*

          Yep, Aussie here. I just said up above that parents would get side-eyed so hard if their kids swam in anything but a rash suit combo. You’d be seen as a pretty poor parent not to provide that sort of sun protection, especially for little kids. It’s weird to think of kids swimming in anything else.

          My kids are all teens and still wear rashies, as we call them, for anything but indoor swimming.

          A lot of adults of all genders also wear rashie/board short combinations for swimming.

          1. Brisvegan*

            I should also mention that Australians tend to be very aware of skin cancer risks, due to public health messaging. It’s the third most common cancer here and kills 2000+ people per year (out of approx 25 million). 2 out of every 3 Aussies will have a skin cancer diagnosed/removed before they turn 70. Skin cancer checks and clinics are a pretty routine health check.

            We all want to keep our kids and ourselves a bit safer.

            1. Amanda*

              Those are some scary stats. I worked in Southern Africa for two years and I wonder what their stats among Caucasians are. White people tended to look quite weathered at a young age there.

              1. Cath in Canada*

                I know a very fair-skinned guy who was born in Southern Africa, and his doctor told his parents essentially “you have to get this child out of Africa or he’ll get his first skin cancer before he’s 30”. So they moved to Vancouver. It was still too sunny for him here, so he recently moved to Wales!

        2. BeenThere*

          Yep double confirmed. Pale Aussie here who decided to move to Texas. I’m a self proclaimed skin protection expert as a result. I’m also meant to get checks every 6 months. I own several rash shirts, a wetsuit shirt, spring suit and full steamer. I wear bikinis and have board shorts (boardies).

          I find the selection of board shorts in the US to be really, really poor. However after reading the comments it might be because no one over 30 gets in the pool so they aren’t designed for 30+ year old hips. In Australia many social activities revolving around being in the water so the selection is vast.

          1. Brisvegan*

            That sucks about the boardie options. I wonder how postage from Australian stores would go for you. Australia post now had offices in the US to facilitate ordering from US stores for Australians. I don’t know if they also help with Australia to US shopping.

    4. pony tailed wonder*

      I went to an office pool party once and got an retro looking skirted swim dress. I’m plus sized and the look worked for me. If you go to the Ester Williams swimsuit site, you can see the one piece suits with skirts. They have a lot of coverage and might do the trick as well as the other suggestions. When I go to the pool, I see the 80 year old women wear this kind of suit and so I thought it would be ‘ladylike’ enough to work with my co-workers.

    5. Original Poster*

      This rash guard idea is intriguing. I’ll have to try one on. I’ve never seen it, except for on surfers. I guess the concept is the same.

    6. Sarahnova*

      Yeah, I windsurf in rash vest & shorts, less out of modesty and more for sun protection, but it’s a totally acceptable option especially if you’re swimming outdoors.

    7. hodie-hi*

      Title Nine has a good selection of swimsuits of various cuts as well as board shorts, rash guards, and coverups. I did find on the one tankini I purchased that the bottoms ran large and the tops run small.

  3. LATechWriter*

    Yeah, unless you guys all work in a club or a gym, 99% of the people there won’t want to get into that pool. Ugh. You couldn’t pay me enough. Not only for myself to get into a suit, but to see pretty much any of my co-workers that way…bad idea!

    1. Original Poster*

      Most of the guys are pretty unselfconscious, they’re a pretty outgoing and talkative bunch, which I like. But it’s true, maybe when it comes to bearing their bodies, they’ll be more shy… I know one of the women over 40 said she’ll bring hers (she doesn’t care, it’s just her personality)….I didn’t really ask the other two ladies yet.

  4. SystemsLady*

    Seconding the tankini suggestion. It was what just about all the women were wearing at the company swim I recently went to.

    If you own a solid bottom piece, you could just find a reasonably matching tankini top too – it’d be cheaper than a new suit.

  5. LBK*

    I have a feeling the commentariat here is going to be strongly opposed to the idea of having a pool party with coworkers but I feel that depending on your department and team it could be something everyone would genuinely enjoy and wouldn’t have to be any weirder than, say, seeing your coworkers at the office gym.

    1. LBK*

      Oops, that should say industry and team – I could see this being a lot less odd in the service industry than, say, finance.

      1. Laurel Gray*

        Overall I agree with you and I think there is nothing wrong with a work related function where a pool is present as long as the pool part is 10,000% optional with zero pressure.

        1. SystemsLady*

          Yup, there should always be something else going on (like a picnic or free drinks at the pool bar).

        2. LBK*

          Agreed – and I think that caveat applies to any kind of team outing. There should be no pressure to attend and if there are a variety of activities to do there, there should be no pressure to do any specific one.

        3. INTP*

          Agreed, and this doesn’t sound like a low pressure situation if the OP is correctly assessing her boss’ tone. And if the boss is throwing the party and wants everyone to swim, he might not provide plenty of other options for things to do.

          1. Original Poster*

            Hmm I thought back to this conversation. It wasn’t necessarily high pressure, but a public sort of ‘yes bring your swim stuff!!’ In a ‘Of course why wouldn’t you??’ Sort of tone. So positively and enthusiastically for it? like kind of a hint like ‘I’ll be wonderful why you didn’t’ kind of way. If it was just a nice suggestion it would face sounded different, I think.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Is your boss known to be a bizarre and unreasonable person? If not, I really wouldn’t interpret it that way. It sounds like someone just being enthusiastically hospitable.

              1. Original Poster*

                No but he’s known for being bluntly honest, and his forth right personality has been off putting to some colleagues that don’t know him well. He is also overconfident and as a result, can unintentionally be oblivious to the feelings of others around him.

                1. LBK*

                  If he’s bluntly honest, I would expect him to say “I want everyone in the pool” if that’s what he wants.

      2. S*

        My old office would’ve loved a party like this, but we were all very young (majority under 30) and in an industry where this sort of team bonding is actively encouraged.

    2. Bend & Snap*

      My office gym actually has an Olympic sized pool that people use and it is very weird to see people swimming in it. Well, more accurately, it’s weird to see people getting in and out of the pool in swimwear when I’ve just seen them in business clothes.

      It just feels wrong to know what their stomachs look like.

    3. SystemsLady*

      Definitely. I think there’s a completely natural tendency to think that something like this would be more awkward than it actually ends up being.

      (Well, unless Theon in accounting randomly decides to come in donning a Speedo or something like that.)

      Though perfectly functional (at work) teams exist where this would be totally awkward no matter what.

      1. Bwmn*

        I was once invited to a conference that was in a massive resort hotel complex along the Dead Sea in Jordan. In the addition to the heightened novelty of having access to the Dead Sea and mud pits, the set up was basically just a large resort hotel in the dessert with 7 pools and sea access. So after being in meetings all day, your options of any other kind of activity were really limited.

        So, even though Theon from Accounting was in a speedo (It wasn’t America! He’s not American! Yes he was over 50!), it was in such a context where it truly wasn’t weird. I don’t think anyone was unduly forced or pressured to go into either the sea or the pools other than the fact that there just wasn’t much else to do after the meetings.

        I wouldn’t say work pool parties are common to my industry, but it did end up being a lot less odd than it might have sounded at first.

      2. Avocado*

        (Well, unless Theon in accounting randomly decides to come in donning a Speedo or something like that.)


      1. MJH*

        Yep, totally down for swimming in all forms. I really don’t care what my coworkers look like in bathing suits, nor if they see me in one. SWIMMING.

    4. Nina*

      IA. It’s definitely a “know your dept.” kind of situation. I personally wouldn’t want to do this, but I’m sure there are other folks that could enjoy themselves and be comfortable at a pool party.

    5. AGirlCalledFriday*

      Here’s the thing – I’ve been naked in hot springs in front of coworkers, but that was in a different country and it was same sex. If this takes place in America…well, America is not a country that does well with situations where people are less clothed. I’ve worked in a few industries and in most of them, I could see this turning into the men watching the women and having discussions about them later on. It also feels weird to me that it will be mostly older men there, it might be a little less weird if there were more women/if everyone was quite young.

