The swimsuit post I kept putting off

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I loathe shopping for swimsuits so much that I even disliked hypothetically shopping for them in order to belatedly bring you this (much-requested) post. I think part of the problem is that I have very specific—some might say slightly boring—taste in swimwear. The simpler the shape the better in my book, which is why I bought this tank suit from Solid & Striped a few years ago and have had it in high rotation every summer since.

I also like a swimsuit that gives off the impression of being barer than it is, like this little number (which also comes in black and red, fyi).

Animal print swimwear can skew tacky pretty fast, but the leopard print on this underwire suit is so impossibly chic. You can also avail yourself of this print in a plunge-neckline iteration.

Summersalt is a new brand that’s been advertising on my social media feed 24-7, and I like the fact that their suits come in sizes two to 22. This one is just so cute and cheery—you can’t see them here, but it has sweet shoulder-ties—and the vertical stripes on the bottom half are quite flattering.

Here’s a chic, retroish choice that I feel would be good for giving the flatter-chested among us a hint of cleavage.

A super-streamlined option with an alluring little peekaboo hole.

This one-shoulder suit comes in like a zillion colorways, and holds you in nicely.

I don’t usually like swimsuits with prints, but I do make exceptions—like for this rather dear floral.

And also this striped Norma Kamali suit (which also comes in solid black if that’s more your speed) that’ll make you look like a Coney Island bathing beauty circa 1955.

I dig the cool colorblock print here.

This flattering ruched bandeau suit comes in a lot of good colors; here’s something similar but with straps.

The blouson effect on this one camouflages stomach pooch quite nicely.

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Comments

43 Thoughts on The swimsuit post I kept putting off
    LisaR
    21 Jul 2021
    10:40am

    I’m here to say don’t knock the skirted swimsuits until you try a cute one on! I love the two-piece suits that have a tankini top (preferably a halter style) and a very short skirted bottom. I’m much more confident and happier with my appearance in this style than I ever was back when I was at my thinnest and wearing a skimpy bikini.

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      lola
      22 Jul 2021
      8:08am

      I think there are really cute skirted suits, but it’s hard to find the ones that have a little bit of a skirt. What I’m seeing is fabulous women wearing suits with skirts that once they become wet, are literally hanging to their knees. If that style is what makes them feel confident, then that’s what they should be wearing, but I think we tend to give up too easily in our search for the perfect suit because the options are few and far between, and let’s face it, shopping for swimsuits is the summer equivalent of shopping for jeans in the winter. It has the ability to suck the confidence right out of you.

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    lola
    21 Jul 2021
    9:30am

    I can’t remember if it was here or on IWTBH, I saw the La Blanca Island Goddess suit. It looked perfect – solid color, thin adjustable straps, ruched middle, and non-underwire support. Reminded me of a ballerina or something a very chic, non-fussy European woman would wear. Fast forward, I now own 3 of them, same style different colors. I am 5’1, 140 lbs and 53 years old and I swear I feel like a 120 lb. 25 year old in it. Gets lots of complements from friends my age who have gravitated towards the JC Penny skirted, printed, molded cup granny suits. There really are great suits out there for our “certain age” that don’t have to be matronly. I know a lot of us tend to pick suits with prints as a distraction from what we perceive to be our “flaws” but my opinion is that a smaller print is much more flattering and less matronly. And as I mentioned to my BFF who had the aforementioned granny suit on recently (because the insides of her thighs were starting to move downwards), stop adding extra material to places that you don’t want to call attention to and focus on creating a shape that you do want to call attention to.

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      Dawn
      21 Jul 2021
      2:17pm

      I have the La Blanca Island Goddess and its my favorite suit that I own by far. Except I need a little help sorting out those cute crisscross straps at the back. My left shoulder does not allow me to reach back there lol.

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        lola
        22 Jul 2021
        8:03am

        I have the ones that have regular straps because of that very reason. Nonetheless, those suits are just so flattering and classic. I did recently purchase a Jessica Simpson suit from Macy’s. One shoulder (I was hesitant because the non-shouldered side always seems to migrate downwards), small blue and black leopard print. That one is a keep also!

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    Eloise
    21 Jul 2021
    8:32am

    Some of these are really great and if I hadn’t just bought a suit for the first time in YEARS, I’d have considered the black “Striped &Solid,” which I am pretty sure wouldn’t work with my boobs. Boden skews “Mumsy” but they have some good swimwear – I grabbed this one – now I just have to actually get in a pool: https://www.bodenusa.com/en-us/corsica-swimsuit-black/sty-s0148-blk?cat=C1_S2_G17

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      cw
      21 Jul 2021
      8:34am

      I like the bottom coverage of this one!

