It wasn't so very long ago that most plus-size women were convinced that they didn't deserve to have fun at the pool, at the beach, or on a cruise for the simple reason that their bodies were "too large" to be seen. While the media may still be singing a similar tune, there has been a noticeable shift in consumer behaviors and buying patterns in recent years with more and more women choosing to go out and live their lives no matter what their size is in the moment. Now options range from playful swim dresses to sexy two piece bikini styles at most retailers. Sleek one piece and tankini styles are still a staple.
Although Elegant Plus earns a
small fee on all purchases made through the
below, it is a
completely free shopping resource for the
consumer, and many times we are able to
provide links that offer consumer discounts
and free shipping offers upon landing on the
partner retailer's site.
All selections are available at time of
posting and purchases can be made directly from the
retailer on the associated shopping link. All of the
shopping guides include designer selections which are
noted with the designer's name in descriptions.
The ground swelling of plus-size fashion blogs, empowerment through social networks, and a rising Health at Every Size Movement are all influencing the availability of extended size swimwear at every price point. A voluptuous swimsuit model landing the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2016 has caused the body empowerment movement to really take off and swimsuit sales have followed.
Consequently, not only are more swimsuits in larger sizes in demand, more revealing styles such as bikinis are beginning to fly off the shelves as well. With that has come a diversifying of colors, patterns, cuts and styles ranging from sporty, functional yet stylish suits for those with active lifestyles to flirtatious retro looks that reference the curvaceous pin-up girls of yesteryear.
Swimwear is in demand all year for everything from women who swim laps at the local pool for exercise to sandy beach vacations. Demand is highest in the winter resort and cruise season through the hotter summer months. A hand full of retailers carry swimwear all year, including retailers such as Ulla Popken and Catherine's which carry extended plus-sizes beyond 24W. Of the better department stores Macy's has the deepest and most diverse selection of bathing suits all year for sizes up to 24W.
While the luxury department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom usually carry a small collection of upscale swimsuits from brands such as Gottex and Miraclesuit, swimwear from well known designers can be trickier to find. Nordstrom is the more likely of the two to occasionally offer a design from a boutique designer such as the line from plus super model Robyn Lawley. Lane Bryant has begun collaborating with designers such as Sophie Theallet and Lela Rose, while occasionally stocking suits from names such as Badgley Mischka or Carmen Marc Valvo. These all tend to fly off shelves quite quickly, so grab anything you love immediately! Ralph Lauren will sometimes offer their plus collection of swimwear through the branded company website and is worth a check for sizes up to 22W. Meanwhile, Lord & Taylor is the most likely to have styles from labels such as Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, and Jessica Simpson in stock for extended sizes to 24W.
Bathing Suits with Extra Support
Bra fit styles and underwire support are often a must for women who are lucky enough to need especially large cup sizes. More swimsuit designers and brands are beginning to recognize the need and including lingerie fits in their swimwear lines. Lands End, in addition to offering a selection of suits with extended cup sizes in the DD and DDD range in plus-sizes up to 26W, also regularly carries mastectomy swimwear for breast cancer survivors. Plus specialty retailer Torrid has emerged as an underwire support leader with both one and two piece styles in retro and trendy prints in sizes XL to 6X. Lane Bryant has used their experience as a full-figured lingerie and bra specialist to include both underwire and bra fit styles in their swim line. Here you will find some of the most generous cup sizes up to H.
Plus-size bikinis have taken off in the last couple of years with super sexy styles in a variety of prints and colors joining more modest high waist retro styles. During the Spring Break and summer months budget friendly trendy retailers such as Torrid offer two piece bikini styles for sizes up to 6X.
Lingerie retailers such as Her Room and Bare Necessities often include bra fit bikini tops in their inventories from labels such as Fantasie, Panache, and Freya that offer both larger band and cup sizes. Matching bottoms are usually sold separately.
Full-Figured Athletic and Sporty Swimsuits
Athletic figures tend to be well muscled, and swimming is an exercise gentle on those suffering from health problems such as arthritis and mobility issues, both of which increase the demand for larger sized swimwear appropriate for water sports. Furthermore items such as rash guards are the latest hot trend in this space with both short sleeve and long sleeve swim tees paired with swim shorts and bikini bottoms both. Cropped styles are doubling as bikini tops as well.
Competition style suits from brands such as Speedo and Reebok can sometimes turn up at lingerie retailers that carry full-figured swimwear such as Her Room. One of the best spots for both basic, tugless maillots and rash guards is Lands End. The sizing here is some of the most extensive with both women's sizes to 26W and long torso suits available. Prices are moderate and the selection of colors and patterns quite good. Kohls carries color block and sporty style swimwear in extended sizes all year with labels such as Nike sometimes turning up.
Extended Plus Size Swimwear
Wear larger than a size 24W? Than you probably know just how frustrating finding a bathing suit that fits and flatters can be! Catherine's offers suits all year in sizes up to 32W with a more plentiful selection in late spring to early summer. Ulla Popken has begun carrying swimwear all year, and while the trendiest styles are usually available up to 26W, more classic and athletic styles will sometimes be available as large as 34W. Styles here mainly range from printed one piece styles to swim dresses. Avenue is a must stop for those who like fashion conscious swimsuits at reasonable prices. Some years swimwear at this retailer arrives as early as January, others it comes in in time for Spring Break vacations in March. Flash sales and deep discounting with limited size availability occurs in late June and early July, so timing is everything for super size women shopping this website. The trendiest bodacious fashionista will find retro bikinis, tankinis, and one piece styles, many with extra underwire support in sizes up to 6X at Torrid during the swim season.