My memories of my personal swimwear history are curiously specific -- I can recall many of my childhood suits with precise clarity, which might not be too surprising if I hadn’t grown up in South Florida, in a house with a pool, such that I owned and wore swimsuits like people who live in less tropical parts of the country own and wear socks.
One suit in particular stands out, the suit I thought of as my first grown-up suit, bought on a weekend visit with my mom. It was the late 80s --I was probably about 10 or 11 -- and the so-called “French cut” suit was a big deal -- those suits with the leg openings cut high, sometimes right up to the hips (American Apparel, among others, has remade this as hipster chic in recent years). MY suit was a one-piece, black with hot pink pin dots, and then big honking hot pink ruffles arcing over those high-cut leg openings and my more or less nonexistent bust.
Man, I wore that suit and strutted around summer camp like I was the absolute shit. In retrospect, I probably looked ridiculous, but I will never forget how awesome my super fashionable on-trend suit made me feel -- like a GLAMOROUS LADY waiting in line for the waterslide and then later weaving my plastic lanyard friendship bracelets in the devastating Florida summer heat.
Apparently, when it comes to swimwear, my taste has not changed much, hovering today about one step down from “deranged grandma at the community pool” and probably on a level with what clowns would wear to the beach. I am still not a Glamorous Lady. But I do have some decidedly fun swimsuits for you.
(Note: A bunch of these are from Swimsuits For All because they are DESTROYING EVERYTHING with their selection this year, but I want to make clear that they did not send me anything for free to make me give them so much attention. Although I am bound to say that THEY REALLY OUGHT TO after this post because y’all are gonna descend upon their site like so many greedy lardy vultures. I STILL haven’t forgiven you guys for buying out that Yours Clothing cartoon-print dress before I got one.)
I don’t have many fashion rules I hold to. Actually I probably have none except for this one: never buy a white swimsuit if you plan on getting it wet. My mom had a super hip white swimsuit back in the day that was way awesome until she hit the ocean and then it became a little, uh, transparent. Now if you are looking for a transparent swimsuit, rage on, badass you! But I am not. Generally speaking.
Now’s the part where I throw that rule right out the window because LOOK AT THIS SUIT:
ARE YOU DYING LIKE I AM? It’s called the Marilyn Monroe Rose Cross Back Swimdress and the only way I would love it more is if the leafy bits were actually green, but whatever. On the up side, it has one negative review that says, “There is a sheer like material underneath that does nothing but let the fat jiggle,” and I am all up in here going YEAH THE FAT JIGGLIN’.
And, yes, I know most people on earth hate swimdresses BUT I LIKE THEM, especially when they’re adorable and retro-y like this one. WHICH I have already ordered as my swimwear for this year, so as to not repeat the cartoon-print heartbreak of my last fatshion post. Here’s hoping the rose suit is lined enough that transparency is not a problem.
SPEAKING OF SWIMDRESSES:
I know. I can sense your horror. But WAIT: ask yourself, is this suit ACTUALLY horrifying, or are the narrow limitations imposed upon your mind by an awesomeness-oppressive culture only making you THINK it is horrifying? Because I think it is GREAT and also that I am a STYLE GENUIS for thinking so.
You have to admire it. This is a suit that leaves no stone unturned -- a one-shouldered leopard-print flowered bandeau sheath shirred swimdress. WHAT IS LEFT? Sadly it has no reviews, probably because everyone who’s bought it has tried it on and been immediately assumed into the special FABULOUS HEAVEN.
SPEAKING OF ONE-SHOULDERED SUITS:
Big ups to fatshion blogger Amanda of Fashion Love and Martinis for buying this ombre one-shoulder tank hotness and putting it on Instagram so I knew it existed. I am not usually an ombre fan but for some reason I really love this suit -- I just wish it wasn’t a one-shoulder deal because I always feel weirdly off-balance in them. Like I'm carrying an invisible messenger bag that is filled with my whole body.
Right now you’re probably thinking DUDE WHERE ARE THE BIKINIS? OKAY I’M DOING IT.
