Looking for fashionable, affordable plus-size swimwear but not sure where to start? You're not alone in this and it can be notoriously difficult to find the kind of beachwear or athletic swimsuits that plus-size women deserve – many of us give up before we even begin, resigning ourselves to sticking with our trusty shorts and t-shirts instead.
But we've created this buying guide to show you that this absolutely does not have to be the case, and in fact, shopping for plus-size swimming costumes, bikinis and tankinis can be an inspiring and exciting experience. We'll also share our ten favourite pieces from some great brands across Amazon and ASOS that we hope will make you feel like a goddess. Because let's be honest – you are one!
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Choosing the right plus-size swimwear will depend on what you feel comfortable in and your personal style, and this guide is here to help you figure it all out. We'll break down the various styles and types of swimwear, fabrics, and how to pick pieces that will best suit your look.
As you already know, there are a few different types of plus-size swimwear to choose from, and in this section, we will consider the pros and cons of each. You'll be applying that factor 30 before you know it!
First off, we'll take a look at the classic one-piece to help you decide if it is the right choice for you. Swimming costumes have always been a popular choice because they provide a good amount of coverage and support, which will probably be important if you swim for exercise or find yourself feeling self-conscious in a bikini.
As well as providing coverage and support, swimsuits are classy and modest and some of their designs lean into a slightly retro look, with features like a U-shape back, wide straps or a plunge neck.
However, something to look out for when shopping is that sometimes the brief part is "high-thigh" in its cut. This isn't a bad thing and it often looks great, but it can leave some of us feeling exposed. If this is the case for you, look for costumes boasting more coverage on the bottom.
Another time-honoured style of swimwear, there's nothing quite like the bikini when it comes to charm and good old beachy vibes. If you are blessed with a large bust or you're just looking for maximum control, adjustable straps, a clasp closure and underwiring are all great features to keep an eye out for.
There are some really stylish and flattering styles of bikini out there with some gorgeous details. We love a twist wrap or tie front, wide straps and, for a bit of glamour, a scoop or plunge neck.
If your priorities are to be as comfy as possible while looking fabulous, consider a bikini with an elasticated top or waist, which is easy to pull on and leaves you feeling free and easy! For those who love a bikini but are a little self-conscious, there are tops out there that offer more coverage below the bust and brief bottoms with a lower cut too.
Alongside the classic swimwear types detailed above, tankinis and swim shorts are two other well-loved options. If you love a two-piece but want a little more coverage than a bikini can provide, a tankini is the one.
The tankini exists to provide as much coverage and support as a one-piece but with the convenience of a bikini (when it comes to using the loo or changing). Its main feature is that the top part is akin to a vest, which can either be tight, ruched or loose – perfect when you want to get some sun without having to bare all!
Likewise, swim shorts provide comfort and coverage and are convenient in that you can even wear them on the street if you like. Made from swimsuit material, you can just as easily go into the sea or the pool, but they (literally) have you covered.
Unfortunately, plus-sized women aren't always afforded the chance to buy from brands that have a defined style, as plus-size shoppers tend to be marketed to based solely on their size – rather than taste or demographic like more standard-sized shoppers are. So, most brands creating plus-size pieces tend to use a scattergun approach, attempting to provide something for everyone.
Because it can be hard for plus-size women to find brands to rely on, it's often necessary to scout individual pieces from various brands – making it important to really know what you're looking for when it comes to the style of clothing and swimwear.
The minimalist aesthetic is popular across the board, but can sometimes be harder to find in plus-size pieces. ASOS is truly leading the way when it comes to a wide range of styles with their Curve and Plus Size ranges, which feature many different brands and accessible and simple sizing charts.
Swimwear comes in a few options materials-wise, but the best are polyester, polyamide and elastane – or a blend of all three. Synthetic materials provide the highest levels of water resistance, durability and stretch, which are all much-needed features for swimwear.
If you're usually a little skeptical of synthetics and prefer to stick with natural materials, choosing swimwear made with recycled polyester can be a good compromise. Made using plastic and textile waste, these pieces are a greener choice as they save water and energy while reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
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Shirred Bandeau Bikini Set With Removable Sleeves
Keep It Fierce 'n' Fruity All Summer Long
Recycled Frill Plunge Swimsuit
When in Doubt Wear Polka Dots
One Piece Swimsuit
A Modest, Retro-Inspired Costume With Tummy Control
We Are We Wear
Mix and Match Ribbed Bikini Shorts
Give It the Green Light in These Peppy Shorts
Plus Bikini Top With Knot Front
A Beach-Worthy Polka Dot Bikini
Plus Swimsuit With Loop Belt
A Sophisticated Black Number to Wear by the Pool
Plus Recycled Bikini Top & Bottoms
Have Fun at the Beach in '80s Style Neon Florals
Curve High Neck Swimsuit
A Sleek and Seductive Look in Cool Khaki
Curve Bikini in Natural Splodge Print
Stay Chic In Up-to-the-Minute Neutrals and a High Waist
A Cute Two-Piece Tankini in a Range of Designs
Simple Be have really created a summery sizzler with this bandeau bikini set and we love the removable sleeves that allow you to adapt the top to suit your mood. Vibrant greens, pinks, and reds come together in this all-over tropical fruity print to get you in holiday mode wherever you are.
