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2022 Swimsuit Guide

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.

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We probably all have challenges when shopping for swimsuits. When I go bathing suit shopping, it’s all about finding something that supports and shapes the girls. I’ve always had more than my fair share in that department, but now that age and gravity have taken their toll, it’s almost impossible to find a swimsuit that makes me feel comfortable and confident.

Maybe in your case, it’s a long torso, a menopausal midsection, a pear shape, a mastectomy, extra weight, or a small 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.

Swimsuits for Women Over 40

Jo-Lynne Shane wearing Prima Donna Rumba Tankini Chill Pink with AG The Hailey Denim Shorts in Vero Beach old Prima Donna tankini // old AG jean shorts

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, Title Nine, La Blanca, Summersalt, Birdsong, Prima Donna, 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.

If you prefer some belly coverage, high rise bikinis are a great option. For those of us who like complete belly coverage, one-piece suits are on-trend, but I still prefer the tankini for the ease of potty trips — which, less face it, are more frequent these days than they used to be. Ahem…

Skirted suits have a way of looking frumpy, but I totally understand wanting to cover the bum. If you do go with a skirted suit, look for one that is cut close to the body without a lot of flowy fabric.

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. I also polled my Facebook Group and got a bunch of good suggestions from them. If you have a recommendation, feel free to let us know in the comments!

Swimsuits for a Larger Chest

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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, but unfortunately they don’t always come a very wide variety of sizes.

If your cup size is larger than a DD, you may have to look at specialty shops such as Everything But Water, Swimsuits for All, and Bare Necessities. Some sites even have a section just for DD+ sized swimwear. Two brands I particularly like in this category are Birdsong and Prima Donna. They aren’t cheap, but the quality is excellent, and they aren’t as aging as most swimsuits in this category.

Swimsuits for a Smaller Chest

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

Swimsuits with Thigh Coverage

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If you like hip coverage, swim shorts and swim skirts are always an option, but they can quickly cross over into frump territory. Try to choose a style with clean lines that isn’t any longer or wider than necessary to cover what you’re wanting to cover. For swim shorts, I personally like a boy short style that fits snug to the body.

Then 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.

Swimsuits with Tummy Control

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If you’re self-conscious about your belly, you are in good company. Even though I have an hourglass shape, I tend to hold extra weight in my belly, and that has only gotten worse as I edge closer to menopause.

There are a few options here. 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 option for disguising a bit of a tummy is to wear a swimsuit with some ruching or shirring. Patterns also help distract the eye from any bumps or bulges we don’t want to draw attention to.

Or just look for swimsuits with tummy control. Macy’s, Lands’ End, Swimsuits for All, and Bare Necessities all have a good selection.

Plus-Sized Swimwear

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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. I wasn’t able to add any suits from Swimsuits for All to the shopping widget, so click through and take a look because they have a lot of good ones. Macy’s also has a lot of good choices.

Long Torso

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Got a long torso? Swimsuits For All and Andie both have a bunch of longer length swimsuits, but I can’t include them in the shopping widget. Lands’ End has a bunch as well, and some are also available in long plus sizes. I also found some good ones at J.Crew and Boden.

Post-Mastectomy Swimwear

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

A couple other brands/retailers that were suggested that I couldn’t include in my Shopstyle widgets were Andie Swim (this suit, in particular) and Cabana Life (this suit, in particular.)

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!

Seriously, coverups are where it’s at! I practically live in mine during the summer months. I’ve got a full roundup coming soon!

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photos: Alison Cornell

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8 thoughts on “2022 Swimsuit Guide

  1. Thanks for your swimsuit guide. There’s nothing more painful than shopping for a swimsuit. I just ordered 3 suits and the Good American white jeans. Keeping my fingers crossed!

  2. I like the look of a two piece suit with swim shorts. All the styles I’ve tried to swim in, the top floats in the water. Any similar types that are slimming? Thanks!

    1. I love swim shorts and tankinis. I get them because my problem area is my over wide hips and thighs. I get a tight fitting tankini. I have hound great ones at kohl’s and athleta. Mine don’t float up. I look for draw strings on the side. This not only lets you pick how tight you want it but provides rouching over my tummy.

  3. I had good luck shopping for a swimsuit at Calypsa.com last year. They have a lot of options for mature bodies.

  4. My own go-to is (usually) a onepiece like the style under the “Long Torso” category. I’m 5′ 7″ (and now at 48: ugghh a post-pandemic sz 12!), so I just look for a suit that (I think?!) will give me coverage and shaping without seeming frumpy.

    I cannot stand, though, tankinis which look like a curtain draped over one’s mid-section (not flattering at all…IMO) or suits in olive (never found it a very Summer-y color). Also: BACKFAT is a major/irritating thing for some of us to have to deal with (by a certain age, lol!); where, I like either a racerback or high backline cut right below the shoulder blades to smooth things out.

  5. Thank you for a very comprehensive swim guide. I like swim shorts but stay out of the frumpzone by pairing a bikini top with it. My baby pooch is my problem area and shorts help slim me. I am not a fan of swim skirts or tankinis, though. My husband does not like them and thinks ladies should just be proud of their figure and ditch covering up. Easier said by him than done by us, but I agree with body positivity! 🙂

  6. I love your swimsuit you are wearing with the shorts. You have always done so well buying a suit that looks young but supports your larger chest.

  7. The first “middle age”/”mom suit” I ever remember I ABSOLUTELY LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT was the Lands’ End little black dress one piece more than 25 years ago (when my body gave up on bikinis and sky-highcut Baywatch styles of the 80s lol!). I’m 55 and think I don’t feel out to pasture — yet!, but I just adored the elegance and glam of that design I don’t see as much in suits today for women my age.
    They all tend to look (now) either like the proverbial “tent” for overweight grandmothers or the patterns look so tacky and for a twentysomething. Thank you for letting me add just my two cents! Your outfits are always well-coordinated and you are in terrific shape.

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