En español | Afraid to come out of the water? Scared to remove your sarong? C'mon! How about that 50-something woman over there — clearly a zaftig size 18 or maybe even a 1X — sashaying around in a sizzling pink suit? She's comfy strutting her stuff! As a fashion editor I know her secret. The most confident women simply do a better job of flaunting their assets and ignoring any so-called “flaws.” It's the key to a more body-positive attitude. But that doesn't mean a sassy suit won't help. Here are 10 trendy swimsuit styles your breasts, belly and backside will love.
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PHOTO BY: Old Navy (2); Kona Sol (2)
1. The One-Shoulder Suit It's a must-try for any woman who is top heavy, or extra curvy on the bottom and wants a big dose of glam. Here's why. The diagonal one-shoulder line lures attention to your shoulders and visually lengthens your torso by keeping chest and cleavage under cover. Your normally space-crammed breasts, midriff and belly get the illusion of a sleek separated look. The fashion detail that makes it now is a knot or bow at the shoulder — like Old Navy Color-Blocked Secret-Slim One-Shoulder Plus-Size Swimsuit, sizes 1X to 4X ($55, oldnavy.com); or the Old Navy Color Block Swimsuit, sizes XS to XXL ($45, oldnavy.com). Still into sophisticated black? Try the Kona Sol Bow-Tie One-Shoulder One-Piece Swimsuit, sizes S to XL ($35, target.com); or the Kona Sol Plus-Size Bow-Tie One-Shoulder One-Piece Swimsuit in black, sizes 14W to 26W ($40, target.com). And of course, an inner shelf bra and soft cups do provide sneaky lift and shaping.
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PHOTO BY: Old Navy; Swimsuits for All
2. The Wrap and Tie Suit Defining the waist turns lush breasts, hips and thighs into an enviable hourglass, whether you still have a fabulous waist — or just wish you did. A wraplike suit that ties at the middle — like the Old Navy Wrap-Front Swimsuit for Women, sizes S to XXL ($50, oldnavy.com); or Swimsuits for All Midnight Faux Wrap Halter One-Piece Swimsuit, sizes 4 to 26 ($89, swimsuitsforall.com) — is the swim version of the super-flattering jersey wrap dress we all love. The wrap neckline might be a halter or two-strap V, but either way it lifts and shapes the bust with built-in soft cups. The wide soft sash whittles and hides away any muffin tops (let's call it what it is!) with a flourish. This year blues and pink are making a splash, so look for a solid suit in a solid sapphire, navy or fuchsia to keep the design minimalist clean.
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PHOTO BY: Land's End; Woman Within
3. The Color Block Suit Whether it's spelled colorblock or color block, framing a dark solid center panel with brighter tonal stripes sure beats dieting. It strategically pares your silhouette with a modern sporty edge. The suit might not even say color block in the description, so just look for a wide black or navy center panel (buh-bye winter-weight) with contrast detailing at the sides and trim — like the Woman Within Colorblock One-Piece Swimsuit with Shelf Bra, sizes 14 to 34 ($80, womanwithin.com); or the Lands’ End Women's Chlorine Resistant High-Neck One-Piece Swimsuit, sizes 2 to 18 ($70, landsend.com). They're modest from the front with a full-coverage high neck, but fasten securely at the nape before dipping to a low, sexy keyhole back. And the chlorine-resistant fabric and UPF50+ make them sun and swim-sweet friendly.
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PHOTO BY: Kohl's, Target, Modcloth, Target
4. The Party-on-Top One-Piece A little weight fluctuation is normal, so take control. Wearing black pants or a black skirt with a bright, white or print top accents the positive, deletes the negative, right? Use the same strategy in a swimsuit. One-piece suits that are solid black waist down and brightly colored or printed waist up work the same way your clothes do. The bottom diverts attention away from hips, belly, booty and thighs, and illuminates your “tabletop” part — bust, neckline, arms and face. Look for suits with exotic floral tops — like Modcloth's The Allie Full Coverage Swimsuit, sizes XS to 3X ($79, modcloth.com); Croft & Barrow Ruched One-Piece Swimsuit, sizes 10 to 20 ($55, kohls.com); Sea Angel Black Plus-Size High-Neck One-Piece Swimsuit, sizes 1X to 3X ($45, target.com) — or cheery colors like the Aqua Green Drape Front One-Piece Swimsuit, sizes S to XL ($40, target.com).
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PHOTO BY: Swimsuits for All; Target; Kohl's
5. The Little Black Swimdress Think of this as a sophisticated minidress you happen to wear in the water. Rock a sexy neckline, keep the shape A-line trim or ruched with a ruffled hem to push what used to be a “granny suit” from stodgy to sensual. Add big dark sunglasses and let your black swimdress give great breasts and legs their due. Choose a deep V or sweetheart neck — like the Swimsuits for All Black Flyaway Bra-Sized Underwire Swimdress, bra sizes 36DD to 46G ($84, swimsuitsforall.com); Dreamsuit by Miracle Brands Plus Slimming Control Swim Dress, sizes 16W to 24W ($70, target.com); and Chaps Tummy Slimmer Ruched Swimdress, sizes 6 to 16 ($65, kohls.com). All have bust-enhancing features like molded cups or an underwire bra, and adjustable straps or halter tie for support. And, yes, there's a built-in suit beneath so your tush is covered.
