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Swimsuit Guide for Women Over 50

active wear
January 21, 2024

I know, I know. We’re not even into Spring yet and here I am posting a swimsuit guide. But I’ve had so many readers tell me they’re looking for a new suit as they’re packing for winter getaways. So I thought I’d post these shopping tips and fresh new suits today, and I can always refresh it later with new inventory. Swimsuit shopping can be a daunting task, so I’m breaking it down for you and offering my top tips for finding the best suit for you.

2024 Swimsuit Guide

NOTE: This is a standing post that I update every year. So if you notice that you have already left a comment in the comment feed, that’s why! But I update it with new visuals, styles and shoppable links each season. Last updated January 21, 2024.

I don’t swim as much as I did when I was raising my children, so I was able to get by with the same two suits for several years. Last year I purchased a very comfortable and functional as well as beautiful La Blanca one-piece suit. I’ll definitely still wear this durable suit again this year, but I think I will also purchase a black suit. This one works really well for my body type and unique attributions. I’m small up top, and the ruching in this suit works for me.

La Blanca Swimsuit
my pink La Blanca one-piece suit (I sized up to a 12, but probably could have worn a 10)

And that is indeed a good way to approach swimsuit shopping. Trending styles may be a consideration, but body shape and proportions definitely should rule your ultimate decision about swimwear. Additionally, I know many of my readers probably swim for exercise. So we want to find suits that work for our bodies, our age and our unique performance needs.

Swimsuit Shopping Tip #1 – Shop at home! I much prefer shopping for a swimsuit at home through online ordering. Every time I try shopping in the stores I come home so frustrated and exhausted. And so many retailers provide great return policies, making it just as affordable and so much easier to try on a plethora of styles in the privacy of your home.

All links under the photos in this swimsuit guide are clickable and shoppable. Plus I have shopping widgets throughout the post. These are all affiliate links. If you shop through them I potentially earn a commission on your purchase, but at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting my work by shopping my links.

What to Look for in a Suit

We all have our issues when shopping for a swimsuit. I know many of you probably need to look for good support in the bra, and I’ve got some of those to share with you. But alas, that is not my issue. I have just the opposite problem. I have to look for a suit that I can at least pretend to fill up in the cups. I know we all get frustrated about different things as we try on suits, but I have literally wept tears over gaping bra cups more times than I care to count. Bleh.

Swimsuit Shopping Tip#2 – If you are not so well endowed – like me – then look for suits with ruching in the bra area. They tend to provide a little extra desirable fullness.

Links to Suits, Clockwise beginning at top: deep blue // blue floral // green leaves // bright blue // mauve // fuchsia

You may be looking for a suit that helps conceal a tummy, skims the thigh area or provides a little more modesty. Then again, you may be more concerned about performance, hoping for a suit that stays put while you swim laps or water ski. I’m going to try to provide some options that will suit in all of those areas, but ultimately only you can decide on the specifications you’re looking for and ensure that the suits you order have them. Hopefully today’s swimsuit guide will help you see what’s available.

So I suggest making a quick cheat sheet with the must-haves on your list. Include the type of bra features you want, the leg opening criteria, whether or not you want tummy control and even on and off ease requirements. For instance, I’ve decided to forgo the tummy control panel. They are so restricting that they make getting the suit on and off almost unbearable to me. I’m just so over struggling to get a swimsuit on and off and would much rather be a little more comfortable rather than trying to conceal the little bit of a tummy I might have after eating a heavy meal. But you need to decide what you need in a suit and be ready to shop with that list in hand.

What to Budget for a Swimsuit

I’ve discovered that good swimsuits generally cost more than I want to pay. That said, I pay the price. As we get older I think it becomes a little more important that our swimsuits function well. They need to support us, stay in place, move with us and feel comfortable. And, of course, most of us are looking for fairly modest swimwear, too. So with those needs in mind, I find it hard to find a swimsuit at a modest budget price.

I have included some less expensive suits in the shopping widgets, but, again, I suggest we remember that when it comes to swimsuits we generally get what we pay for.

