How to dress for the beach; A selection of my favorite swim wear!

by Sylvia

Swim suits for women over 40 |

Updated article with some new swimwear I purchased!

Are you looking forward to wearing your bathing suit or bikini again, or are you dreading it?

Finding a great bathing suit is never easy so I’m here to help and have selected some of the best bathing suits for women over 40 this summer. Many of these are comfortable and flattering for women over 40 so you can be sure you will step out on the beach or swimming pool in style.

What swimwear will you wear this summer?

Are you still wearing bikinis or do you prefer bathing suits?

My preference is still for a bikini as I find them more comfortable and, on my body, still more flattering. However, when I go snorkeling or do some serious swimming I wear a rash guard, which is why I have included some in this list too. I’m not interested in getting a tan and always protect my skin with high SPF sunscreen. Here is why I feel you too should embrace your beautiful pale skin!

Whatever your preference, you’re sure to find something you like in my selection of bathing suits, bikinis and rash guards.

What I bought for summer 2018 and my current favorites

Like many of you, I don’t enjoy buying swimwear, but I have recently splurged on some swimwear as I hadn’t bought any new pieces in years and I think what I bought now will last me for at least 5 years. I stumbled upon the brand Seafolly and fell in love. These pieces are high quality, have a wonderful tactile feel and are comfortable. I bought a Royal Horizon bikini with this top (this particular top has a wonderful textured fabric and I can see myself wearing this as a fancy bra with an open top for day-to-day too) and this brief. I’m combining that bikini with this rash vest and these shorts.

I also got a set in their desert tribe design. Got this bikini top with this brief and this rash vest (couldn’t find this online in the US). I got the kaftan in this design as well. Finally I got these black beach pants which I can actually wear for evening or day-to-day as well.

Below are other pieces I loved and considered

I tried a few of these bathing suits and loved them but just couldn’t get them to fit as my upper body is proportionally long (that’s why I continue to wear separates).

Some of my favorite Seafolly bikinis

Singlets and rash vests

As my body is long, a bathing suit usually doesn’t fit me so I prefer to wear separates.

Seafolly tunics I love.

One piece bathing suits

I also really like the draped bathing suits from Miraclesuit, which I believe are perfect for women over 40. Their bathing suits strengthen the tummy area and the drapes hide the bulges so you will look streamlined and beautiful.

I also like bathing suits and bikinis with a retro vibe. This style covers up more of the body but is sexy and stylish.

Another brand that makes fun swimwear with especially great rash guards is Tommy Bahama.

Land’s End also has a good selection of swimwear in many sizes. Lots of ladies in the 40+Style community have recommended Land’s End for their flattering, good quality, styles, particularly for those struggling to find a flattering shape and the right support for larger busts.

a selection of the best bikinis and bathing suits |

Land’s End tugless swim suitLand’s End v-neck one pieceLand’s End slender camella one pieceLand’s End slender tunic one piece

Swimwear for women over 40 |

Land’s End sea stripeLand’s End soft cup one pieceLand’s End tummy control one pieceLand’s End slender tummy control

Rash vest picks

I am a big fan of rash guards. I love how they protect my skin and many are very sexy too. I always wear them when I do some serious swimming or go on a snorkeling trip or white water rafting.


I still love bikinis and when I’m not snorkeling or spending a lot of time in the water, that is what I will wear. I usually opt for ones that have good coverage of the breasts and which have a higher brief. I also like briefs that have small pipes, so I don’t have to constantly keep up my bikini line!


A great hybrid between the one-piece swimsuit and the bikini, tankinis can be a fantastic option if you don’t feel tummy confident, but you want to wear a two-piece. It also means you can mix and match, perhaps opting for a bikini top one day for sunbathing, and the tankini top when you want more coverage. Here are some of my favorites.

Swimsuit cover up selections

Almost just as important as your swimwear, a nice cover-up is essential for any trip to the beach. After all, you never know when you might want to pop into the beach bar for a cocktail! You can read more in my article on the best tunics and cover-ups for the beach or have a look at the selection below.

Plus size swimwear

There’s some beautifully flattering plus size swimwear and plus size cover-ups in stores right now, which makes the most of curves while providing support where it’s needed. Swimwear which has a retro vibe often works wonderfully for curvy women!

Bathing suits for your body type

As with everything, choosing a bathing suit that you love and which suits you is much more important than opting for the latest fad.

Those with small busts may find that bathing suits with ruffles on the bust and hips add shape, while those with larger busts will need much more support than that afforded by the likes of string bikinis!

