En español | Many of us have spent our stay-at-home time munching on pasta and homemade bread in baggy sweats while glued to the TV and internet. Our shape and weight have been the last thing on our news-boggled minds. Slowly though, backyard pools, lakes and beaches will be factored back into our lives (some are already opening). What then? Forget you ever heard the word bikini and choose a fashionable one-piece that embraces your shape and boosts your body-positive confidence. Here are the top looks that fit and flatter.
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PHOTO BY: Target; Amazon (2)
1. The Bandeau
A strapless swimsuit makes every 50-plus woman feel sexy. It conceals all that needs to be covered but shows off fabulous shoulders to create a strong horizontal line. Think of them as “invisible shoulder pads” to balance extra width at the hips and thighs. The best styles have a curved sweetheart neckline, soft contoured cups and a center twist detail — like the Anne Cole Twist Front Shirred One-Piece Swimsuit in Navy ($40, amazon.com) or La Blanca Plus-Size Bandeau One Piece Swimsuit in Red/Tropic of the Day ($85, amazon.com) — for extra support and shaping. Small busts, on the other hand, look great in a ruffle top bandeau such as the Kona Sol Scalloped Flounce One Piece Swimsuit in Mulberry ($40, target.com) thanks to the toppling camouflage and emphasis.
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PHOTO BY: Lands' End; Walmart; Swimsuits For All
2. The V-Neck Suit
Do you know how a V-neckline gives any tee or sweater neck-elongating/body-slimming power? Put it to work in swimsuits such as the Time and Tru Women's Plus Size Sizzle Shirred One Piece Swimsuit in Orange Sizzle ($17, walmart.com), Lands’ End V-Neck One Piece Swimsuit in Black ($95, landsend.com) or the Swimsuits for All Navy Striped Plunge Surplice One Piece Swimsuit ($84, swimsuitsforall.com), where the inverted triangle makes shoulders look broader and the waist seem slimmer. Be sure to opt for wide straps to keep your bust lifted while maximizing the V shape.
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PHOTO BY: Swimsuits for All; Target; Lands' End
3. The Shirred Suit
Who hasn't gained belly weight or gotten a little soft in the midriff isolating at home? Suits like the Swimsuits for All Iris Ruched V-Neck One Piece Swimsuit ($84, swimsuitsforall.com), Lands’ End Slender Tummy Control V-Neck Wrap One Piece ($130, landsend.com) and Dreamsuit by Miracle Brands Plus Size Slimming Control Shirred One Piece Swimsuit in Red ($70, target.com) use a combination of invisible interior compression — works just like shapewear — and softly gathered fabric called shirring or ruching down the front of the swimsuit to hold you in and blur away bulges. No more sucking in your stomach!
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PHOTO BY: Target; Catalina; Old Navy
4. The Striped Suit
Stripes are great for creating optical illusions. Unfortunately, our favorite horizontal stripes — so amazing in our boatneck tops — make us look wider in body-clinging swimsuits. Keep side-to-side stripes for tees and opt for vertical stripes — like the Old Navy Twist-Front One-Piece Swimsuit in Blue/White Stripe ($35, oldnavy.gap.com), Kona Sol Women's Vertical Stripe Medium Coverage One Piece Swimsuit in Multi ($35, target.com) or Catalina Asymmetrical One Piece in Blue ($54, walmart.com) — in your suits to look trim and toned.
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PHOTO BY: Lands' End; Swimsuits for All; Walmart; Target
5. The Minidress
Banish all memories of frumpy skirted swimsuits because the new ones are kind of cool. I'm not kidding. You've got to approach them with the fashion-forward attitude of wearing a chic sundress, of course. The best are swingy A-line minidresses attached to a one-piece suit hidden beneath — such as the Draper James x Lands’ End Women's Plus Size Tummy Control Wrap Swim Dress in Deep Sea Mini Gingham ($126, landsend.com) or Swimsuits for All Leopard Twist Front Swimdress ($90, swimsuitsforall.com). For a sexier version, choose a shorter swimdress with curved saronglike hemline that hints at hips and thighs — like the Aqua Green Women's Side Tie Swim Dress in Navy ($50, target.com) or the Swimsuits for All Plus Size Sarong Front One Piece in Neutral Starburst ($53, walmart.com).
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PHOTO BY: Modcloth; Swimsuits for All; Target; Figleaves
6. The Halter
This suit never fails women with a generous chest — if you choose a style with softly padded or molded cups and an adjustable tie neck. A halter gives you inches of trim torso, too, for an overall sleeker look. Choose a sleek minimalist style in a solid color such as the Figleaves Tuscany Tummy Control One-piece Swimsuit in Berry ($60, figleaves.com) or Swimsuits for All Royal Crossover Halter One Piece Swimsuit ($84, swimsuitsforall.com), or a retro-inspired print with shirring like the Dreamsuit by Miracle Brands Slimming Control Ring Front Halter One Piece Swimsuit ($65, target.com) or Modcloth Bathing Beauty One Piece Swimsuit ($89, modcloth.com) for lifting and shaping.