      Like Alison, I don’t see many people actually getting into the pool, and personally I wouldn’t want to do anything that would allow my coworkers the opportunity to see me in a less than professional way. Women have a hard enough time as it is.

      1. LBK*

        Well, like I said, it could work depending on the make up of the team. I agree a team that’s older men and younger women might be a little odd, but that also kind of assumes men are lecherous by default and couldn’t be respectful at a work event, which is not an assertion I love. Also FWIW, I have done my fair share of talking to my (female) coworkers about which of our male coworkers we think are attractive, so it’s not like that only ever goes one way. Maybe not as in graphic detail as a more stereotypically male conversation might go, but again, asserting that only the men would be interested in checking out an attractive coworker isn’t an assertion I’m a big fan of.

      2. Original Poster*

        Hi guys, wow a lot of comments! I’m the original poster. I am one of two ladies under 40, the other two are above. The 15 or so men range in age from 22 to 50.

      3. Original Poster*

        It’s not mostly older men, the men are between 22 and 50ish, mainly in the 35 to 45 range. The women are between 35 and 50ish.

    6. Christian Troy*

      I agree with you, although I’m trying to be understanding that I think location plays a huge factor into peoples’ comfort. If you live in a city where there is a hotel pool party or beach culture, sometimes you will run into people not wearing professional clothes at these events.

    7. Anx*

      I’m from a fairly conservative area, but it’s a beach town. Wearing sneakers or eschewing a tie in the winter is taboo. An exposed bra strap will not fly. But walking around in a bathing suit all summer is completely normalized.

      If I were to attend a pool party for work or my internship, I’d probably go swimming (I’ve been a lot more adventurous with my skin lately), but wear shorts in the water (I do this with family at the beach these days).

      I’d also probably go swimming if I attended his parties. Many of his colleagues wear swimwear around each other for their work already.

      I don’t think I’d want to go with my classmates, though.

    8. Oryx*

      I agreed. Thinking back, I went to one in grad school at the home of a coworker I worked with on my assistantship. I wasn’t the only one in the pool and nobody thought anything weird about the whole thing.

    9. Juli G.*

      Or location. I live in a beach town and run into coworkers in swimwear at the various beaches regularly. A party at someone’s lake house would not be unusual at all (in fact, there’s one in 2 weeks).

      That said, there’s no pressure to engage in water activities but I would surprised if the majority didn’t.

  6. BRR*

    Can’t imagine anybody doing this. If you need to be a team player, wear something where you can dangle your feet in the water and say how you enjoy being by the water or out in the sun or sitting out by a pool.

  7. TotesMaGoats*

    So, obviously this could work for some teams. My guess is that your team isn’t one of those teams. Unless someone tosses you into the pool, no one is going to make you swim. Just wear a pretty summer dress or tank and shorts. I would go casual but don’t wear a swimsuit if you don’t want to. You might get some grief for it and that would suck but that’s got to be better than swimming when you were comfortable doing so.

  8. AFT123*

    Y’all… I recently came from a work event where we legit had relay games in the water. Kayaking, paddleboarding, etc. Asking employees to be in their swimsuits sucks, and you have my sympathies OP! Honestly though, I don’t think anyone will view you differently than they did before. Unless you get the feeling that people you work with are inappropriate or navel gazers, I wouldn’t worry about it. Wear whatever you have, and undress to your level of comfort.

  9. Another HRPro*

    I will never understand the office pool party. Have folks over for a BBQ, that is great, but as a woman, the idea of wearing a bathing suit with a bunch of people from work is just weird. I don’t want you to see me in a suit and I certainly don’t want to see you in one!

    1. Connie-Lynne*

      Office pool parties are such a bad idea. Nobody wants to see coworkers in clothing that is considered “sexy” pretty much everywhere in the US, and we have a strong cultural norm identifying swimwear as sexy.

      When I was in my 20s, I got invited to my BF’s “office pool party.” Well, I’m from Southern California, and they were all East Coast types. In SoCal, we get in the pool during pool parties, especially if it’s hot (it was). I guess East Coasters just stand around the pool talking or something. We arrived early, and, entirely unthinking, I changed and got in the pool. Nobody else did. I just figured, “well, they don’t like to swim, whatever.” I had a great time entertaining myself in that lovely pool while everyone else talked about their boring work stuff. It was only years later that I realized I had probably screwed up a cultural norm.

      Anyway, OP, if you expect there to be more of these events and you do enjoy swimming, I’d invest in a pair of ladies’ board shorts and a tankini top or rash guard. These clothes are made for swimming but you’re not going to appear that much more titillating than if you were wearing shorts and a tank top. Then, if it looks like people are going in the pool and you want to, you can change.

      Or, if you don’t want to wear swimclothes, even super-covering ones, around your coworkers, it’ll probably be fine to wear light summer clothes (shorts/skirt + tank/T-shirt). I might being an extra pair of shorts in case you decide to sit on the edge with your feet in the water, otherwise you may end up walking around with a wet butt for a while. But, I bet nobody will even care or notice that you don’t go in the water.

      1. Student*

        Where does one obtain these items of swimwear? I would love a swimming outfit that was more conservative than a traditional one-piece swimsuit.

        1. Rana*

          LandsEnd, like mentioned above, and also a number of higher-end sportswear/outdoors companies make them. Look for ones that emphasize function over sexy – think Patagonia and L.L. Bean, not Victoria’s Secret or J. Crew – basically, athletic swimmers want gear that fits, won’t ride up, and protects them from the sun, so things like board shorts and rash guards are more common there.

          You can also look for “sun protective clothing” options like Coolibar or Sun Precautions – those are VERY modest, as they’re meant to, well, protect you from the sun.

        2. louise*

          Land’s End has a ton of rash guard swim shirts with various sleeve lengths. You do still need to have a regular bikini or tankini swim top underneath because the swim shirts are very thin. They also have swim capris! Makes for a pretty pricey ensemble, but if you want to completely cover up, you can.

          I have incredibly pale skin and find slathering on sunscreen to be laborious (and frustrating – I inevitably miss multiple spots and have burned patches) so I just rarely go outdoors. Haven’t gotten in a pool in years and do not currently have any swimwear. I’m thinking of going the long sleeves + swim capris route just for the sun protection benefits.

        3. jmkenrick*

          Just google rash guards – basically a long-sleeved swim top that’s meant for surfing.

          Roxy, Land’s End, Quicksilver are all probably good places to start.

        4. BananaPants*

          Land’s End swimsuits are wonderful for a more conservative suit that still flatters and isn’t a burkini. Good quality suits, too – I have a tankini that I bought from them 7 years ago that’s still my primary swimsuit.

        5. Anonsie*

          In my opinion the best places to buy rash guards and board shorts are from companies that cater to women who do watersports (like surfing). Ripcurl, Billabong/Roxy, Dakine, Hurley, things like that. Dakine is my personal favorite. All of those skew younger in their fashion audience but the swimwear is meant for anyone and is really high quality.

        6. Tatiana*

          Swimsuits For All goes from (women’s) size 8 to size 34. I’ve been super happy with the combo I put together from there — black briefs and a colorful racer-back tankini top.

        7. Connie-Lynne*

          I think everyone else covered most of the manufacturers, but for pretty swim separates that have conservative options — and large lady options — Popina swimwear in Portland is great (and they have an online presence).

  10. Excel Slayer*

    Office pool parties are a thing? *looks horrified*. OP, I can only sympathise and back the tankini idea, with a view to not swimming if at all possible.

    Please tell me that these only exist in countries with fairer climates than the UK.

    1. Claire (Scotland)*

      I’ve never heard of a work-related pool party in this country, thankfully.

      Though when I was in teacher-training college, our lecturer did try to get us to hold our group’s end of year celebration to take place in a local spa (using the steam room, sauna, and pool). The group consisted of eight women and two men, ages 22-mid40’s. And our 50-something lecturer, of course.

      It was not a very popular suggestion, unsurprisingly. And so we went to the pub instead.

