I buy a new bathing suit every year. Whether I “need” it or not. We have a pool, and we love to spend time at our beach condo on Sanibel Island (View the live beach cam HERE.), so having a fresh, new swimsuit every year is important to me!
I’m a beach babe through and through, and, if I do say so myself, I know what I’m talking about when it comes to buying bathing suits! Natalie and I have been scouring the interwebs for suits this year, and I have to say: I think the bathing suit options out there for women over fifty are better than ever. (Praise hands for the resurgence of the high-waisted bikini, amirite? 🙌🏻)
Today, I’m telling you how to shop for a bathing suit, what to look for, and even where to shop. And at the end of the post, I’ll share my tips for wearing a bathing suit with confidence (no matter what size you are) and what to do in the moment that strikes fear in your heart—when someone wants to take a photo of you in a bathing suit!
As always, images and pink links in this post are clickable. Thank you so much for using my links to shop! It means so much to me, and it supports Empty Nest Blessed!
Buying A Bathing Suit: How to Get Started
To avoid getting overwhelmed by all the options out there, figure out your favorite features and least favorite features before you even start shopping. Don’t beat yourself up about this! Just make an objective list, so you’ll know what to look for when you shop.
Brace yourself. It’s going to be challenging to find an excellent fit and superior fabrics for less than $75-100. I’ve included some less expensive suits in this post, but I don’t necessarily recommend them! Oh, you can go the cheap route, but don’t count on quality and longevity. I’ve done it both ways, and I’m telling you the truth here, gals. If you’re looking to save some dough, my recommendation would be to find a high-quality, well-made bottom (like this high-waist one or this super high waist one—both by Miraclesuit®) that you feel good in, and then mix and match the tops. Another alternative would be the unique Transformation Tube by Spanx. (More on that below.)
Buying a Bathing Suit: What to Look For
Look for suits that create optical illusions, playing up your best features and minimizing those you want to diminish. For example,
- Suits that are darker on the bottom than on the top will minimize your lower areas.
- Suits that are darker on the sides and lighter in the center will visually slim you. This one is a perfect example.
- Suits with a belt or a design that mimics a belt (like the one I’m wearing in this post) will emphasize your waist.
- Suits with strategic color blocking can help emphasize areas you want and diminish areas you don’t.
- Suits with vertical stripes that will visually elongate your body.
Suzy’s tip: If you’re going the high-waisted bikini route, consider ordering one size up from your normal size on the bottoms to avoid the dreaded muffin top. (Hey, if you’ve birthed babies, you’ve got that extra skin, no matter what size you wear!) I’ve found the super-high-waisted styles or even the styles worn lower on the hips to be a better option, for exactly that reason! (Another option is this fold-over bottom from Boden I bought that can be worn either high-waisted or lower on the hips.)
Be careful! If you go for a look that is too covered up, you’ll just look silly or like you’re from the 1940s! (I think this one looks kind of like a nightgown!) The exception to this guideline might be this versatile, convertible swim dress/suit.
Don’t forget sun protection! Consider adding a coordinating rash guard/swim shirt for protection when you’re in the water. You can also do what I did and buy several solid color rash guards from Land’s End to match any swimsuit. (And always slather on your favorite sunscreen, of course!)
Buy a coverup you love! I’ve linked some great ones in a bunch of price ranges at the bottom of this post. You also might want to consider a coordinating coverup for your swimsuit! You want to feel confident walking back and forth to your condo or sitting around the pool.
Buying a Bathing Suit: How to Shop
Using the guidelines in this post, order multiple options. Try them on in the comfort of your own home and only keep what works. Look for retailers with free shipping/returns. (Most have that now.)
Buying a Bathing Suit: Where to Shop
Click through on the pink links to go right to the swimsuit sections on each site.
My favorite place to shop for swimsuits this year has been Land’s End! Their suits are beautifully-made, reasonably-priced, and their specialty is tops and bottoms that coordinate in multiple ways. When my friends at Land’s End offered to gift me a swimsuit in honor of International Swimsuit Day (May 19), I was thrilled!
Land’s End is always on my radar when it comes to swimsuits, but this year I especially had my eyes 👀 on them because they have the cutest collaboration collection with Draper James, and y’all know that’s one of my favorite brands! The gingham swimsuit I’m wearing in this post is from the Draper James x Land’s End collection. (Unfortunately, it sold out right after I received it, but it is available in plus size and there are so many other cute options in the collection!)
In honor of International Swimsuit Day on May 19, Land’s End is offering 60% off any swimsuit and 40% off everything else May 18-19 only with the code SWIMPROMO. That’s an amazing deal, and it’s only good today and tomorrow!
This site specializes in sun protective beachwear and swimwear. Everything on their site is UPF 50+. They feature happy and colorful bathing suits, rashguards, coverups, and SPF clothing, like this cute dress. One feature I like about this brand is that if your size is not available, they’ll email you when it comes back in stock. How convenient is that?
The bright clothing and swimsuit designs at Boden are so much fun! The designs are mostly tailored and classic, but with color combinations that are truly unique! I bought this bikini top, which you order by cup size (32A, baby! 🙋🏻♀️) and this clever convertible fold over bottom. Click HERE to see all of the one and two pieces that are available by cup size.
Anne Cole is a new brand to me, but Natalie knew all about them! All they do is swimwear, and I love their designs!
The designers at Spanx know how to design shapewear and clothes that fit women. Their Transformation Tube swim “accessory” is exclusive to them, and it’s designed to be worn up to 13 different ways! Check out photos on the left sidebar of this page to see what I mean! #brilliant
Amazon is a great spot if you need a suit fast, but I’ve found big inconsistencies in quality. I ordered a bunch of Amazon suits this year and ended up keeping two. I bought this one because I like the belt at the waistband, and this one because it was super high-waisted and looked vintage! Here are some of my other favorites.
How to Wear a Bathing Suit with Confidence
In a nutshell, own it. If you’ve ever been to Europe, you’ve seen women do this well!
Do the best you can with your health and your fitness routine, and then accept the body you have now. You may never look like you’re 18 again, but the essence of who you are is not what you look like. It’s your character, your heart, and what you’ve built that counts (be it a business, a strong marriage, or some awesome adult kids).
Follow my tips and find a suit that you love, then stand up straight, put your shoulders back, and wear it with confidence. Think of what you’re modeling (literally!) for your daughters and even your granddaughters.
How to Pose for Photos in a Bathing Suit
If someone wants to take a photo and you’re in a swimsuit, don’t freak out and grab your coverup! (Again, own it.)
The Two Main Things to Remember When Posing in a Bathing Suit
Just like in any photos you take,
- Face the light (otherwise, you’ll have a shadow on your face)
- Create angles with your body wherever possible.
Other Tips When You’re Posing in a Bathing Suit
- Stand up tall and relax your shoulders.
- Place your feet together, side-by-side.
- Push one of your hips out to the side.
- Put one of your feet in tip-toe position (on the ball of the foot) and bevel like you’re a Rockette! This will minimize dimpling on the back of your thighs.
- Slightly crook your arms at the elbow to visually emphasize your waistline.
- Smile and look like you’re having the time of your life!
Pretty much everything I showed you today is on sale right now, so click through on anything you see in the boutique at the bottom of this post to check out other fabric and color options, as well as current pricing. 🩱👙
Go get em,’ Beach Babes!
P.S. Don’t forget to pin this image for reference! (And be sure to follow Empty Nest Blessed on Pinterest!)