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Is it appropriate to wear a bathing suits without chest padding?

The Question

I like sporty bathing suits, but many don't have chest padding, meaning that, when I hit the water, it's nipple city. Should I just let it all hang out?"

The Answer

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When I think of letting it all hang out, my mind goes immediately to an ungroomed bikini line, not the suggestion of nipple beneath a bathing suit. And to me, the "should" here is relative to your comfort level; if you are not self-conscious about this, keep on diving in the free world.

If, however, you are uncomfortable about any unwelcome glances, most swimwear specialty shops carry a range of suits with either built-in or removable padding.

My hunch is that athletic suits don't come with padding because they can affect performance. But as long as you don't care about shaving a millisecond off your freestyle, there are definitely designs that will fulfill your needs as far as form and function are concerned.

Amy Verner is The Globe and Mail's Paris-based style reporter. Have a fashion question? E-mail or follow her on Twitter @amyverner.

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