What Makes a Great Bathing Suit?

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Photo: Bobby Doherty

In honor of summer, we collected and photographed bathing suits from real people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. We interviewed the participants about this often-charged item of clothing, and they shared a range of emotions and strategies for learning to feel comfortable half-naked, the horrors of shopping for a suit, and when to treat a swimsuit as an “investment piece.” But whether or not a bathing suit evokes anxiety or happy memories of seaside fun, everyone’s suits are personal and are, in many ways, portraits of their owners. We have suits from an entire family of Long Island sun worshipers, board shorts from a father-daughter surfing duo, three generations of Jersey Shore devotees, and one-pieces from those who would prefer to wear nothing at all. Click ahead for more.

Photographs by Bobby Doherty; Interviews by Katie Van Syckle.

*A version of this article appears in the June 29, 2015 issue of New York Magazine.

What Makes a Great Bathing Suit?