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My Ultimate Guide to Shopping for Plus Size Swimwear like a BOSS

Summer is coming, I can feel it (I mean everyone can, this bloody country is finally starting to thaw) and with it comes holiday plans (yay) and swimwear shopping. For a lot of plus size babes this can be a bit of a source of consternation - swimwear has a special power to make us feel bad about our bodies. Mainly because we have to hear all the gross, destructive bullshit about bikini bodies (reminder - to get a bikini body all you have to do is put a bikini on your body ffs) and because for a long time the options for plus size women were really shite. But, horray! No longer! We now have lots of options and much swim fabulousness. So let me help you navigate this lycra labyrith with my ultimate plus size babe swim wear shopping guide!

Shop and try on at home
Shopping for many plus size women can be a daunting prospect at the best of times. But add in the pressure of swimwear and it can turn into a bit of a nightmare. I loathe changing rooms, so my first tip is to order online. Find sites that have easy return policies (like ASOS) and order lots of swimwear to try all at the same time. This way you get to try things on in the comfort of your own home. No tiny changing rooms, no hideous lighting, no rush.
Try to get buying your swimwear as early before you holiday as possible too. Firstly, there is nothing worse then feeling you have to buy something because you need something, but not actually liking it. So give your time yo find some pieces you love. And secondly, retailers get swimwear in store ridiculously early. So the earlier you get started, the more likely you are to get the best bits and find them in your size!
Once your picks arrive, ideally do your trying on when you have a bit of time. Wrestling yourself in and out of swimwear can be sweaty, exhausting and annoying - so having to rush is really not great. Just feeling relaxed and comfortable may change how you feel about the pieces you are trying on. Don't forget to try them on with pants underneath (hygiene first people), and DON'T forget to return the ones you don't like (guilty!).

Try things you wouldn't usually
The joy of shopping online (particularly from somewhere like Figleaves or ASOS) is that you have SO much more choice than in store. So my next tip is try things you wouldn't usually! One of the things I love about our Azure Bopo Retreats is that I get to see lots of plus women in swimwear - and it opens me up to all sorts of styles I might not have tried before. Last summer one of lush ladies was wearing a swimsuit with a plunging neckline, which I just would never have considered with boobs over a certain size. But she looked SO damn hot, I had to try one for myself, and I am sold. I am going to be doing ALL the plunging this summer. So if you are ordering swimwear, throw a couple of wild cards in there - you might be surprised what you end up keeping!

Taking the plunge: Tuscany Low Cut Swimsuit (similar) (AL) - gifted

Invest in a good swim bra
If you've got a serious bust on you, you're going to want a serious bikini top. Let's be honest, those little triangles look cute, but they're not doing much to support the gals, and you'll probably spend your all holiday making sure nothing has popped out. What you need is something with the same sort of engineering that goes into a bra. So I tend to stick with lingerie brands I trust for my bikinis as well. My faves are Curvy Kate and Elomi (ALs). As I wear their bras I know what size I need which makes online shopping pretty easy. Both brands do a variety of basics and more interesting styles and prints, so there is something for everyone. They can be quite pricey, but it's one of those really worthwhile investments, because looked after well they will last a very long time. The joy of a good swim bra is it can be worn under swimsuits and tankinis for additional support. If you're on a budget then investing in one or two basic styles / colours is all you need.

Supportive swim bras, both last season, both from Curvy Kate (AL) - gifted

You don't have to wear a bikini!
Adding bikinis to my swimwear repertoir after years of feeling I couldn't wear one felt totally symbolic. However, I still love a full swimsuit mainly for practical purposes. I am really active in the water (living that mermaid life) and when I head to Turkey to host the Azure BoPo retreats this summer I get to spend time diving off boats and exploring sea caves, and a swimsuit is just more comfortable for that. I still want to look chic AF, so I love a black swimsuit that has something a little statement about it. These were my picks last summer -

Something a little bit sexy: Tuscany Low Cut Swimsuit (similar) (AL) - gifted
Best for those who don't need too much support in the boob area, like me :)

A vintage nod: Icon Spot Mesh Halterneck Swimsuit (AL) - gifted
That little polka dot mesh halterneck detail is everything!

Wear it many ways! Similar - Rhapsody Multiway Swimsuit (AL)
This swimsuit was a revelation last season because you can wear it so many ways. If you're on a budget, this is basically perfect because it gives you loads of different looks. So glad Curvy Kate have brought their amazing engineering skills to creating this beauty, that's going to be a great investment piece.

Do mix and match
Once you've invested in your key swim bras you can decide to buy the matching briefs, or you can go wild with all sorts of fun bottoms - here engineering isn't nearly as important so your briefs can really be from anywhere (cheap options from ASOS, Forever 21 etc are great). Some of my mix and match bikini combos are some of my faves. Below I am wearing some high waisted Elomi bottoms (I love these! I have several pairs) with a fringed bikini top I found for cheap cheap on eBay, with a Boohoo coverup. As I have a smaller bust it means I can get away with wearing tops that aren't always the most supportive.
If you're keen on mixing and matching then choosing a specific palatte or theme can be helpful. For example there are almost always nautical themed swim goodies, so you might decide to buy some nautical striped cuteness, then you can add in block colours like navy, red or white - which will be really cute to wear together and will mean that as you add to your collection each season you will have more and more options. Smart shopping!

If you're on a budget
If you're on a budget - I feel ya! Holidays can be expensive at the best of times, and swimwear is kinda crazy expensive for what it is. Already, by mixing and matching (as I suggested above) you can make sure you are mixing some cheaper pieces in so that ou're not paying over the odds for some lycra pants! Look at what places like Forever 21, ASOS, New Look and Primark have on offer. For the cheaper retailers make sure you get in early though - because they sell out quick.
Swimwear is also something that often doesn't get a lot of use, so places like eBay and Facebook selling groups can be great places to pick up bargains of never worn or barely worn pieces. If you are wanting to buy swim bras then knowing your size will help. On eBay you can even set notifications, so you'll be told whenever someone lists the brand and size you are looking for.
Sites like Bra Stop sell old stock at really good prices, so you can visit them to find last year's styles of your favourite brands. I don't think swimwear is particularly trend led anyway, and if it's new to you then it's new!
Remember, the end of summer is great for sales and probably the best time to buy your next season's swimwear. So late summer, get on those sales and pick up some bargains for your late season holiday, or for the next year.

Hope you find the helpful! If you have any other hints or tips, do let me know below! Happy holidays!

**Some items in this post were gifted and have been marked as such. This post contains Affiliate Links (marked as AL) - this means that I will make a small commission on any sales, however this cost is not paid by you. I include affiliate links as it is part of the way I make my living, and can continue to keep my blog running**


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