ask a cool person

What Are the Best Plus-Size Women’s Swimsuits?

Photo: Hulu

Whether you’re braving a (socially distant) trip to the beach or just sunbathing on your patio, finding the right swimsuit is sometimes the least fun part of summer. While plus-size women and people “have a lot more choices today,” according to stylist Ansley Morgan, shopping for swimsuits in all sizes “can still be a daunting task.” To help make it (a lot) less daunting, we asked Morgan and nine other cool people — including models, style influencers, and two of our writers — about their favorite plus-size women’s bathing suits. Below are the one-pieces, bikinis, swim dresses, and other styles they say are the best — which come in a range of sizes, from 14 to 34.

Best under-$50 plus-size womens swimsuits

Photo: retailer

“I have tried swimsuits from really expensive brands, cheap fast-fashion brands, and everything in between,” says Ashby Vose, the head of brand at Ori. “Shockingly, I keep coming back to Forever21 for cheerful swimsuits because the fit has been consistently on point throughout the years.” While Vose notes that their suits don’t offer the same support you’d get from swimsuits with underwire, she says hers “have stayed put in even the most aggressive Pacific Ocean waves and hold up to overly chlorinated public pools.” Plus, they’re so affordable, she’ll often buy two of the same style — one for lounging and one for the pool. This way, she doesn’t mind “if one gets faded from the harsh pool chemicals.” For a one-piece, Vose told us she particularly loves this swimsuit because its ’90s-inspired daisy print is “playful and fun” and the cut is “super-flattering.” The suit goes up to a size 3X, or 20.

If you prefer a bikini, Vose is a fan of this citrus-printed option that she says “provides an instant dose of brightness.” She also told us that the top’s bralette-style silhouette provides “low-impact support and a flexible fit that would work for many bust sizes.” The separates each go up to a size 3X, or 20.

$22
Photo: retailer
Photo: retailer

Another place to shop for inexpensive swimsuits in a range of sizes is Aerie, which is where Strategist writer Tembe Denton-Hurst buys all of her swimsuits. “It was the first brand I tried that had bathing-suit tops that fit me (I’m a 38H) and bottoms that came up to my belly button but still made my butt look good,” she says. “I like that the stock rotates every season, so I can continuously add to my collection.” Denton-Hurst currently has her eye on this set: The top, she says, “has a little bit of a scoop neck, but won’t make me feel like I’m spilling out of the suit,” and the high-waisted bottoms “are high enough to be a little cheeky.” While she loves the cherry-red color, the suit also comes in black and olive green and goes up to a size XXL, or an 18.

“There are two ways most brands do plus-size swimwear,” says Strategist junior writer Jenna Milliner-Waddell. “They either make a bunch of cute suits in straight sizes and leave a bunch of neutral-colored one-pieces for their plus-size shoppers — or they don’t think about us at all.” She says one exception to this is ASOS, which, according to Milliner-Waddell, makes “a lot of the same trendy styles for their curve line that have all the extra fabric and support that you’re looking for.” She loves the “dainty floral pattern” and “sports bra–style design” of this suit, which goes up to a 26. Plus, like other brands’ bikinis on this list, these and all of ASOS’s tops and bottoms are sold separately, which Milliner-Waddell notes is super-helpful “if you’re smaller in one area and need more room in another.”

H&M Padded Bikini Top
$18
$18
Photo: retailer

Model Isabelle Yong loves H&M for inexpensive swimsuits, telling us the brand makes particularly good high-waisted bottoms: “They are the perfect antidote for days where you are feeling a little bloated but still want to get some sun, because they give an hourglass illusion, cinching in the waist,” she says. The bottoms on this bikini that she recommends go up to a size 18, and the top will fit up to a D.

Strategist contributor Alyse Whitney tried on 24 swimsuits from Amazon and dubbed this cold-shoulder, high-waisted bikini her favorite “by far.” She says “it’s comfortable standing or sitting, doesn’t make me look lumpy, and the elastic and soft padded cups at the chest are supportive enough to keep the girls in check but not push them up.” It comes in 17 different patterns, but Whitney likes this flower-and-pineapple print, calling it “playful without being too kitschy.” The suit goes up to a size 20.

