Stylish Plus Size Dresses and Separates

Bathing Suit Terminology

Finding the right bathing suit is vital to the wearer’s well-being. An ill-fitting suit can easily cause discomfort and self-conscious feelings. When you go shopping, knowing what you’re looking for and what the sales clerk is talking about would help a great deal; so here is some swimsuit terminology to get you started.


One Piece – The good ole standby we are all familiar with. The tank suit provides coverage from chest to hip (sometimes the entire thigh). It is probably the most sought after piece of poolside garments both for its variety and its familiarity. One pieces come in an endless array of neck and backlines.

Swimdress – This is the traditional tank suit with an added skirt around the middle. It is usually no longer than mid-thigh. Most of them are attached to the suit but some styles are removable. It is very common for conservative women or those wishing to cover their thighs.

The Ini’s

Tankini – This is the conservative woman’s answer to the ever-so-bare bikini. A tankini is basically a one piece swimsuit that has been cut into two pieces. Most plus size tankinis cover the whole abdomen leaving a slight split above the hip. This cut is more convenient to get off and on. It also allows for mix and matching of tops and bottoms.

Skirtini – A slight alteration to the tankini with the addition of a skirt. Like the swimdress it could be attached or removable depending on the design. This style has the same convenience of a tankini with a little added coverage.

Shortini – This is a newer addition to the whole ini-brigade. The advent of boy short cut underwear for women has transferred to swimsuits. This style is also coveted by swimmers.

Fatkini – A reasonable new addition to the ini’s. The fatkini is basically a sexier version of the tankini or a bikini for plus size women. It had a slow start in Indie fashion and has finally made its way to regular retailers because of demand. The best versions are the separates where you can pick your own style of top and bottom for the best mix and matching and mood.


Mastectomy – Women who have suffered the crests and troughs of cancer with breast removal have the option of a mastectomy swimsuit. They are hard to find but one piece and tankini styles are available for women who have had one or more breasts removed. They contain a soft cup bra with pockets to add a prosthesis.

Just a few terms to get you on your way. Shopping for a bathing suit doesn’t have to be a choir. Have fun with it!

Always For Me Plus Size Swimwear and Coverups
Originally published 7/7/2007 at Large & Lovely, BellaOnline. Updated September 20, 2014.

Choosing the Right Swimsuit

No one is just one body type. You have to prioritize which areas you want to accent and which areas you want to camouflage. I hate to use the term “problem areas” because it implies that a part of us is some how inadequate which I think in itself is more of a problem. Unfortunately when it comes to bathing suits we tend to think the worst. When you are shopping don’t let the negatives get the best of you. All of your parts are important. Accentuate what you have and please do not demoralize yourself.

Four Most Common Body Types:

Choosing swimwear for a round body type.ROUND

This body type tends to collect in the middle. The bust, stomach and lover abdomen carry most of the weight and the arms and legs are rather slim in comparison.

Swimsuit Suggestions: Try a one piece with a wrap or crossover v-neck. The lower neckline draws the eye away from the middle. The “Miracle Suit” has an excellent tummy control region to help slim the waist area.

Choosing swimwear for an hourglass body type.HOURGLASS
One of the most coveted body types is the hourglass figure. Someone with an hourglass figure has their chest and hips in proportion. The upper thighs and arms are fuller than above.

Swimsuits Suggestions: V-necks and waist cinchers help accentuate the curves. Shortinis look great on this body type.

Choosing swimwear for a triangle body type.

Anyone with narrow shoulders, small breasts and wide hips falls into this body type.

Swimsuit Suggestions: Tankini separates are good for this body type if you can find them sold in separates. That way you can pick a pattern for the top and a solid for the bottom to provide balance. You can also consider a swimdress or skirtini both of which have free flowing fabric around the hips and upper thigh.

Choosing swimwear for an inverted body type.


This body type is the exact opposite of the triangle. Instead of full hips, the breast area is full and the hips and thighs are quite small in comparison. The arms and legs are also slim.

