Curvy Girl’s Plus Size Bikini Buyers Guide

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curvy girl on sand at beach

Editor’s note: Plus size bikini is a very poorly defined term, but the modeling industry tends to consider it anything above a size 8 (yeah, they’re crazy). In the clothes shopping world plus size typically refers to clothes that are size 16 or above, but the industry keeps nudging that number lower, to 14, 12, etc. Woman’s Day recently reported on a study that revealed that the average American woman is now around a size 16. The fashion industry treats plus-size as a niche, but this “niche” includes the majority of American women.


A trip to the pool or the beach calls for a new swimsuit. Swimsuit shopping can be one of the best, or most dreadful, experiences depending where you shop, especially if you are looking for a plus size bikini (read about one plus size model’s rant about bikini shopping here). The societal ideals of the perfect beach body are everywhere and sometimes can feel pressuring.

Every woman has a right to look and feel beautiful in a bikini, and shopping for a plus size bikini should never bring you down. It just takes picking the right cuts and having the confidence to know how beautiful you look when you rock that plus size bikini on the beach. Here are some cuts and suits that flatter those blessed with curves and a fuller body type.

Plus Size Bikini Styles To Look For

High Waisted

The high waisted swimsuit is a no fail if you feel more concerned with your stomach area. These suits have that retro feel that can range from cute and girly to mod and cool. Now that high waisted suits are on trend, there are plenty more on the market to choose from so you can find one with a top and bottom you feel your best self in.

photo of Nikky Von Jojo modeling a cactus print plus size bikini from Red Dolly
@nikky_von_jojo modeling a sexy retro cactus bikini from @reddollyswim (photo credit: @kwf_photography)

Another added plus of a high waisted suit is that the tops that come with a normally very structured and supportive, giving you an extra lift up top that every girl loves. The bottoms can range from ones that are cut high above the hip which are good for adding shape to the hip area, or from a top of the thigh leg cut that flatters your body.

This plus size bikini suit by Pink Queen features the higher hip cut and lower leg flattering cut:

high cut plus size bikini curvy girl

Fringe Cut

Another ultra flattering version of the high waisted plus size bikini is one with fringe. The high waisted bottoms still provide the same result, and the fringe top hangs over the bottom and creates the illusion of a one piece. This is great for those who want to wear a bikini yet don’t want to show off a ton of skin. The fringe is airy, cool, and as it moves will reveal just the right amount of skin. Not to mention, fringes are totally in right now.

Woman wearing hot pink plus size bikini with fringe top

Crochet Neck Top

If you have concerns about support and cleavage up top, a crochet neck bikini top is the perfect way to provide support, still have the string bikini effect, and add some coverage that is sultry and mysterious while not being too modest. The crochet neck is all the rage for this summer season and looks fashionable on the beach. It can even double as a crop top! Crochet can be done by weaving swimsuit fabric or playing with texture by adding a knit sweater fabric, both of which are super stylish. A lace halter style also adds sass to the look, allowing you to walk with a smile on your face and a swing in your step.Woman wearing plus size bikini with crocheted top

Cut Outs

Another style of plus size bikini that is great to accent your curves it any suit with cutouts. This can be a one piece (a monokini) or a bikini, either way, the cut outs make the suit a bit more youthful and fun while breaking up the fabric to make it look revealing while still being modest. The cutouts can be made in a variety of ways, you can have cut outs on the sides to show skin on the hips, or cut outs in the top to accent your cleavage. Go for the amount that makes you feel comfortable.

Plus size bikini with cut outs

Flounce Bikini Top

Flounce Bikini Top SetThe flounce plus size bikini top style is a gem because it provides spaghetti strap support and the cup underneath can be as structured as you need. On top, the flounced fabric resembles a crop top in the way it hangs. The floaty fabric is perfect to provide a transition from the mid-drift to the bottoms of the bikini. If you have any concerns about attention on your stomach, the way the fabric pulls away from the bust and drapes creates shadow and dimension. One of the best part of the ruffled flounce top is that it makes the bust look great no matter your cup size!

Woman wearing a black plus size bikini with a flounce bikini top

Peplum Bikini Top

Peplum Bikini Top with Floral PatternAnother great top cut that does similar work like the flounce top is a peplum top. It is a well known secret in the fashion world that peplums slim your waist and stomach while being much more comfortable (who wants cold wet fabric pushing against their skin!). A peplum bikini allows you to embrace the 2 piece bikini while feeling confident about the fit. You can also pair a lower rise bottom with these to even the look out and show off the beautiful skin you’re in.

Woman wearing plus size bikini with peplum top

Now That You Have Your Cut…

The silhouette of the bikini is of utmost importance to make you feel confident and great, but the print, pattern, and color can be just as important. Also, you want to choose something that you like so putting on your bikini feels fun. Here are some colors and prints that are designed to flatter.

• When going for solids, black or navy is never failing because it really slims the frame and looks sleek. Also, purple is a bold color that has a regal air to it.
• Chevron stripes are an eye catching pattern that add shape to the body and slimness all in the right places.
• Florals are a popular swimwear pattern. Choosing a larger floral pattern will be more flattering because the larger swatches of color in the flowers make bold statements, where the tiny florals tend to look sparse and cause the suit to look larger than it actually is.
• Finally, go for something fun! Swimsuits are becoming more playful each season, and the ultimate goal is for you to feel beautiful. If you feel it, you’ll look it, so indulge in that galaxy print or watermelon style!

Where to Look for Plus Size Bikinis

Plus size swimwear may seem impossible to find, but companies are starting to pick up on the high demand for flattering, beautiful swimwear made for women of all shapes and sizes. Torrid has a great variety of swimwear, and you can also find pieces on Amazon at affordable prices that will allow you to fill your wardrobe with all different cuts! Brands include Papaya, Aixy, and Pink Queen. Also, if you are looking for more designer pieces, Ashley Graham and Swimsuits For All make a great collaboration collection!

Get It Custom

If you don’t find what you like, then have it made to custom fit your body. One successful made-to-order swimsuit company to check out is Fresh Peaches Swimwear. They have decades of experience fitting stunning suits on all different kinds of bodies, including plus sizes.

@frenchfriesandfairytales wearing a cute plus size bikini from Fresh Peaches Swimwear
Angelique wearing a custom suit from @freshpeachesswimwear

Feeling Free In A Plus Size Bikini

No matter what your size, no day at the beach is fun if you feel like hiding. It seems that women of all sizes deal with feelings of inadequacy about how we look in a swimsuit.

Plus size wellness blogger Sarah wearing a cacique plus size bikini from Lane Bryant
Plus size wellness blogger Sarah Sapora feeling free in her bikini (Photo via sarahpluslife.com)

Plus size wellness blogger, Sarah Sapora, writes beautifully about this:

That hiding? That anxiety you feel about who you are and what you look like? That fear you have that people are looking and going to laugh at you for dreaming big, being bold, or coloring outside the lines?

It’s bananas.

She also goes on to say, “When you ‘play small’ in your life, nobody wins. Least of all you.”

To read more, check out her blog post, Show up. Play Big. Wear the Bikini; Lessons from a Plus Size Wellness Blogger about Being Free in Your Fat Body

Remember

Confidence is sexy. Enjoy the skin you are in, and you can’t help but be beautiful.

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Makenna loves the beach, traveling, and writing as well as planning and letter writing. Fashion and beauty spin her world round and she is heavily involved with her own nonprofit organization Little Known Help Zone and with the Miss America Organization. Follow her on Instagram to get more fashion ideas and tips.