2023 Swimsuit Guide: The Best Swimwear for Women Over 40

This time of year, I get tons of requests for bathing suit recommendations, so I’m updating my Swimsuit Guide with the latest trends and tons of swimsuits for women over 40!

It’s a big task because every woman’s body is different and we all have different features we want to camouflage or flaunt, but I did my best to cover all the bases.

coverup (S/M) // tote // flip flops (7/8) // similar sunnies

We probably all have challenges when shopping for swimsuits. Maybe it’s a long torso, a menopausal midsection, a pear shape, a mastectomy, extra weight, or a large chest… My point is, we all have problem areas that make shopping for swimwear a bit of a challenge. Thankfully, there are swimsuits designed to target all of these issues.

I highly recommend shopping online so you can try on your swimsuits in the comfort of home. The lighting is more forgiving, and you can get the opinion of your husband or kids, which I always find helpful. When I’m in the market for a new swimsuit, I usually order a bunch and send back the ones that don’t work.

The Best Swimsuits for Women Over 40

swimsuit (sold out, option) // pareo // sandals (8) // tote  // sunnies (sold out, option)

When you get to a certain age, swimsuits become extra challenging because it’s all too easy to fall into the frump zone if we’re not careful, but it is possible to look good and feel confident in your swimsuit. It just may take some trial and error to find the right one.

As with most garments, you tend to get what you pay for with a swimsuit, and quality garments become more important as we age. A few brands that do a good job designing modern suits with the coverage and support more mature women need are Bleu by Rod Beattie, Sea Level, La Blanca, Summersalt, Birdsong, Athleta, and Miraclesuit.

When it comes to bathing suit styles, one-piece suits are definitely trending right now, and bikinis seem to always be in style. I haven’t worn a bikini top since I was 3 years old, but I think some women look fabulous and perfectly appropriate in a bikini top. It’s definitely easier to pull off if you’re smaller chested.

Amy and I rounded up a bunch of swimsuits for your consideration, and we broke them down into categories to help you with your search for the perfect suit. If you have a recommendation, feel free to let us know in the comments!

Swimsuits for a Larger Chest

photo credit: Bare Necessities (30% off!)

One of the best things to happen to swimsuits recently is bra-sized swimwear. If you have a larger chest, I highly recommend swimsuits with a built-in bra. Most stores carry them now; even Target has hopped on this train! Unfortunately. not all stores that carry bra-sized swimwear offer a wide variety of sizes.

Before my breast reduction surgery last spring, I was a 32G, and I had the best success with bra-sized swimwear in extended sizes at Bare Necessities. Everything But Water, Swimsuits For All, and Her Room have a good selection, as well.

Shop Swimsuits for a Larger Chest:

Swimsuits for a Smaller Chest

photo credit: Nordstrom

I’m no expert on this category, but I can tell you what I cannot wear and wish I could! Ruffles, padding, and push-up styles all add volume and give the illusion of a larger chest. Deep v-necks and halters also enhance smaller chests.

Shop Swimsuits for a Smaller Chest:

Swimsuits with Thigh Coverage

photo credit: Macy’s

There are lots of suits with features that help minimize the appearance of wider thighs. Swimsuits for All and Macy’s both have dedicated sections to thigh-minimizing swimsuits.

If you like hip coverage, swim shorts and swim skirts are always an option, but they can quickly cross over into frump territory. I recommend the ones that are cut close to the body without a lot of flowy fabric.

Shop Thigh-Minimizing Swimsuits:

Swimsuits with Tummy Control

photo credit: Bare Necessities (30% off!)

If you’re self-conscious about your belly, there are a lot of great options that target this area. You can try to downplay the belly area with a blouson or swing top, but I would pair these with a bikini bottom or super close-fitting shorts. If you add a blouson or swing top to a skirt, it’s going to look frumpy.

Another great option for disguising a bit of a tummy is to wear a swimsuit with some ruching or shirring. Busy patterns also help distract the eye from any bumps or bulges we don’t want to draw attention to. Also, look for swimsuits with tummy control.

Shop Tummy-Control Swimsuits:

Plus-Sized Swimwear

photo credit: Macy’s (extra 25% off with code SAVE)

If you need plus sizes, Bare Necessities and Swimsuits for All both have a nice selection, and they also have a ton of filters on the sidebar so you can drill down by the feature you’re looking for. Macy’s also has a lot of good choices.