  11. junipergreen*

    Agreed – some cultures might love this just as much as others would loath it. To me it sounds like a nice excuse to sit in the sunshine and share drinks and snacks with coworkers “waterside.” I’ve been to events like this and just sat with my feet in the water, no one hassled me or other non-swimmers. And I think I wore a one-piece under shorts and a linen button down, in case I felt like floating around on the inflatable alligators :)

  12. cv*

    Why not wear the kind of clothing that Alison suggests but take a swimsuit just in case? Or if you have one that isn’t visible under your clothes (no halters, for example), do that. You can plan to make your excuses and not swim, but if you get there and the vibe is pro-swimming and you decide that it would be fun, then you can go for it.

    I basically only wear swimsuits in indoor pools at this point since I burn so easily – I’m in quick-dry shorts and a rash guard for any serious time outside like kayaking or snorkeling. The reasonableness of saying that you burn easily depends on your race/complexion, of course, though you could also mention “a sensitivity to the sun” or a relative who had a skin cancer scare or something. But that might be overthinking it.

    1. Connie-Lynne*

      Cultural norms differ, but there should be no need to hide that you’re underdressing a swimsuit if you’re standing next to a pool?

      1. JamieG*

        If people can tell that you’re wearing a suit, they’re more likely to try to convince you to get in the water (if they’re that sort of people to begin with). “I didn’t bring my suit” is a perfectly reasonable lie that doesn’t invite room for changing one’s mind.

          1. A Kate*

            THIS! I’ve tried lying get out of swimming twice this summer. Was offered loaners both times (once by a friend, once by a hostess I’d met once before). The only thing worse than wearing a bikini in front of people you don’t want to see you in a bikini is wearing one that doesn’t really fit you and usually covers someone else’s privates.

  13. Bekx*

    Okay, guilty as charged here. We had a company party at a water park. I totally wore a bikini and ran into a coworker and it was awkward….but he was the only one I ran into and for the most part I just did my own thing.

    1. Anonsie*

      Ok I might not undress at someone’s personal pool for a work event but so help me god, if the company part is at a water park I’m wearing my swimsuit and getting wet and I dare anyone to have an attitude about it.

    2. ThursdaysGeek*

      We once had a company party at a water park, but the company reserved the entire park for employees and their families. And yes, I didn’t care what my co-workers thought — I’m going to slide!

      1. jmkenrick*

        I totally understand the aversion to being in a swimsuit in front of coworkers…but that sounds so fun, I would love that.

      2. MegEB*

        Lazy rivers are one of my favorite things in the entire world. Coworkers be damned, nothing is going to get in the way of me and a lazy river.

        1. EditBarb*

          So much this. My company threw a conference in Orlando and my entire department wound up in the hotel pool when it was over. There was a lazy river. I was the happiest person ever.

    3. jmkenrick*

      Color me confused – how did you only run into one coworker at a company party? Isn’t the whole point of a company party to spend time with coworkers?

      1. Ad Astra*

        It took me a second, but I think maybe she meant that she physically ran into him and they touched damp, bare bellies for a second? Cause that would make me cringe.

        Or maybe it was like Very Large Regional Company Day at the Water Park so everyone got free tickets but it wasn’t a formally organized company event?

  14. Anonathon*

    There are also plenty of nice cover-ups that look exactly like dresses, except a little lighter and made to get wet. I might wear that plus a swimsuit. And maybe a floppy hat.

  15. mskyle*

    To me, “Don’t forget your swimsuit!” is sort of shorthand for, “We have a pool and you are welcome to use it!” Not a demand that you wear a swimsuit/go swimming. I say bring the suit and play it by ear.

    1. Cheryl*

      I came here to say exactly this. For most normal people, there is no expectation of swimming, but the host wants people to know they could if they wanted.

      Except, I’m really feeling for the poster above who had to do water relay events…

  16. YandO*


    Wearing a bikini/swimsuit in front of my co-worker sis my personal version of hell. I’d rather get stabbed in an eye with a pen.

    A light sun-dress will do well here.

    1. Sarahnova*

      I read that as “my co-worker sister” and was all “workplace AND family dynamics, how unfortunate”. :)

  17. Lily in NYC*

    We have our annual summer outing at Coney Island and last year someone wore a thong bikini! She looked amazing in it but there were lots of side eyes (and ogling).

    1. Ad Astra*

      A thong bikini? Not even the “cheeky” styles that have cropped up lately? Oh my.

  18. Nobody Here By That Name*

    I’m of the opinion that nobody I work with needs to have knowledge of my waxing routine. Sadly parties at the CEO’s house, complete with him insisting that we use his pool, have become the norm. Regardless, the only people who take him up on the offer are those who get in the pool to keep an eye on their small children. The rest of us stay dressed and dry.

  19. house mouse*

    This exact scenario might happen to me later this summer.

    Here’s what I’ve planned: I’ll be wearing a pretty, airy, tropical print dress that is still modest but also is too ‘fun’ to wear to work. If anyone asks me why I’m not going in the pool, I’ll just gesture to the dress and say that I wanted to wear this instead.

    1. Delyssia*

      OK, I just don’t get that response. It just reads as an inane non sequitur to me. Wearing that dress in no way precludes bringing a swimsuit to change into nor wearing the swimsuit under the dress.

      Don’t get me wrong; I fully believe in the power of the absurd non sequitur to questions you don’t want to or shouldn’t have to answer. I might be tempted to say something like “it’s raining in Australia” in this instance. But if I asked you why you weren’t swimming, and you said you wanted to wear the dress instead, I’d kind of be wondering if you’d actually understood my question.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        If someone gave me that answer, it would stop me. I am too lazy to upack that one. I’d read it as MYOB.
        I think that is a very amusing answer. Disclosure: I hate pools. I hate pool parties even more. I really think that is a tacky question to ask someone why they are not swimming. There are other conversation starters that are neutral, this is not one of them.

        One group I was in decided to have a pool party. A few people spoke up to say no. Then a few more. After a bit, it was decided that we should figure out why we cannot wear swimsuits in front of each other. I thought that I might not get out of that seemingly endless conversation alive. No means no; no does not mean “let’s analyze this”.

        I think Alison’s advice is great. I would show up dressed in something comfy and say I could not find my suit and did not have time to purchase a new one. I would bet that at least half the people there will be in street clothes.

  20. give up give our soul away*

    My ex-FIL was an exec with an oil company, and he’d throw the occasional pool bash. Whether you wore a suit or not, one thing you had to watch for with these guys was that they’d get a few drinks in them and start throwing people in the pool. If the party starts looking like it could go in this direction (helpful hint: chubby guys running around grunting and smelling of alcohol), make sure you stash your phone etc someplace dry and safe.

  21. Rae*

    I don’t buy the “I don’t look good in a 1 piece”. If you can fit a bikini you can wear a one piece suit. There’s different cuts but a standard “lifeguard type” rather than something showy works well. If one piece suits don’t work well because they can be restricting, then I agree with others, conservative tankini top and “board short” bottoms.

    1. Anx*

      I feel more self-conscious in a one piece. The part of my body I’m most self-conscious of is my bikini line. I’m not worried at all about shape or size, just skin and hair. The “pull” up of a one piece is always more irritating then a two piece (even if they both have tight elastic).

    2. nona*

      Differences in height or proportions can make finding a one-piece that fits well hard. And they’re all pretty “showy,” anyway.

      No need to be rude to OP btw.

      1. Shell*

        Slightly off topic, but: they’re showy? Mind, the only swimsuits I’ve ever worn in my life are one-pieces, and they are all athletic suits (i.e. made for laps around the pool, not beach parties). I can totally understand suits not fitting well depending on hips and bust or whatever, but I can’t picture how one-pieces are showy. Are you talking about the cut of the chest?

          1. OfficePrincess*

            One piece suits tend to highlight the stomach if the fabric has to stretch at all to cover it and the exact belly size is very obvious. My go-to for years has been a tankini that comes all the way to meet the shorts or skirted bottom. It’s much less clingy and helps to hide the midsection.

          2. Melissa*

            Two-piece suits aren’t necessarily the traditional bikini. I’m not thin at all, but I wear a two piece. Swim shorts and a swim tank top. It’s a lot more coverage than a one piece because it extends to mid-thigh and isn’t clingy anywhere except in the chest area (unavoidable).