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        Eloise
        21 Jul 2021
        8:40am

        YES – I was thrilled!!

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      Mamavalveeta03
      22 Jul 2021
      11:06pm

      I love it! It’s very similar to one I purchased from Boden (that appears to have sold-out) in black with cream trim. https://www.bodenusa.com/en-us/search?q=kelafonia&intid=Swim__CB8

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      lola
      22 Jul 2021
      8:09am

      That suit is beautiful!

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      Elizabeth
      21 Jul 2021
      3:33pm

      Eloise, I got this suit in navy and it is SO ELEGANT — I love it! I am 5’9″, 160 lbs with 36C boobs and broad shoulders. At 54, this suit ticks all the boxes for me: supportive, flattering, comfortable, and fuss-free.

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    y.k.
    21 Jul 2021
    8:13am

    off topic here , but as long as you mention Norma Kamali- how great a podcast guest would she be?!

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      Kim France
      21 Jul 2021
      10:32am

      Agree! Thanks for the suggestion.

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    cw
    21 Jul 2021
    7:47am

    Nothing is more unpleasant than shopping for a bathing suit (imo). You have here a number of really great one-pieces (loving that block-print). However, because my body is so weird size wise I cannot fit into a one-piece so I have been wearing tankinis for years. Basically the same “look” as a one piece since no middle of the body skin is on display, but I find I can better fit my body with a tankini. And, if anyone is looking for a tankini, I’ve found the brand, Carve, to fit me best––they were originally made for women who surf so the bottoms stay in place––always a plus when swimming in the ocean!

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      Eloise
      21 Jul 2021
      8:19am

      CW, Does the top part of the suit roll up on you? I tried a tankini when they first became a thing – eons ago – and the top drove me so nuts I’ve steered clear. Perhaps it didn’t fit properly or they have improved- who know?

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        cw
        21 Jul 2021
        8:32am

        I’ve never had that problem, Eloise, but the last one I purchased has a pretty firm band around the bottom edge of the top. I would tell you the brand, but it’s one that is not with me. I have a new one arriving any day now and I will give you a report after I test it out. Maybe I just never noticed the rolling up!

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          Eloise
          21 Jul 2021
          8:42am

          Thanks, CW, you know I’ll check back.

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      Viajera
      21 Jul 2021
      12:26pm

      Thanks for mentioning that brand – I enjoyed snooping! – and they’ve got some underwire ones.

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    Debbie
    21 Jul 2021
    8:02am

    Anne Cole makes some great ruched maillot suits. I own 5 and get a new one each year. Our pool has a 1000 lap challenge each summer. That gets me in the pool several days a week to reach goal.

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      kimbersam
      21 Jul 2021
      10:59am

      100 years ago, seventeen-year-old kimbersam worked part-time in a major Philadelphia dept store in the Swim department. No GOACA and I mean not even Betty-Body-Beautiful likes shopping for swimwear. Anne Cole was a great brand for one-pieces then and continues to be. Personally, like CW, I prefer Tankini’s as I feel like I can move around more comfortably. Living in Socal, I see lots of bikinis, but I just can’t. Also, LOVE that second suit, it looks like elegant lingerie!

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    Lisa T
    21 Jul 2021
    8:10pm

    What I want is a tankini that fits a 34 J chest where the part covering my belly is long enough and board shorts….I usually wind up swimming in mens swim shorts and a sports bra and tank top. Not fun. Any ideas??

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      Sharona
      22 Jul 2021
      4:06pm

      Seconding the Bravissimo recc. Also check out herroom.com and barenecessities.com.

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      Karen
      22 Jul 2021
      6:33am

      Try Bravissimo, its a British company, but they ship fast, and returns are easy.

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    rachel in berkeley
    21 Jul 2021
    10:37pm

    I discovered Malia Mills walking through a chichi Marin County outdoor mall and it’s been the best pricey $$$ I’ve spent on a one-piece. My C-D-self feels supported without underwires. It’s a miracle. Website isn’t awesome but in-person fitting is.
    https://www.maliamills.com/collections/all-swimwear/products/bra-size-swimwear-maillots-beach-party-bandeau

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    Katy
    22 Jul 2021
    7:22pm

    I love the one-shouldered suits! So glamorous. I finally found a suit that I am reasonably comfortable in from Nip Tuck Swim. I am 5″3, 145, and a 32G and have found that their twist-front one-pieces actually contain my chest very well (with maybe even a bit of room to spare) and have pretty good back coverage as well. They have adjustable straps, molded cups and some styles also have underwire. And they are quite inexpensive, which is great for me because I can’t spend several hundred dollars on a swimsuit right now.