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PHOTO BY: Target; Modcloth; Target
6. The Print Halter It's a little bit retro, a little bit nostalgic and a lot flattering for hiding tummy bulge, lifting our chest and making every one of us feel like a 1940s pin-up (in a good way, feminists!). Whimsical polka dots — like Modcloth's The Reese One-Piece Swimsuit in red polka dot, sizes XS to XL, also 1X to 3X ($79, modcloth.com) — or “busy” feminine florals — like the Kona Sol Twist Halter One-Piece Swimsuit, sizes XS to XL ($35, target.com); also available in Kona Sol Plus-Size Twist Halter One-Piece Swimsuit, sizes 14W to 26W ($40 target.com) — keep the eye moving instead of settling on any one spot. Opt for an adjustable DIY tie halter to hike up the girls to your comfort level.
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PHOTO BY: Kohl's; Old Navy; Target (2)
7. The Ruffled Deep V An inverted triangle plunging neckline has major body-sculpting power. The curvier you are on the bottom and in the bust, the broader and deeper your neckline can be on top. A deep V breaks up width at the bust and is amazing if you have full breasts or wide-set breasts. It also balances width at the hips and thighs. Deep V necklines are classic, but this year the shape is embellished with a trendy ruffle — like the Old Navy Ruffle-Trim Swimsuit, sizes XS to XXL ($50, oldnavy.com); Chaps Tummy Slimmer Ruffle Underwire One-Piece Swimsuit (get it in raspberry!), sizes 6 to 18 ($61, kohls.com); the Kona Sol Ruffle One-Piece Swimsuit, sizes XS to XL ($35, target.com); also available in Kona Sol Plus-Size Ruffle One-Piece Swimsuit, sizes 14W to 24W ($40, target.com). Not the froufrou type but like the benefits? See suits No. 2, 5 and 6.
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PHOTO BY: Target (2)
8. The Ruffled Off-Shoulder Suit Every woman has great shoulders — one reason the cold shoulder and off-the-shoulder tops are selling (still!) like hotcakes. Another twist on this success are swimsuits with the same bare-shoulders look enhanced by this season's obvious statement ... a ruffle. Black — as in the Dreamsuit by Miracle Brands Women's Plus Slimming Control Blouson Off The Shoulder One-Piece Swimsuit, sizes 16W to 24W ($70, target.com); or the Shade & Shore Crotchet Off The Shoulder One-Piece Swimsuit, sizes XS to XL ($40, target.com) — makes the trendy extravagant shape look classy. And all can obviously be worn as is or styled on the shoulder, as discretion requires. Pair it with a midi skirt for an instant dinner-cocktails look, too.
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PHOTO BY: Elolquii; Old Navy
9. The Suit With Sleeves I'm not kidding. The popularity of long sleeve rash guards — surfer and sports-lover faves — do give frill-free swimsuits a long sleeve look. But lately extended cap, flutter and T-shirt sleeves have been sneaking their way onto one-piece suits. Here's why: Aside from designers looking for news, a hint of sleeve does power up the shoulder line and upper body (think of how a structured blazer works in a similar way) to balance broad hips and thighs. Consider a cap sleeve like the Old Navy Wrap Front Secret-Slim Tie-Back Swimsuit in Blue Scenic, sizes 1X to 4X ($60, oldnavy.com), and let the deep V, festive blue print and wrap design add to your bliss. Or you may opt for the flutter sleeve Eloquii Drama Ruffle One-Piece Swimsuit in Limeade, sizes 12 to 28 ($80, eloquii.com) for a pop of color with that V-neck and peephole cutout.
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PHOTO BY: Target; Swimsuits for All; Target
10. Cutouts and Keyhole One-Pieces A one-piece suit with strategic wedges or loops of bare skin gives you the daring feeling of a two-piece without going there. The midriff — right under your bust but above your waist — is the new hot spot for discreet showing off, as in the tie-front keyhole Kona Sol Plus-Size Twist-Front Cut-Out One-Piece Swimsuit, sizes 14W to 26W ($40, target.com); the Kona Sol Textured Tie-Front One-Piece Swimsuit, sizes XS to XL ($40, target.com); and the pie-wedge cutouts in the Swimsuits for All Gardenia Cut-Out V-Neck Halter One-Piece Swimsuit, sizes 4 to 26 ($84, swimsuitsforall.com). Everyone has a small firm spot at the rib cage that can handle a little peek!
Last word: Every suit is now a comfy super supportive blend of nylon and 18 to 20 percent spandex or poly/spandex, with power mesh linings, tummy control panels and ruching as the new normal. Slip out of your comfort zone and have some fun. If not now, when?!
For more beauty and style tips for women age 50-plus, check out The Woman's Wakeup: How to Shake Up Your Looks, Life, and Love After 50 by Lois Joy Johnson
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