How to Shop for Plus-Size Swimsuits & 6 Flattering Suits

6 Great Plus-Size Swimsuits
6 Great Plus-Size Swimsuits

After my post, 5 Tips for Camouflaging a Tummy, a reader asked me on Twitter:

I was looking for a swimsuit online today. I’m pretty overweight, so I was looking for coverage. I…kept coming across suits with huge, loud patterns and even (gasp) big horizontal stripes. My question? WHY do they do this to us? It’s not just swimsuits, either. I’ve seen these ugly, unflattering patterned clothing in the Women’s plus-size departments for years.

For some reason, many designers don’t take plus-sized women seriously.  But I did some research and I found talented designers who make plus-size swimsuits.  Some brands I recommend are: Miracle Suit, Delta Burke, Trimshaper, Jessica Simpson, and Pinup Girl Clothing.  Now, it’s no longer a choice between the same lifeless black suit year after year or large, clownish patterns.  Below, you’ll see different plus-size suits and links to their websites.  As I did with my post, 6 Tips: How to Wear Jeans When You’re Gaining Weight, I’m listing keywords to look for when you’re searching for the right swimsuit.


Ruching or Gathered Bodice:  Ruching around the tummy can be slimming.  See #s 1, 3, 4, and 5.

Tummy Control Panel:  See #s 1 and 2.

Wide straps:  Wide straps provide extra support for the girls.  See #3.

Skirt Dress:  Comfortable for anyone who doesn’t want to show thighs.  See # 5.

Monochromatic:  Solid suits are slimming.  Monochromatic doesn’t always mean black either.  There are flattering bold colors: purples, pinks, blues for plus-size women.  See #s 1 and 3.

Strategic Color-blocking: If you don’t want a one-colored suit, a suit with strategic color-blocking can be flattering (see # 2).

Vintage or Retro:  It’s no secret that I love vintage styles; you may have noticed all my articles on getting Mad Men style.  PUG, Pinup Girl Clothing, features swimsuits that evoke the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.  Those eras valued curves–think Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor.  They weren’t about six-pack abs!  See # 6.

Shirring: See #s 1 and 4.

Adjustable Straps:  Adjustable straps great for women with short torsos.  See # 1, or similarly halter straps in # 3 (Jessica Simpson).


Delta Burke Plus-Size Swimsuit at JCPenney
#1:  Trimshaper® Plus-Size Swimsuit at JCPenney



No 1.  Trimshaper® Solid 1 Piece Tank at JCPenney ($68.60):  This suit is currently 30% off.  The suit runs up to 24W.  The suit comes in black, pink, and a striking shade of purple.  The suit has soft cups, adjustable straps, and tummy control. Trimshaper® also offers swimsuits in prints like this cute blue and white polka-dot number–the polka dots are a flattering size (hint: not large, loud, and clownish).


Delta Burke Swimsuit Plus-Size
#2: Delta Burke Swimsuit Plus-Size






No. 2 Delta Burke® Perfect Angle 1-Piece Mio Tank Swimsuit at JCPenney ($56):  This suit is 30% off!  I love the strategic color blocking. The diagonal lines whittle the waist and create a lovely hourglass figure.  The suit also features soft cups, x-back straps, and a powernet tummy control panel.  You can also see a similar Delta Burke swimsuit in black and white here.  I’ve always admired Delta Burke since her days on Designing Women.  She gracefully handled public scrutiny and insensitive comments about her weight gain.  I especially loved this episode, “They Shoot Fat Women.  Don’t They?” and Delta’s stirring performance.  One of my favorite DW scenes begins at 7:10.

Jessica Simpson 'Desert Fringe' Plus-Size Swimsuit, Halter Neckline
#3: Jessica Simpson ‘Desert Fringe’ Plus-Size Swimsuit, Halter Neckline

No. 3 Jessica Simpson ‘Desert Fringe’ Halter One-Piece Swimsuit at Nordstrom ($128):  The halter neckline and fringe detail draws attention towards the face, away from the tummy.  The suit also ties in the back, which is great if you have a short torso.  Like Delta, Jessica is another celebrity who has faced public scrutiny over fluctuations in her weight.  I know what it’s like to be insulted when you gain weight (in my case, 12 sizes between 2008 and 2010 due to meds and being bedridden).  Consequently, I admire anyone who can endure the sometimes overly harsh spotlight of the paparazzi, social media, and the blogosphere.


#4: Miraclesuit® 'Rialto'
#4: Miraclesuit® ‘Rialto’

No. 4 Miraclesuit® ‘Rialto’ One-Piece Swimsuit at Nordstrom ($178):  This suit runs up to 24W.  Just because it’s black, doesn’t make it plain!  The strategic rushing and on the stomach and bust, which are going in different directions, are very flattering.  Miraclesuit® is a brand known for making plus-size suits. They’re worth exploring.



#5: Spanx® Draped Swim Dress
#5: Spanx® Draped Swim Dress

No. 5 Spanx® Draped Swim Dress One-Piece with skirt ($114.99): You can find this suit on the brand’s website.  It runs up to size 18.  Skirt dresses are great for women who don’t want their thighs to show.  The flattering draping also camouflages a tummy.


#6: PUG Bettie Swimsuit in Nautical Blue
#6: PUG Bettie Swimsuit in Nautical Blue

No. 6 Pinup Girl -Bettie Swimsuit in Nautical Navy Blue ($78.00)

The design is cute and comes in sizes: XL, 1X, 2X, 3X, and 4X.  Vintage silhouettes accentuate curves.  I did buy a PUG swimsuit years ago that I love, but I won’t share my pictures.  (This is the Internet, after all!)  PUG outfits make me feel glamorous.



Do you have experience in shopping for plus-size swimsuits?  What do you love or hate about the process?

–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno


Hi there! I am a patient advocate, writer, and public speaker most well known for my TEDx Talk, “How to Get Stuff Done When You Are Depressed.” As someone who is juggling 5 illnesses: bipolar 2, myasthenia gravis, endometriosis, psoriasis, and asthma, I’m passionate about helping people who navigate life with both chronic physical & emotional pain. If you’re interested in hiring me to speak at your event, check out the CONTACT tab.

One thought on “How to Shop for Plus-Size Swimsuits & 6 Flattering Suits

  • May 31, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    As a plus size, busty gal, I just wanted to recommend Becca Etc for fashion forward swimwear that has support where you need it.

    Swimsuits for all sells Becca Etc and many other brands. And they’re always offering sales.


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