Best under-$100 plus-size womens swimsuits

ModCloth Celine Bikini Top
$27
$27
Photo: retailer

“You can always rely on Modcloth to have fun patterns and great retro-inspired silhouettes,” says Morgan. “The Celine Bikini makes me want to fly to Miami so that I can sit by the pool with a frozen daiquiri in my hand,” she adds. The top features a wide band that gives you “full coverage in both the front and back,” while the bottoms are high enough to cover your belly button so you feel “feel cute, comfortable, and confident,” she says, adding that “the best part is they go up to a 3X.”

According to model Anastasia Savelyeva, “from the patterns to the quality to the price, Kitty and Vibe have some of the most adorable, size-inclusive swimwear.” She loves both the Verona and Florence prints, which she says “embody a summer in Italy.” The scoop top runs up to a G, and the brand recommends sizing up if you are between sizes, because it runs small. In choosing the bottoms, shoppers are first asked to choose between a “1” (for a smaller booty) or a “2” (for a larger booty) before going on to select their size (bottoms for this suit go up to a size 3X, or 26).

Photo: retailer

Morgan loves this ruched, strapless one-piece that comes in nine colors and goes up to a size 24. “I think every woman should have a classic, practical one-piece in a solid color, and this J.Crew suit fits that bill,” she says. While it is strapless — so you don’t have to worry about tan lines — it conveniently comes with an optional strap in case you need the extra support, Morgan notes.

Photo: retailer

If you want to support a sustainably minded brand, Morgan suggests going for a suit from Summersalt, which makes swimsuits using recycled fabrics and offers most of their styles in up to a size 22. “My personal favorite is the ruffle sidestroke,” she tells us, noting it features the brand’s “classic style” of suit with “a ruffle added for some fun dimension.” In addition to this pink polka-dot print (which you can also get in black and white), the suit comes in solid blue and coral colors.

Photo: retailer

“Swimsuits for All is the ultimate destination for plus-size swimwear, whether you’re looking for a chlorine-resistant style that won’t fade when swimming laps or the latest drop from GabiFresh or Ashley Graham’s annual collections,” says Vose, adding that most suits at Swimsuits for All go up to a size 24 — and many are bra-sized, too. She says this polka-dot suit with a lower-cut back is a “timeless classic” that can easily “double as a bodysuit.” Vose adds that the suit’s “fit is flexible enough that Ashley Graham even wore it when she was pregnant.” While this suit is sold out in a few sizes, it is still available up to an 18.

$52 at Swimsuits For All
Buy
with code: SUMMER20
Photo: retailer

“This one-piece is a must-have,” says lifestyle and fashion blogger Ashley Carter, “because it comes in a variety of colors and includes cute details like bows and even a back cutout.” The swimsuit goes up to a size 2X, or 22.

Photo: retailer

Model and writer Lydia Okello told us that they’ve got “major love” for the entire Gabi Fresh collaboration, which they say offers suits that are “sexy, eye-popping, and more daring than the typical ‘plus-size’ swim.” This one that they recommend is especially great for larger bust sizes because it can fit up to an F-size cup.

$74 at Swimsuits For All
Buy
with code: SUMMER20

Best under-$150 plus-size womens swimsuits

“Alpine Butterfly is a small, boutique swimwear company for sexy options in a size-inclusive range, with collections inspired by the late singer Selena, Marie Antoinette, and ’90s supermodels,” explains Vose. “What I particularly love about their collections is how they offer a variety of coverage levels, from string bikinis to full-on swim dresses that are on-trend, detailed, and flaunt-worthy.” Carter and Savelyeva also namechecked the line — Savelyeva calls “sultry, intimate, and dreamy.” Carter owns this Naomi set, which she says “is not only fun and flirty but even a little cheeky.” She told us she loves that it comes in multiple colors and how it “looks great on every body type.” The set goes up to a size 5X, or 30.

Photo: retailer

This swim dress — which goes up to a size 6X, or 34 — is “the perfect style” for someone who wants more coverage, according to Vose. She says that the “delicate, feminine print and the metal ring hardware” are particularly nice touches. For even more sun protection, Vose also loves this more affordable long-sleeved one-piece from Alpine Butterfly.

Best splurge-worthy plus-size womens swimsuits

Photo: retailer

While pricey, Okello says that Becca McCharen-Tran’s line Chromat is “completely in a league of its own” when it comes to their “fearless and unapologetic” styles. The suit is made from recycled fishing nets and goes up to a 2X, or 18.