Vol.1, No.10

How to choose a bathing suit for plus size women

Whether you are going to the beach or an aquatic exercise class, the selection of bathing suits for plus size women is better than ever.

A woman in a plus-size bathing suit
Photo Credit: Frances Twitty
Plus size women face many wardrobe challenges, but none are as difficult as choosing the right bathing suit. But active, plus sized women have become an important segment of the market, and slowly, manufacturers are beginning to acknowledge the fact that there are a lot of women out there who want active-wear that is both comfortable and fun to wear. Bathing suits for plus sized women are beginning to evolve, and today, the selection is better than ever.

Larger women need to take a number of factors into consideration when selecting a bathing suit. First and foremost, a plus size woman should consider the type of support that is built in to the suit. A suit that has a built-in bra will offer much more support than one with a shelf bra, and the best suits are those that are sized to standard bra measurements. Many mail order and Internet companies offer bathing suits in larger sizes that will offer the type of support necessary. One manufacturer offers a suit that is constructed of two layers - the outer layer and an inner body suit type lining that supports and slenderizes. This suit also has an underwire bra that supports. For online shopping, learn how to take your measurements and look at sizing charts before ordering.

You must also consider the best style for your body type. One-piece suits are generally more flattering to the larger figure than two-piece suits, especially the bikini styles. A one-piece bathing suit offers a much more slimming line, and can accentuate the positive while drawing the eye away from the negative. A blouson style is also flattering to the larger figure. Always look for suits that have substantial straps and avoid strapless styles, no matter how substantial the support may be. These can slip and be very uncomfortable if worn for swimming or exercise.

Be careful with the line of the leg. Suits with skirts or short shorts can be very unflattering as well as uncomfortable to wear. These styles tend to draw attention to the thigh while higher cut legs will offer a more slender illusion. When trying on a suit, make sure to check the back view in the mirror.

While larger women should avoid bikini styles, the new tankini two-piece suits can be a blessing for larger women in that the bottoms and tops can be purchased as separates. The tankini is especially good for a woman who may be two different sizes top and bottom. The tankini top offers a little less support than a one-piece, but benefit is that there is more freedom of movement. Look for tank top styles with full coverage and study straps. If you are buying separates, you can mix and match tops and bottoms for more variety.

Don't be afraid of color. Dark colors are not necessarily more slimming and are certainly not as much fun to wear. A brightly flowered suit will actually draw the eye upward. Combine that with a pretty, plain matching sarong, and you can go to the pool or beach in style and comfort. Avoid two-tone suits that sharply divide your body in half, and never wear horizontal stripes. If you prefer black, look for one that has some color, such as white piping.

As baby boomers hit middle age, more and more women are taking to the water and participating in various types of aquatic exercise. If you are buying a suit to wear in a chlorinated pool, check the fabric content. Suits that are primarily cotton will quickly fade in a pool. Lycra will not only fade; it will stretch out in chlorine. The best bet is a suit made of a polyester blend. There are also suits that are made to be resistant to chlorine, and while they are more expensive, they will far more durable and last longer.

Bathing suits are available from a variety of types of stores. In the spring, discount department stores offer a wide variety of styles and sizes. You can also find bathing suits in better department stores during the season. If you are looking for a suit off-season, check a sporting goods store. The larger outlets have bathing suits available year-round, although the selection will not be as varied.

The best source for plus sized bathing suits is the Internet. Search for "Plus sized bathing suits." There are literally thousands of sites offering everything from exercise suits to sexy two-piece numbers.

Don't miss out on summer fun and water exercise. Find a suit and get in the swim!