Plus Size Shopping: Fashionable Swimwear (That Goes Up to 28+)
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It's amazing how much plus size swimwear options have changed in a relatively short period of time. A few years ago, most plus size swimwear options were bland one pieces or tankinis, with no attempt to even approach the vast variety of style or attention to detail given to swimwear in straight sizes.
In just a few years, we now have a bright landscape of options in a variety of cuts to suit the tastes (but not size) of a pretty wide swath, if not all, of the plus size customer base. Of course, this brings up the opportunity for plus size bloggers and well intentioned fashion websites to do plus size swimwear roundups. However, I've noticed an issue with most of these roundups (and plus size apparel round-ups in general). Most of these listicles prioritize and almost exclusively feature designers and retailers that end their plus sizing between sizes 20 and 24.
At the extreme bare minimum, plus size fashion coverage should include a size 28. It is a relatively recent development, ushered in by the influx of trendy plus brands that launch with smaller size ranges and fail to ever expand include the full 14 to 28 size range that older brands carried. So while I'm sure there are more plus size swimwear roundups than you can stand right now, I wanted to make sure there was a round up that aspires to inclusiveness, consistent with the level we strive for at The Lingerie Addict.
There will be no mention of "body posi swimwear lines" that ignore plus sized women over a size 18/20 and I won't be using brands that restrict their best options to smaller fat customers. Every single line in this post sells stylish swimwear to at least a size 28. Unfortunately and unfairly, the lack of retailers carrying sizes 28 and above made this post a bit harder to write and you'll notice that many community favorite lines don't make the cut for this reason. There genuinely are some great options listed below and I hope to see the same growth in sizes 28 and up as there has been for sizes 14 to 24/26. Click the photo to be taken directly to the swimsuit.
Regardless of how you feel about Old Navy's oft-maligned decision to unceremoniously do away with brick and mortar sales of their plus size line, the brand consistently provides some of the better swimwear options over a size 24. Styles available up to 4X (28/30).
I have previously expressed hesitation to shop at Lane Bryant, but their swimwear is a real standout. Lane Bryant has managed to score designer collaborations that have resulted in some beautiful and distinctive pieces, but Lane Bryant's own designs easily stand up against the competition as well. Styles available up to size 28.
While it has mostly gone unnoticed, Torrid has been expanding their size offerings upwards in recent months and swimwear has long been one of the brand's strongest suits. There are so many vibrant colors, quirky prints and chic little black suits in a variety of coverage levels. Torrid carries swimwear currently up to a size 5 (size 28), but have recently begun carrying clothing items in a size 6 (size 30). I hope they plan to continue this expansion to include swimwear in the full size range they carry.
Rebdolls carries suits that are completely different from most of the options on the market available in plus sizes. These suits are frequently “sexier” than what’s available in plus, but more importantly, they seem to defy conventions about what swimwear “should look like” in plus sizes. They carry up to 5X (30/32) in every last one of their items and, but I have personally been vocal about inconsistent sizing across the brand's very large selection of apparel and as such, I have yet to try the swimwear line. Other items in the Rebdolls swim assortment have very interesting design details, but since we are unable to see the items on models larger than a size large, I am frequently concerned about how certain aspects of design details are graded for larger sizes. This collaborative line appears to have been designed a little more thoughtfully than previous releases and this gives me hope for the extremely cute pieces.
Simply Be carries up to a size 30 in the vast majority of their swimwear selection. There are a lot of the shaping suit options that used to comprise most plus size swimwear sections until a few years ago, but there are several fashion forward standout pieces. They seem to excel at cute, pinup inspired suits (think gingham and polka dots) and sexy, streamlined pieces like the snakeskin print bikini above.
I wish that this list was longer. I realized while writing this post, the retailers I most frequently buy swimwear from don't make the cut for what I believe is a completely reasonable expectation from people who sell plus size clothes. We're frequently told that the demand for more exciting options in sizes over 24 isn't there, but I can't help but wonder how much of that is exacerbated by external factors like the limited options available or the persistent refusal of retailers to show actually fat individuals modeling the items.
What are you looking for when shopping for swimwear? Are your needs currently met by what's available on the market? Are there any other retailers that sell great piece in a full range of plus sizes (28 and above)?