Monday, April 28, 2014

Reader Q&A: What Should I Look for in a Plus Size Swim Suit?

Reader Q&A: What Should I Look for in a Plus Size Swim Suit?

You may have read on Friday that recently a friend asked me about finding a great plus size swim suit. We talked about her desire to feel layered up and covered but also wanting to include her personality in her swimsuit. She had a few specific questions for me, too:
What is most flattering around the belly?
What's the deal with wearing a skirt?
What are some fun/flattering ways to cover up?
Do I have to wear a pattern?

These are great questions that I think women of all shapes and sizes share! I've got some ideas for all shapes and sizes here, and if you want to see more, I pinned more than I could post on my StartCloseIn board.

Around the Belly: Don't Shy Away from Separates

I understand the desire to not always show off your stomach at the beach, but that doesn't mean you have to wear a skimpy bikini or else be covered head-to-toe. There are lots of good choices in the middle.

For example, I really like the trend of wearing a swim shirt (ok, ok, a "rash guard," but that just sounds like something you'd need to see a doctor for) because it is so protective of your skin while you're out in the sun. But they've come a long way since my dad tried to make us wear wetsuits! You know I love stripes by now, and this swim shirt by Land's End is no exception! It looks like it wouldn't be too tight around the mid-section, either.

If you're ok showing off your middle and are looking for more va-va-voom, a lot of stores have beautiful separates with vintage cuts that are very flattering for curvy shapes. If you're not completely sure and just want to test out the look, try somewhere cheaper, like Forever21, and look for pieces like this gorgeous halter top in multiple bright colors.

Asos has a similar vintage cut in classic colors that I have posted about before and still adore. Swimsuits for All carries a similar one with an interesting bottom that could be very flattering.

There are also some really flattering bottoms that go beyond the standard bikini bottom choices. For example, one great way to de-emphasize a tummy is with a high-waisted skirt. You could wear a standard bikini top with this and show off the high waist, or you could wear a tankini top and just know that it's riding nice and high underneath.   

By no means do you have to stick with patterns simply because you're plus size. That's a myth! Embrace solids if you like them! If you're looking for a tankini top to wear with something high-waisted, I love the bright pink of this tiered top!

Do Consider A One Piece  

I know a lot of women feel like they either can't ever show their stomachs-or they have to because a one-piece is just too clingy or tight-feeling. I found a few suits that I think offer a nice solution to that tight one-piece feeling. For example, one with a bit of extra fabric swooping across the front or one with dark paneling on the sides.

The floral number above is just stunning, right? It's from Sears of all places! My mom always loved Sears-you were right, mom!  I love that sarong front-very flattering and easy to wear! It also looks like it would work for women who need good support in the chest. Here's a black and white print in the same suit that's very chic.

I can't get over how beautiful this ikat print is! Those black side panels are really flattering, and this offers a nice choice for a woman with a chest on the smaller end, which is nice since a lot of plus sized suits assume a larger chest. 

This pretty patterned suit from H&M has ruching along the front, too, which is not only flattering but feels great. I hate the feeling of pinched, tight fabric in a swimsuit. I'm not sure how much room there is in the chest on this one, but it's worth ordering it to try on unless you need a lot of coverage.

Also, this one piece from Land's End has a cult following but can be hard to find in a wide range of sizes, but some are in stock in sizes 24 and 26.

If you're looking for much looser fabric across the front with a fresh, modern print that won't age you like some plus size options (I'm looking at you, Lane Bryant), I love the shape of this suit by SimplyBe, which comes in sizes 8-28. In fact, I adore many of Simply Be's suits, but I do wish the models were larger than a Size 8 since this company sells such a wide variety of sizes.

JCP has another suit in a similar shape, which I just adore. That high waist calls attention to the narrowest part of her body, and the pattern would look great with a straw hat and gold jewelry!

Swim Dresses

I really think that a swim dress can be a fun, flirty look, especially if it has a fun print or other detail. Don't shy away from trying one just because the word "swim dress" sounds like something you'd have to wear with a swim cap (with daisies on it).  They can be especially good if you'd rather cover up your bum or upper thighs a bit while showing off other features. Although it looks like you need to order up a size based on the comments, this is a gorgeous swim dress from Land's End, and it comes in sizes 16-26.

If you're a plus size with a smaller chest (read the comments) looking to spend a bit more and invest in a swim dress, this one is a classic that will last for seasons!

Inspired But Not Plus Size?

Looking for a great one piece in sizes 00-16? I love the shape of this one! Searching for a swim dress in sizes 00-16? Try this beauty out!

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