Swimsuit suggestions: Because the breast area is heavier a swimsuit with an underwire helps provide shape. Avoid V-necks as this accentuates the chest and makes the wearer appear even more unbalanced. Go for high necks. It will probably be easier to go the tankini/skirtini/shortini route to avoid saggy butt one pieces. Tankinis pieces can be purchased separately so if you need a smaller size on bottom it’s possible.

Because swimsuits are more body conscious than regular clothing it is even more important that you get a suit that fits. Take your measurements and check out the shops size chart before ordering. Just because you are a size 16 in pants does not mean you need a 16 bathing suit. Measure to insure proper fit. There is nothing more unflattering than a chunky woman squeezed into a swimsuit that is too small. Happy Shopping!

Always For Me Plus Size Swimwear and Coverups

Originally published 7/1/2007 at Large & Lovely, BellaOnline.

Mix and Match Swimwear

I love Lane Bryant’s Cocos collection with its mix and match swimwear options for plus size women. It is actually quite a large collection with thirty pieces to mix and match how you like (although there are some colored bottom options missing for true mix and matching). The sizes range from 14 to 26 (some tops go to 28). Here are a few of my favorite mixed and matched styles:

Paisley Halter Bikini Top, $39.50 and Swim Navy Skirt, $34.50

My favorite part about mixing swim separates is paring prints with solids. I love this blue paisley on white bikini top with a navy swim skirt but they do have a matching bottom too.

A print bikini top with solid navy swim skirt.

Bleeding Stripe Keyhole Halter Tank, $44.50 and Coral Swim Hipster, $29.50

I love stripes and these bleeding multi-colored ones are very pretty with the solid coral bottom (or even the navy skirt from above).

Pretty multi-colored stripes with coral bottoms.

Striped Halter Tankini Top, $44.50 and Swim Navy Skirt, $34.50

Here is a more traditional stripe also in multi-color. I like it with the navy skirt to make the colors pop.

Traditional striped swim top with solid color swim skirt.

I am also a fan of mixing prints but I still haven’t develped the eye to do it myself although I was tempted to post a stripes and dots option here.

This collection is not all there is in Lane Bryant’s swimwear section. There is definitely more to be seen but this should whet your swimwear appetite a bit.

Topic Links
* Get your plus size swimwear from Lane Bryant

Cute Sport Swimwear

If you are looking for cute sport swimwear at a reasonable price Swimsuits for All has some really nice ones all in the $56 (and under) range that are chlorine resistant. Sport swimwear these days is not just black or navy (although those are still an option).

There are color blocking options:

Four of my favorite sport swimwear with color blocking.

The swimsuits with a black base are $42 and the red one is on sale for $28.

There are print options:

Four print sporty swimsuits that I like.

These range from $28 to $42.

And there are the alternative bottom options if you are really active in the water and/or need more coverage:

An even sportier look is the aquatard or short.

Both the aquatard and shortini are $51.

These are just the Aquabelle brand options, there are many others to choose from.

Topic Links
* Get your plus size cute sport swimwear from Swimsuits for All

The $69 Swimsuit

Swimsuits generally are not cheap. Some can be downright killer expensive. For the most part we really do not wear them that often so why put too much money into something that spends most of its time in the drawer? If you are a pool or beach maven, then sure, it pays to invest a little money into a good fitting, long lasting bathing suit but for the most of us… meh.

Always for Me’s swimsuits typically run in the $89 range. But they have a newer section under their own brand that is still fashionable, fun, and nicely made that will not completely empty the pocket book. This range is priced at $69 and under (I threw in a few fave ones that were on sale too). So if you are an occasional swimsuit wearer like myself you might be able to appreciate the price point.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Plus size swimsuits for $69 and under from Always for Me.

Top Row:

  • Safari Two Piece Tankini with Brief (also comes in turquoise), $69
  • Primrose Two Piece Tankini with Brief in black and next to that fuchsia, $69

Middle Row:

  • Valencia Ruffled One Piece Swimsuit (multiple color choices), $45
  • Black & Bright Two Piece Tankini with Brief (multiple accept color options), $59
  • Baja Two Piece Tankini, $46
  • Teal Serpent Underwire Bandeau Swimsuit, $59

Bottom Row:

  • Bright Red Control Orbit Swimdress, $59
  • Carnival Underwire Bandeau Swimsuit, $59
  • Tribal Tankini with Swim Shorts, $59

Always for Me ships worldwide.