        1. Ad Astra*

          A lot of one-pieces are higher cut in the leg, which might be what Anx is referring to.

      2. KJR*

        Yes, exactly. Case in point, I have a coworker who has a super long torso, she has trouble finding one piece suits that fits, so she wears a two piece.

      3. Anonsie*

        Seriously, why are people always so insistent that everyone can wear everything whenever something like this comes up?

    3. Miss B*

      Eh, I think it’s a totally legit issue. People with non-standard torso lengths/very different chest vs. hip measurements/very large busts can’t always/often comfortably fit into a one-piece article of clothing.

      (But I also think a pool party with co-workers is super weird, so I’d still vote for opting out of swimming if the OP is in any way uncomfortable with the situation.)

    4. Zahra*

      Depends. I guarantee that finding a one piece to fit my 34K boobs is much harder than finding a bikini that fits, even though my shape would absolutely not fit the “bikini body” stereotype. However, I’ve got a body, I wear a bikini, so it’s bikini-ready enough for me.

    5. madge*

      Your proclamation that you “don’t buy” it doesn’t change that it’s a fact for some of us. I’m small but long-waisted, and have yet to find a one-piece that fits properly for under $150 (not paying that).

      OP, if you don’t want to invest in a new tankini, Dick’s Sporting Goods has rash guards on sale right now. Although I’d probably still want board shorts for an office pool party. Ugh.

      Sincerely ~ the 40-year-old who would live in the pool just not with coworkers

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Years ago, I took my size 0 family member shopping with me. “Oh you can just wear whatever.” I let her pick out a few “whatevers” and I tried them on my size 24 body. Her jaw hit the floor- “You’re right, that does not look good on you.”

        I went on to explain to her that with my body shape I had to count the number of pleats in the front of dress pants. Yes, it matters, a lot. Too many and the garment add weight. It’s an optical illusion. But so are most clothes.

        1. Original Poster*

          I’m also a size 0. you can say – what are you whining about? I find – tops have to have the right cup size so i don’t look too flat. Bottoms need more coverage over the thighs, but need to have less material on the top so i don’t get muffin top. There are so very many considerations.

          1. simonthegrey*

            My sister was a size 0 for years (she’s a runner and boxer so I don’t know her size anymore but it is solid muscle). Helping her find a one-piece was hard because she’s long in the torso, almost flat-chested, and had larger thighs so she felt like one-pieces were always cut too high and tended to dip in the front because they were meant for cleavage. She did boy swim shorts and tank tops over bikini tops for years.

      2. Anonymousaur*

        Thank you! Someone else with the small/long-waisted issue! I just posted a similar complaint before reading your comment

      3. Becky B*

        Per your last line, I have been wondering about the age thing I’ve seen posted here! It seems to be a very arbitrary number-line-drawn-in-the-sand about what ages do or don’t swim in front of others, let alone coworkers.

        I think it depends far more on office culture and what your level of comfort is to swim among people you work with. And depending on your culture/society, such a ridiculously huge deal can be made about someone wearing a *gasp* bikini, as just one example, that I can see it coloring how you’re perceived when the weekend passes and you’re back in the office trying to move up in your career (or just get on with your day).

    6. Malissa*

      You’ve never seen a short or extremely tall person in a 1 piece.

      One pieces on me either bunch up around the middle or hang below. It’s not pretty. Never mind the fact that if you can’t give it proper stretch you spend the entire day pulling the straps up so nothing pops out.
      And if you’re taller than average, suits only stretch so much.

      1. Rana*

        Yeah, I get wedgies with your average one-piece, plus my bottom’s a size different than my top. Two-piece options are much more likely to fit and look good.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        This. I’m tall and I was miserable until I discovered tankinis. I’ve only been slim enough to wear a bikini when I lived in California and walked everywhere. And I was like 20-something. :P

        I have the same exact problem with leotards and skating dresses–they fit sideways but not longways. That’s why I have to make my own and add an inch and a half to the pattern.

    7. Ad Astra*

      The biggest challenge with one-piece suits is you can only choose one size to fit your whole body. When you choose a suit that covers you from butt to chest, you’re likely to have a little too much room here or not enough room there, and that is often less flattering than a bikini.

      I’ve also heard a lot of pear-shaped women say they find bikinis and tankinis more flattering than one-pieces because the exposed tummy balances out their larger hips and thighs.

      It’s not just about fat vs. skinny. It’s about what’s flattering and comfortable.

      1. Anx*

        I’m a small bikini but can’t fit in a small one piece as either. I can’t size up but I feel like I’m a sausage busting out of its casing in a small. My bust and pelvic area run small, I’m slim over all, but I have a small gut, large rib case, and big thighs.

      2. zora*

        yup. Another pear who looks weird in a one-piece over here. I wear tankinis which basically cover the same area as a one-piece, but still, it’s totally a thing.

    8. Anonsie*

      I’m short so one-piece suits are always too long and I get a case of the sag-ass.

        1. simonthegrey*

          Me three, and I have huge…assets. (I’m heavy, but my chest is disproportionately large). I have a 50s era pinup girl style one piece suit right now that is the only thing that goes high enough on the side of my chest, but has ruching across the front stomach so I don’t feel so saggy.

    9. sam*

      As someone with a disproprotionately long torso and short legs, I beg to disagree. I spent my childhood wearing nothing but the ugly “athletic” long-torso swimsuits that were available back then, and even those were too short half the time, leaving me with welts on my shoulders and in some *other* areas. I was never actually a fan of bikinis, but I wore them for comfort.

      The day that the first tankini was created was a day of joy.

      Also, it’s a damn sight easier to use the restroom facilities in a two-piece.

      1. spocklady*

        YES to the restroom thing. Misery.

        And yes, one more vote here to say that when you have to have one size cover your entire torso, the odds that it’s going to fit especially well at any given point go down. I have an athletic swimsuit I love for doing laps, but aesthetically it doesn’t do me any favors.

        1. Anx*

          I think that some people discount the restroom misery if they aren’t swimming.

          There’s a big difference between taking off a dry bathing suit and peeling off a wet, sandy bathing suit.

    10. Shortie*

      I can fit in and wear a bikini well (if I do say so myself, ha!), but definitely can’t wear a one piece, not even a lifeguard type. My bottom half is about two sizes bigger than my top half.

      That said, there is no way in this world I would go swimming at a company pool party (three words that don’t sound right together), probably not even with a tankini and board shorts.

    11. Original Poster*

      Let me explain… I’m a bit of an hourglass. Not too huge in the bust or hips, but my thighs are relatively bigger (at least in my mind’s eye). The one pieces I’ve tried on are always the high leg openings that make my thighs look enormous, and I hate how they show the bikini line. And then the tightness of the suit somehow makes my waist look bigger simultaneously while flattening my hips and bust (squishing them) so my body ends up looking more straight than hourglassy. Bikinis show off my true figure, and I always wear a little skirt cover up over the bottom suit and the tops of my thighs, so everything looks nice and balanced. It’s possible there are one pieces that can accomplish the same thing – maybe a tankini and swim skirt would be the best of both worlds.

      1. zora*

        you didn’t have to explain, you don’t have to justify your clothing choices to strangers on the internet. Besides, a lot of us agreed with you. ;o)

    12. Anonymousaur*

      If you have a long torso, finding a one-piece that is long enough can be a difficult task. The last time I tried, I tried on just about every not-old-lady-styled (I’m in my late 20s) at a variety of stores (Everything But Water, Nordstrom, Macys) and had one of two problems

      – The “athletic-brand” swimsuits with higher necklines, racer-backs, etc. were cut too short and the result was they dug into the shoulders very harshly and left angry red marks

      – The “non-athlentic” one-piece swimsuits weren’t cut long enough through the torso, which literally resulted in my boobs hanging out above the swimsuit. I couldn’t pull them up far enough to cover everything without giving myself a terrible weggie.

      I only found one that was long enough, and it was $$$, and I decided not worth the trouble.

      And I’m only 5’8″!

      So no, this “f you can fit a bikini you can wear a one piece suit” is not necessarily true.