Characteristics to Consider

If you’re trying to hide a tummy…

Floral top & bikini bottom // ocean blue & bottom

You can opt for a suit with a blouson top or swing top, but a one-piece or tankini with some shirring or ruching will probably look more modern and youthful.

Or if you’re open to a bikini, you might want to wear a high waisted bikini bottom. They’re very in style right now, and a great way to conceal a tummy.

floral top & bottom // wavy top & bottom

Another option when you’re trying to disguise a tummy is to simply bring the focus up toward your face.

flower one-piece// red one-piece

Finally, you can look for a suit with built in tummy control. As I mentioned, I find these to be a little uncomfortable and hard to get on and off. But if you’re game for a lot of control, a Miraclesuit will truly make you look a size or two smaller.

Here is a shopping widget with some of the types of suits I’ve mentioned above.

If you have a long torso…

I do have a long torso (due to my height), and sometimes just sizing up helps accommodate that. But you can more accurately handle that situation in one of two ways.

floral suit in petite, regular and long torso // black tankini top and bottoms – both from Land’s End

You can select two pieces that work for your liking, such as the black tankini top and bottoms in the graphic above. Or you can find a good selection of long torso one-piece suits at retailers such as Lands’ End, including the floral suit shown above. That suit also comes in regular and petite sizes, by the way. Ooh, and this chic black Miracle Suit is gorgeous!

Swimsuit Shopping Tip #3 – Generally, you’ll find suits fit best when you size up one from your normal dress size. Also look for sizing in petite, plus and long torso fits.

If you need substantial support and higher sizing in the bra cup…

paisley top & skirt // floral tankini top & bottoms

Select a brand that is sized by cup size rather than just dress sizes. You’ll find a good selection at Everything But Water, Bare Necessaties and Athleta

Swimsuit Shopping Tip #4 – You can now find post-mastectomy swimsuits, too. These suits generally feature soft cup bras with prosthesis pockets. I found a large selection at Land’s End.

Links to Suits, Clockwise beginning at top: plum // floral // black and white // color block // ombre // black one-shoulderIf you’re trying to minimize your rear or hips…

swim dress

You could opt for a skirted swim dress like the one above. Or you can camouflage by opting for darker colors below and lighter, brighter colors up top. Also adding a little more volume up top with ruffles or off the shoulder straps will help balance hips.

What’s Trending in Suits

Really, as far as trends go, anything goes! I’m finding suits of every kind – from one shoulder to traditional tanks to the ruched crisscross to the bandeaus that became so popular when most of us were teenagers. I think the best suit for you is the one you feel most comfortable in. Honestly, none of us are trying to win beauty contests at this point. And we’ll look our best in a suit that makes us feel secure, pulled together, covered in all the right places and, yet, still feminine.

To fight the frump factor I do suggest you look for a suit that

  • fits your body
  • lifts your bosom rather than smashing it down
  • features as short of a skirt as possible (if that’s a feature you want)
  • is in either a solid or a modern print (especially if you want to wear it several years) This year black suits are really trending.

Swimsuit Shopping Tip #5 – Select a suit in which you can comfortably walk, bend over and, of course, actually swim! If you’re not comfortable in your suit, it will show in your face and your posture. So prioritize comfort over style for sure.

Links to Suits, Clockwise beginning at top: floral dress // navy skirt // black one-piece // black skirt // floral bikini // blue bottoms

Can you wear a two-piece if you’re over 50? Absolutely! If that’s your jam and you feel your best in a two piece, go for it. I know women of all ages, even those with silver hair, who look absolutely, tastefully beautiful in a two piece bikini or other midriff baring suit. And they’re undoubtedly easier to get in and out of.

top on the left & solid bottom // animal print one-piece

You might want to look for a two piece with a slender skirt and a tankini top. Or you could still wear a high waist bikini bottom and a bra top. Or you could opt for a bikini bra top, but wear swim shorts on the bottom. My favorite bikinis that I’m finding for women over 50 are from Anne Cole. They’re colorful, vibrant but also a little mature and sophisticated.

blue top & bikini bottom // paisley top & bikini bottom

Yeah, the options are wide open if you can find a similar brand that offers mix and match tops and bottoms in a variety of styles. But, as with daily fashion, I’d practice the rules of proportion. If you go with something blousy up top, chose a fitted bottom below. And if you go with a more fitted bra top or streamlined tank, you can wear the skirted bottom with more confidence.

