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Miraclesuit  ''Utopia'' Halter Tank
Miraclesuit "Utopia" Halter Tank

How to Buy a Plus Size Swimsuit

Finding a fabulous plus-size swimsuit will build your confidence and flatter your best features. If you have gorgeous eyes, then choose a color that highlights them. If your bust line is a source of pride, look for a suit that flatters that area. If you have long, strong legs, take advantage of the chance to showcase their enviable length. No matter what the obstacle, don't let fun opportunities pass you by because of swimsuit insecurities. The options in plus-size swimsuits offer everyone a chance to look their very best. Keep in mind that sizing is all over the board when it comes to swimsuits. Do not be discouraged over a number on the tag. Focus instead on the fit and style.

The Basics

Step 1Neckline: The neckline can make a huge difference in how the suit makes your body appear. A sweetheart neckline or a plunging, provocative top draws attention upward and away from problem areas. Look for additional embellishments at the neckline, such as rings, lace or bows, to highlight and frame the face and chest.
Step 2Color: Don't restrict yourself to only black swimsuits. Look for a color that suits both your personality and skin tone. Note: Very light pastels or washed-out beiges are generally not flattering on a plus-size swimsuit.
Step 3Patterns: Use patterns to your advantage. Look for vertical stripes to elongate the body and create an illusion of height. Horizontal stripes are great for balancing a smaller top, especially if featured on a solid bottom.
Step 4Swimwear Separates: Buying a top and a bottom separately allows you to build a custom suit. This is very helpful if you are two different sizes on your top and bottom. It also allows you to look for the pieces that work best for your body type without having to settle for an ill-fitting bottom piece just because you love the flattering top.
Step 5Cover-Ups: Stay away from unflattering, oversize T-shirts or men's swim trunks as swimsuit cover-ups. Choosing a beautiful wrap or simple dress will make a huge difference in your overall look and confidence level.

The Lingo

Maillot: A maillot is a one-piece swimsuit that normally features a simple scoop neck and tank-top-style straps. The straps can be spaghetti-strap skinny or quite thick. This very basic suit can be flattering if it is made with a supportive fabric like Lycra or Spandex to smooth over bumps, and if the top features underwire support rather than just a shelf bra.
Racer Back: This style of swimsuit is good for anyone with shoulders she would like to show off. This suit is much like the maillot and should have adequate support if chosen for a plus-size swimsuit.
Bandeau: A bandeau-style swimsuit is often strapless and comes in both one- and two-piece styles. The fabric is often gathered in the middle and is cut straight across. Often, thin straps are fastened to the center of the front and can be tied in a halter-top style. This offers a nice focal point.
Bikini: Confident plus-size women can look fabulous in the right bikini. This is a two-piece style that resembles underwear. When choosing a bikini, try to keep in mind the best features of your undergarments for clues on fit and style. Look for a top that supports and a bottom that offers full coverage.
Tankini: This is a two-piece style that is a great choice for a plus-size swimsuit, especially if the bottom has a high waistband with firm support. Be careful when choosing the size; a too-small suit will cut into the body and create unsightly bulges.
Swim Dress: This skirted swimsuit is often seen in the plus-size section and can either be incredibly flattering or absolutely matronly. The key is to choose a skirt that is not cut straight across; this will highlight the size of the thighs. Look for a fluttering, bias-cut or tulip-style skirt, or one where the sides are a little shorter, which will highlight longer-looking legs.
Monokini: This is a one-piece swimsuit that is not flattering on most plus-size women. The sides are completely cut out, leaving a thin strip of material connecting the top and bottom.
Boy Shorts: These are paired with either a bikini or tankini top and look much like very short shorts. Since this style cuts the legs straight across at a wide point, they make the legs appear wider and shorter, so this is not generally a good choice for plus-size women.
Halter Tops: This supportive swimsuit top is great for plus-size women with large chests. The halter offers a lot of support and gives many suits a glamorous retro look that is very flattering.
Ruching: These are chunky gatherings of fabric that help in fooling the eye. Well-placed ruching along the sides of a swimsuit create a perfect fashion illusion and a very comfortable swimsuit.

The Experts

Speedo USA suggests a one-piece swimsuit with a long torso to add length to your form. Vertical stripes can accomplish a similar goal.
Andy Paige, style expert on TLC's "10 Years Younger" and author of "Style on a Shoestring," advises, "If you apply a self-tanner the night before, you will lessen the shock of a ghostly glow and be more apt to like what you see in the mirror."

The Brands

Victoria's Secret Victoria's Secret swimwear provides a stylish collection of plus-size swimsuits that does not skimp on quality or fashion. Many versions of suits come complete with Spanx, Lycra or Spandex to lift and firm the body secretly.
Speedo Speedo's line of plus-size suits is great for both training and everyday beachwear. Supportive and well made, Speedo suits are built to last.
Spiegel This line offers dramatic suits that are fun to wear. The Shape fx swimsuit minimizes hips and rear, and shapes your tummy, providing complete support.
Maxine of Hollywood This collection is full of beautiful and unique swimsuits for the plus-size woman. The blouson tops and pretty lingerie-inspired details make this line perfect for the woman who is specifically searching for a swimsuit with feminine touches.
Xhilaration and Mossimo swimsuit lines offer a wide selection of affordable plus-size swimsuit options.
Miraclesuit is a fantastic swimwear brand that specializes in swimsuits for women who want to "look 10 lbs lighter in 10 seconds". Miraclesuits are made with MIratex technology that holds stronger than most ordinary swimsuits. Women swear by them!

The Price

$: It is quite possible to find plus-size swimwear under $40. Stores such as Target often have fantastic choices for less. A good option is to choose a well-fitting bottom and then purchase a few fun tankini or bikini tops to really extend your swimwear budget. Try the Shape fx All-Over Control Gold-Strap Swimdress.
$$: Going for just a little more are plus-size swimsuits that may last a little longer and offer a little more support. The $40 to $100 range is the most common for basic quality swimsuits. Look at the offerings from Spiegel for some gorgeous options. Try the Fantasie 5225 Milan Halter Tankini.
$$$: This higher price range is where you will find the fashionable designer looks from Victoria's Secret. Spending between $100 and $150 on a quality plus-size swimsuit that will instill confidence is well worth the money. Try the Miraclesuit Sonatina One-Piece Ruched Front Swimsuit.