5 Ways To Look Slim in a Swimsuit

Finding a slimming swimsuit that flatters your figure and makes you feel confident can be a daunting task, which is why so many of us put off updating our swimsuits for so long (me included!)

But what happens when you’re suddenly invited to a friend’s pool or cottage, and all you have to wear is that boring, shapeless old bathing suit you’ve had for years? It makes you feel pretty fat and frumpy.


If you’re on the hunt for a new slimming swimsuit, take your cue from your favorite celebrity. Stars like Jane Seymour (who looks pretty great, to begin with), knows how to pick the perfect swimsuit to enhance her figure and look wow! Here are 5 things to think about to look slim and sexy in a swimsuit.


V-Neck Plunge One-Piece Swimsuit

1.  Choose a Plunging Neckline

When you want to distract from your heavy bottom half, simply emphasize your top half. For example, a sexy plunging neckline will focus all eyes up to your bust and face. (Make sure your swimsuit has great bra support. You want “the girls” looking perky, not pooped out.)

A swimsuit with some eye-catching detail at the neckline like bright contrast banding, sheer netting, or a lace-up neckline also directs the gaze upwards.

Ruched Swimsuit

2.  Look for Draping & Ruching

Some women naturally gravitate towards bathing suits that wrap, drape, and have ruching, for a good reason. They’ve discovered that soft folds of fabric across the bust, midriff, hips are slimming.

You would think folds of fabric would make you look heavier, but quite the contrary. Ruching is slimming because a textured layer of fabric, hides lumps and bumps.  Ruching, combined with a wrap panel in the front of your swimsuit holds you in and works like magic to slim and tone.


Patterned Swimsuit

3.  Distract with Prints and Patterns

If you’re not feeling great about prancing around in a bathing suit, then a print swimsuit will make you feel more confident.

Wearing a print keeps the eye moving around, looking for a place to rest, which helps to camouflage any lumps and bumps.No matter what your figure, you’ll see some pretty fabulous curves because of this print!


High Neck, Draped Front One Piece

4.  Avoid Anything Too Snug

When you’re swimsuit shopping, it’s important to put your vanity aside and forget about the size tag. Look for a swimsuit like this cute draped front one-piece, which is nice and stretchy, hugs your bust, and flows downwards. When it’s too snug, it squeezes your flabby bits and makes you look heavier than you are.

Going up one size is always an easy fix. No one will notice, and you’ll avoid looking stuffed into your bathing suit.


Sweetheart Neck One-Piece Swimsuit

5.  Drop Pounds by Going Dark

Color and the placement of color can make you look slim. By using color strategically, you can magically shrink the parts of your body that are a little more “obvious.”

Dark colors minimize the area they cover, while light and bright colors draw attention. By choosing a swimsuit like this sweetheart-neck swimsuit with slimming ruched detailing on the sides., you can make your waist look smaller.

Need help to downplay something specific?

Top-heavy? Reduce the size of your bust by wearing a dark color up top and a lighter, brighter color on the bottom half.

Big hips – Try putting the emphasis up high by choosing a suit with lots of detail up top. If it is a two-piece suit, make sure the top has a pattern or a bright color.

Big bust – To minimize large breasts try finding a suit with a solid dark color up. Also, v-necks flatter a chesty woman and make you look sexy.

Small bust – Ornamentation, frills or beading can give the illusion of a bigger bust, and of course, some padding always helps.

Long Torso – Tankinis are adorable bathing suits for women, and they are perfect if you have a long torso. The longer top disguises the fact that you are long and lean.

Big Tummy – Look for a suit with tummy control panels. A darker color at the stomach will also help you fade out this area. Diagonal lines across the stomach like a wrap or diagonal stripe are also an effective disguise.

Big Bottom -Make sure you have enough coverage.  Many suits tend to skimp with the fabric in the tush area.  A good fit will always flatter!

Short Legs – Buy a swimsuit that sits high on the leg. This will make your legs appear longer. A wedge sandal will also give you some height.