Swimsuit Shopping Tip #6 – If you’re fuller in the bust, check out suits that are specifically made for the woman with a larger chest. For instance, Everything But Water offers these selections for women with a fuller bust. Athleta also has a wide selection of bra-fit swimwear.

Links to Suits, Clockwise beginning at top: black // pink // blue // black animal print // paisley // green floral

Tankinis are still available and fashionable. But to look more modern and less matronly, consider choosing bottoms that are more fitted instead of extremely blousy. Yes, you can still wear the skirt option. But wear the shortest, most fitted one you can feel comfortable and clothed in.

Swimsuit Shopping Tip #7 – For the most contemporary look, choose a one-piece or two-piece bottoms that has a more fitted silhouette. You can still wear a skirted bottom, but opt for a more slender style.

Links to Suits, Clockwise beginning at top: green floral // green // black // lemon // stripe // navy

If you’re trying to hide a tummy – and most of us are! – here are a few things you could do:

  • look for ruching in the mid-section
  • look for criss-crossing in the mid-section
  • wear a two-piece, such as a tankini, with a high-waisted bottoms
  • select a suit, such as the Miraclesuit® that has a control panel in the mid-section of the suit (just be aware they are hard to get on and off)
  • choose a suit with ruffles or other ornamentation at the top so that the eye is drawn up and away from the waist.
  • wear a suit with full ruffles that drape loosely over the torso

Here’s a shopping widget with some of my favorites from all the styles and options I’ve mentioned above. But don’t go away! Coverups are coming up!

Swimsuit Coverups

What would a swimsuit guide be without coverups. I’d much rather shop for a pretty cover-up than for a swimsuit. Ha! You, too?

left to right: pink sarong // green dress // printed maxi // pink button-down // paisley dress // blue fringe

And here are a few more to choose from. I found everything from dresses to shirts to sarongs and shorts and pants.

I hope you enjoyed today’s swimsuit guide. Let me know if you have any questions.

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Blessed for My Day

Do you ever feel as though you are alone? That you must somehow bear your burdens alone, walk your path solitary or get through your hardest moments on your own strength? And do you sometimes fear that you won’t have “enough” to make it through?

The good news is that you are not alone. You can run to God. He loves you and offers to bear your burdens. He is your refuge, a hiding place, a place for refreshment and renewal. He is always available and never far off. Turn to Him first thing every morning and frequently throughout your day.

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.~ Psalm 46:1-3

xoxo, Kay
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39 thoughts on “Swimsuit Guide for Women Over 50

  1. Great post Kay!!!! I am right there with you when talking about filling out my bathing suit in the cup area. I have found that a bandeau style works better for me. Your color choice of bathing suit is gorgeous. I like the coral color on you. Enjoy your weekend.

  2. I’m another one who is not busty by a long shot! I just returned from a week at the beach with my oldest son’s family and my daughter-in-law and I never put on a traditional suit! And we did swim in the ocean! I wore a skort with a tankini top because this skort is fast-drying and could also run into town if needed by tossing on a cute shirt. She wore some cute shorts with a tankini top. I have a lot of swimsuits, mostly tankinis. Good suits are expensive (but worth it), and to have a couple bottoms and a few more tops, it’s easy to mix and match. I love the suit you bought. Sizing up is great advice! That cover-up is fabulous!! That can go a lot more places than just to the beach or pool! I’ll have to look for that at Talbots! They have been having some really great sales and I’ve taken advantage!

  3. Thanks for the great post on swimsuits. So many great ideas for all shapes and sizes. I am heavier in my thighs and have seen many ideas on your post that I can try!

  4. Great post, Kay! I love the swim shorts from Lands End. They come in several lengths…I like the longer version…and then I buy a bra-sized tankini top (larger bust challenges here!!) Shorts make me feel much more modest for all water activities and I don’t risk giving the person behind me TMI when climbing up the pool ladder! ?

    1. I love Lands End’s swimsuits. Their skirts are full, so they don’t float up in the water. I bought one in 2008 and have never looked back!