Topic Links
* Get your plus size swimwear from Always for Me

New Feedora Sarongs

Feedora is a traditional sarong shop in Hawai’i. They have been providing hand-painted Batik style sarongs for as long as I have been online (actually, longer than that, like twenty-five years). Their sarongs measure 45″ x 75″ and are about $50 and includes a simple how-to on how to tie your new sarong in many ways. They sent me an email recently to let me know they have a few new prints. I am partial to these three:

This cherry blossom sarong is from Feedora.

This blue dragonfly sarong is from Feedora.

This brightly colored turtle sarong is from Feedora.

While I love the new stuff, my all time favorite is still the deep blue background with Hibiscus flowers:

This Feedora original sarong has a bright blue background and traditional hibiscus flower print.

And these other original florals are a close second:

This Feedora original sarong has a black background and hawaiian flowers.

This blue themed sarong has a lovely floral print.

There are many other floral and landscape scenes to choose from, all vibrant and beautiful waiting to be wrapped around some bodacious curves!

Topic Links
* Get your plus size sarong from Feedora

Buying Swimwear Online

If you have exhausted all your local shops for plus size swimwear and still have not found the perfect swimsuit(s) then it is time to do some online shopping. Luckily, there are lots of wonderful online stores that offer plus size swimwear either solely or as part of their regular clothing lines. You will find an assortment of styles from functional to sexy and everything in between at the following stores.

Top Fifteen Places to Buy Plus size Swimwear Online

Plus size polka dot fatkini from S4A.

Retro Polka Dot Halter Bikini from Swimsuits for All, $68.

  1. Swimsuits for Allplus size swimwear (ships internationally)
  2. Always for Me (ships within North America)
  3. Junonia (ships internationally)
  4. Just My Size/JMS (ships within US only)
  5. Lane Bryant (ships US and Canada)
  6. Monif C. (ships internationally)
  7. Sorella Swim (ships US and Canada)
  8. Old Navy (ships US and Canada)
  9. Making It Big (ships internationally)
  10. Love Your Peaches (ships within North America)
  11. Designs by Ro (ships internationally)
  12. Torrid (ships internationally)
  13. Evans (ships internationally)
  14. City Chic Online (ships US and Canada)
  15. Avenue (ships within US only)

Happy Shopping!

Topic Links
* Things to consider before you shop for swimwear online

The Gabi Fresh Collection

It was only a few weeks ago when plus size blogger Gabi Fresh announced she had joined forces with Swimsuits For All to produce the Gabi Fresh Swimwear Collection. Over the coming weeks she teased us with a few behind the scenes images and this amazing photo of her in a two piece galaxy print swimsuit.

Gabi wearing the galaxy print two piece from Swimsuits for All.

The line consists of three fatkinis, the galaxy print, neon pink, and neon lime; as well as a splash print one piece with peek-a-boo side panels and a sheer galaxy print cover up. Price wise they are pretty affordable at $68. The sizes range from 10 to 24 (kind of disappointed these are not offered in SWA’s full size range up to 34, or at the very least up to 26/28).

Plus size fakinis, one piece and cover up from Swimsuits for All.

The neon bikinis are sold as two pieces and not as separates but the great thing about these bottoms are that they are adjustable for different looks or preferences — I really like this idea.

Plus size bikini bottoms from Swimsuits for All.

Overall I think it is a cute line and will do well. Do check out some of the other collections at Swimsuits for All especially if these do not speak to you as they have lots to choose from including bikinis (or fatkinis if you prefer), one pieces, tankinis, swimdresses and more. They also have a section of suits available for sizes 26 to 34.

Topic Links
* Get your plus size Gabi Fresh Swimwear from Swimsuits for All
* Visit the Gabi Fresh blog

Sorella Swimwear Review

Sorella Swim is a luxury brand of swimwear designed by Jessica Petersen and made in the United States. Their bathing suits are available from select boutiques and via the official website. They currently offer their full-figured swimsuits in sizes 10 to 24.

I was asked to review one of their suits but since I do not fall within their size range I asked my good friend Lana to volunteer.

