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Swimsuits for Older Women: How to Find a Flattering Bathing Suit

By Sandra Roussy October 17, 2022 Makeup and Fashion

Why is finding attractive bathing suits for older women so difficult? After all, women over 60 are a huge market. You’d think that bathing suit producers would be lining up around the corner to sell to us. Unfortunately, this isn’t yet the case.

The good news is that there are still places to find bathing suits for women our age. We just need to look a little harder.

Where Are All the Bathing Suits for Older Women?

Women in their 60s might remember a song by Brian Hyland that expressed a challenge that we still face today. “Itsy, bitsy, teenie, weenie yellow polka dot bikini,” captured the terror that many women feel when they think about wearing a bathing suit in public.

It was funny at the time, but, as we get a little older, many of us become especially sensitive to our body image. We still love going to the spa and enjoy visiting the beach with our friends and family, but many of us feel nervous about showing our bodies in public.

Of course, much of the problem is in our own heads. We are much harder on ourselves than the rest of the world is. At the same time, women our age face a practical problem as well – finding flattering swimwear for older women is much harder than it should be.

So, how does a woman over 60 find a comfortable and fashionable bathing suit that will cover up a little unwanted weight? Where can she find a style that creates a flattering look? Fortunately, in recent years, designers have started to think about how to create swimwear that meets our needs. They still haven’t taken the step of showing older women in their advertising, but that’s another story.

So, if you’re looking to hit the beach or the pool, here are a few places to look for flattering bathing suits for older women. If you have any other suggestions, please add them in the comments.

Find the Perfect Bathing Suit for Your Unique Shape and Size

There are several great places to go for inspiration. Swimsuits for All is a great online site offering a “Fit and Flatter Guide.” You enter your measurements and choose from bathing suits that can enhance a small bust or support a large one. It also offers designs that hide hips or slim your tummy. With one-piece, skirt bottoms and swim shorts, this site offers a lot of choices.

Check out their helpful measuring video.

Take a look at a few of their best sellers.

SARONG FRONT ONE-PIECE SWIMSUIT

SARONG FRONT ONE-PIECE SWIMSUIT

V-NECK FLOWY TANKINI TOP

V-NECK FLOWY TANKINI TOP

Don’t Be Afraid to Embrace the Quirky and the Unconventional

There are opportunities for women over 60 to be a little non-traditional with their choice of flattering bathing suits. You can wear running shorts or tank tops with built-in bras, or swimming shorts with a halter top or t-shirt. There are no rules that say that you have to wear matching tops and bottoms. For example, you might try a solid bottom and floral top.

You can also find many wonderful cover-ups and sarongs to leave on if you are not planning to swim. You can remove cover-ups when you are settled on your towel and have made your entrance comfortably.

Zappos carry a wide selection of cover-ups.

Vince Camuto Seychelles Midi Caftan Cover-Up

Vince Camuto Seychelles Midi Caftan Cover-Up

Jantzen Art House Flower Kimono Cover-Up

Jantzen Art House Flower Kimono Cover-Up

Flattering Bathing Suits Swimsuits for Older Women

Shop for a Size that Flatters Your Body

Whichever style of bathing suit you select, it’s a good rule of thumb to go for a bottom that’s one size bigger than you wear with your regular clothing. Having a little extra material will reduce curves and divert the eye from your own perceived problem areas. If your chest is a lot smaller than your bottom half, it’s best to select a top with a bit of substance.

Look Beyond the Bikini – Skirtinis, Shortinis, Tankinis and Swimdresses

You are not stuck with the choice of a bikini or one-piece anymore. There are some fabulous choices for older women. The tankini is a bathing suit that combines a tank top and a bikini bottom. It’s like a one-piece but with the convenience of a two-piece. If you want a little larger bottom, there is the Shortini which is a Tankini top and shorts on the bottom.

HALTER TANKINI TOP

HALTER TANKINI TOP

Flattering Bathing Suits Swimsuits for Older Women

We, here at Sixty & Me, love swim dresses. They’re like a traditional one-piece bathing suit combined with a short mini skirt. It’s great for hiding tummies, thighs and hips.

MESH-INSET WRAP SWIM DRESS

MESH-INSET WRAP SWIM DRESS

Flattering Bathing Suits Swimsuits for Older Women

Focus on the Parts of Your Body that You Love. Don’t Over Analyze Perceived Flaws!

The most important advice that we can give you when choosing a bathing suit is not to focus on your perceived flaws. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, you are way harder on yourself than the rest of the world. Like any other aspect of beauty for women over 60, choosing a bathing suit should be fun. It should be about looking and feeling your best, for your own sake, not anybody else’s.

Almost everyone is anxious about their body, no matter how young they are. So, have a bit of fun with it. Embrace your curves, accept your beautiful older body and enjoy your friends and the sun (remembering your sunscreen of course!).

Places To Shop for Swimsuits 

Here is a list of places where you can find swimwear for older women.