If you’re an hourglass, then you could play up those curves by opting for retro styles, while pear shapes can balance their bottom half by opting for a bikini or tankini with the bottoms in a darker color.

Meanwhile, inverted triangles could try halterneck styles which are flattering as they show the collarbone and neckline without adding weight up top.

Rectangles and athletic shapes can either add some curves with embellishments or patterns, or can choose to play up their slim figure by opting for stripes.

Bathing suits currently in stores

Here is a further selection of bathing suits and cover-ups currently available online. There are so many stunning options in the stores now, ready for summer vacation time. Some of these come in different color combinations so be sure to click through and check all available options. Use as inspiration or enjoy your shopping!

Do you have a favorite women’s swimwear brand? What are you going to wear to the beach this Summer?

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1 Nanne

I haven’t had a chance to wear my bikinis yet this season, and it’s too cold for swimming here so there won’t be any until I go to Greece in the end of August:) Even with my extra pounds I prefer wearing bikinis to swimsuits, altough I am considering buying a swimsuit to wear when I go snorkling. It would have to be a halterneck style with a low cut back though, because I tan easily no matter how much sunscreen I put on and I don’t want ugly tan lines:) I don’t have a particular brand that I prefer, but a couple of particular styles: Tops should be bandeau or halterneck, and bottoms should be semi high with a medium cut thigh, because that’s what looks best as I have big thighs. Boy shorts and low cut legs only makes them look bigger.

2 Sylvia

I would just wear a spf 50 shirt when you go snorkelling. You burn really quickly doing that and it’s much better to completely cover you up. Yes, you are right about boy shorts. I often see bigger women wearing those and it is not flattering at all…

3 Aleya Bamdad

Love the green one. Very 50s.

4 Sylvia

Yes, that’s my favorite bathing suit too.

5 Greetje

I don’t go to the beach much these days. I used to, but now I am too lazy for it.
Unlike you Sylvia, I like a tan. That is a hang up from my teens and early twenties.
My colleagues used to say to me at least three times a day: “I know you don’t tan easily but o dear how white your legs are…. it is unbelievable.” Which was understandable as I had never been in the sun until I was 22.
So I took to sun couches. I know…. very bad for you,. Skin cancer and old skin. The last I am experiences already, the first I hope to escape.
And I still do it. So much easier than going to the beach and sunbath.
I have two bikinis (quite recent ones) and I will keep it at that. Oh yes and I have one ancient black swimsuit which is still fine.

6 Sylvia

Have you tried the self tanning sprays? Perhaps better for your skin?

7 Greetje

It will be a lot better for my skin, but it takes me too much time. You have to let the spray dry you see. And the old tanning sprays used to slightly stain your clothes. Never dared to use it after that.

8 Kristin

I heart that green number! I’ll be swimsuit shopping for my post baby bod soon…EEEEK!

9 Sylvia

I think that one would be perfect for it. Exciting times ahead for you!

10 Heather Fonseca

That Polka dot retro one piece might make me forget all about bikinis! Love it.
Like you I’m a bikini girl, but I like a more modest bikini with a skirt or more covered boy short. Love your surfing story. Too funny.

11 Sylvia

Oh yes, love that one too. Perhaps even better than the green one… From what I can tell from your blog, I think you would have been right up there trying it with me!

12 Robert

I haven’t gone swimming yet this year, but planning to do so within the next few weeks. Last year’s bathing suit, is slightly too snug. So i’ve been shopping around for a new one. I’m looking more into vintage bathing suits, something like Esther Williams.

13 Sylvia

The Esther Williams bathing suits seem to be very well designed, so that may just be perfect. Good luck with your search!

14 Michelle

I just love the Esther Williams suits…elegant and retro. Reminds me of the pin-up girls. I mean that in a good way. I live in the southeast part of the US. Definitely time for pools and beaches. I’ve been looking for a new suit this year and was thinking of the “shortini”. I like the look of shorts and a tank….full coverage, but separates. I’m concerned about Nanne’s comment about making the thighs look larger. I’m overweight, but don’t have huge thighs. I think I’ll take the “plunge”

15 Sylvia

Hi Michelle. Thanks for your feedback! Yes wear something you are comfortable with. I think it’s true that bigger shorts and briefs will have the effect of making you look larger. But for the retro look that is what is meant to happen. Perhaps make sure your shorts are not too baggy and long and you should be ok!

