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 get-aways. 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.
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.
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 did finally purchase a new suit and it was almost identical to the two I’d worn before. I think that’s because once I find what works for my body type, I tend to stick with it. This year I purchased a very comfortable and functional as well as beautiful La Blanca one-piece suit. It also comes in other colors here.
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 be more forgiving.
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…
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.
Another option when you’re trying to disguise a tummy is to simply bring the focus up toward your face. Both of the suits below draw the focus toward the shoulders and face, steering it away from the midsection.
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.
You can select two pieces that work for your liking, such as the ocean blue & bottom in the section above. Or you can find a good selection of long torso one-piece suits at retailers such as Lands’ End, including the chlorine resistant floral scoop neck tank shown above. That suit also comes in regular and petite sizes, by the way. Ooh, and this chic black Miracle Suit is gorgeous! A third option that may take a little trial and error would be a one-piece suit with adjustable straps like this pretty maillot.
Here are some other tankini and long torso options.
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…
If you’re trying to minimize your rear or hips…
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 bold, vibrant, colorful prints are 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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? I purchased these pretty, colorful shorts to wear over my suit while at the pool.
I hope you enjoyed today’s swimsuit guide. Let me know if you have any questions.
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