Swimsuits for All – As the name suggests, Swimsuits for All has a vast selection of swimwear and accessories for all ages and body types.

Catherine’s – Catherine’s swimwear section specializes in plus-size items.

Lands’ End – Lands’ End swim section is packed with options for older women at very affordable prices. 

Miracle Suit – Miracle Suit creates trendy swimwear with a unique and innovative fabric, Miratex®. The fabric delivers three times the control of ordinary swimwear fabrics. 

Speedo – Reputable brand for athletic swimwear.

Tommy Bahama – A staple brand for everything tropical.

Summersault – Trendy swimwear for women of all shapes and ages.

A Rant on Fashion Models

Many of you have commented about not being represented by the models in the photos. We hear you! There is, unfortunately, ageism that exists in the fashion industry. We have seen the industry slowly shift to more realistic and less photoshopped bodies in the past years.

But we are still hugely misrepresented – they use young models even when they are trying to sell to women our age. For example, see what turns up when we search “Swimsuits for women over 60” on Amazon. Not a single woman over 60 in the photos. 

In the meantime, I suggest you write to your favorite designers and retailers and express your need to see older models with real bodies. Hopefully, the retailers and advertisers will take into account that we are a huge demographic for their products and that they will begin to use models that represent us and our bodies. 

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you feel nervous wearing a bathing suit in public? Or are you completely comfortable in your skin? Where do you think are the best places to shop for flattering bathing suits for older women? Please leave your comments below.

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Carol

I am 70 and have a small frame- thin legs with crepey thighs! I look terrible in swim dresses as they make my legs look even thinner- as well as expose the crepey skin!

I resorted to swim shorts that stop just above the knee. However they are very hot to wear when it’s in the upper 80s and 90s ! Cotton long cover ups look the best but again very hot when on the water. There is really no suit that works for me.

I am physically a thin and in shape lady with unfortunately crepey legs!!

cynthia wolff

This may just be my own opinion but, honestly?, I don’t find tankinis or a lot of these “mature” suits flattering or stylish at. all.

They either are designed too “retro”: where they’re like almost 1940s “costume-y” (which, IMO, begins to look silly) — or (in terms of a tankini): they often feel like you’re, literally, wearing a curtain over the widest part of your stomach *without* any shaping (calling *MORE* attention to exactly the area of your body you’re trying to camouflage LOL!).

I am approaching 60 and, I’m a 12-14. Unfortunately, I don’t have the skin (anymore!) of the model wearing this style suit in the photo — though I totally LOVE the “glam”, coverage, and classic modern look of the one she’s got on:

Screenshot_20230121-215959~3.png
kelly c.

I was never “rail thin” even when I was younger and, you are so correct about; how, the biggest “problems” we see ourselves as having is 90+% of something stuck in our minds. I mean — if you’re at the shore and it’s 80F outside, people WILL more likely stare at you if you’re wearing joggers and a big sweatshirt lol! What(?): like you/me/1000 other people there are the only ones who don’t look like a photoshopped Instagram 20 y.o. ??? (!).

I haven’t worn a “two piece” since the Reagan era! I think a traditional one piece in colors like black, navy, or olive works for me. The tops of my legs and “saddlebags” area (unfortunately!) are where my weight is focused (I’d LOVE if I could *just* LOSE 15 POUNDS AT 56 y’s.o.). However, the older I get the less I care about it and — so: I like a little “va-voom” with a higher cut leg (to try to look taller and not like my posture is, I’d describe as, becoming “stooped”).

Polish_20210428_065534174.jpg
Shirley Spagnolo

I’m on my way to 80 and love you swim enjoy the beach and am struggling to find a suitable bathing costumes that fits well and supports the Boobs and covers a bit of the tail and upper leg

Sandra Roussy

Hi Shirley, so happy to hear that you love to swim and enjoy the beach! I suggest that you look for swim dresses. They are one-piece swimsuits with an added skirt that covers the hips and bottom area.

Cassandra

I’ve lost volume in my buttocks to the point that I’m sagging a bit where my buttocks meet the top of my thighs. I actually see a gap at the panty line of my underwear and swimsuits, which looks like diaper bottom! How can I alter them for fit and lift? I’m heading to the Caribbean in December and want to look my best.

Mary

Maybe try boy short bottoms with a tankini top, or a suit with a skirt?

Sandra Roussy

Excellent advice, Mary.

The Author

Sandra is the middle-aged woman you hear about who sheds everything she owns and sets out into the world to rediscover and redefine herself. After more than twenty years spent in the fashion industry designing collections for brands such as La Senza, Victoria’s Secret, and JACOB Lingerie, she shifted her path and pursued her longtime passion for writing, traveling, and photography. Sandra was published in the NY Times best selling book Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It. A deeply personal essay hand-picked by Elizabeth Gilbert about loss, facing fears, and going after dreams. Visit her website: www.sandraroussy.com

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