16 Lee

Thank you so much for this! It is so refreshing to see fun styles for the women over 40! If more swimsuit designers would understand that women over 40 like more than just flowers, polka-dots or solid color swimsuits, they would make a fortune! It seems whenever a junior print comes along in a women’s swimsuit, it tends to sell out. I would love to see more swimsuits with beach print material such as flip flops. Or surf boards. Or sunglasses. Or shells. It is a neverending list of beachy prints!

17 Sylvia

hi Lee, Glad you like this item and welcome to the site!

18 Angel

so glad to find this website!

19 ellen

Where can I purchase the vintage polka dot one?

20 Sylvia

Unfortunately that bathing suit is no longer available, but I added some other (polkadot) bathing suits to the list that you may like.

21 Lorraine

I am still a bikini girl but usually take a swimsuit for trips out snorkelling or island hopping. I figure that I am never going to see the people I meet on holiday ever again so as long as I think I look ok that’s all that matters!
I always buy Freya bikinis as they fit like bras and always have nice patterns.

22 Sylvia

Yes very true Lorraine. I should look and see if I can find your Freya bikini online.

23 Lorraine

Freya are owned by the same people who make Fantasie u/wear & swimwear and their products are great quality. Forgot to say that I like the turquoise and blue shaded swimsuit.

24 Sylvia

Great! Found them and I have added some Freya pieces to the list.

25 Rita

Sadly, I don’t get to the ocean very often these days, though it is a great love of mine. I don’t wear swimsuits when I go, though. Somewhere along the line I decided I felt very awkward and exposed in a swimsuit (probably the same reason I don’t like figure-hugging clothes). I wear shorts and tees over a jogging bra (like I’m going running) all made of a quick-drying fabric. That way I can just step out of the water and walk on the beach without having to fuss with a cover-up. My father had melanoma before he died so I have no interest in sunning myself. I stick to going to the beach in the morning before 10am or after 4pm and use lost of sunscreen.

26 Sylvia

Yes good idea Rita!

27 Patti

I usually wear a rash guard (and the one you’re showing is very nice!) and board shorts. I need a lot of sun coverage.

28 Andrea

I agree with Patti. I need a rash guard and the ones you are showing are lovely. Thank you!

29 Kim Martin

Thank you for showing true size women! So many of us over 40 just don’t have the body we used too. Have you ever looked at Lands End swim suits? I love their endless options of tankini tops then you can mix & match the “swim mini” bottoms. The bottom has little skirt that nicely covers cellulite on the backside or bikini line rash from waxing/shaving.

30 Sylvia

Thanks for the recommendation. I have added some pieces from their collection to the page!

31 Greetje

That black bathing suit by J Crew with the ribbons on the shoulder… so nice. I would be tempted but not for ordering from the USA. Alas.

32 Post Surgery

My bust is small, tummy large, very hard to flatter this figure post mastectomy! Like tankini top flowy style.

33 M

Now that I’m over 50, I have been preferring more modest swim attire such as “swim dresses” that come down to either mid-thigh or just above my knees. I also prefer “boy shorts” with my bikini tops. I don’t see either of those swim options shown here so I wanted to let the ladies know that those options exist also. Venus has some and Athleta has some off the top of my head but others sell them as well.


It would be nice if the models were 40+!!!
Makes sense to me!

35 Sylvia

I would like that too but that’s not possible for a site like ours and here’s why. You will still find LOTS of 40+ women on this site though.

36 Beverly

Hi Sylvia,
I’m not sure if you’ve already addressed my concern in some of your other comments. I am 62, not overweight, run and walk daily and lift weights regularly. Since my early 40’s I have had severe cellulite on my thighs and now, my upper arms. I am very active, but find it unbearable to wear a swimsuit which will expose my thighs, literally to my knees.
Do you have any suggestions for swimsuits that are shapely but would help me not feel so uncomfortable?

37 Sylvia

For a top I do like to wear rash vests. some of them are super stylish and have long sleeves. For the bottom, if you are wearing the rash vest, try getting briefs that are a bit longer. Although you can now also get long pants as swim suits, I think that would only draw more attention there.
Rather I would buy a nice cover up. This can be semi see-through and go up to your knees but will do a good job at hiding your cellulite. (even though I don’t necessarily think that you should as probably only a few people would notice).
One last tip I’d like to give you is to perhaps try a roller. They have proven to be very effective to combat cellulite. There are specialist rollers for cellulite but I like this one Just lay on you side and roll your thighs over this with as much tension as you can bear. In the beginning you will not be able to do this for very long (or with much pressure) but with time it gets easier and you should see a lot of improvement with the cellulite. You may like to give it a try. In addition to combatting cellulite, it will also keep your muscles and fascia subtle 🙂

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