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Plus-Size Swimwear: Resources for Your Summer Vacation Gear

plus-size swimwear resources

Summer’s coming, and summer means bathing suits! Trips to the pool or the beach are a universal favorite when it comes to warm weather (or cold weather, if you’re hardcore) vacation activities, and you’ll want to be prepared with an awesome suit. The bathing suit struggle for plus-size women is twofold–the struggle to find a bathing suit that isn’t grandma-ish, and the struggle to be comfortable being in a bathing suit in public with a body you’ve been taught is unacceptable or unattractive.

For much of my life I wasn’t especially comfortable wearing bathing suits in public, until I came across a post by amazing plus-size fashion blogger GabiFresh about her “Fatkini”. I had never seen a plus-size woman wearing a bikini before (I didn’t think it was something that was “done”), and was totally inspired by how incredibly confident and positive she was, not to mention how great she looked. Gabi writes:

As always, I truly encourage you guys to get to the beach (or a pool) this summer–don’t let body shame keep you from having a good time! I don’t expect everyone to feel comfortable in a two piece, but hopefully I can inspire some of you to take the plunge. I can’t tell you how freeing it is to just have fun without worrying about what other people think.

I’m still not a bikini-wearer myself, but I have come to be much more comfortable in public in a bathing suit. This in part comes from learning to love myself as I am, and to not care what anyone else thinks (If a stranger so invested in what you look like in your bathing suit, that is their problem, not yours). The other part is the recently widespread availability of cute, age-appropriate plus-size bathing suits.

The following are a few of my favorite resources for plus-size bathing suits:

Modcloth plus-size swimwear
Modcloth Plus-Size Swimwear

Modcloth: I think part of the reason I love Modcloth so much is that they were, in a way, pioneers in the cute-plus-size-bathing-suit field. Even before it was common to make cool plus-sized bathing suits, they recognized that plus-size gals like cute suits too, and answered all of our swimwear prayers with cute, vintage-style one-pieces in an assortment of colors and patterns. They carry a respectable variety of plus-size bikinis as well. That’s pretty huge for a major online retailer, and it’s much appreciated! I have this bathing suit in copper, and I totally love it! The only difficult part travel-wise is that this bathing suit has a lot of fabric (esp with the ruching on the sides) and can be a little slow to dry out, but if you squeeze it out really well, it usually dries overnight.

Torrid plus-size swimwear
Torrid plus-size swimwear

Torrid: I hesitate to recommend Torrid because, on the whole, I don’t really like their clothing. I know, I know, they made reasonably cool plus-size clothing before everyone else! It doesn’t have anything to do with how the clothes look, but rather that the price is extremely high relative to the not-so-great quality of much of their clothing. Who wants to pay $60 for a dress and have it fall apart? HOWEVER, their bathing suits are totally awesome! I bought this one about two years ago, and it has held up fantastically and still looks great.

Lands End Plus-Size Swimwear
Lands End Plus-Size Swimwear

Land’s End: As someone who always associated Land’s End with people who belong to yachting clubs, I hadn’t really considered it as a viable option for plus-size stuff. Well, I was an idiot, and was totally shocked to find that they have a pretty solid selection of well-made and super cute plus-size bathing suits. Who knew? Some of the stuff can be a little matronly, but they have some pretty solid options, especially if tankinis are your thing. They also have some great cover-ups for the beach, and even some rashguards for you surfing babes!

Swimsuits for All
Swimsuits for All

Swimsuits For All: I first heard about Swimsuits For All when GabiFresh (mentioned above) released her own line of “Fatkinis” last year. They have bathing suits ranging from US size 8 to US size 34, an incredibly impressive range from a single retailer. They have one-pieces, bikinis, tankinis, cover-ups, swim dresses, and basically everything you would ever need for a day in the water. Some of them are really freaking cute, and the prices are often totally reasonable, which is also pretty uncommon for a plus-size bathing suit (which will usually cost upwards of $80).

Honorable mentions:

ASOS: You guys know I’m an ASOS freak. They often have cute bathing suits, but the selection is surprisingly limited, even going into the summer season.

Forever 21: F21 has really stepped up their plus-size bathing suit game this year, but their clothes are extremely cheaply made, and the suits will not likely be long-lasting. You get what you pay for!

Addition Elle: The cut of AE’s suits tend to err more on the conservative side, if that’s your preference. A lot of the suits can be kind of apologetically frumpy, but there are a few that have cute patterns, and the site is well worth a look.

Simply Be:  I have ‘window-shopped’ bathing suits on SimplyBe many times, but since they’re a little out if my price range, I haven’t ever purchased one. They have bikinis and one-pieces, and most of them are adorable. I can’t bring myself to pay over $100 for a bathing suit, but I have heard from multiple sources that their suits are great.

Katy in the Blue Lagoon
Katy in the Blue Lagoon

Written by Katy

Hailing from Seattle, Washington, Katy is a travel addict constantly seeking her next destination. Fresh off a two-month summer trip to Iceland and The Faroe Islands, she is now embarking on a year-long working holiday in Australia. Katy’s future dream destinations include Southeast Asia, India, Scandinavia, and Antarctica. When she isn’t writing about plus-size travel gear for Her Packing List, you can find Katy blogging about her travels at Six Bones. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Mary says

    As a former lifeguard I can honestly say that the majority of emotionally healthy people do not care what other people look like in a swimsuit. It’s just a few body shaming nut jobs that are ruining it for everyone.

    Great article!

  2. Hannah says

    I bought mine from Lands End and they’re so good! They are a bit heavier and I’m a little jealous of the girls who can pack three super cute and sexy bikinis for less weight than my one piece with underwire but on my last trip to Greece and Iceland in 2013 I swear I spent more time in mine in the sea, hotpots and swimming pools than anyone else I traveled with so I think I got my packing space worth. Really need to get to the Blue Lagoon one day but I just have way too much fun in the city during Airwaves — and I’m still more confident stripping down in an isolated hotpot than with a hundred beautiful hipsters 😛

    • Katy McCourt-Basham says

      Yeah, the weight of the fabric is definitely a bit of a bummer for super-light packers. I love my suits but they just take so freakin’ long to dry! You’ll have to go to the blue lagoon sometime, you’ll love it! It’s a little on the pricey side, but tooootally worth it.

  3. Christa says

    I’m a plus-size gal and I bought my swimsuit from Modcloth– however, sometimes they’ll run out. I suggest taking a look at the brands’ websites to see if they’re still available. For instance, my swimsuit is sold out on Modcloth’s website, but on Fables for Barrie (the brand)’s website… it’s still available, with a host of other options 🙂

  4. CassieLyons says

    I love the bathing suits at swimsuitsforall that’s where I get mine! They have a very large variety and I like that I can do separates since I have a smaller top size than bottom.

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