Is there a fashion category that has exploded as quickly as the women’s plus-size swim market? Once a collection of “full coverage” suits in 50 shades of black with cascading peplums and skirted bottoms, plussize swimwear has transformed in recent seasons into a cornucopia of silhouettes, textures and prints.
Think off-the-shoulder tops, cutouts and cheeky patterns, as well as updates on classics such as Brigitte Bardot-inspired gingham and the ultimate summer icon, that itsy bitsy, teeny weeny, yellow polkadot bikini. It doesn’t just make for a more fashionable scene on the beach, but also a confident and inclusive one. With the emphasis off hiding one’s body and rather on expressing personal style, brands are getting more creative. They are collaborating with bloggers such as Gabi Gregg of GabiFresh, who teamed with Swimsuits for All, and celebrity stylists including Timothy Snell, who was tapped by Always for Me.
Alex Michael May, a Los Angeles-based, body-positive style expert, recently modeled in Eloquii’s swimwear look book.
“When I shop for swimsuits, I’m looking for the same things I seek out in clothing,” May says. “Interesting details, pieces with movement, and fun patterns — something that’s going to make me feel confident, not covered up.”
While bigger brands get savvier (check out Lane Bryant’s textured peekaboo monokini), niche brands have continued to push the envelope. Brooklyn-based Nakimuli put out a rainbow-hued onepiece that can be tied multiple ways.
The bottom line? Just as there’s no one way to have a beach body, there’s no one way to dress yours.
modcloth.com lanebryant.com TIMOTHY SNELL’S Brooklyn crop top and zip-front brief, $55 and $49, in sizes 16W-26W, al waysforme.com
TORRID’S ginghamprint ruched top and high-waist bottom, $58.90 and $44, in sizes 10-30, torrid.com
BY NADIA Aboulhosn: the Daijhaley swim top and bottom, $40 and $48, in sizes S-3X, bynadiaaboul hosn.com
MODCLOTH’S Sunlight Showcase top/ bottom, $50/$40, XS-4X,
LA BLANCA’S Limoncello suit, $133, in sizes 16W-26W, lablancaswim.com
NAKIMULI’S Bright Delight swimsuit, $130, in sizes S-3X, nakimuli.com
LANE BRYANT textured monokini, $110.50, in sizes 14-28,
ELOQUII off-the-shoulder crossfront top and crisscross bottom, $80 and $60, in sizes 12-28, eloquii.com