      1. BeenThere*

        I’m 5’8″ and have a long torso too. I learnt long ago that bikinis were a much better look… and no more uncomfortable digging.

      2. Artemesia*

        Exactly. I spent most of my youth wearing enormous sized bathing suits with tops that were way too big for my relatively flat chest because to get the length that was minimally necessary I had to get a bigger size than I needed otherwise.

        When Lands End started doing ‘tall’ as well as regular one piece suits, I finally could get a suit that fit (and it helped that I put on some weight over the years so I had a bust line and my waist was not quite as skinny as it once was.

        The Lands End separates are a dream — you can choose anything from a bikini to a matronly skirted high waisted bottom — or board shorts, or swim shorts — and tops that range from plunging, bikini etc to high necked full coverage. There is literally something for everyone and you can buy size to fit top and bottom separately.

    13. LJL*

      I have a long torso so one-pieces always ride up and are uncomfortable on me. Plus, my top and bottom are different sizes.

    14. Anonaconda*

      Just because someone is thin doesn’t mean that everything is flattering on them. Besides, bikinis come in all different sizes. You also have the option of getting the top and the bottom in different sizes. I don’t get this “if you can fit a bikini.” The bikini fits YOU, not the other way around.

  22. NickelandDime*

    There are lots of reasons why people can’t get into pools at any given time. No one will ask why you aren’t swimming. That being said, I would not wear a swimsuit. Go in a cute dress or shorts.

  23. Student*

    If it were me, I just wouldn’t bring swimwear and would politely say “No thanks,” if asked to join folks in the pool. I’m happy to sip a drink on the deck instead.

    If someone dared to pressure me about not swimming, I’d use menstruation as an excuse, whether it was true or not, just to turn the embarrassment table around and put the peer-pressuring colleague on the spot.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      It’s a good excuse, if you’re willing to tell people you’re on your period. Slightly off-topic but I went through a session at camp as a teenager where I had to sit out of lake activities one week because of it. And on another unrelated trip, the day everybody went to the water park, you guessed it. I had to sit in the lobby all day with nothing to do. No book, and personal electronics didn’t exist then. :(

      At least if you’re an adult, you can leave after a while. If the party is boring or everybody starts getting obnoxiously drunk, you can plead a period headache and bail.

    2. Original Poster*

      funny enough, i may be due to have my period at that time. I thought of mentioning it but it is kind of a weird thing to mention.

      1. Jaydee*

        You colored/highlighted your hair recently and can’t get it wet? You had a mole removed and can’t get the incision wet? Chlorine dries your skin out? You have dinner plans and don’t want to deal with wet hair and a wet swimsuit?

  24. BadPlanning*

    I have a hard time believing that every single adult is going to hop in the pool.

    Additional excuses for not hopping in the pool, if required:
    –I have to do Thing Y after the party and don’t have time to shower/do hair/etc
    –Have some sort of injury that’s not compatible with pool action (cut, burn, funny ankle, whatever) (on the risky side for follow up questions)
    –Relaxing by the pool is all I really need
    –Haven’t had the swimsuit out yet this year and couldn’t find it this morning (this happens to me every spring…why isn’t my swimsuit in the expected drawer).

      1. Anx*

        I miss swimming so much. I need to get to the beach soon. I wish pools weren’t so painful.

    1. Chocolate lover*

      I’d add “I don’t know how to swim.” I personally do, but I’d totally play that card if needed, because I just *don’t* swim.

      1. Becky B*

        I was thinking of this as a possible excuse too, but then you might fall prey to the “Oh, it’s easy, I’LL TEACH YOU RIGHT NOW” joviality, or even “Just sit in the inner tube and float around.”

        I do love me some inner tube floating, but not at such a cost. :)

    2. Jo*

      …or if you have the chutzpah: “I have a yeast infection”. Sigh sadly. Questioner Never Asks Again. (This is probably not something most would be comfy doing ;) )

  25. Bekx*

    Oh! And if you are blonde or have lighter colored hair you could always say that you don’t want your hair to turn green from the chlorine :)

    Or even just say chlorine makes you break out in a rash.

        1. the gold digger*

          I thought I had read that it is the copper from the piping for pools rather than chlorine that makes hair green. I was on the swim team in high school and my hair just got really, really blonde from the bleach (chlorine) but it never got green. Maybe my pool didn’t have copper pipes.

      1. Bekx*

        Oh really? I’ve never heard of such a thing! Google said there’s still chlorine in salt water pools though, just less.

      2. Elizabeth*

        As someone who has a saltwater pool, this is complicated.

        Saltwater pools use electrical charge to split the NaCl molecules into their components. The salt level is very low, not on ocean level, but high enough to keep algae from growing. The chlorine level is much lower than for a conventional pool setup, as well, but it is still there. All of the chemicals still have to be kept in balance.

        There are 2 main benefits to the saltwater setup. First is cost. Prior to the conversion, we were visiting a pool store every 2 weeks and dropping a minimum of $150 each time on chemicals. Now we may spend $200 for the entire season. Second is the mild impact of the chemicals on the skin. Because the levels are so low, they aren’t nearly as harsh as a conventional pool.

        Side note: public pools generally are far harsher than private/home pools. Because there is no real way to control who is getting into a public pool and their sanitation level, the pH and the chlorine are usually way out of balance in an effort to assure no one gets sick from using it. That’s what causes the stinging eyes and very dry skin for most people. With my home pool, I can banish anyone who is carrying an intestinal illness or doesn’t have full continence from the pool, so I don’t have to have the chemical levels insanely high.

        1. Marcela*

          This is not a rant directed at you, really, but to the ignorant person who started the trend of calling substances “chemicals”: _everything_ is a chemical. The water, the air, breast milk, anything you can think of. Why are we using chemical as a synonymous of “substance” or even worst, “toxic synthetic substance”? It drives me crazy!

          1. Not So NewReader*

            For the same reason we say, “oh, that is political” with the same disgust when we have when we say “oh, that is the bubonic plague.” Words get connotations attached to them- people can be surprised by what they find in the dictionary.

    1. Maeve*

      I don’t really see why “I don’t really feel like swimming” shouldn’t work just fine unless these coworkers are huge weirdos.

  26. Syler*

    This brings flashbacks of our beach party a few years ago. I found myself talking to the C level guy for my division who was dressed only in swim trunks. I had to keep my chin elevated in order to look him in the eye while, at the same time, trying to keep his nipples out of my line of sight. I don’t know what I said to him because all I could think of was his nipples and how I didn’t want to see them – or god forbid, look like I was looking at them ACK! Maybe I’m immature, but I just don’t want to see any of my coworkers ‘bits’ – especially my boss’s boss’s.

    So my vote is that work events (for industries where business casual or above is required at the office at least) never require any activities that expose co-worker nipples, speedo ‘bumps’, or butt cheeks. I can deal with the stray navel in the appropriate setting, but can we all just keep our clothes on otherwise?

    1. Anx*

      This enforces my belief that this is largely cultural and regional. In my town growing up, I had seen my teachers, principals, mayor, doctors, etc. all in their bathing suits. I’ve seen quite a few of my coworkers and bosses in swimwear (I was not at all in a corporate environment).

      1. BeenThere*

        So just to add one more cultural/regional reference. The entire nation of Australia has seen their leaders speedo bump.

        1. Sarahnova*

          Nice! Thank God we haven’t been subjected to David Cameron’s (baggy shorts for his dadbod).

          That’s why in this country we call ’em “budgie smugglers”.

      2. Syler*

        That wouldn’t bother me either. I don’t care what our mayor, my doctor, a professor, etc.. think about me or what I’m wearing and I don’t have to be a different ‘me’ than I am in my personal life with any of those people. All of those are people I’m paying to provide a service, and if anyone should be worried about perceptions, it should be them rather than me.

        Work is different. You present a version of yourself at work that is the most beneficial to your career. You stay within certain boundaries that you might not worry about anywhere else. I just find that easier to do when everything is kept to a professional level that includes everyone being dressed.

