While not always the first choice in plus size swimwear, the full figure bikini can be attractive and flattering if you have curves in all of the right places.
About Plus Size Bikinis
Traditionally, bikinis are two-piece swimsuits designed to show off a woman's body. The top usually is similar to a bra while the bottom resembles that of a pair of bikini briefs. Since its introduction in the 1940s, the bikini has transformed into one of the most popular and sexiest swimsuits on the market. They come in all sizes, including plus size, as well as numerous designs. However, as a full-figured lady, finding your right style of bikini depends on your size and your comfort level in wearing a revealing bathing suit. Styles of bikini bottoms include:
- Hipster: Traditional design with a waistband that falls at or slightly below the hips; many styles also come with higher waistlines.
- String: While keeping your front and behind modestly covered, strings tie at the hips to hold the suit in place.
- Thong: Minimal frontal coverage with only a strip of material centered in the rear.
- Sports: Used in outdoor beach activities such as volleyball, these bottoms resemble boy shorts and are made to cling to a woman's body.
These bottoms can be matched with a variety of bikini tops such as:
- Halter: Sleeveless style where two material straps tie or fasten around the neck.
- Bra: Top that resembles a bra and either ties or connects around the neck and in the back. Can come with or without underwire.
- Tube: Strapless style that consists of a tube of fabric that fits snugly around the bust and back.
Where to Find Plus Size Bikinis
Because it's not the most popular style of plus size swimwear, full figure bikinis can be a little difficult to find. Again, it depends on what size you wear. It is easier to find a bikini for a woman who wears a size 14W or 16W, and a little more difficult if you wear a 24W or 26W. But don't fret. There are several stores that carry this style of bathing suit:
Alternatives to the Full Figure Bikini
Many plus size women choose a bikini because two-piece bathing suits are easier to get off and on. But there are several other styles available that may be more suitable or flattering:
- Tankini: This suit has a brief-style bottom that comes up above the naval and is usually paired with a tank top swim top. This design is very flattering to plus size women who want to conceal their tummies, but are ready to show off their legs. Tankinis also come in a variety of tops such as halter, t-shirt or those with spaghetti straps.
- Skirtini: Similar to a tankini, a skirtini has a tank top or other style of swim top and is paired with swim skirt.
- Jogtini: Along the same lines as the previously two mentioned styles, except a jogtini comes with swim shorts instead of a skirt or swim brief. The shorts vary in length from mid-thigh to knee-length board shorts.
Tips for Wearing a Bikini
If you still want a two-piece swimsuit and prefer the look and feel of a bikini, here are some tips to make sure you look and feel your best:
- Make sure you get the right size. Properly fitted swimsuits look much better than those a size or two too small and that includes the top. You don't want to be "falling" out of your bikini as you get out of the swimming pool!
- Higher-waisted bikini bottoms will help camouflage troubled tummy spots. Asymmetrical patterns and darker colors will help with this as well.
- To help hide larger hips, buy a bikini with a higher-cut leg. This will divert the eyes away from the hip region.
- If you are going to wear a bikini but spend the majority of time out of the water, invest in a nice sarong or coverup.