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The Best Swimsuits for Women Over 50 in 2024

Take a deep dive into all the flattering new swimwear styles, colors and fabrics


spinner image a woman wearing a swimsuit with other various bathing suits surrounding her
Source: Kohl's; Miracle Suit; Target; Lane Bryant; Lands' End

If there’s one clothing item that strikes fear in the hearts of otherwise confident women, it’s a swimsuit. Let’s be honest. You’re trusting a very small bit of fabric to do the flattery job of a full outfit — on a nearly naked body! This is why many women hang on to the dull but dependable security of their old suits. As a beauty and style editor, I’ve spent decades doing swimsuit photo shoots on women over 50 of all shapes and sizes. Bodies do change with age, but so have swimsuits! New choices range from sexy to slimming to sophisticated to sporty. Here are seven tips and plenty of reasons to dive in.

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1. Define what really bugs you.

You can’t choose a new suit without doing this. Every woman has a secret reason she hates wearing a swimsuit and dreads shopping for one. Some resist exposing a crepey chest, ripply cellulite, discolorations or sun-damaged skin. Others want to hide thighs, a belly bulge or a saggy rear from view. More wrestle with concerns like a large chest, back fat or a long torso. And let’s address the elephant in the room: the mostly young, fit, firm-bodied models wearing the suits we’re browsing online at retail sites. It’s annoying, yes, but get over it! They’re only there to demonstrate the fit when filled out by a human body. Targeting your current issues (which may differ from those of only a year ago) will help you hit the right balance between exposure and camouflage.

2. Start at the top.

A swimsuit’s neckline is the boss. It’s the key design element that draws the eye up and away from lower-body concerns, has the power to balance body proportions and gives your breasts a head start on whatever lift, coverage or support they need. It’s also the main attraction when you’re face-to-face with others or bobbing around in the pool. There are eight basic necklines. Here’s what’s best for whom and why.

Choose a …

V neckline to balance width at hips and thighs, suggest a slim waist, flatter a large bust and add definition between breasts. It’s always a sexy choice for all.

spinner image Old Navy Tie-Back One-Piece Swimsuit in Black Jack
Old Navy Tie-Back One-Piece Swimsuit in Black Jack in XS to 4X ($18, oldnavy.gap.com)
Source: Old Navy

Sweetheart shape to lift a full bust and emphasize an overall curvy shape. A retro romantic look that’s great on ruched (also known as shirred) suits.

One-shoulder to show off shoulders, keep the chest under wraps and elongate the torso. A sophisticated look.

spinner image Shade & Shore Women’s One Shoulder Twist One Piece Swimsuit
Shade & Shore Women’s One Shoulder Twist One Piece Swimsuit in Purple ($36, target.com)
Source: Target

Scoop to flatter a curvy body thanks to in-sync rounded lines. Look for classic tanks with double scoops — front and back — and wide-set wide straps.

spinner image Women’s Freshwater Scoop Back One Piece Swimsuit
Women’s Freshwater Scoop Back One Piece Swimsuit in Turquoise Pucker ($24, kohls.com)
Source: Kohl's

Square neckline for a trendy scoop alternative that avoids cleavage. Classy, discreet and minimalist.

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Halter to highlight the back, add lift for full breasts, flatter narrow shoulders. Choose a self-tie to avoid neck strain. Another sexy option.

spinner image Santorini Halterneck Swimsuit
Santorini Halterneck Swimsuit ($62, bodenusa.com)
Source: Boden

Strapless to make it all about your amazing bare shoulders. Look for structured tops, not blousons. Not the best style for large chests.

spinner image Anne Cole Women’s Live In Color Twist Front Shirred One Piece Swimsuit
Anne Cole Women’s Live In Color Twist Front Shirred One Piece Swimsuit in Magenta ($62, target.com)
Source: Anne Cole

High neck to swim, do yoga and be active, stress-free.

3. Choose your level of bust boosting.

Swimsuit “construction” — just like bras — has changed. Most suits, regardless of neckline, now include gently rounded natural-looking removable cups for DIY control of shaping and adjustable straps for personalized lift. Look for outer shaping details like empire seams under the bust to lift and separate breasts from the torso, twists between cups and ruched cups.

Have a 36 DD chest or more? Bra-sized swimsuits and those that specifically fit up to a DD cup are available by brands like Magicsuit, Fantasie, Panache, Freya and Pour Moi. Many feature underwires and/or molded cups for a more defined shape. Specialty sites like BareNecessities and HerRoom simplify the search with hundreds of styles and have charts that convert European sizes to U.S. ones. Yes, these suits are pricier, but you’re paying for extra workmanship and exact sizing. Figure cost per wear for at least eight stress-free weekends this summer and it’s (almost) a bargain.