Lana Davison wearing Sorella Swimwear.

The website is fairly straight forward with separate areas, one for shopping and another for showcasing their current collections which includes one pieces, two pieces, and cover-ups. Lana chose a grey halter one piece in a dual size of 14/16. For the most part she was impressed with the quality of the material but found the fit not completely to her liking.

You see, Lana is only 5′ tall and found she had to tie the halter straps, instead of using one of the three hook slots provided, to get the lift she prefers. She also would have preferred it was cut a little higher in front but longer in the back to cover more of the derriere. Here are a few photos showing off this swimsuit’s details:

Lana loved the finer design details like the way the halter straps start at the sides of the breasts and appear to provide side shaping. She also liked that the cups were lined and that there was firm side boning in the bra portion. She thought the side ruching was very pretty and flattering. Overall it is a very pretty swimsuit that definitely has a luxurious feel.

Lana’s Likes and Dislikes

Sorella Swim has a new collection of plus size swimwear ready for your viewing and shopping.

Topic Links
* Get your luxury plus size swimwear from Sorella Swim

Swimsuit Separates

One of my favorite places to shop for two pieces is Always for Me. They have the cutest plus size tankinis around. But if you have a different sized bottom and top, tankini shopping can be a horror — leaving you either too loose or to tight on the bottom or vice versa. This is where their plus size swimsuit separates shopping (say that ten times real fast) comes in.

Plus Size Swim Tops

I am a huge fan of polka dots and shirring, Always for Me has combined both with this red and white swim top ($88). I love the repeating pattern of small black dots and larger white dots on the red, the twist bust, and shirred sides.

Plus size polka dot retro swim top from Always for Me.

I also love the unique high front on this black swim top ($74) which is an interesting change from traditional designs. It would be great if you always feel like you are spilling over the top. Instead of just a halter strap over the neck there are two straps down the back to help even the load.

Plus size black demure swim top from Always for Me.

Plus Size Swim Bottoms

With separates you can order plus size swim tops in your bust size then pick a separate bottom in the style of your choosing. They currently have over ten to choose from ranging from low cut brief to full skirt or short. These are a few of my favorites:

Plus size swim bottoms in various cuts from Always for Me.

From left to right:

  • Always For Me Separates – High Brief, $29
  • Beach House Separates Skort w/ Pocket, $61
  • Always For Me Sport – Plus Size Swim Shorts w/ Gusset, $46
  • 24th & Ocean Separates Ruffle Swim Skirt, $50
  • Beach House Separates Board Short, $57
  • Captiva Transformable Swim Brief, $62
  • 24th & Ocean Separates Adjustable Hi Waist Brief, $44

What kind of coverage do you like your swim bottoms to have?

Topic Links
* Get your plus size swimsuit separates from Always for Me

Dust Off Your One Piece

I read an article recently on YaPoo that the bikini is out and the one piece swimsuit is back in. Apparently celebrities are leading this trend and the retailers are soon to follow. The article made it sound like celebrity choice had more to do with a fashion statement then the fact that every tabloid magazine criticizes every bulge or concave on their bodies when they wear a bikini in public. Frankly, I am surprised celebrities do not wear burkas to the beach just to save their sanity.

The conspirator in me cannot help but think that the recent onslaught of fat chics in bikinis and flaunting their folds has sent the media into a frenzy trying to think of ways to get the fat girl back into the onesie. But perhaps that is a bit too paranoid.

Whether you decide to wear a bikini or a one piece, own it, and enjoy the sand and surf.

My Favorite One Piece Swimsuits

I will say off the bat that I am coocoo for bandeau style swimsuits (as well as tankinis) so I found it hard to limit my favorites to just one pieces — but I did.

Always for Me is one of my favorite online shops for plus size swimwear. I especially love their namesake line (they have so many cute tankinis too, they also have a bikini top if you are looking):

Plus size one piece swimsuits from Always for Me.

