swimsuits for women over 40

The Most Flattering Swimsuits for Women Over 40

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I hear you if you find shopping for a new swimsuit about as fun as filling a cavity. 

Maybe your body is changing in midlife, so you avoid being in a swimsuit. I have been there. Watching my bottom half expand over the last several years, I’ve had no desire to be in a swimsuit. 

Last year, I wrote about swimsuit alternatives instead of writing a blog post about bathing suits. That should tell you where my mindset was about putting one on. Certainly, there was no way I’d ever put a picture of myself in a bathing suit on the internet. 

Knowing how much this post could help other women, I decided it was time to face the bathing suits. With a bottle of self-tanner for liquid courage, a strategic eye for picking flattering suits, and a coverup to hide my backside, I was shocked that I feel okay about posting these pictures.

It doesn’t hurt that I started lifting weights three times a week three months ago, and my body is feeling firmer, and my stomach is slimming, something I never thought would happen. 

I’m here to say, don’t give up on your midlife body or on finding the perfect swimsuit you feel comfortable in. You may even be able to love them both.

In this post, I’ll share tips for picking flattering swimsuits by body type, and I have a roundup of suits to try by body type. If you’re feeling stuck about how to dress your body after it’s changed, learning about dressing for your body type can help you hone in on styles that disguise problem areas and highlight your best features.

After that, I’ll show you four one-piece suits I love and explain why they work. And also share ideas about the best swimsuits to hide your lower belly.

When choosing a suit, there are many different silhouettes to consider, from bikinis to one-piece suits. As you mature, there are no rules about what style to wear, and you should wear the style you love. 

Remember Martha Stewart posing on the front of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue? Let’s be like Martha and help redefine aging by wearing what we feel good in and love. 

For me, I want comfort, and a one-piece swimsuit gives me the peace of mind to relax and feel confident. One-piece swimsuits are a great option for women who want good coverage and don’t want to deal with a separate bikini top and bottom.

If your bottom and top are very different sizes, a tankini top and separate bottoms can be a great choice since the top and bottom can be purchased separately in different sizes. They also provide great coverage.

High-waisted bottoms and v-neck suits can be comfortable and flattering for two-piece suits. 

Before we look at my favorite suits, let’s talk about the best bathing suits by body type. If you’re not sure of your body type, How to Look Good in Your Clothes by Dressing for Your Body Type can help.

Best bathing suit styles by body type

If you’re having trouble finding a suit you feel good in, learning about your body type can show you the characteristics of suits that work for your body shape. This information can help you hone in on suit styles to try. Although, sometimes, learning about your body type can lead you to styles that you’d never feel comfortable wearing in a million years. Always choose what feels like you since that will give you confidence going out the door. 

First up, the triangle or pear body type! 

Triangle or pear body type 

Your upper body is smaller than your lower body. Your hips and thighs are wider than your shoulders or bust. 

Try suits with padding or ruffles on the bust or shoulders to balance your upper and lower body.

Ruched and shirred sides help camouflage your abdomen.

Look for compression material in the midsection and rear.

Color-blocked suits with different colors on the top and bottom, like black on the bottom and a lighter color up top, draw the eye to the upper body while the lower body recedes.

For fuller thigh coverage, look for bikini bottoms that are high-waisted, or with a swim skirt, boy shorts, or swim shorts. If you feel comfortable wearing high-cut suits in the legs, they can elongate your legs. 

SHOP THE IMAGES

Inverted triangle body type

Your upper body, shoulders, bust, and back are larger than your lower body. 

Look for suits with a supportive top and built-in underwire or structured molded cups for extra support. Thick strap halter tops that wrap around your neck draw attention to your face, support a larger bust, and balance broad shoulders. Strapless suits are great for not adding bulk to your upper body. Look for one that offers good support. One shoulder and asymmetrical necklines break up the width of the shoulders.

Wrap-style suits draw attention down to your hips. Prints, a skirt, a ruffle on the bottom, or boy shorts draw the eye down and add volume to the hips to balance the bottom and top half.

One-piece suits with side cutouts, waist wraps, or two-piece swimsuits with high-waisted bottoms help define the waist and balance the shoulders.

Rectangular body type

You have a straight figure with proportional hips and shoulders and a more minimal waistline. 

You can wear so many styles.

Try suits with waist definition. Define your waistline with ruching.

Ruffles on the top add volume and create the illusion of more curves. For a smaller bust and if you’re slimmer overall, look for padding, ruffles, or ruching at the bust or shoulder straps to add volume and curves.

Bright colors and patterns add dimension to your shape.

Suits with cut-outs or high-waisted bottoms define the waistline.

Apple, round or oval body type

You may be curvy overall with balanced shoulders and hips and a fuller midsection. 

Look for suits with compression and ruching or draping around the middle to camouflage the tummy area. Empire waist suits and high-waisted bottoms define the waist and conceal and firm the midsection. Swim dresses or swim shorts are a great option if they feel like you.

V-neck suits draw the eye up and elongate the body, creating a slimming appearance.

Supportive underwire or molded cups and thick straps or halter tops provide more comfort and support to larger busts.

Hourglass body type

You have a balanced bust and hips with a defined waistline and curves all over.

You can wear any style since you’re so proportional.

Wrap styles emphasize your waist.

Underwire tops support large busts. Round and v-necks highlight your bust.

Ready to look at the best swimsuits? Let’s dive in! 

