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Where to Buy Plus Size Swimwear

Updated on December 5, 2012
Very flattering made to measure swimsuit which can form the center of a vacation wardrobe as it is designed so it can be worn with pants.
Very flattering made to measure swimsuit which can form the center of a vacation wardrobe as it is designed so it can be worn with pants. | Source

How to Find Plus Size Swimsuits

I love to swim, and as any doctor will tell you, swimming is one of the best forms of exercise, but when it's time to buy a new swimsuit I always find myself procrastinating. I hate the buying process because, no matter how careful I am with my choice, a swimsuit reveals just a little too much. I know it's important to love yourself, but I am a pronounced plus size, and my figure often curves out where it should curve in, so I know that a swimsuit, even a carefully chosen swimsuit that fits well, is not the garment I look best in. The result is that the choice of suit is even more important, as is the need to be realistic about the end result.

This hub is about the three major sources of plus size swim suits; local stores, online shops, and companies who make to measure.

Shopping for swimwear in a local store.

The great thing about local stores is that you can go there, get what you want and go home. There are no shipping costs, you don't have to wait for delivery and you can be confident the garment you've bought fits, but only if you try it on in the store.

Many women (including me) will do almost anything to avoid trying clothes on in a store, which is a shame, because these days there are several national chains which sell plus size clothes, You can pop in and come out with a swimsuit, a wrap and even a sarong. JC Penny usually stock sizes up to 24W, and there are fitting rooms where you can try them on. These sessions can be unpleasant, but there are things you can do to minimize the struggle. Here's my advice for a try on session which is (relatively) pain free.

  • Prepare. Before I go trying things on, I have my normal shower and then use a little more talc than usual. I find this helps when pulling on clothes. Swimsuits are meant to be tight and a try on session can turn into a life or death struggle. Using talcum powder will help your skin be a little more slippery; if the suit is too difficult to get on, it's probably the wrong size.
  • Take your time. Try to visit when the store isn't crowded and when you are not in a rush.
  • Keep you panties on, but take your bra off to check whether the bust gives you adequate support. Plus size busts are wonderful, but they can be heavy. If you know you have a heavy bust look for a swimsuit with an underwire for added support.
  • Ignore size. Yes, I know you need to pay attention to sizes so you know where to start, but try a size up and a size down. Sizes differ from manufacturer to manufacturer.
  • Take a good look at your figure before you start. If you work hard to stay in shape, then go for it and show it off, but if you bulge in the middle, a once piece in a dark color will do more to disguise that fact than a bikini.
  • Think about what you want from a swimsuit. Many plus size one piece swimsuits include a skirt on the basis that most of us plus size ladies want to hide our thighs. I'm happy with a swimdress as a garment, but when I actually go swimming I find all that extra wet fabric is just unpleasant.
  • When you look in the mirror, be realistic. If you didn't look like a swimsuit model before, you won't suddenly look like one just because you are wearing a bikini. Remember that most models (plus size models included) are very much taller than average (often 5 or six inches taller) it doesn't matter how much you diet your legs wont get any longer.
  • Never buy anything for 'when I've lost weight'. Buy it for the way you look now. If you lose weight, treat yourself to another one as a reward.

There may be speciality swimwear stores in your area, if so, call them in advance and ask which sizes they stock. otherwise you'll find that national plus size chains like Catherines or Lane Bryant have a wider range of sizes than the department stores.

Royal Roses Swimsuit. This versatile piece is designed so it can be worn as a top with trousers. Available in your size.
Royal Roses Swimsuit. This versatile piece is designed so it can be worn as a top with trousers. Available in your size. | Source

Buying Plus Size Swimwear Online

The good thing about shopping online is that you get to try on the swimsuit in the privacy and comfort of your home. The down side is that you have to wait for it to arrive and pay for shipping. There is also the problem of having to decide which size to order.

Treat swimsuits like shoes. Try to buy from an online store which provides free returns and order the one you like in two sizes to find the one which fits you best.

If, like many woman, your hips are more than four inches bigger than your bust, look for a two piece style where you can buy top and bottom in different sizes.

If you are short, look closely at the length of those skirted swimdresses - I'm five feet tall and found one I bought almost came down to my knees.

Good places to look are (up to 24 or 26) (up to 40) (up to 30) and sizes to 34.

If you have a large bust, try where they sell swimsuits which fit E and F cups and more.

And, of course, there's Amazon

What Do You Think About Buying Plus Size Swimwear?

How do you normally buy your plus size swimwear?

See results

Plus size swimwear made to measure

I once went to a style class to learn how to shop. The charming lady who ran the class told us how to assess clothing for fit, style and quality and suggested that before buying, we ask ourselves a single question; if you were a millionaire, would you buy this item? if the answer was yes, we should go ahead. If not, we had to come up with good reasons for the purchase.

If I were a millionaire then I would have all my clothes custom made, because I know how important fit is, and as a short fat woman, I know that most clothes are simply not designed for women like me. You won't be surprised to learn that last time I bought a swimsuit I had it custom made, but you may be surprised when you see that a custom made swimsuit can actually be cheaper than some of the mass produced brands. Here are three companies who will custom make for your figure.

Astarte Woman beautiful designs which use asymmtery to prevent the straight horizontal lines which make wide figures look even wider. The owner was kind enough to allow me to use her pictures on this hub. All swimsuits are made to order and there are some stunning hand painted designs in wraps and other items. will make swimsuits for you up to size 6X in a wide range of fabrics. I have their pirate swimsuit and can happily recommend it. also create made to measure swimwear.

Why There Should be Plus Size Swimwear in Your Wardrobe

I know a lot of plus size women who don't own a swimsuit. I have a friend who says she'll buy one 'when she loses weight.' She has been saying this for at least 10 years.

Swimming is a wonderful form of exercise, it's relaxing and it doesn't stress any of your muscles, unlike cycling or even walking. Your body is supported all the time, so why is it that many plus size women don't swim?

Speaking personally I know that for a while my children found it difficult to visit a public pool with me, they didn't want people to see me in a bathing suit, and the fact that they were ashamed of their mother stopped me from swimming altogether. I thought this was because of my size, and only later found out that it wasn't. These days I also have a badly scarred leg which no swimsuit of any kind can cover, but there is no way I'm going to let either of these factors prevent me from swimming; its fun; its great exercise and it's something we can do as a family.

So buy a plus size swimsuit, but don't just hang it in the closet. Put it on, get out there and have fun.

Are there stores you can recommend for plus size swimwear?

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    Post Comment

    • Amaryllis profile imageAUTHOR

      Lesley Charalambides 

      4 years ago from New Hampshire

      Yes, there are some very lovely plus size models out there.

    • sweetstickyrainbo profile image


      4 years ago

      Gorgeous models!

    • Amaryllis profile imageAUTHOR

      Lesley Charalambides 

      4 years ago from New Hampshire

      @whowas thanks for your comment. I love your line - 'Don't be shy, give it a try.' I think it makes a great motto for many things in life.

    • poetryman6969 profile image


      4 years ago

      Looking good!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      An excellent hub full of excellent advice for cuddlier women who want to get out there and swim, feeling good about themselves and not drawing the attention of prejudicial public eyes.

      If you follow the advice in this article and then get out there with confidence and a big smile, you'll not only get away with it, you'll probably knock'em dead. So, don't be shy, give it a try!

    • Amaryllis profile imageAUTHOR

      Lesley Charalambides 

      6 years ago from New Hampshire


    • bestoffernow profile image

      jhon fish 

      6 years ago from london



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