When it comes to shopping, swimwear is often the last thing on your mind. After all, finding flattering and comfortable plus size swimwear that can stand up to long hours tanning, swimming at the pool or hitting up the beach can be a challenge. Oftentimes you have to pick style over comfort or vice versa in order to feel as close as you can to your best when you’re out enjoying the summer weather.
Luckily, the past few years has shown an amazing boom in the plus size swimsuit category, with a ton of new styles, fabrics and designers making their mark in the industry. While we were once limited to frumpy one-pieces that barely held our curviness in, we can now explore endless options, from retro bikinis to strappy one-pieces to too-cute tankinis and more. Long story short, plus size swimsuit shopping just got easy.
If you’re new to the plus size swimwear shopping scene or just want a quick refresher on what styles are available out there for you to try, never fear. We’ve put together a list of ten must-have styles that are perfect for any plus size gal who wants to accent her curves without feeling like she has zero support or looking like she’s wearing a tent.
Without further ado, here are our top styles of plus size swimwear for your shopping pleasures.
1. THE CLASSIC ONE-PIECE
Let’s start things off with the basics – the classic one-piece. This isn’t quite like you remember from middle school gym class. Rather than looking frumpy and like you belong at your grandmother’s synchronized swimming class, today’s plus size one-piece swimsuits are super cute and flattering.
With the invention of new swimwear fabrics and an influx of designers hungry to cater to the plus size woman, the one-piece has had a total makeover. Now, instead of feeling limited, you can explore tons of options including sexy strappy swimsuits, high-neck swimsuits, backless swimsuits and more, all designed to perfectly accent your curves.
If you’re ready to give up your old tired one-piece and try out one of these fabulous new options, here are some perfect picks to get you started.
THE PLUS SIZE CRISSCROSS STRAPPY RUCHED ONE PIECE SWIMSUIT
Strappy and sexy – yes please.
THE ANTHROPOLOGIE PLUNGE ONE-PIECE SWIMSUIT
We’re ready to take the plunge – are you?
THE LAUREN RALPH LAUREN PLUNGING SHAPING ONE-PIECE SWIMSUIT
Shapewear and swimwear in one? We’re sold.
THE CRUISE MIRACLE SUIT CROSSOVER WITH MESH ONE PIECE SWIMSUIT
Sexy mesh, a flattering crossover effect and an open back? Yes please.
THE LATTICE DEEP-V WIRELESS ONE PIECE SWIMSUIT
Because who doesn’t love a deep v-neckline and a lattice front.
2. THE TANKINI
If you remember wearing one-piece swimsuits growing up and hating them, chances are you dipped your toes in the pool of tankinis, too. Not quite as showy as a bikini, this style of swimsuit features a longer top that typically reaches the hip or the top of the coordinating bikini bottom. This is a great option for the girl who doesn’t want to show off too much skin but still wants to feel flirty and feminine whether beachside or poolside.
Today’s tankinis have totally evolved from the classic tank-top style top with standard bikini bottom. These days, you can find tankinis in tons of styles, from lace-up designs to cutout pieces to sheer and more. It’s the perfect grown-up form of our middle-school go-to swimsuit.
Thinking about getting back in on the whole tankini thing? Here are some styles to help you get started on your plus-size swimwear-shopping spree.
THE MIRACLESUIT RAZZLE DAZZLE ASYMMETRIC TANKINI TOP
Give ‘em the old razzle dazzle with this stylish little number.
THE PRETTY TWIST-FRONT TANKINI
That’s right – you can totally go strapless with a tankini.
THE VOLCOM SIMPLY SOLID TANKINI TOP
Sporty Spice called – she wants her top back.
THE MESH FLYAWAY TANKINI TOP
Leopard print AND it’s convertible? Our dreams really can come true!
THE BLUE LAGOON SHIMMER SWIM TANKINI TOP
Because we all need a little extra sparkle in our lives.
3. THE SWIM DRESS
What do you mean, ‘swim dress?’ Exactly what it sounds like – a swimsuit that doubles as a dress! While you may be picturing something frumpy and totally out of date, these babies have made a comeback in the plus size swimwear market, adding an additional level of security and comfort that a tankini or bikini can’t typically provide a curvy lady.
These days, swim dresses are designed to flatter the feminine figure, with a fitted bra-style top with underwire and straps paired with a flowy bottom that hits just below the behind. These dresses come with a cute bikini bottom for added comfort and support. Because they are a little longer than the standard tankini, some swim dresses come with more skin-baring bottom styles, such as thongs.
Dreaming of adding a swim dress to your collection? Here are a few fabulous styles to help you get going on it.