From left to right:

  • Always For Me Chic Solids Shimmer Twist Swimsuit (sizes 16 to 26), $89
  • Always For Me Chic Solids – Twist Bandeau One Piece Swimsuit – more colors (sizes 16 to 26), $89
  • Simply Sole’ Safari Sari 1 Pc Bandeau Swimsuit – more colors (sizes 16 to 24), $98
  • Always For Me Chic Prints – Seaside Halter Swimsuit (sizes 16 to 26), $99
  • Delta Burke Shirred Solid Swimsuit – more colors (16 to 24), $99

Swimsuits for All has a great selection of one piece swimwear at affordable prices. They do offer separates with bikini like bottoms but no tops (I was positive they had a new bikini top but could not find it):

Plus size swimsuits from Swimsuits for All.

From left to right:

  • Beach Belle Abstract Animal Plus Size Sarong Front Swimsuit (sizes 18 to 24), $25
  • Infinity Blu Mesmerize Shirred Bandeau/Halter Swimdress (sizes 10 to 24), $88
  • Longitude Purple Mystique Plus Size Surplice Swimsuit (sizes 16 to 24), $40
  • Infinity Blu Plus Size Eclipse Shirred Halter Swimdress (sizes 18 to 20), $40
  • Longitude Leaping Lizard Plus Size Sash Tank Swimsuit (sizes 18 to 22), $50

Besides these onesies, Lane Bryant has some really cute tankinis, board shorts, and bikini tops to choose from:

Plus size one piece swimsuits from Lane Bryant.

From left to right:

  • Aurora swim dress by Miraclesuit (sizes 16 to 24), $166
  • Beaded maillot by Miraclesuit (sizes 16 to 24), $160
  • One piece retro maillot swimsuit in blue (sizes 16 to 28), $110
  • Knockout one piece swimsuit in pink (sizes 16 to 26), $110
  • Jennifer full circle maillot by Miraclesuit, (sizes 18 to 24), $152

Sorella Swim is a newer company for me, I worked with them a few months ago on a giveaway and have an upcoming review, their spring line has both onesies and amazing bikini’s to choose from:

Plus size one piece swimsuits from Sorella Swim.

From left to right:

  • U-Bar One Piece Swimsuit Iris – more colors (sizes 10 to 24), $120
  • Twist One Piece Swimsuit Ocean – more colors (sizes 10 to 24), $170
  • Cap Shoulder One Piece Swimsuit Ivory – more colors (sizes 10 to 24), $175
  • Sash One Piece Swimsuit Gold – more colors (sizes 10 to 24), $175
  • One Shoulder One Piece Swimsuit Lagoon – more colors (sizes 10 to 24), $170

Topic Links
* Get your plus size swimwear from Always for Me
* Get your plus size swimwear from Swimsuits for All
* Get plus size swimwear from Lane Bryant
* Get your plus size swimwear from Sorella Swim
* Other places to find plus size bikinis

Cruising Swimwear

Getting ready to go cruising? The Longitude line at Swimsuits for All has some bright favorites to get you in the mood whether you are dipping your toes by the poolside or in the ocean. Here are six of my favorites (it is just a co-incidence there are no solids):

Plus size Longitude swimwear from Swimsuits for All.

These plus size Longitude swimsuits range in price from $50 to $90 — check the site for the latest promotions — and are available in sizes 16 to 24. Swimsuits for All does have a section with other brands in sizes 26 to 34.

Topic Links
* Get your plus size cruise swimwear from Swimsuits for All

Winter Swimwear

What can you expect from Monif C’s winter swimwear? Probably the best bikini, ruffles, fringe, ruching, animal print, and color blocking. She brought back some old favorites with a few updates and is tantalizing us with a few new ones. Monif’s swimwear fits sizes 12 to 24. My favorite pieces are:

The Plus Size Bikini Swimsuit

The pieces are sold in separates so if you want to wear animal on top and bottom you can or if you want to wear animal on top and black on the bottom you can do that too. Or black on top and blue on bottom — the joy of mixing and matching bikini bottoms.

Plus size bikini from Monif C.

The Plus Size One Piece Swimsuit

I love the bright pink fringe last year so it is not surprising that the teal would be one of my favorites this year. If a designer puts ruching on their clothing chances are I am going to love it. And of course there is the feminine ruffle.

Plus size swimsuits for women.

Topic Links
* Plus size swimwear from Monif C.