Let's be real: for some of us, anything related to bathing suits can be an event on par with, say, a root canal. But once I convened a group of five mom friends: three Karens and two Jessicas (I guess I collect same-named friends), a couple bottles of wine and a dozen cover ups, it turned out to be kind of fun. We laughed, we (gently) critiqued, and we came away with some swimsuit cover ups we genuinely love.

Written by Cynthia J. Drake

MiYang Floral Lace Cover-Up

The MiYang Floral Lace Cover Up provides a good amount of coverage, with a sexy peekaboo lace detail running lengthwise on the front. It is sized - one friend suggested it might run slightly on the small size - and there are a variety of colors. We tried the turquoise/green, which looked vibrant on my friends with darker complexions. "I do like this one" and "super cute" were among the comments for this swimsuit cover up. The polyester fabric might be slightly warm in the summer months.

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GDKEY's Chiffon Tassel Cover-Up

We were divided on GDKEY's Chiffon Tassel Cover Up, a boxy style garment that is see-through with tassels along the hem. But most people thought it looked fairly flattering and a little sexy. It comes in two sizes: "A" (small-medium) and "B" (large-XXL) and eight other colors. We tried on the white version. It was fairly unanimous that another color choice would have been better - several friends said they would vastly prefer it in black.

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Bestyou Women's Rayon Swimwear Kimono Cover Up

The free-sized Bestyou Women's Rayon Swimwear Kimono Cover Up ended up looking best on my smaller framed friends. We tried style 1, which features a soft drape that falls to about the knee and is open at the front with no closure. The soft black, brown and white colors are elegant and would complement a solid color bikini. On those of us in the size 12 and up region, the style fell pretty flat and looked more robe-like.

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Oryer Baggy Swimwear Bikini Cover Up T-Shirt

I wanted to include this Oryer oversized T among the other cover-ups, since T-shirts tend to be a standard go-to for busy moms. We all loved this on our smaller friends, who looked all drapey and low-key sexy like the model - to the point where the rest of us had to check our jealousy a bit. For the rest of us with average mom bods, it just looked like an uninspired oversized T-shirt (and occasionally ran on the frumpy side).

Everyone loved the soft fabric. "It feels like a pajama shirt," said Karen L. "It's jammy time. If I had a hot pink bikini on, that would make it look OK."

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Jeasona Shoulder Dress Swimwear Cover Up

Almost everyone looked great in the Jeasona Shoulder Dress Swimwear Cover Up, which features a wide elastic band along the top, meant to be worn off the shoulder. We tried on the navy-and-white version (it also comes in three additional styles and colors). Sized for a typical medium fit, it worked on a range of sizes, but it was a bit tight at the top for well-endowed friends.

The length was just right to cover to mid-thigh, which made it an ideal candidate for throwing on over a bathing suit and running to the grocery store, or even wearing to a beach-side bar after a day on the beach with kids. "I like this one," said Karen O. "You can wear shorts with it and you wouldn't see them." My friend Karen L. ended up taking it home with her, she liked it so much.

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ReachMe Women's Summer Chiffon Bathing Suit Cover Up

The ReachMe Summer Chiffon Bathing Suit Cover Up looked decent on most bodies, and the vibrant hot pink color that we tried really popped against tan and darker skin ("SOLD - you look 10 years younger!" Jessica R. told Karen O.). There are two layers, one that is more fitted and a blousy chiffon layer on top. A net design on the back is a cute detail. The dress comes in six sizes, from small to XXXL, and four fluorescent colors.

The hem of the size large was a bit short for some, falling at the upper thigh, but Karen S. thought that wasn't a big issue, since it just goes over a bathing suit. Jessica M. said it was a "safe choice" - what she probably would have ordered before trying on the other cover-ups.

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DQdq Striped Beach Bikini Cover Up

This boxy, oversized black-and-white striped DQdq Bikini Cover Up looked most flattering on the average/medium-to-large size friends.

The blousy sleeves fall at the elbow and the hem runs a bit short in the front and longer in the back, which is sheer solid black (it also comes in a multi-color stripe). The chiffon feels soft and smooth and would definitely help you stay cool while running after little ones. I ended up buying this one because it would look great with my solid colored tankinis and one-piece suits.

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Spikerking Women's Sunflower Sarong

I already owned this swimsuit cover up, which I threw into the mix of products to try on, curious to see how it would look on my friends.

The Spikerking Women's Sunflower Sarong is a simple sheer print chiffon rectangle with two loops sewn on each end. To wear it, you hook one loop over one shoulder, then wrap it around and loop the other hook over the other shoulder (it seems complicated, but it's not once you get the hang of it).

"Not for those with bigger chests," one friend said, struggling to get the straps to criss-cross across her chest. "Not for people who are too small," said another, because the back draped too low across tinier frames.

I get lots of compliments on this cover-up, but there is no give to the fabric, so it doesn't work for all sizes.

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Walant Womens Solid Oversized Beach Cover Up

This boxy, one-sized swimsuit cover up is open at the sides, which provides a little hint of sexiness. It comes in six color options.

On larger figures, the Walant Womens Solid Oversized Beach Cover Up was generally not flattering and didn't provide much shape. For smaller frames, it was a solid choice. "I like it. It's easy," said Karen L. "You look like a stylish mommy at the pool," said Jessica M.

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Cardigan Chiffon Swimwear Cover Up

This full-length cover-up, called the Cardigan Chiffon Swimwear Cover Up, looked slightly better on smaller figures, but the consensus was that it felt a bit too fancy to wear for a day of "momming." Perhaps it's better packed for a weekend resort getaway with your partner.

"I feel like the neighbor from Three's Company," said Karen S. "I really like this one," said Karen L. "I would wear it to be fancy, but not around the kids."

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Avidlove Kimono Cardigan

My girlfriends with larger busts particularly liked how this Avidlove Kimono Cardigan truly was universally sized. The material is a coarse type of polyester with 5-percent Spandex, which allows it to stretch just a smidge. The pretty printed lace looks elegant and pretty, almost something you'd want to add into your regular clothing rotation, my friend Karen O. suggested (but the length doesn't quite work with shorts or jeans). And several of us liked the tie in front to close up the cover - something several others of this style don't provide.

This one was the clear winner in terms of being most universally flattering for a variety of body types - "I feel like this one's the biggest winner out of all of them," said my friend Jessica R.

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