        I should note, that I have 3 friends at work who are technically co-workers, but I consider them friends. We operate on a completely different level together outside of work, but keep it pretty professional at the office. I don’t want my boss or my employees to see my goofy side, but my friends are very familiar with it. I don’t have any problem going to the beach with these three people or their families. I never even think about it. It’s just all the other people at work that I prefer to give and receive a profession image .

        1. Anx*

          I see the distinction between people who work for you and people you work for. And I did in fact mean that people in those positions didn’t seem worried about their professional image around me. I can’t recall any consequences to swimsuited people’s careers or professional images. Even as a child, I can’t remember giggling over those people.

          I can certainly see how it’s anyone’s prerogative to keep themselves clothed for their own comfort. But I also don’t see anything inherently unprofessional about being seen nearly naked at the beach or pool, where it’s culturally accepted. And this is probably completely based on growing up in a small coastal town, where teachers who dressed conservatively around each other in the fall worked with each other as lifeguards in the summer; where accountants chatted with their coworkers in the high tide line, etc.

          I think that if I had grown up in a different environment, I would feel differently about it. In fact, I would feel more self-aware of my body in my current land-locked area than I ever did growing up. And that’s probably because my coworkers and I haven’t seen each other in beachwear, which is new to me.

  27. Julia*

    I regularly go scuba diving with my coworkers, but I live in the Caribbean so it is normal.

    However, I really did not need to no that one of my male coworkers had his nipples pierced. :) now when ever he annoys me, I fantasize about grabbing one and twisting.

  28. Steve G*

    Can’t you just wear shorts and a tshirt? My older sister always wears bulky tshirts/shorts in the water.

    I also wouldn’t like a pool party either, the last (non-work) one I went to was a passion pit with 1/2 of the people nearly naked in the pool/hot tub and then 1/2 all covered up (looking bored to me) at the picnic table. People gawking at your body can be gross to guys too.

  29. Dawn88*

    Unless you have a sleek, black one piece, and can dive like a pro, have a near perfect body (recently waxed OF COURSE), I’d wear a cute sundress, or guaze type skirt and tank top…with some rhinestone sandals and fresh pedicure! I love the poster who said (when asked why no bikini) “I wanted to wear this new dress instead.” Perfect answer!!!

    Every company party I go to, I always dress conservative. Not worth the gossip otherwise! At 61, I don’t have the body I did in my 40’s, either. I did bring my incredibly buffed and gorgeous late husband to a pool party one year (in my late 40s), and watched all the women’s jaws drop…when he dove in, and got out. Priceless!

    1. Original Poster*

      LOL love this story. So different for men though…with men it’s admirable, with women it can be perceived as showy or vain.

  30. Amber Rose*

    I don’t really own a swimsuit. I have a long torso so everything looks ridiculous on me if it even fits without painfully cutting into my shoulders. It’s not worth the 3 hour shopping trip to find one.

    I had a discussion with my manager the other day about professionalism, being taken seriously, and alcohol the other day (everyone is drinking massive amounts this week for the fair and man, she has some STORIES) and I feel like bathing suits are the same as being drunk. If people are seeing you like that, it’s damaging even if others are doing the same thing. Not in every industry and more so for women than men, but there it is.

    1. Amber Rose*

      Oh geez. Seems like the Department of Redundancy Department made a showing, seems like. ;P

    2. JannaG*

      ^This. I know people at work who would never dare risk being anything less than professional by being seen in swimwear. I also know plenty of people at work who think it’s just dandy to go out and get plastered around your co-workers, then show up for the next day’s event hungover.

  31. Nanc*

    I think I must be wearing my crabby pants today because oh my stars what fresh hell it would be to go to be “invited” to the boss’s home for “team activities” (like what–paintball? Trust falls? Telling each coworker their biggest flaw?) BBQ (blech–who wants to eat outdoors with bugs?) and a pool (as a natural red head whose skin is the proverbial whiter shade of pale, I don’t do the outdoors in the sunlight if I can help it).

    If this were during work time and I were getting paid, I’d go and make the best of it (something I’m actually very good at doing). But I have zero desire to socialize with my boss and most of my coworkers and would politely decline the invitation because of previous plans.

    1. Amber Rose*

      I’ve had strangers gently suggest I could spend more time in the sun.

      Friends and family just scream in mock pain and wear sunglasses when they see me. I reflect sunlight I’m so pale.

      1. the gold digger*

        I wish I had your skin. I tanned beautifully when I was a teenager. I was on the swim team and I was a lifeguard. I spent pretty much my entire youth in the sun.

        Guess what? A tan looks great on a teenager but skin that used to be tanned a few decades ago does not look so good now. You will be laughing your way through every single class reunion with your gorgeous dewy skin.

        1. bridget*

          Or you could straddle the worst of both worlds – I’m blindingly pale, but spent the first couple of decades of my life thinking that maybe this time I would get a beautiful tan, and instead repeatedly damaged my skin with blistering burns several times a summer. No beautiful teenage tan OR dewy later-in-life skin for me!

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I did the same, despite a stubborn refusal of my skin to do any more than turn a light gold, and now I stay out of the sun. Which would make a good excuse–“I try to stay out of the sun because I’m at high risk for skin cancer.”

            I have a lot more freckles and little mole things than I used to. It makes me nervous so I watch them closely.

        2. Amber Rose*

          The older I get, the more of my mom’s freckles I pick up. But only on my arms.

      2. Marcela*

        Just wait. Soon you’ll look 10 years younger than your peers and you will be smiling =^.^= Plus, you don’t have a risk of sunspots, which I have and hate.

        1. Artemesia*

          I get this weird dark line along my upper lip if I don’t wear high level sunscreen every single day — just takes a few minutes in the sun even on a winter day. It looks like someone inexpertly used a lip pencil and since I have full lips to start with the effect is goofy. Thus every single day I use sunscreen as a part of washing my face and moisturizing. To do this I put sun screen on the back of my hand as a palette. And so I have rubbed sun screen into the backs of my hands for the last 40 years. Virtually all women my age (old) have sunspots on the backs of their hands — or age spots as we call them — I don’t. My hands are totally unmarked. So sun screen early and often does pay off. (helpful for neck aging as well)

          1. Mabel*

            I referred to the new “freckles” on the backs of my hands as “age spots,” and my dermatologist grabbed my hand, turned my wrist over, and said, “that skin is the same age.” So. I do not call them “age spots” any more, but I didn’t have a better name than “sun damage.” I think I will start using “sun spots” – it sounds much better.

      3. JannaG*

        I’ve had family suggest I could use a tan. I honestly thought I was the world’s palest person. I was joking with a friend that I just turned 27. The waiter came by to take our orders and he was shocked when I told him I was 37. He couldn’t believe I was 27, he thought I was younger.

  32. Anonsie*

    Every time the work pool party thing comes up somewhere I get really frustrated. How asinine is it that it’s 100% ok to wear a bathing suit to a pool with your children and grandmother but it’s scandalous and revealing if your coworkers are there? How can people say, with a straight face, that it’s totally ok for the guys at work to take their shirts off and get in the water but not the women because their bodies are meant to be covered?

    I’m not arguing that this is how it will be interpreted, but I think that’s screwed up on its face.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t think anyone is saying that it’s not okay if someone wants to; we’re mainly talking about why people feel uncomfortable wearing swim garb in front of coworkers.

      Personally, I don’t want to see any coworkers’ nipples (men’s bathing suits) or a coworker’s butt and thighs (most women’s bathing suits).

      1. Anonsie*

        Hm. My understanding is that in a lot of circles (especially the more buttoned-up ones) it is indeed a faux pas for the women to wear swimsuits at all because it’s too revealing. Above The Law even came out once saying firms need to not ever have pool/beach parties because it’s a massive catch-22 for the female employees since they’ll be judged if they wear a swim suit but can also be judged for staying covered up on the sidelines as well.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Ah, I do think that’s true in some fields, especially law. I think it’s more a function of the difference between men and women’s swimwear — men can wear swimsuits that are basically long, baggy board shorts, whereas women’s swimsuits are incredibly form-fitting and revealing, even one-pieces.

          I don’t mean to sound in denial about the fact that we do as a culture treat men and women’s bodies differently (and in fact the difference in swimwear speaks to that), but I think the above plays a big role in this.

