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How Do I Choose the Best plus Size Bikini?

Britt Archer
Britt Archer

Women who wear plus size clothing no longer have to cringe when the warm weather rolls around with the accompanying worry over buying swimwear that fits and looks good. Designers are manufacturing more plus size swimwear than ever before, and the designs include more than just one-piece swimsuits. Choosing a plus size bikini involves choosing the proper fit, and it also involves making a number of other choices, such as highlighting or downplaying certain body features. A ruffle or other eye-catching feature at the bust, for example, can balance wider hips, and it also can draw a viewer’s gaze upward, away from possible problem areas. A popular and attractive style choice for a plus size bikini is the tankini, which consists of the usual style of bikini bottom and a tank top-length top.

Popular wisdom for decades has sent larger women to the racks of black, brown and navy plus size swimwear because darker colors are said to be more slimming, but you don’t have to settle for these colors any longer. Designers have created plus size bikinis that are colorful, fun and tasteful, strategically using color to visually highlight curves while concealing shortcomings. Trying on a colorful plus size bikini before purchase is advisable because swimwear and other clothing often looks different on a body than it does on a hanger.

Women who wear plus size clothing may find a greater selection online or through catalogs.
Women who wear plus size clothing may find a greater selection online or through catalogs.

If you need extra support at the bust, you should look for either a tankini or a regular plus size bikini that is constructed with extra support on top. Extra support could come in the form of underwire, or in the form of wider straps. Some swimwear experts say wider straps provide more lift and comfort while decreasing back strain. On the other hand, if you want to make a large bust appear smaller, the tops of some tankinis and plus size bikinis are designed as bust minimizers and will be labeled as such for easier shopping.

The bottom half of a plus size bikini may need some extra attention, too. You want to make sure the bottom covers adequately and there are no potentially embarrassing material shortages in the rear. If thighs or the derriere are areas of particular concern, some bottoms come with a small, flirty skirt that helps to camouflage these problems. A plus size bikini that is constructed partially of a stretchy material is a good choice for both comfort and coverage. The swimsuit also should be lined for better coverage.

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Discussion Comments


@pleonasm - My problem with that is that it takes time to get something from online, particularly if it's going to be made from scratch. And you can't try it on before you buy it. I tend to get all excited about plus sized clothes and swimwear before I actually wear them and then I don't like the way they look on me. At least in a traditional store I can make sure I'm not wasting my money.


@browncoat - This is one area where I think that small business owners and craftspeople can shine. Technically, it shouldn't be considered a niche market, considering how many people fit into the plus size category, but it's often treated that way, which is why larger stores only bring in limited stock and sell out well before demand is satisfied.

So if you need plus sized swimwear and you can't find something you like in conventional stores, I would turn to online, particularly the craft markets like Etsy. There are plenty of tailors and fashion design artists who are willing to make clothes to order in whatever size you want them, and they are often cheaper than you'd expect.

You don't have the same guarantee of a certain standard of quality the way you get with other kinds of stores, but the control you will have over the product can be worth it.


Even though there are definitely more options out there, I wouldn't leave my decision to the last minute if you've got a special occasion where you need a special swimsuit. The industry is still only grudgingly providing plus sized swim wear and the most popular styles sell out really quickly, particularly in the most sought after size ranges.

Cute plus sized bathing suits are still not as easily found as those made for skinnier people, so if you have a particular kind in mind, make sure you get it before it sells out.

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    • Women who wear plus size clothing may find a greater selection online or through catalogs.
      By: Hugo Félix
      Women who wear plus size clothing may find a greater selection online or through catalogs.