2020 Swimsuit Guide: Swimsuits 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’ll do my best to cover all the bases.

swimsuits for women over 40: 2020 swimsuit guide

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First let me just say that I hate shopping for swimwear like some women hate shopping for jeans. I mean, I know everyone dreads shopping for swimwear, but I REALLY HATE IT. Maybe I’m just too picky, but it seems like there is almost nothing out there that works for me, and the older I get, the harder it gets to find something that offers the support and coverage I want without the frump.

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, which creates enough of a challenge, but now that age and gravity have taken their toll, it’s almost impossible to find a cute, trendy swimsuit that fits the bill.

Most suits with proper support have a way of aging me about 20 years. I also have wide hips in proportion to my legs, and a bit of a belly. Basically, have the trifecta of problem areas… boobs, hips, and belly. No wonder I hate bathing suit shopping. Haha!

I know you will say I’m being too hard on myself, but the point is, we all have problem areas we want to disguise.

Maybe in your case, it’s a long torso, a menopausal midsection, a pear shape, a mastectomy, extra weight, or a small chest… these all make searching 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 I think overall it’s an easier experience. Plus, 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. I asked on Facebook where women my age like to shop for swimsuits, and I got a lot of great suggestions. Some of the retailers mentioned multiple times are Athleta, Everything But Water, Soma, Bare Necessities, Macy’s, Hapari, Garnet Hill, and Swimsuits For All.

If you’re looking for budget-friendly suits, Cupshe, TargetWalmart (the Catalina brand, specifically), T.J.Maxx (you can now shop online!), and Costco were all suggested.

Swimsuit Trends for 2020

All images below are clickable. Click thru to shop.

Swimsuits for Women Over 40: Leopard Trend

This year, animal print suits are popular. You’ll find a lot of bright colors and bold prints, and florals are also having a moment. Earth tones and bronze suits are another color trend I’m seeing a lot, and the white swimsuit trend from the past few years is still going strong.

Style-wise, just about anything goes. One piece suits are getting more popular, and I’m noticing a lot of interesting details like ruffles, sleeves, and one-shoulder suits. I guess if you have a bunch of suits and switch them out a lot, you won’t get weird suntan lines. Plus, a lot of women these days are using sunblock and relying on self tanner to get their summer glow.

I spend way too much money on my suits to keep a large collection, so I tend to rotate the same two or three. Plus, I do like to tan, so I stick to more traditional styles, but that’s me. There’s basically something for everyone out there right now.

Swimsuits for Women Over 40

Once you hit 40, 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 sometimes takes a lot of trial and error to find the right one.

Bikini vs. Tankini vs. One-Piece Bathing Suits

These days, anything goes. It’s possible to look super cute or super frumpy in any of these bathing suit styles. The key is knowing what works for your body and staying within your comfort zone.

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, and one piece suits are trending right now.

Personally, I prefer the tankini for the ease of potty trips — which, less face it, are more frequent these days than they used to be. Ahem…

To Skirt Or Not To Skirt

Swimsuits for Women Over 40: Tankini Swim Skirt

When it comes to swimsuits, it’s easy to end up looking matronly in our attempts to keep it modest and get the support we need. There was a time when I thought the tankini top and swim skirt look was so cute and new and fresh. Now, I fear it has become the “mom suit.”

I’m not saying you shouldn’t wear them if that’s what you like and feel most comfortable in, but it definitely can age us or put us in the frump category if we’re not careful about fit and styling.

If you do go the skirt route, make sure the skirt isn’t too voluminous. The shorter, and sleeker the skirt is, the better. The Athleta Tidal Skirt is a good one.

Another option, if you like some hip coverage, is swim shorts. The same rule applies to swim shorts as to a swim skirt — shorts that fit close to the body usually look best.

Swimsuits for Women Over 40: Swim Shorts

I love the swim short options at Athleta, and Swimsuits for All has a whole section of “shortinis” — tankinis with boy shorts.

Swimsuits for a Larger Chest

Swimsuits for Women Over 40: Swimsuits for Larger Chests

One of the best things to happen to swimsuits recently is the 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.

Swimsuits for Women Over 40: DD+ Bra Sized Swimsuits

If you’re bigger 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.

Shop Swimsuits for a Larger Chest:

Swimsuits for a Smaller Chest

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.

Cupshe actually has a section for small-bust friendly swimsuits, and Lands’ End often offers the option of regular or D/DD sizes.

Shop Swimsuits for a Small Bust:

Swimsuits with Thigh Coverage

Swimsuits for Women Over 40: Thigh Coverage

Skirted suits are the obvious solution, but sometimes they can read frumpy. Be sure to choose one with clean lines that isn’t any longer than necessary to cover what you’re wanting to cover.

As I mentioned above, the swim shorts are another great solution for those wanting some thigh coverage.

Swimsuits for Women Over 40: Swim Shorts Tankini

I personally like a boy short style that fits snug to the body, I realize that shorts will fit every pair of thighs differently. If you have bigger thighs, a looser short might fit you snug to the body.

And this is clever! Soft Surroundings makes this unique sarong swimsuit. It has a mesh sarong you can wear as a skirt, as a sarong, or you can tie up when you get in the water to swim.

Swimsuits for Women Over 40 Sarong Soft Surroundings

They also carry a few other swimsuit styles that offer full coverage without the frump. Unfortunately, no bra cup sizing, but I realize not everyone needs that.

For more ideas, Swimsuits for All, Lands’ End, and Macy’s each have a whole section dedicated to thigh minimizing swimsuits.

Shop Swimsuits with Thigh Coverage:

Swimsuits to Disguise a Belly

The swing tankini tops don’t cling to the bumps and rolls of the midsection but rather skim over them. Swimsuits for All has a bunch, and Lands’ End has a few as well.

The blouson style swim tops work much the same way, and I find them a bit more youthful.

I definitely think the blousy tops look best 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. These shorts would be really cute with the Athleta top pictured above, if you don’t like the bikini option.

And this set with a swing top and shorts is really cute.

Another option for disguising a bit of a tummy is to wear a swimsuit with some ruching or shirring. This one is a good example, plus it has built-in tummy control.

Patterns also help distract the eye from any bumps or bulges we don’t want to draw attention to.

You can also find suits with tummy control at Macy’s, Lands’ End, Swimsuits for All, and others.

Shop Swimsuits to Disguise a Belly:

Plus-Sized Swimwear

If you need plus sizes, Modcloth, Bare Necessities, and Swimsuits for All all have a nice selection. You can filter your results by your size so you’re only seeing suits that work for you, and Swimsuits for All has a ton of filters under the REFINE dropdown menu on the sidebar.

Shop Plus Sized Swimwear:

Long Torso

Got a long torso? Lands’ End has a whole section with tall sizes and swimsuits for long torsos, and some are also available in tall plus sizes.

Athletic Swimwear

If you’re athletic and want a good quality suit to swim in, a friend recommend the TYR brand, and they sell it at Zappo’s — super fast shipping and free returns! I also love Title Nine swimwear.

Post-Mastectomy Swimwear

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.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got. I hope it’s 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’ve been living in mine lately, so I rounded up some good options for you.

Shop Swim Cover-Ups:

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