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    Mamavalveeta03
    22 Jul 2021
    10:36pm

    The ruched J Crew number with straps has been my go-to bathing suit for the past decade or so. It’s a classic shape, it comes in long torso, a zillion colors, and the ruching hides a multitude of tummy. What’s not to like?!

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    Katie
    22 Jul 2021
    6:45am

    Two women at my neighborhood pool were wearing the 1-shouldered Summersalt suit last weekend, in very different sizes and slightly different color ways. They both looked great (although it took my brain a while to sort out that they weren’t one shape-shifting person).

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    AK
    21 Jul 2021
    10:57am

    Those 1950s pin up suits look great from the front but are horrific when it comes to the rear view…

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    Jenny
    21 Jul 2021
    11:03am

    This post and these lovely and energetic comments make me realize it’s been years since I spent time near a body of water, much less dove in for a swim. I’m going to put some energy into changing that.

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    Sarah
    21 Jul 2021
    11:10am

    I have had my first truly positive swimsuit shopping experience with Eres. They are ungodly expensive, but every single of the suits I tried on made me feel beautiful. Something about the cuts and the fabrics really worked. Highly recommend their one pieces. There are also good plunging ones if you want something sexier.

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      kimbersam
      21 Jul 2021
      2:35pm

      Sarah, Just went to check out Eres. Got completely distracted by their Lingerie. SO GOOD!

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    MaryAlice
    21 Jul 2021
    11:30am

    For years I have bought only Land’s End suits. They come in a variety of styles for different body types, are cute, and last FOREVER. (gonna break down and go for that Norma Kamali suit, though)

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    Rebecca
    21 Jul 2021
    11:52am

    I find one-pieces almost impossible. I am not very tall (5’5) but have a really long torso ( and yes, very short legs). So it can be hard to find a smaller size, with long torso. I have exactly one J. Crew one-piece that actually fits. Just noticed that Boden has small sizes in long torso.. wonder if I should check them out?

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    liz
    21 Jul 2021
    2:01pm

    Summersalt seems like a very inclusive brand. Thanks for finding.

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      Gablesgirl
      21 Jul 2021
      7:29pm

      I bought the one shoulder Summersalt one piece for a trip to Mexico last month. It fits in all the right places and also looks good with a sarong for post-beach cocktails.

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    D.Morgendorffer
    21 Jul 2021
    1:19pm

    In order to understand my heat-warped reasoning, I must share two things. In the final season of Brockmire, there is an emergence of an Alexa-like entity called Limon. Secondly, this summer I have been routinely making an iteration of Diana Henry’s lemon orzo, with it validating my belief that lemons are the solution to most cooking problems. With the frequent purchase of lemons reminding me of Limon, I now hear Hank Azaria as Brockmire saying, “L’moan! L’moan!” as an internal expletive. How this pertains to swimsuits…Recently, there was discussion about the wear-a-bility of shorts. Maybe, the answer to both our swimsuit and shorts challenges is to simply wear shorts with our swimsuits, with each clothing item nullifying the problems of the other. So, now my internal monologue is, “L’moan! L’moan! Should we wear shorts with our swimsuits? L’moan? L’moan?”

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      SHenry
      21 Jul 2021
      8:09pm

      I’ve gone that route of short board shorts and a tankini top from Athleta, and I like it!

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    Mae
    21 Jul 2021
    1:05pm

    My annual Girls’ Week At The Beach is a good testing ground for swimsuits, since I spend as much time actually in the ocean as I can during these trips, bobbing in the surf and getting my chi straight. And forgetting about how I look! I just ordered two of the one-shouldered suit. I’m busty and I really don’t like to show my cleavage, but I also can’t stand being hot. I love the beaches in North Carolina because there are real people there, not swimsuit models. There are families with multiple generations present, meaning all shapes and sizes under one umbrella. It makes me quite happy. A comfortable swimsuit adds to the experience.

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      Mamavalveeta03
      22 Jul 2021
      11:13pm

      I think you’ve got the right idea, Mae; put on the bathing suit and enjoy the beach!

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    Viajera
    21 Jul 2021
    12:05pm

    The Norma Kamali is gorgeous and I like the one-shouldered one too. Many good choices here. The important thing is to have fun and enjoy yourselves.

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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