How Do I Choose the Best plus Size Bathing Suit?

Sheri Cyprus

Choosing the best plus size bathing suit can be made much easier if you understand your body type. Not all plus size figures are the same, as some heavier people have narrower waists and larger hips while others are more apple shaped. Looking for a quality-made plus size swimsuit is often a good way to find flattering features such as a slenderizing tummy control panel or a supportive built-in bra. If you prefer darker, solid colors in swimwear, these can be slimming, yet if you love color, don't shy away from a more colorful bathing suit.

A full-figured woman with a small waist may benefit from choosing a two-piece bathing suit that contains a built-in bra.
A full-figured woman with a small waist may benefit from choosing a two-piece bathing suit that contains a built-in bra.

The crucial thing to remember when looking for colorful full-figured swimwear is to choose pieces in colors that work for your body rather than against it. For instance, a classic, flattering type of plus size bathing suit is one with a darker background color and curved, inserted strips of different colors along the sides to help visually create a slimmer waist. This type of swimwear design tends to look sporty and timeless as well as tasteful. The curved, vertical side striping may be of any combination of colors suitable for your skin tone and that you find pleasing. Both women's one-piece full-figure swimsuits and men's plus size swim trunks are often available in this style.

Plus size bathing suits are available in many styles and colors.
Plus size bathing suits are available in many styles and colors.

Another way to use color to your advantage is to choose vertical striping. Again, the particular colors don't matter as long as they are flattering to your skin and ones you feel good in. Vertical stripes of color, especially ones that aren't too wide, can make fuller, rounder bodies appear more elongated and slender. This is another type of plus size bathing suit design that can work for both one-piece swimwear for women and swim trunks for men. Another slimming use of color for women's one-piece bathing suits is a darker bottom section with a colorful printed top part that may feature a fun floral or other pattern.

Plus size swim trunks for men should fit comfortably at the waist without binding or slipping. A drawstring feature in men's plus size bathing suit designs can be a great feature to have. A solid color, side striping or an overall small pattern can be slimming for men. A longer length of swim trunk tends to be a better choice for most plus size men, as it can help the body look proportionately slimmer.

If you're a full-figured woman with a smaller waist, you may want to opt for a two-piece rather than a one-piece bathing suit. Choose a two-piece plus size bathing suit with supportive rather than skimpy features though, such as a good built-in bra and bottoms that have a flattering cut for the stomach and thighs. For a one-piece plus size swim suit option to accentuate a small waist, a belt or sash accent may be a great choice.

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Discussion Comments


@pastanaga - I don't think being fat should mean that women can't wear a bikini if they want to though. High waisted ones, usually called a "fat-kini" are pretty cute and I've seen them all over the place this year.


@pleonasm - I feel like there have been more and more options for plus size bathing suits recently though. Etsy is a good source for them, with quite a wide range of styles. I particularly like the slightly old fashioned Marilyn type one pieces.

Personally, I think it's better to go with a single, solid color rather than patterns, but stripes can look good. I've seen some cute swim skirts as well, for women who want a little bit more coverage.


I prefer a two piece, particularly if the bottoms are more like shorts than a bikini bottom. It's also more versatile, as you can swap and change with other two piece suits.

Plus size swimwear tends to be fairly hideous, with lots of frilly pieces that actually make the silhouette wider rather than drawing attention away from it, so if you can find some good pieces you'll want to get as much wear out of them as possible.

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