          1. Anonsie*

            Yeah it’s definitely true in mine now. I’m pretty sure if there was a work pool party around here, most of the women would bow out rather than try to navigate the standards. It’s dumb.

            I can see the revealingness argument with the bottoms (and you’ll get no protest from me because I hate women’s swim bottoms for exactly that reason) but my go-to of men’s trunks and a strapped-in bikini top would still not be ok for something like this in my field or plenty of others, which is what really grinds my gears on this one.

        2. Green*

          Yep. For every law-related swimming event I either (1) did not go or (2) wore a dress that was much more casual than I’d usually wear (with a beach dress feel), grab a glass of wine and spend my time mingling. If people give you a hard time about getting in the pool (which they very well may) I’d just say, “Maybe later; I’m enjoying my drink and talking to everyone right now!” There are too many issues with standing around in bra-and-panties coverage with colleagues, particularly if you’re a summer associate (and thus likely to be in your early to mid twenties…). Gross old male partners, female partners who are tsk-tsking, senior associates who decide whether or not to include you on cases, the potential for icky e-mails or discussions later, peoples’ wives/partners/etc. being jealous.

          And, yes, it is certainly women who face the brunt of it, but I have no problem showing off my bod (or didn’t when I was a young associate) in other contexts. Work events? Not so much.

      2. FiveByFive*

        And is it just me – it seems like this has largely changed in the past generation or so (thankfully). Growing up I remember the adult men ALWAYS being shirtless – at outdoor parties, doing yard work, even just around the house indoors. These days I rarely see it. If I invited a bunch of people over for an outdoor party, and a guy suddenly took off his shirt, he would get a lot of odd looks.

        1. VintageLydia USA*

          This is something I’ve noticed, too. For context, I’m 29. Growing up I remember seeing topless men all the time. Mowing lawns, hanging out in the backyard, playing soccer or football at the park, everywhere. But my generation is much less likely to do that, even those I know for a fact who are well built or the country boys who otherwise don’t seem to care about that sort of thing. I mean, I grew up in a beach resort city and I live in a more conservative area now, but even when I go home, outside of the beach or pool, I never see topless dudes anymore.

    2. Anonsie*

      Although I did once witness the male equivalent of a too revealing suit at a work event. It was my boyfriend and my coworkers at the lake. He does a lot of lap swimming and he wore those, I don’t know, jammers? Those like skin-tight little trunks that technically go to your knees but that’s not the interesting part. I specifically told him not to wear them and he showed up in them anyway because “these are what swimmers wear, Anonsie.” He’s not from the US but with stuff like this I swear I can’t tell if it’s a cultural thing or he’s just denser than mercury.

      When he went to the water at one point one of the women leaned over and said “I’m sorry Anonsie but I can’t stop starring at your boyfriend’s package*. Where did he even get those trunks?” and everyone else chimed in like “thank god someone just out and said it! What is with those??” I started sputtering “Damn it! Damn it! I told him not to wear them! I told him!!”

      *This was a construction type job so the standards of polite conversation were a little different. I can only pray and thank the little baby Jesus that he has never done this now that I have a white collar gig

      1. Jipsy's Mom*

        But…it is what swimmers wear! Be glad it was a knee length speedo rather than the short version!

    3. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

      Frankly (and this is from someone who does a lot of swimming, sans kids), it always seems absurd to me that there is any public place where we all agree it’s okay to basically walk around in your underwear. But if someone wore clothing with the same coverage, but different materials (aka, actual underwear) to the grocery store, the police might be called and they’d risk being labeled sex offender.

      I live near a very busy park. Everyone goes to this park, and I see people from work everyday. About 10% of the people in the park are there to swim in the adjacent river. They are wearing bikinis or whatever. I go there to walk. If I wore a bikini to walk, people would think I was an exhibitionist. And yet I’m walking right by people in bikinis.

      If anyone can explain this sociological phenomenon to me, I’d be grateful.

      1. spocklady*

        I wish I could — I find it confusing too :(

        I even find myself in the weird position of wishing I could find two-piece swimsuits with as much coverage as my underwear! Some of the tops are so small — for me they’d be, um, a tactical error. But if I just wore my actual underwear to swim in, that would be super weird/creepy/indecent exposure.

        Sense, this makes none.

      2. FiveByFive*

        But, context matters. People in swimming pools need to wear very little clothing, so it’s just understood there will be lots of body parts showing in such places. There just isn’t a practical alternative. That doesn’t mean the same rules should apply at the grocery store or at work.

        As to your busy park, why do you think people would spot you and consider you an exhibitionist? Or actually let me ask this: What would be your reason for taking a walk in your bikini?

      3. Aussie Teacher*

        There was a famous and very funny ad in Australia a while ago (I think for Trumpet/Drumstick ice creams) explaining the difference between bathers and undies, namely that you must be able to see the beach for them to be classified as the former. They had a guy standing there bare-chested in Speedos with various backdrops: beach = “bathers,” said the voiceover guy. Shops = “undies”. They even had him walking towards the camera across the road with the beach in the background, and the voiceover guy says “Bathers, bathers, bathers, UNDIES” as a truck passes behind him and blocks your view of the beach for a moment. Definitely an Aussie classic!

    4. The IT Manager*

      This double standard bugs me.
      – American men’s swimsuits fairly unrevealing usually loose and often long except for competitive swimmers who tend toward the speedo (the style and not the brand).
      – American women’s swimsuits are skin tight and revealing (but oddly enough the one piece suits for competitive female swimmers are less revealing).

      But to be honest I am influenced by the cultural standard. I’m not bothered by seeing men or women in their normal, culturally (for me) appropriate swimsuits. I find men in speedos (the style and not the brand) to be a bit more than I want to see. I don’t want to see their “junk,” but the culture has conditioned me to find the same level of display in women to be fine because I have seen it on TV, in magazines, and in real life my whole life.

      But for Anonsie’s question, the problem is when trying to present a professional appearance at work you don’t wear super casual clothing. For example yoga pants and a sports tank can be appropriate in front of your children and grandmother but not at work. There’s outfits I wear around my house that I wouldn’t wear to the store. I’d also feel weird wearing those in from of co-workers.

      1. Marcela*

        Yeah, but do not forget that the “unrevealing” men’s swimsuits do not cover nipples and everybody seem ok with that.

          1. DoubleStandardsBleah*

            Yes, I don’t appreciate seeing the hairy chests and flabby abdomens either.

    5. Sarahnova*

      I totally agree on the weirdness, grossness, and sexism. I think the same applies to breastfeeding; I’ve fed my son with no cover everywhere from planes to doctor’s surgeries and felt nothing but pride in doing so, but when I visited my office with him, I ducked into our windowless “webinar room” and felt weird about the fact that I could comfortably breastfeed in front of family, friends, and complete strangers, but even saying “breastfeed” in front of a colleague is weird and I worry I will be viewed negatively for it.

      That said, I don’t think Alison is perpetrating any of this, just helping someone navigate this difficult territory.

      1. Anonsie*

        I don’t think Alison is perpetrating any of this

        No, neither do I. My grump is at that people keep having company pool parties even in industries where they know full well it’s a minefield for their female employees.

  33. lowercase holly*

    i’ve only been in this situation once and i said it wasn’t warm enough for me.

  34. Jipsy's Mom*

    I haven’t read all the responses, so apologies if this was already said…but women’s board shorts and a short or long sleeved rashguard shirt would be another option if the OP wanted to be in the pool. It sounds like it would require her to go purchase something specific to this BBQ which isn’t ideal, but it’s one approach.

    My company does a summer party for employees and families with activities specific to each office location. My office is in a mountain resort area, so we get to do a half-day river rafting trip each year. Some people probably do opt out because they’re uncomfortable seeing / being seen by coworkers in swimsuits. No one gives anyone else a hard time for opting out, but believe me – no one else cares what you’re wearing. I have never heard a judgy comment from anyone about anyone else. We’re our own worst critics. All that being said… I swim regularly and have no issues being in a bathing suit at the pool, being seen in workout clothes, or being in a two-piece swimsuit when my husband and I are at the local lake… and I still opt for board shorts and a rashie for the company party. I get the OP’s discomfort.