  5. Thank you for these great tips! I have not purchased a swimsuit in over 20 years. I recently ordered two from Swimsuitsfor all to try. They are having a really good sale now, have tons of options, and a great return policy. I do need to look for a cute coverup in my price range. Enjoy your weekend!

  6. I like your swimsuit best! But I’m also a fan of boy shorts and a cute bikini top. Thanks for the great body tips for different suits. And also for your beautiful faith!

  7. I love your posts and every morning I look forward to your email.
    The post on swimsuits was so helpful! As swimsuits are usually expensive, I wait until end of summer sales and so often I buy suits that don’t really fit well but are a lower price.
    The clothes you wear are outstanding! I find that I can adapt your outfits to my body type and it works.
    So glad to have found you!

    1. Hi Deb. Thanks for sharing. Yes swimsuits can be quite expensive. Another reason I just can’t buy one that I don’t love and feel comfortable in. ? But I’m determined!

  8. Oh dear, is it that time of year again? LOL Great selections and you gave really good pointers. I need to level up my swim gear now that I have access to a pool this summer.

    1. Oh yes! I’m losing access to ours with the move. But planning to visit friends who have a lake house. And I’ll be wearing my suit all day there.

  9. I really need to get a new swimsuit. Haven’t bought one for years and mine is shot. Summer of 2019 we went to Corpus Christ and Galveston, Tx with our children and Grandchildren and I took an old suit. The pictures we took showed it and would like to travel somewhere this summer with a newer much nicer suit. Thanks for the suggestions.
    Loved the BFMD. It is so true the scripture. Thank you.

    1. Thanks for sharing Sherry. Yeah I think it’s hard for some of us to let go of that kind of money on something we wear rarely. But when the time comes to wear one we wish we’d done it when the selection was greater.

  10. Great post! My favorite retailer for bathing suits is Land’s End, I buy the mini skirt in navy & black, then a variety of colorful fitted tankini tops (also sold in cup sizes for bustier gals).

    This is NOT a matronly look at all. We own a beach cottage in FL and I see many thin younger women in their 30s/40s wearing skirted suits at the beach.

    I’m not a fan of the one piece with the draping across the front to cover the crotch or the swim dresses. To me that looks more matronly than a cute skirt with a tankini. Too bad the images show only plus sizes with this look.

    I’m not overweight but after a certain age I prefer to cover up the crotch area (lol). But for swimming laps or water aerobics, I wear a one piece 🙂

    Lots of great options! Thanks Kay!

  11. Always living on or near the water, cruising or anything that has to do with water, I’m in! So I have collected a lot of suits over the years. I also have quite a few cover ups, they are just fun.

    Fun post today Kay.

    So happy for you closing on your new house! That’s always Fun


  12. Hi Kay!

    Great post as always! A friend clued me in to an online site called Swimstyle. It has a huge selection of suits at discounted prices. I know you’re not a huge Miracle suit fan but they fit me really nicely; but boy are they expensive!! I was able to get a suit there last year for about half the regular price. They carry several different brands also. I highly recommend this site to anyone looking for a good suit.

    Happy moving week!

  13. Thanks for a great post and suggestions.

    The last few times I bought a bathing suit was at Land’sEnd. I bought the Grecian Tummy Control and love it. I prefer one with a pattern which I think is more forgiving and helps hiding some of the bulges on lower tummy from C-sections. They last forever if washed as directed.

    I’m not crazy about wearing bathing suits because I don’t like to show my legs above mid-thigh but I don’t want to look like an old lady either. The covers are great for that purpose. I don’t feel so self-conscious about my legs and just take the cover off to get in the water.

    I always enjoy your posts so glad I found you and the group!

  14. Very helpful post! I am a “well endowed” gal and have LOVED Lands End tankini sets! I can comfortably fish all day and swim with grandkids in their larger cup, underwire tops. I also appreciate their matching rash guard tops and swim shorts for cover ups. I like that I can cover up and look like I am wearing normal clothes.

  15. Hi Kay!
    Wonderful blog- so helpful today. I have such trouble finding a swimsuit that fits me and that I like!
    What you’ve provided today is a great plan. Thank you.