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PHOTO BY: Swimsuits for All; Lands' End; L.L. Bean
7. The Print Tank
Choose a basic tank like the Swimsuits for All Wild Side Tank Wrap One Piece Swimsuit ($88, swimsuitsforall.com) in a small allover print if you want to cover all your bases. First of all, a floral, leopard or artsy graphic design adds a diverting visual to keep the focus off any specific body “hot spots.” The higher neckline also guarantees no spillage for active days of swimming, beach sports and boating. Snag a suit with all that and a SPF 50-plus — such as L.L. Bean Women's BeanSport Swimwear Scoopneck Tanksuit in Plus Size Reef Coral Floral ($60, llbean.com) or the Lands’ End Draper James x Lands’ End Plus Size Scoop Neck Tugless One Piece Swimsuit in Soft Aquarius Magnolia Floral ($80, landsend.com); the treated fabric provides ample protection from UV rays. It's the ultimate “no worries” suit.
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PHOTO BY: JCPenney (2); Catalina; Figleaves
8. The Colorblock
Suits that use color placement to emphasize and diminish body zones offer a quick fix for extra pounds that settle around the tummy, hips, thighs. Most women benefit from a one-piece that features darker colors on the bottom and brighter or lighter ones on top — like the Catalina Colorblock Plunge One Piece ($54, walmart.com) or the Figleaves Colorblock Underwire Shaping Halter One Piece Swimsuit ($75, figleaves.com). Another style uses dark and light hues in an ombre design, as in the St. John's Bay Confetti One Piece Swimsuit ($89, jcpenney.com) or the Robby Len By Longitude Waves One Piece Swimsuit ($53, jcpenney.com), where the colors and print design seamlessly melt from one extreme to the other (just like ombre hair color or eye shadow).
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PHOTO BY: Figleaves; Old Navy (2); Walmart
9. The Waist-Defined Suit
A belt is not something women 50-plus usually look for in a swimsuit, but it actually can emphasize a small waistline or help create one. Those with hourglass curves will look great in suits with a defined tie or belt — such as the Figleaves Marilyn Curve Non Wired Polka Dot Tummy Control One Piece ($65, figleaves.com) or Old Navy High-Neck Printed One-Piece Belted Swimsuit for Women ($47, oldnavy.gap.com). Those with a straight up and down torso or a wiggly waist can fudge a more shapely silhouette with a softly belted swimsuit — like the Old Navy V-Neck O-Ring Belt One-Piece Swimsuit for Women in Beam Me Up ($47, oldnavy.gap.com) or the Time and Tru Women's Plus Size Odesea Belted One Piece ($17, walmart.com).
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PHOTO BY: Figleaves; H&M; JCPenney
10. The Wrap
We love jersey wrap dresses for their shape-whittling abilities, so why wouldn't wrap swimsuits be equally flattering? The V-neck wrap styles — such as the Liz Claiborne One Piece Swimsuit Plus ($99, jcpenney.com), H&M Shaping Swimsuit in Black/Pink Floral ($35, hm.com/us) or Figleaves Illusion Curve Draped Firm Control One-piece Swimsuit ($75, figleaves.com) — feature that so-simple crossover design. It also works to separate a full bust (so you don't end up with a uniboob or shelf look) while the diagonal line hints at a slim torso and waist.
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PHOTO BY: Old Navy (2); Target
11. The Not-So-Basic Black Suit
The ultimate safety net for us is always going to be a black swimsuit. We count on black's ability to minimize bulges; give us the effect of a slimmer, more toned body; and make us feel chic and sophisticated. But a plain black tank just doesn't cut it anymore. Look for updates — such as the Old Navy One-Shoulder One-Piece Swimsuit for Women in Ebony ($40, oldnavy.gap.com), Kona Sol Lace-Up Scallop One Piece Swimsuit in Black ($35, target.com) or Old Navy Ruffled Off The Shoulder Swimsuit for Women ($45, oldnavy.gap.com) — and let a one-shoulder, off-shoulder or laced-up black swimsuit elevate an everyday swimsuit to fashionably fabulous.
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PHOTO BY: Figleaves; HerRoom; Bare Necessities
My final word:
12. Bra-sized swimsuits
These are not easy to find, but if you have a small ribcage and very lush chest, or are a larger than DDD cup, suits sized by band and cup are worth every extra dollar. Specialty bra and swimwear sites like figleaves.com, barenecessities.com and herroom.com all offer a wide range of sizes. So whether you're a 32DDD or a 38H, there are options for you, too.
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