  35. EmilyG*

    Ugh, I also would dread this, and one reason is that I really *do* sunburn really easily and even if you’re willing to appear in a swimsuit in front of coworkers, you probably don’t want to ask for their help applying sunscreen! I’d be wearing something long-sleeved and gauzy, and hiding in the shade.

    1. Case of the Mondays*

      I did that as a teenager to cut down on the sun I was getting and my dad got mad saying that we weren’t hosting a wet tshirt contest. Apparently the t-shirt over bikini was more scandalous to him for some reason. Can’t win!

  36. Katrina Bass*

    Hopefully there’s no pressure once you’re there, but… I like to use the ol’ “I would, but my skin hates the chlorine levels of most pools. I get super itchy for days – like can’t sleep itchy. But thanks!”

    I’ve said that numerous times because I just hate pools. I’m a river rat. Good luck! I hope your boss is a beast on the grill!

  37. nep*

    I never wear a bathing suit — would never make an exception for an office pool party (least of all for an office pool party, actually).
    Be comfortable — do what you want to do to be comfortable throughout the outing; no need to worry about explaining why. I like Alison’s list of possible answers. It doesn’t have to be a thing.

  38. spek*

    Team activites? Ugh. Don’t go at all, unless they are paying you to be there. Start sniffling the Friday before to bolster your, “I was sick in bed all weekend” excuse….

  39. Mel in HR*

    Why is an office pool party even a thing?

    I’d wear something BBQ appropriate and when asked to swim, state “No thanks. I have an irrational fear of being in a pool with people I work with.”

  40. Rebecca*

    I was the only one at my husband’s company party (at a resort) that didn’t wear a swimsuit. Long story, but I didn’t think I’d be there in time to join them at the pool so I didn’t bother packing one. Anyhoo, I wore a sundress and just sat on the edge of the pool with my feet in to visit with people in the pool. Nobody even asked why I didn’t have a swimsuit, nobody cared.

    My boss’ wife wore a cute rash guard. Some others have mentioned that option above, not sure if she was doing it for extra coverage because it was a work event or if she wears them for extra sun protection. I’ve seen some nice looking ones at Athleta.

    I don’t look right in a one-piece either, I’m pear shaped so I can never find a good fit. Tankinis seem to do the trick, basically looks like a one-piece but actually two pieces. I got mine at Old Navy, but there are lots out there.

  41. Artemesia*

    When I was a young professional and there were pool parties, the women past age 35 or so didn’t go swimming — I think it was about hair as well as stripping down in front of colleagues. When I swim now or snorkel, I wear bike shorts and a rashguard — snorkeling it works great to prevent sunburn and around the pool where I live, it is just more comfortable than exposing my ancient body.

  42. Chris*

    You don’t need to be super fit, thin, muscular, tall, or below the age of 30/40 to have fun in the pool or in a bathing suit. I totally get not wanting to be less than fully dressed in front of colleagues, but there is a little bit of body shame in some of these comments that is making me squirmy.

    1. FiveByFive*

      Well, you have a point if you’re talking about the pressure in our culture of living up to unrealistic expectations of beauty. But, I think there is a difference between someone being “ashamed” of their body vs. simply not wanting to broadcast that their body isn’t in exactly the shape they’d like it to be in.

    2. Jipsy's Mom*

      Thank you for saying this! I’m not trying to shame anyone who opts out, but I kind of don’t see what the big deal is? We are all people. We all have bodies. Every single one of us. Some people have weird feet. Some people have more body hair. Some people have more visible cellulite. I just don’t understand why it’s a problem to see it, so long as the other person is comfortable in what they’re wearing? Maybe it’s because I live in a really small town, and I see coworkers at the gym, yoga class, swimming, hanging out, whatever, but it affects my professional opinion of you NOT AT ALL if I see you in a swim suit, sports bra, shirtless riding your bike. If you dress reasonably appropriately at work, it’s all good. Not at work? Dress however you’d like!

      1. FiveByFive*

        I think it’s because the professional workplace is all about boundaries. So to suddenly find yourself in a situation where those boundaries are clearly being dropped (and undressing certainly qualifies!), it feels much more uncomfortable than it would in other contexts.

        Some people spend more time with their co-workers than they do with their spouse. When a professional relationships with boundaries suddenly becomes “hey, if you ever wondered what I look like naked, here you go!”, it can be quite unsettling.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        In part it is because not everyone is as respectful/adultlike as you. The last time I wore a knee length skirt I was standing in line at a fast food place. Two middle-aged women behind me were whispering to each other and did not realize I could hear them. “pretty face, too bad about her legs being such a mess. You’d think she’d know better.”
        At another time, I was walking down a public street in jeans and a tee shirt. I walked by a bar. The dudes sitting close to the window began howling. They did not think I had a pretty face.

        I could never understand why people did not know there was more to life than how a person looks. But I got sick of dealing with the random comments. And if I can avoid those situations, I will. I am routinely amazed at the type of person who makes these comments- people that I thought knew better than that.

  43. Retail Lifer*

    Personally, I’d go but I wouldn’t swim. I have no problem being in a bathing suit in front of my neighbors at the pool at home since they also see me taking the trash out in beat up shorts and running to the supermarket in yoga pants and a tank top. It just feels icky to me to be in swimwear in front of people who are supposed to see me as professional.

  44. Jake*

    I accompanied my wife to a swim party run by the director of her hospital floor two days ago! I was pretty concerned about it from this stand point, but 60% of the people didn’t swim, and those that did wore very modest swimsuits, except for the sister of one of the nurses which wore a bikini that was not even close to inappropriate.

    Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how little discomfort there was surrounding the potential issues at hand. While I wouldn’t do it as a manager, I no longer cringe at the idea after seeing it executed so professionally. Bonus points for there being a lot of free alcohol available and not a single person even coming close to going overboard.

  45. Clever Name*

    The anarchist in me would wear a bikini and make a running cannonball into the pool before saying hello to anyone.

  46. CM*

    Yes to Land’s End for swim shorts and swim skirts. They even have T-shirt style tops, so you can basically go swimming in a T-shirt and shorts.

    Also, excuses are fine, but don’t say that you forgot your suit! I was burned by this once. I was in my early 20s and was too self-conscious to go swimming in front of colleagues. When I said I forgot my suit, the older man hosting the office pool party insisted that I borrow his wife’s. His wife was 60 years old and I was even more embarrassed to wear her baggy, flowered, lumpy padded suit.

  47. Sasha*

    At my office people know that I swim regularly (for exercise) and am good at it – does the change the equation? Would people be more likely to expect me to swim?

  48. ThomasGreig*

    Surely a lot of the right answer for this question, depends on who is going to be at the pool party. If it’s your MD, then probably a good idea to dress up. I think it’s also a great idea to ask the question beforehand.

  49. Korey*

    Well, I have a company party at a hotel at a beach in August and all I can say is I hope it rains. Apparently this “owner” who is probably more of a Peter Pan type of man has the office party at water parks and beaches. He either likes to look at the younger people with as little clothes or has no idea how to be professional. Yes, most of the workers that work here are under 40 with very few of us over 40, so i am guessing he is doing these things for younger people. I heard that the younger people make fun of anyone who is not in a bathing suit and people get super duper drunk as there is nothing to do but drink, go to the beach or swim. No activities are planned. So I am wearing a pair of shorts (5 to 7 inches in inseam to cover my “issues”) a cami or tank top and a light cover up or kimono with a pair of sandals and a hat. I have skin cancer so I cannot be out in the sun much so hopefully I can get drunk inside somewhere. I am being made to feel like I am being a pain in the A** and a buzz kill because I am concerned about my skin and asking questions about where I can go to get out of the sun. I am 50 years old, I am not 20 something so the same rules that apply to a fit 20 year old don’t apply to a fit 50 year old. things dont look the same at 50 as they do at 20 no matter how much you work out. If anyone can come up with a better outfit for me let me know. I am not wearing a swimsuit in front of my co workers, too awkward.

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