  16. Thank you for the informative post today, Kay. I love Land’s End for swimsuits! They have so many options, and will often have sales during the summer on their swimsuits. I am thankful they carry suits with long torso options, too. I always have to remember to stay away from swimsuits with a lot of the color white in them; not so good if you spend time swimming in lake water! Thanks, again!

  17. Thank you for doing a swim suit guide. I agree that feeling comfortable makes my time in the suit more enjoyable, I have found in the last few years a style that works for my body type and comfort level. Now the hunt for fabric pattern I like, price point I can handle paying, and my size in stock. Thanks for all the links!! The other thing I do is buy a pretty suit for most vacation activities. And buy a second suit for working out in. Because I couldn’t find one suit that did it all.

  18. You look so cute in your red swimsuit and cover up! I’m always trying to find the “perfect” suit but usually have to settle. We have a pool so I do need a few since I like to use it in the summer time. I am size 4 but busty so most suits that fit my body don’t fit me up top and vice versa. I usually have to go for a 2 piece because of this. I found some really cute bikinis at Her Room that are bra sized that fit well. Although I don’t wear them as bikinis. Land’s End sold “swim” camis years ago. They are made of swimsuit material and made to go over your suit. Thankfully I have 2 that are hanging in there. I can wear them over my bikini and turn it into a one piece. I wish Land’s End would make them again! This is what I mean by settling. it would be so much easier to find a swimsuit if I wasn’t busty.

  19. Thank you for putting this post together for us! I do not like wearing swimsuits, but I do have a new one from Lands End that I haven’t cut the tags off of yet, along with a coverup. While we are actually going to the beach in one month, I am going to take it even though I probably won’t put it on.

  20. Such lovely bathing suits and vibrant colors! For women with mastectomies, Lands’ End also offers good options. In addition, I live at high altitude where the ultraviolet is strong and 15 minutes in the sun causes sunburn. Our summer pool is at 7,400 feet. To protect my skin in and out of the water, I wear coordinated Lands’ End long sleeved rash guards and board shorts over my matching bathing suits, as well as sunscreen of at least 50 SPF. Rash guards for children are the “in” thing, too. Hats and coverups for everyone are necessities on the pool deck. I enjoy being stylish and safe at the same time.

  21. Thanks, Kay, awesome post as always; I love your website. I have given up wearing a real swim suit. Between my tendency to burn and freckle and my large bosoms (I’m a size 10 bottom but 34H chest), I find it easier to wear an old bra under a Lands End short sleeved UPF Rash Guard Swim Tee. Then I just wear a Swim bottom from a two piece or tankini. I can swim my laps, not worry about too much bosom showing and avoid sun damage. It may be an anti-fashion solution but it is simple and quick!

  22. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy my swim SHORTS. They’re super comfortable, flattering with a tankini top, and secure to move in if you’re doing anything active. Two thumbs up. (Plus. no last-minute shaving!)

    1. That’s why I like boy shorts. I don’t have to shave and I have a small cyst on my upper thigh I’m self conscious about. I forgot what the doctor called the cyst but not worth cutting out because it may come back.

  23. Hi Kay,
    I realize I’m a day late but I thought you and your readers would be interested to know that the Sam Edelman trench coat featured in yesterday’s blog in color “birch” (also available in “ballet pink”) are among today’s new arrivals online at both Marshalls and TJ Maxx.. The price is $69.99.

    I always look forward to your posts!

  24. Great Tips. I am frequently in the pool which has chlorine so my suits faded fast, so I found a online site which gives you the ability to choose the back type(making it easier to get the suit on and off, the leg type for high cut, low cut, etc the bottom type (so I’m covered), the front cut (high, low) as well as the swim material (that chlorine works well with) and of course the style, Swim outlet has a variety of choices,

  25. We have a pool, and I usually spend some time in the pool daily during the warmer months (here in North Carolina we have a much longer swim season than in New Hampshire, where we used to live). I am larger on top, but I still want to hide my post menopause belly. I have found Land’s End to have great suits, as well as Nordstrom. I bought a few new suits last year, and I purged a lot of my older suits which no longer did anything for my body. That is key – as you say, everyone should feel comfortable.