THE FLORAL BLOSSOM SWIM DRESS
Flowers are always in season.
THE LAUREN RALPH LAUREN FLYAWAY SLIMMING FIT ONE-PIECE SWIMSUIT
The perfect convertible design has been found –wear it as a one-piece or a dress.
THE MIRACLESUIT MARAIS ALLOVER SLIMMING TWIST-FRONT SWIMDRESS
Slimming fits + flowing designs = a win in our books.
THE BURGUNDY RED ASYMMETRICAL WIRELESS ONE-PIECE DRESS
Who wouldn’t love a swimsuit the color of our favorite Bordeaux?
THE HALTER SWIM DRESS
Retro inspiration meets modern femininity – we are totally in love.
4. THE STANDARD BIKINI
Let’s take things in the opposite direction – towards the standard bikini. If you’re a gal who’s comfortable in her skin and loves showing off her curves (or you simply hate the thought of tan lines), this style is for you. The standard bikini typically features a bra-style top with straps and underwire for added support. Some do come with padding, although you can often remove it if you’re well enough endowed that you don’t need it.
Today’s standard bikinis are anything but ‘standard.’ There are endless styles, shapes and sizes that are perfect for flattering any plus size woman at the beach, at the pool or simply laying out in the sun with friends. The number of straps, style of closure and type of bottom paired with each top can vary greatly depending on what you’re looking for and where you’re shopping.
Need some help getting started on finding the perfect good-old standard bikini to add to your swimwear wardrobe? Here are a few styles that are perfect for you.
THE RIVER ISLAND BIKINI WITH KNOT FRONT IN POLKA DOT
Polka dots are always our favorite swimsuit option.
THE CONTRAST STRIPE SLEEVED CROP HIGH WAIST BIKINI SWIMSUIT
Sporty yet totally sexy – we’re down for this two-piece set.
THE SOUTH BEACH CURVE EXCLUSIVE RIBBED CROP BIKINI TOP
Nothing says sitting poolside or beachside quite like cobalt blue.
THE ANTHROPOLOGIE TIE-FRONT BIKINI TOP
Tie it all up, baby.
THE PLUS SIZE STRIPE BIKINI TOP
This suit has us in the stripe state of mind – how about you?
5. THE RETRO BIKINI
Praise the lords above – retro bikinis have made a total comeback and seem to be staying. These babies are much like your standard bikinis, with a bra-style top but paired with a super high-waist bottom that often features shapewear. That being said, retro bikinis are actually designed for curvy, plus-size women, accenting the natural waistline, the slimmest part of the body, while throwing all emphasis on your hips and other gorgeous curves.
The modern version of the retro bikini is probably one of the most comfortable and flattering on the market for plus size women. The top is often designed more so like a bra than a swimsuit, often featuring underwire and full-size cups for a supportive and easy-to-wear fit. The bottoms typically hit above the belly button and have a high-cut outer leg for an additional hint of skin that is super flattering to any curves, too.
If you’re here for this trend and want to try it out for yourself, here are a few styles that you need to add to your swimwear collection ASAP.
THE UNIQUE VINTAGE WHITE AND BLACK DOTTED MONROE HALTER TOP
Found – the ultimate retro polka dot indulgence.
THE STRIPED UNDERWIRE HIGH WAISTED BIKINI SWIMSUIT
Adding underwire makes this swimsuit totally perfect for wearing strapless if you feel the need to.
THE ESTHER WILLIAMS BATHING BEAUTY ONE PIECE SWIMSUIT
We’re totally digging these cute cherry vibes.
THE YELLOW FLORAL WIRELESS BIKINI
Yellow + florals = summer dreams come true.
6. THE BRA-KINI
With this baby, the name says it all. The Bra-Kini is pretty much a step up from the standard bikini, with a style that is amazingly well-suited for curvier gals. Not only does it provide an insanely high level of support, but also it comes in cute and sexy styles that will have you feeling amazing all day or night long.
Bra-kinis are newer in the plus-size swimwear market, but are definitely welcome. Designed to fit like your favorite supportive bra, this style of bikini often features plenty of underwire, full-size cups and thick straps to help keep everything comfortably in place. They’re often available to purchase by bra size, making them easy to shop for online when you’re feeling stuck on what size to buy.
THE MIRACLESUIT EQUINOX UNDERWIRE BIKINI TOP
When in doubt, just add polka dots.
THE FULL COVERAGE BRA TOP
Sometimes you need a little support.