Top bathing suit picks

The four suits you’ll see me wearing here work for my triangle body type and with several other body shapes. You’ll likely be able to apply the principles I’m sharing to your body shape. 

As a triangle, my bottom half is larger than my top. I have a 36-B bust and wear size 12 jeans. So, my goal is to de-emphasize my bottom and visually enhance my upper half to create the appearance of an hourglass, balanced figure. 

When it comes to sizing with one-piece swimsuits, I worry that one-piece suits that fit my bottom will be too large up top. I always order the right size for my bottom half and look for a top with adjustable straps that I can pull tighter. 

Red one-shoulder ruffle suit

Works for triangles, rectangles, and hourglass types. 

This suit is my absolute favorite of the four. And it’s a suit that works for the triangle, rectangle, and even the hourglass body type. I love the color and the fun ruffled one-sleeve look. The ruffled swimsuit top draws the eye up and emphasizes your upper body. It also has removable padding, which is great for smaller busts.

Bathing Suit | Similar Flip-Flops | Similar Bag | Similar Coverup or Similar Coverup | Similar Hat

The bodice is ruched, compressed, and super flattering in the belly region. You can’t see the belly button at all, and it has nice coverage for the leg holes but is a tiny bit cheeky. You may be surprised that showing a little bit of cheek is flattering. I was initially opposed to it but was surprised to find that I liked it. It helps to make the leg line look a bit longer. 

Bathing Suit | Similar Bag

I ordered a large in this suit, and that works even though the single strap top is not adjustable. 

White and black color-blocking suit

Works for triangles, apples, and rectangles.

A color-blocked swimsuit is a great option if you’re trying to de-emphasize one part of your body and draw the eye to another. 

A dark color like black, navy, or dark purple absorbs light, slimming the area, and a lighter color draws the eye in. In this suit, the eye skims over the dark half and is drawn to the lighter color it’s paired with. Since I’m smaller on top and larger on the bottom, I want to draw the eye to the smaller part of my body, so white is perfect. Notice how my bottom half recedes in this swimsuit. 

Bathing Suit | Similar Flip-Flops | Similar Coverup or Similar Coverup

I’m also emphasizing my upper body with the ruffles on the straps. This suit has padded removable cups and a very flattering deep v-neck top that draws the eye to the face and neck. The straps are adjustable, which is nice if you have a smaller cup size. 

Bathing Suit | Similar Flip-Flops 

The detail at the midsection also helps to define the waistline. 

Bathing Suit 

This suit may also work for apples, thanks to the definition it provides in the midsection and the v-neck top. For rectangles, the ruffles and semi-belted waistline may create the illusion of curves for you. 

The bottom of the suit is low-cut, but the rear is a bit cheeky. 

I ordered a large but may be able to go down a size for the bust. This suit is lined.

White and black striped suit

Works for triangles and rectangles.

This bathing suit is so cute! I’m a sucker for stripes, and the vertical stripes and plunging neckline help to draw the eye up to the face. The top has ruffles and removable cups, which are great for a smaller chest and to add visual weight to the bust area.

Bathing Suit | Similar Flip-Flops 

The bodice has ruching and also compression to contain and hide a belly. It’s very snug to pull on because of the compression.

I ordered a medium when I’ve been ordering a large, which may be why it feels tighter to pull on.

Bathing Suit

It’s fully lined and has modest, low-cut legs that are not cheeky. 

This suit adds curves up top for a slim rectangle and emphasis to a smaller top if you’re a triangle

Black v-neck ruffle-sleeve suit

Works for triangles and rectangles.

This is another super cute suit. With a flattering v-neck, this time, the ruffles are on the outside of the wide strap, adding emphasis to smaller shoulders. I love this wide strap construction. It’s very comfortable to wear. I always avoid suits that tie or wrap around the neck since they give me neck pain. 

Bathing Suit | Similar Flip-Flops | Similar Bag | Similar Coverup or Similar Coverup

The bodice is compressed and rushed with a power mesh tummy control lining. A black swimsuit is always slimming.  

Bathing Suit

The seat has very full coverage and comes down lower. I’m deliberately pulling it up a bit higher to get some leg lengthening, but there’s still enough coverage so my larger tush feels contained.

Bathing Suit | Similar Flip-Flops 

I’m wearing a medium, and that size works.

This suit adds curves up top for a slim rectangle and emphasis to a smaller top if you’re a triangle

All of these suits come in different patterns and solid colors. 

What swimsuits hide your lower belly?

To hide your lower belly, look for swimsuits with a mesh lining or special compression technology and ruching in the midsection. The gathered fabric drapes and camouflages the tummy. Color blocking with black on the bottom makes the belly recede. Empire waist suits drape and conceal. Wrap styles and strategic seams can draw attention away from the belly.  

When it comes to finding a great swimsuit you love, learning about your body type can help, but in the end, what’s most important is that you wear what you love and feel good in!

Hi, Friend. I'm Marya. I'm so glad you're here!

I’m here to help women feel good inside and out through approachable everyday style inspiration and encouragement for midlife. Once upon a time, I worked as a therapist and coach. Now, I’m a holistic style blogger studying style coaching! Be So You celebrates leaning into who we were meant to be! 

Read about my  journey to self-discovery at 40. Follow me on Instagram here and Pinterest here. Send me a quick question through my contact page here.  

Fit Note: I’m midsized at 5’6″, 160 pounds, with size 12 jeans.

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