Being specialists in plus-size women's clothing, you can feel safe in the knowledge that you'll not only look great but the fit will feel fabulous too. The whole bikini set is stretchy including subtly elasticated briefs giving the waist a delightful pulled in effect – one of the many reasons it's our numero uno choice.
Nothing says seaside like white and blue polka dots and ASOS DESIGN's Frill Plunge costume is bringing all the right vibes. Part of the brand's responsible edit, this swimsuit is made from recycled polyester for a more eco-friendly choice.
With a plunge neck and brief cut, the design of this piece is on point but it's certainly the gorgeous frill trim that brings the whole thing together in a delightfully feminine way. We're just dotty for this fit.
There are tons of fancy options out there that have frills and detailing, but this affordable costume by Delimira keeps things simple. Made in a retro style, it features tummy control and a U-shape back design that is reminiscent of '50s swimwear styles.
We think this is ideal for those who prefer a modest look or want a simple one-piece to add to a collection of different kinds of swimwear for different moods. It is also made from a comfy, quick-drying fabric and is not only available in a lovely range of colours but in sizes up to a UK 30 too.
Many of the swimwear pieces on ASOS are sold by themselves to allow you to mix 'n' match to create your own customised look. These ribbed shorts by We Are We Wear really stood out to us, firstly because they're a poppin' neon green but also because they make a statement while being super comfy!
Not everyone feels confident enough to rock tiny bikini bottoms or a high-cut swimsuit, and that's totally fine because these thigh-cut shorts create a sassy look all of their own and can be paired with almost anything beachy.
Our prediction is that brown is going to be a major colour this year, and the humble polka dot is very on-trend – so why not get ahead with this top by River Island? The knot front, adjustable straps and padded cups make for a cute and comfortable bikini top with a hint of sixties flair.
The fabric blend gives the right amount of stretch and the polka dots look pretty at the beach. Just like many of ASOS's options, the bottoms can be bought separately or you can mix 'n' match. Get ready to embrace rust, umber and chocolatey browns in your repertoire, because they really do look sweet all year round.
We're spoiled for choice when it comes to little black swimsuits, but this one by Missguided is our favourite of the bunch. The twist belt detail adds a dash of elegant luxury that makes this one feel a little more special than the usual black cossie.
There are other fabulous things about this suit too though, such as the stylish scoop neck, U-shape back design, and the slightly higher brief cut. It's also surprisingly supportive and makes a good choice for a larger bust, too.
If a teeny weeny bikini is your thing and you love an '80s style fruity print, it doesn't come much cuter than this recycled bikini set by COLLUSION. As well as its nostalgic appeal, it's made with recycled polyester for a more sustainable and future-forward choice.
Featuring a halterneck style top with triangle cups and a tie fastening, the Brazilian-cut bottoms really bring the '80s beach vibe with a combo of low-rise and high-cut design. Not for everyone, but all in all, a totally rad bikini set.
Choosing to mix things up a bit, your back will be the star of the show (or the pool) with this piece. The design features an open back with an oversized tie for a unique and rather flirty look.
Made from soft and stretchy swim fabric, the khaki shade works well on every skin tone. It is high cut all the way around the legs and bum which might not appeal to some, but on the upside, it is an ideal choice if you like a high neck – something that can be hard to find on a swimsuit.
There are plenty of swimwear options in bold, block colours at the moment, but that doesn't mean neutrals aren't also still current, and this bikini from ASOS DESIGN proves that. With a pattern that's reminiscent of a dalmation's coat, it'll look seriously chic poolside.
As well as being made from recycled polyester, it also has some cool details like a twist wrap front, wide straps and a combination of high-waisted briefs and a top with a little more coverage. Our only gripe is that the briefs are cut high which can make your bottom half feel a little exposed, but dependent on body shape, this might not affect everyone.
Tankinis are often a little harder to come across than other types of swimwear but this one from Viottiset is available in a wide range of colours and even more than one style. The ruched top and cut-out bottoms really flatter those curves and look great on the beach.
Although we enjoy the design of this tankini, the size chart ranges from L-4XL instead of the usual UK women's sizing, which isn't only confusing but also a little stigmatising. Some ladies will be perfectly familiar with this sizing though, in which case, don't let us stop you!
We're probably all craving some sunshine and salty sea air and the moment, and after reading our guide we hope you've got your swimwear look down. With so many exciting fits and designs for plus-size women, you really needn't make a fashion compromise ever again!
Author: Melanie McPhail
No. 1: Simply Be｜Shirred Bandeau Bikini Set With Removable Sleeves
No. 2: ASOS DESIGN｜Recycled Frill Plunge Swimsuit
No. 3: Delimira｜One Piece Swimsuit
No. 4: We Are We Wear｜Mix and Match Ribbed Bikini Shorts
No. 5: River Island｜Plus Bikini Top With Knot Front
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