Venus Full Coverage Bra Top – $36
THE MIXED PRINT LONGLINE SWIM BIKINI TOP WITH BALCONETTE BRA
We love a great mixed print (and underwire support, too).
THE ELOMI ELECTROFLOWER UNDERWIRE PLUNGE BIKINI SWIM TOP
Like EDC, but for the beach or pool.
THE HALTER BANDAGE HIGH WAISTED BIKINI SWIMSUIT
Your retro swimsuit just got super sexy. You’re welcome.
7. THE STRING BIKINI
The sexier sister of the standard and retro bikinis, this style is perfect for really showing off those curves at the beach or pool. String bikinis typically offer the least amount of support of any type of swimwear, since they rely on skinny string closures to keep everything in place. But don’t let that scare you – there are plenty of plus size string bikini options out there that are still comfortable to wear, too.
Today’s plus-size string bikinis are often designed with an added layer of support, such as thicker strings or slim underwire in the cups. They come in a wide variety of fabrics, colors and styles, allowing you to choose how and when you want to show off your assets. They’re also great for eliminating pesky tan lines when you’re laying out, as there is minimal fabric involved.
Ready to slip into your string bikini? Here are a few of our favorite styles to get you inspired on your shopping spree.
THE VOLCOM PLUS SIZE SIMPLY SOLID TRIANGLE SUIT
Simple, stringy and sexy. We love it.
THE BODEN STRING BIKINI TOP
It’s simple, but everything we could hope for and more.
THE BIKINSHE PLUS SIZE FLORAL EMBROIDERY TRIANGLE STRING BIKINI
Embroidered flowers are always a fabulous idea for spring and summer.
THE TRIANGLE BIKINI TOP AND BOTTOM SET
Super flattering with mesh cutouts is a match made in heaven.
THE SLIDE TRIANGLE STRAPPY HALTER BIKINI SWIMSUIT
Adjustable to suit your personal tastes.
8. THE MONOKINI
What on earth is a monokini, you ask? Well, we’re glad you did. This baby is another sexy sister of the standard bikini, with a flirtatious design that offers a higher level of support than the string bikini. Monokinis are typically one-piece swimsuits that feature plenty of skin-baring cutouts and straps, giving the appearance that you’re wearing a bikini.
Another great option for minimizing tan lines, monokinis are great ways for showing off feminine curves without worrying about slipping out of your swimsuit or showing off too much skin. With that added level of comfort, monokinis can have you feeling and looking great, no matter what pool party or beach party you’re headed to.
Interested in indulging in a cute little monokini? Here are a few fabulous options to get you inspired before you start shopping.
THE ORBIT CUTOUT UNDERWIRE ONE-PIECE SWIMSUIT
We love a little pattern play, especially when paired with flirty cutouts.
THE SIENA CUTOUT SWIMSUIT IN BLACK AND WHITE SPOT
Polka dots but cooler – we’re definitely picking up this mixed print monokini.
THE WOLF & WHISTLE CUTOUT SWIMSUIT WITH RING DETAIL
Wear this and we’ll totally put a ring on it.
THE SEVEN TIL MIDNIGHT TATIANA MONOKINI SWIMSUIT
For those days when you’re feeling fine AF and you want the world to know it.
THE GABBI FRESH X SWIMSUITS FOR ALL DOTTED WHIRLWIND MONOKINI
This monokini has us all in a whirl in all of the right ways.
9. THE COVERUP
Last, but certainly not least, on our list of must-have plus-size swimsuit styles is the coverup. Not exactly swimwear in the literal sense, a coverup is something chic that you can throw on over your suit while you’re sitting poolside or relaxing on the beach. It’s also a great option for when you’re attending a water-side party and you want a little more coverage but still be able to hop in the water if need be.
While old-school coverups may have looked like tents, these days they can look like anything from cute bohemian throws to like Hollywood movie star level gowns. Whether you consider yourself preppy, beachy, Goth or just average, there’s a coverup style that’s perfect for you.
Want to get your hands on the perfect coverup or two for your next beachside or poolside adventure? Check out these options before you shop for some serious shopping inspo.
THE SCALLOPED EDGE COVERUP
For when you want to cover it up but still show off your curves.
THE TINY FLORAL BEACH COVERUP WRAP DRESS
Tiny florals are so what we need this season.
THE BLACK & GREEN PALM CHIFFON KAFTAN SWIM COVER-UP
BRB – going on vacation immediately.
THE FIONA LACE-UP V-NECK DRESS
You can totally wear this baby from the pool or beach straight to the bar.
THE RAVIYA SMOCKED OMBRE COVER-UP DRESS
We love a great tie-dye option for a swimsuit cover-up.
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