Shop Plus-Size Swimsuits:

Long Torso

source: Nordstrom

Got a long torso? Summersalt and Andie both have a good selection of longer length swimsuits, and Lands’ End has a bunch as well. Some are also available in long plus sizes. I also found some good ones at Boden.

Shop Long-Torso Swimsuits:

Post-Mastectomy Swimwear

source: Neiman Marcus

Several ladies recommended Lands’ End for post-mastectomy swimwear. I also found a large selection at Amazon and Swim Outlet. If this is something you have experience with and you have another recommendation, feel free to leave it in the comments.

I hope this post is helpful as you’re swimsuit shopping this spring and summer.

And hey, when in doubt, throw on a cute coverup!

Cover-Ups for Women Over 40

coverup (S) // swimsuit (8) // sandals (8) // sunnies (sold out, option)  // tote

Seriously, coverups are where it’s at! I practically live in mine during the summer months. Shop some of my favorites below:

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38 Responses

  1. So many great swimsuits, thanks for all the hard work you and Amy did on this. I am ready to get a new suit. I’ve always loved J Crews selection. Thanks again

  2. Thanks for the research and time y’all put into making this post for those that are shopping for swimsuits.

  3. Thanks for this post. I hate swimsuit shopping—it’s the worst.

    I’d like a new coverup though, but the nicest ones (like the one you’re wearing) seem to require hand washing. That’s the last thing I want to do! Do you ever wash your coverups in the washing machine (on gentle)?

    1. I keep larger size linen bags handy to throw any delicate’s into them (anything that I should hand wash) and in the wash with a load of clothes. Depending on item if it gets the dryer (out of linen bag) or dry flat. I’ve been doing this for years and have had no problem :).

  4. Our rain finally moved out and it’s been cold and clear or cold and cloudy. They say some snow might happen Saturday and Sunday. We don’t get much snow here in NW Oregon so I like it when it does come. I’m trying to enjoy this season as it seems like life goes so fast and we are into the next. One of my daughters lives just east of Seattle, so I know the kind of weather you are talking about. We have similar here, as I live just an hour from the ocean on the west coast. Great informative post today.

  5. Great post JoLynne! Love the resources for various body types. And I totally agree with trying the suits on at home!

  6. I find that Land’s End has great swimsuits, with bra sizes. I have several of their suits, and that is where I shop for any new ones. Their sales are very good as well.

  7. One of the best, all-around swimsuits I’d ever owned (speaking: style, quality, price) was: the Land’s End “little black dress-of-swimwear” onepiece which, had just the right amount of an ooh-la-la LOL mesh sweetheart neckline with the rest of the suit simply classic and understated black material.
    Gosh, that was like $39 in the mid-1990s(!). The coverage was great yet didn’t look frumpy for how plain the suit otherwise was. Target doesn’t have as much selection for middle-aged bodies, at least the one in my area doesn’t anymore, compared to when I’d last bought suits there in 2019 (I still have by the way: the “AquaGreen” label was well made!). It seems, now, the demographics for onepieces (in brick-and-mortar stores) are two extremes: skimpy with straps tied everywhere and side boob exposure (ugghh); or sz 18-20W low-cut leg, literally, grandma suits as big as the proverbial “tent”. No offense to grandmoms — but I don’t want to feel 70 at 44(!).

    1. Ha! I am a 57 yr old gma of 4 & can only speak for myself but no offense taken. At age 50 my daughters told me I was a fool to be wearing anything but a bikini. I finally took their advice & never looked back. Ive seen women of all ages wear frumpy clothing & swimsuits because of their lack of good information like this post & lack of confidence, which was my case years ago. Thank you, Jolynne, for your hard work to give us all confidence to shop for & wear clothing that makes us feel good about ourselves & look great!

      1. I have never worn a bikini in my life, lol, so I’m definitely not starting now, but if they make you feel confident, go for it! I always envy women who are comfortable in two-piece suits.

    2. Really? I have been really happy with the selection from Sea Level, Bleu Rod Beattie, and La Blanca. This is new territory to me, b/c I couldn’t wear those suits before my surgery… at least, I didn’t feel comfortable wearing them. I wanted more shape and support for “the girls” so I always wore bra cup sized suits. Now I’m loving those brands; they have a lot of one-piece options.

  8. I live in SoCal in a country club resort community and bathing suits are worn year round. Lands End tugless tanks are priced well and last forever (and if they don’t, let LE know and they will compensate you!). For a more fashion suit for an Hawaiian vacation I bought two miracle suits; very pretty to look at but what a b@#&$ to get on and off!