Monif C kills at swimwear every freaking year and this year is no exception. Her stylized-peacock-print bikini separates come in orange and turquoise and are currently on sale, so if you’re fence sitting, you might want to move fast before they sell out. The halter tops and high-waistedbottoms are sold separately so you can get a gorgeous fit.
And bonus? THAT TOP HAS AN UNDERWIRE IN IT. I know some of you have substantial booosoms that must be accounted for in swimwear purchases, but I can’t really know what it’s like for you as I am not especially well endowed with breasty parts. That said, even I love a swimwear underwire so I imagine this will be happy knowledge to many of you.
In other fatkini news: unfortunately, much of GabiFresh’s keenly anticipated swimwear collection sold out in a second, as I predicted. It looks like the standout galaxy-print bikini is still in stock in a 22, but I doubt it’ll be around for long.
For those of you who like a little more bottom-coverage but are still down with the bikini idea in theory, this Joe Browns blanket-striped bikini-shorts combo might be a satisfactory compromise (I would personally counsel you against the pictured hipster headbelt accessory? But that’s just me).
Or maybe just wear a bikini that basically looks like lingerie. Lane Bryant has you hooked up on this with these shimmer dot bikini separates. The top is actually sized like a bra, so ostensibly if you know you’re down with a certain Lane Bryant bra size then getting one of these to fit should be an easy effort.
I know not all of you are on the fatkini train, and I’m here to assure you that’s TOTALLY OK. Maybe you need an interval suit to get there, or maybe you’re just more a tankini person. I spent a couple summers trying to be a tankini person myself -- mostly because they seem like they’d be easier to go for a pee in -- but I never could quite get there. Maybe it’s my long and fleshy torso but I was yanking that shit down ALL DAY LONG like freaking Captain Picard.
Nevertheless, I have shopped for tankinis for you EVEN THOUGH I WILL NEVER WEAR ONE. Like this vintage-y, only-slightly-grandma-ish floral tankini top from Land’s End:
Okay, so it's sorta reminiscent of a bedspread, but I like the juxtaposition. On the other hand, it has an underwire in it! And given that Land’s End legitimately makes the best swimwear in the universe this is a pretty sure bet. Many of my favorite suits over the years in terms of fit have come from Land’s End -- I just wish their suits were, y’know, cuter? A little more diverse in style? And generally more obnoxious?
Torrid has a couple of more trendy tankini options as well, like this obligatory but nevertheless adorable cherry-print keyhole top:
Or this pink mesh top, which needs to GET OUT with that ruffle:
And a variety of bottoms to pair them with. Heh, bottoms.
For the old-fashioned tank-lovers among us, finding a non-fumpy one-piece suit is almost as hard as finding a swimdress that doesn’t suck (hey does anyone remember SPARKLEBOOBS?). But a little-known FASHION SECRET is that you can put polka dots on pretty much anything and I will instantly want to wear it. WITNESS:
Exhibit A: ASOS red and white polka dot wide-strap belted tank. In any other print this style would look totally unappealing to me, but the polka dots make it.
Exhibit B: This navy polka-dotted ruched tank. I know navy is like barely a step up from black so far as swimsuit colors are concerned, and I vowed years ago never to buy another black swimsuit. But I still really like navy! It's so NAUTICAL!
Exhibit C: THIS WILL NEVER FIT ME because it's junior plus sized, but it is seriously so freaking adorable. Somebody else should buy it. It's pretty cheap too.
At this point I am pretty sure that I’ve included just about every cute plus size swimsuit on THE WHOLE INTERNET. I’m actually sick of looking at them, which I wouldn’t have thought possible. What do you think? Do you like any of them? Have I lost my mind? Also why am I so inexplicably drawn to one-shouldered suits right now? Tell me all your swimwear-related hopes and dreams in comments.
Special note to those who wear extended sizes, A.K.A. greatbigfats! Several of the above suits go up to a 26 or 28, but if you need bigger, allow me to point you at Love Your Peaches, which makes gorgeous swimwear up to a 6x, and also back to Swimwear For All again, which has suits up to a 34 and can be sorted by size.