4. Let the suit deal with your middle.

Nearly every older woman says her belly and torso are a big swimsuit problem. Compression suits (the shapewear-based category that debuted in the early 2000s), which feature a power mesh lining that basically sucks you in for a more streamlined fit, have evolved too. They still reduce volume (especially at the belly) and firm up ripples, but the constricting squeeze is gone and the compression is often combined with ruching for extra camouflage. They’re an instant confidence booster for anyone who has gained weight or slacked off on exercise and is faced with a summer of pool parties. You can also opt for suits with ruching at the front or print swimsuits in an overall flowing pattern to optically blur away bulges.

spinner image Cupshe Women’s Ditsy Floral Flutter Sleeve One Piece Swimsuit
Cupshe Women’s Ditsy Floral Flutter Sleeve One Piece Swimsuit in Orange Ditsy Print or Blue Paisley in XS to XL ($38, kohls.com)
Source: Kohl's
spinner image Aqua Green Women’s UPF50 Shirred V-Neck One-Piece Swimsuit
Aqua Green Women’s UPF50 Shirred V-Neck One-Piece Swimsuit in Multi Tropical Print ($45, target.com)
Source: Target
spinner image Lands’ End Chlorine Resistant Bandeau Tankini Swimsuit Top and Lands’ End Chlorine Resistant Bandeau Smoothing Control High Waisted Bikini Bottoms
Lands’ End Chlorine Resistant Bandeau Tankini Swimsuit Top in Coral Bliss ($83, landsend.com) and Lands’ End Chlorine Resistant Bandeau Smoothing Control High Waisted Bikini Bottoms in Coral Bliss ($63, landsend.com)
Source: Lands' End
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5. Address the leg and derriere issue.

OK, your suit fits great on top and your middle is managed, but what about the bottom half? Many mature women concerned about full thighs and rear coverage gravitate toward the endless avalanche of shapeless swim dresses and suits with low-cut legs that hit exactly at the widest part of the thighs. One better solution: a suit with a higher-cut leg that reveals more to slim and elongate the legs. No need for an extremely high cut — a moderately high leg will do the job without feeling too cheeky. The other alternative is a contemporary-style swim dress in a flirty A-line or mini sarong shape that looks like you’re out to play tennis/pickleball or on a tropical island vacation.

spinner image Roxanne Solid Bra Sized V-Neck Sarong One Piece Swimsuit
Roxanne Solid Bra Sized V-Neck Sarong One Piece Swimsuit in 001 Black ($50, target.com)
Source: Kohl's
spinner image Magicsuit Parker One Piece Swim Dress
Magicsuit Parker One Piece Swim Dress in Vamp ($170, miraclesuit.com)
Source: Miracle Suit

6. Go sexy in a new way.

You can still add sizzle when a bikini is out of the question! One-piece suits with discreet cutouts, one-shoulder styles, lace-up fronts and backs, and plunge Vs that are cleverly designed to go low without revealing too much cleavage all provide a subtle lift for your body and mojo. While sleek black suits with fashionable twists (like those above) always look alluring and feel “slimming,” consider buying a suit in color this summer. Right now, there are more styles in a range of cosmetic-like shades of pink, red and coral; every shade of blue from sky to powder and vibrant cobalt; new neutrals like chocolate and soft army and khaki greens; and shimmery fabrics that glow against mature skin. All counteract sallow, ashy or pasty undertones and add a cool stand-out-in-the-crowd attitude. Bet you can’t buy just one!

spinner image Lane Bryant Lurex No-Wire Plunge One-Piece
Lane Bryant Lurex No-Wire Plunge One-Piece in Four Leaf Clover ($49, lanebryant.com)
Source: Lane Bryant
spinner image Lands’ End Women’s Slender Suit Shine Grecian High Leg Tummy Control Chlorine Resistant One Piece Swimsuit
Lands’ End Women’s Slender Suit Shine Grecian High Leg Tummy Control Chlorine Resistant One Piece Swimsuit in Amethyst Shine ($77, landsend.com)
Source: Lands' End

7. Make sure the swimsuit and you are in sync.

Lots of swimsuits have eye appeal, but try-ons can be discouraging. It’s not you — it’s the suit! Two women may both wear a size 14 but have very different body proportions and fit or coverage concerns. Every body issue has a solution. For example, if you have a long torso — which means the distance from the top of your head to your crotch is more than half your total body length — choose brands with a long torso fit option like Andie Swim, Summersalt or Lands’ End. A short, busty torso and long legs? Stretch your body and boost your bust with a one-shoulder suit. The takeaway here is to stay open to new-for-you suit styles and brands and do a test run of every possibility. Check the suit from every angle — sides and back too. Move around, bend, sit, squat and try walking to make sure it’s body-and-lifestyle friendly.

spinner image Summersalt The Sidestroke
Summersalt The Sidestroke in Lava & Hibiscus & White Sand and Seaweed & Seaglass & White Sand in Classic and Long Torso ($95, summersalt.com)
Source: Summersalt

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