fish in the woods – an Esther Williams swimsuit review





2 piece swimsuit: Esther Williams
sandals: Payless, 2-3 years ago
1960s white lace coverup, 1950s sunhat: ebay
white chiffon scarf: estate sale
1950s sunglasses: Lulu Forever vintage shop in Sacramento, since closed

I spent a weekend with my man at a family cabin in the woods and got to spend some time at the lake.  Swimming has become my new favorite form of exercise.  Since getting older I’ve noticed that my knees just can’t handle the running I used to love, and getting in the water just feels so darn good.  Knowing that I was going to be doing some summer travels I wanted a vintage reproduction suit that was swim-able, something I could wear to the gym and lounge in at the beach.  Esther Williams suits were on my radar a year or two ago.  I wanted a two piece, but held back from getting the EW suit because the bottoms just weren’t as high as I would’ve liked, and the top just wasn’t as flattering.  But the lack of many options on the market really just took its toll.  I went on Modcloth and read reviews and looked at customer photos, and it really did look good on people, so I decided to take the chance.  I ordered the suit directly from and saved a few bucks.

The verdict: I still think the suit isn’t as flattering as it could be.  Like I said, I’d prefer the waist be even higher, ideally at the smallest/natural waistline, and I feel the suit top could be just a bit more sweatheart shaped for a cuter look.  But, hey, it does its job.  It’s still pretty darn cute and I can swim laps in it, take it to the lake, etc.  The only other drawback is the fact that the over skirt on the bottom covers a mesh nude netting that’s kind of at your pubic region (sorry, but I don’t know how else to describe it).  That’s an area you’d like to have covered, obviously, and I’ve found myself a bit self-conscious doing handstands in pools and jumping in because I don’t want that over skirt to fly up.  And those bottoms are a problem in the hot tub.  The bubbles will just make the overskirt bubble up so I end up having to hold my suit down when I’m sitting in the hot tub.  So all in all, I’m still not satisfied and I’m now planning on getting my hands on the Bombshell Swimsuit pattern as it looks pretty amazing on pretty much everyone I’ve seen who has made it.

Are there any vintage reproduction suits on the market that you are eyeing?



  1. Crystal Lee

    You look darling in that swim suit. I adore that your 60s cover up too. and your hat! Too cute. I’m headed to the forest & some lakes this week and you’ve certainly inspired my wardrobe for my stay.

  2. Shauna

    Aw that’s a shame that you didn’t get on with this two piece. I have the full suit of hers in the same colour but didn’t have the same problems – the modesty skirt in the full suit isn’t like a skirt really so doesn’t fly up or anything. Still, it looks really cute on you! I’m also looking for a two piece but haven’t found a vintage one that I can afford!


  3. Gillian

    Dude. Totally have this same suit- same color and everything! from Modcloth! Bought it last year pre-Palm Springs trip.

    I’m with you– it’s pretty good, all in all, though some fit issues. Looks adorable on you though.

    My FAVORITE vintage-repro swimsuit ever is one from DKNY that I found at Loehmann’s a few years ago. Similar in style to the ones in the pattern you link, turquoise green, ruched, halter 1 piece, fits really well as the over-skirt doesn’t awkwardly stop and adhere to the under-suit in an awkward place.

  4. Hannah

    I love those sunglasses so much!

  5. Dakota

    You look so glam!! That hat and cover-up are too fabulous… the Million Dollar Mermaid herself would approve!

    I have a few vintage swimsuits that I cling to, but I’m always scared to wear them in the ocean! Right now my A.P.C. bikini does the trick, but I’m dying for an Esther Williams suit in gingham 😉

  6. Tina Vines

    THAT HAT! Get out of town…..

    You look lovely & summery in these photos! Can’t wait to break out my new suit!


  7. Helga

    Schwing! You look rather fetching in this swimsuit! ADORE those sunnies…X

  8. Emileigh

    Well, I’m still thinking it looks pretty darn cute on you, even if it isn’t your favorite!
    I’ve found some great reproduction suits on Etsy, like these:
    – Fables by Barrie (so cute):
    – Vintage Suits by Mary:
    – BeBops:
    And what I like about Etsy is that sometimes a shop owner will work with you to create a more customized order, so you could fix all those little things you don’t like!

  9. Jessica Cangiano

    That does sound like an odd place not too put a solid coloured fabric indeed! Oh my! This swimsuit really does look incredible on you though, dear gal, and had you not pointed out some of its shortcomings, one would never have known it wasn’t an absolute dream to wear.

    ♥ Jessica

  10. Sara Wood

    Man, regardless of the meh review, this suit sure looks great in photos! Sadly that’s not the point of a swimsuit, but still, *whistles*. Glad to hear you got out of the city for a minute, I bet that forest smelled amazing.

  11. wardrobe experience

    even if you’re not too happy with the suit – i have to say, it looks fantastic on the pictures. i got a quite similar looking one piece swim suit at goodwill. sadly we never made it to the lake this summer – and i suppose, the lake swimming season in berlin is over.

  12. Holly

    Have you tried kiss me deadly? The bottoms on their two-piece are to die for!

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