    1. Haha! Yes, getting in and out of those Miraclesuits is a workout. I love the Sea Level, Bleu Rod Beattie, and La Blanca one piece suits. I feel like they are fashionable and flattering, and they are really easy to get on and off.

  9. These are beautiful suits and I wish I could wear a one piece suit, but I’m two different sizes on top and bottom. I’m also very short waisted. I am an athletic body type. I wear tankinis but have a hard time staying age appropriate and yet not frumpy. Can you help me?

  10. You do a great job and love your blog. I have a question about women who color or highlight their hair a shade that is totally different (if they’re a brunette and go blond trying to hide the gray). Does changing hair color and having the same skin tone affect what color looks good on them and do they need to be really be careful so they’re not washed out? I see this and was wondering if this contributes to ladies as they age looking washed out, or do they forget to reassess their ward robe as well or is it the make up that needs to change?

  11. I’m a long-torso pear, here. Finding a good one-piece is a challenge. I have two of the Andie long-torso suits. The styles and fabric are incredible, but my criticism is that they look very cheeky on me. It looks okay, but I feel like I’m constantly having to readjust and I hate that. Perhaps I should’ve sized up, but I think they’re intentionally cut that way, so not sure that would’ve helped matters. I know tankinis are not the most current style, which bugs me, but it is easier to find separates that fit. FWIW, I wore bikinis for about a three-year period in my twenties — not before then, and not since! Plenty of women rock the look, though.

  12. I had a mastectomy 7 years ago and reconstruction afterward – then I needed to replace all of my swimsuits. I found Venus to have high quality, separate pieces that come in cup sizes and numeric sized bottoms, and easy returns. I ordered many to find which styles worked best and returned the ones that didn’t work. They have solids and prints, on trend and classic styles. A little pricey but worth it to me after having breast cancer.

  13. Great post — I agree with you wholeheartedly on bra sized swimwear. Game changer! Have you seen the Freya Freestyle one-piece at Bare Necessities? I am a fan — I have it in 2 colors now (the blue they still have, and a navy one with orange straps from last season). It has a really fun, sporty look and I have found it to be very flattering.

  14. Great post. These look like really nice options and I am looking for some of these immediately. Thanks do much.

  15. I find so many swimsuits are cut very high these days. It’s hard to find one that covers your bum. For a recent cruise, I ended up in a swimsuit store and found one I loved, but oh, the price. Yikes! I don’t have a pool so I don’t wear one often so my price per wear is high on this piece. Having said that, I love the suit and I felt comfortable, confident and stylish when I did wear it.

    1. I would call that a win! I think swimsuits that fit well and make you feel good are well worth the investment, even if cost per wear isn’t as low as with other wardrobe items.

  16. One of the best swimsuits I ever bought was a $70 “recreational swimming” onepiece TYR. Not much on style (though, it’s in a red and black holographic print which doesn’t scream “lifeguard” too loud lol for what you’d associate TYR or Speedo with) — buuuttt: most comfortable/supportive racerback shoulder straps of any suit I can remember having (where you don’t get that problem of the rest of the suit feeling like the bum rides up and the straps twist whenever you turn!) and, it has a perfect leg height silhouette (not super-sky high cut, but just high enough so that it doesn’t make a pear shape yet athletic figure look short).

  17. I didn’t see it in your widgets, but the one-piece version of Athleta’s square neck tankini is pretty awesome, and the price is GOOD right now. I got white, and it’s not see thru at all. It’s very flattering and supportive of my 36D shape, and the ruching does a nice job of concealing my midsection. While it’s much more conservative than I wore even a decade ago, it does not feel frumpy and the solid white looks so pretty with a variety of cover-ups! 🙂

    1. You’re so lucky to have a good complexion then as well as the confidence to be able to wear a white bathing suit! It is a very crisp and timeless look; just made for lulling around during a (I wish!) tropical vacation with a glass of wine in hand and an ocean view (lol!).

  18. Enjoyed this post. Beautiful swimwear. Do you happen to have a current recommendation for a Self Tanner? I would love to see a blog post on this.

  19. Shopping for a bathing suit went from being a “Look at me”, “Look at me” vanity obsession oh so long ago to: becoming a blah nightmare at this point! I’m 57 y’s. o. full of bumps and rolls now. I wish I could go back to the aerobics era of the Eighties when I was 24 and a sz 6 lol! The workout clothes back then were ridiculous, but they did give you motivation to keep weight off for the summer.

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