I remember 10 years ago, I struggled to find a sexy and supportive swimsuit in a size 12; but nowadays, plus-size women are rocking fatkinis with confidence and the 'gram is all the better for it. And it's not just indie designers, but also some mainstream retailers that are selling low-rise bikinis, fatkinis, and midkinis — but what about swimsuits in size 4X or over?
I own two bikinis and I love them so much that I literally plan trips around wearing them. But while I was enjoying my bikini bliss, a friend asked me where she could find a bikini in her size — a 26. As I began to check all the usual sites that I stalk for my own swimwear, I had to check my privilege. As a size 22 on the top and size 24 on the bottom, I can fit into most mainstream 3X or 22/24 suits, and the more I looked, the more I realized a lot of brands stopped their sexier swimwear options right at my size.
Determined to help my friend, I'm pretty sure I searched for hours that night. It wasn't that I couldn't find swimsuits size 26 and up, but I couldn't find hardly anything that didn't involve shorts, a ruffle skirt, or a heavily ruched tankini. This search was so frustrating because as an indie designer who makes apparel and accessories up to 5X, I know that the correlation between size and skin covered is a total myth. Women of all sizes want and rightfully deserve the same options.
Thankfully, there are retailers that do make sexy swimsuits for sizes 26 and up (that are still supportive) and I found them so you don't have to cry into your computer screen at the sight of yet another ruffled swimskirt.
1. The Pinup Style
Modeled by the flawless Tess Holliday, the cherry bombshell bikini from Black Cat Bikinis is so body posi, it hurts. It's not only an adorable suit with a fun print and a supportive underwire, but it's available up to a size 6XL on the bottom and an H cup in the bra.
Cherry Bombshell Ruffle Underwire Top and High Waist Bottom, $140, blackcatbikinis.com
2. The Sweetheart
A sweetheart neckline used to be one of those fashion trends plus-size women were told wasn't for us. This sweetheart neckline bikini top from Addition Elle proves just how silly fashion rules really are, because look how freaking cute it is. This underwire bikini goes up a size 4X and is paired with solid bottoms that go up to the same size.Cactus Underwire Tube Bikini Top, $50, additionelle.com
Cactus Mix and Match Solid Swim Bottom, $45, additionelle.com
3. The Peekaboo Cheetah Print
As an Italian woman, I am never going to pass up an opportunity to sing the praises of cheetah print and this bikini is no exception. Between the peekaboo and the cheetah print, this Torrid suit is uber-sexy and it's available up to the brand's size 5, which is equivalent to a size 30/32.Leopard Print Bikini Top, $45, torrid.com
Leopard Print High-Waisted Swim Bottom, $39, torrid.com
4. The Colorblock
When I found this colorblock bikini bottom, I had to pinch myself. The colorblock style is a huge trend in straight sizes, and it's just making it's way into plus-sizes, so I was so excited to find it on SimplyBe in a 26 and 28 at a reasonable price! Unfortunately, the top they paired with the bottoms is sold out in anything above a 40C, but the bottoms can easily be paired with another black bikini top from the same brand that goes up to size 46I.
5. The Preppy Pastel
When I heard that Lilly Pulitzer was doing a line for Target and that it would include plus-sizes, I figured that none of the preppy styles would appeal to my gaudy sensibilities, but when I saw blogger GarnerStyle wear this pastel tropical bikini, I was sold by the sheer glamour of her styling. Both the bikini top and bottom are stocked up to a size 26W.Lilly Pulitzer for Target Women's Plus Size High Waist Bikini Bottom — Fan Dance, $24, target.com
Lilly Pulitzer for Target Women's Plus Size Underwire Bikini Top — Fan Dance, $24, target.com
6. The Mesh One-Piece
While my search initially excluded any one-piece suits, I found the mesh and neckline on this suit from Kiyonna to still fit the criteria of "sexy and supportive suit in a size 4X and up." I also like that the brand features a sidebar with photos of plus-size bloggers of many sizes to show how this suit fits on bodies other than the model's frame.
Sand and Glam Illusion Swimsuit, $148, kiyonna.com
7. The Fun Floral
While I've never personally bought anything from ASOS, I've been told that its size 24 can comfortably fit a size 28-30 in most cases, so that's why I included this floral two-piece on this list. Floral in summer may be cliche, but it's still a totally cute look.'50s HalterBikini Top in Summer Rose Print, $33, asos.com
Highwaist BikiniBottom in Summer Rose Print, $25, asos.com
Images: Courtesy Brands