Finally, be brave. Send me a photo in your swimsuit, and I will post it! I’m showing one-piece suits because they are very popular, but there is no reason you can’t wear a bikini over 40! Plus size? Plus size swimsuits here.

Shop more slimming swimsuits here:
and here:




Join the Conversation

23 thoughts on “5 Ways To Look Slim in a Swimsuit

  1. This is just a suggestion. I know that you are slim and in good shape Deborah. I think you would be a good bathing suit model for over 40 women. This might help some of the women who don’t want the younger models. It might be something you might not want to do, but it would be helpful I think.?

  2. Ever notice how the “look slimmer” bathing suit articles are written by and photographed with thin ladies ? I truly mean no disrespect here but please show me women who aren’t a size 4! Women with no thigh gap, large butts, spare tires and hourglass figures. There’s no way to “cover up” anything in a bathing suit. It’s a matter of feeling your best with what you have. It’s wonderful that there are many women you are blessed with or who have worked for great bodies and don’t need to worry about their bathing suit. But those of us who have more noticeable lumps and bumps would like to see how it REALLY looks on women that look more like us!

  3. I will model for you I am 46 , and want to model swim wear because I also have more to consider then just change of age and body. I lost my large intestines 3 years ago so I have a ostomy bag.

  4. I just returned from a cruise and I must say I was pleased with my pics from the cruise when I saw them. Which that is not the norm. I am 45 and I did wear age appropriate bathing suits. My goal is to look classy for my age. I splurged and bought 2 new swimsuits. One from Target and one from Walmart. I got complements on both of them. One was a babydoll style and the other look like a tank top that tied around the neck with the bottoms being a skirt with built in girdle. Of course I always had my earrings on to complement my bathing suits. I did work extra hard on my outfits for the cruise and it paid off. I love your website. I often got tips for the cruise here and pinterest.

    1. Hi Angela,
      I’m so happy for you. I’ve been on cruises and I know what you mean. It is a lot of work to get your wardrobe ready for them because you need to bring such a wide variety of clothes from bathing suits to evening dinner wear, but when you dress up on a ship, be it at the pool or a formal dinner, you really feel fab!! Plus, you end up looking fantastic in all those professional photos they take on those ships.

  5. I love this saying: “Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body.”
    One of the great things about being older is that we get to wear whatever the hell we want. No one cares, so why should we? And if they do, that says a whole lot more about them than it does about us. Let your varicose veins see the sunlight!

  6. I am 47.5 yrs old. I am a 34DD /34E . I am a small to medium size bottom. I have a fairly small waist . I do have a bit of a jelly belly since my last birth 3 yrs ago. It is so hard to find swimsuits to fit top and bottom because of mixed sizes. Summer clothes is also a problem . I am going on vacation to Hawaii . I need HELP!!!!

    1. Hi Lu. Have you considered a tankini? It’s great for girls with top and bottom size differences. It’s a two piece, so you have the flexibility of selecting different sizes and it looks like a onepiece with tummy coverage. Then, you can just buy different coloured bottoms to go with the top and update your look without breaking the bank:) With a jelly belly, definitely go a ruched top option as it will disguise what lies beneath beautifully. Hope that helps. This isn’t a plug for my online swim and resortwear business, but if you’re not sure what I mean or would like to see what this tankini would look like, here is a link to one:
      Have a fabulous time in Hawaii! I’m hoping to venture there early next year with my family. Bit of a trip from Australia:) xx

  7. what about those of us that have legs which look like a world atlas, full of thread veins, purple, red, from ankle to thigh, cant afford to have them removed, nothing covers them, nothing. believe me I have tried, sally hanson, fake tan………………..can anybody help?

    1. Lois, please do not let your veins get in your way of enjoying the beach or pool. I feel like we all should enjoy the pretty weather regardless of what our legs look like. I think the most important thing is to wear modest clothing, don’t let everything hang out and if you are over 40 , wear longer shorts. I don’t mind seeing people with varicose veins but I do mind seeing people in short shorts who do not need to be wearing them! Enjoy life! I wear my bathing suit and just wear a lightweight and cool cover up until I am ready to get in the water. When I get out I put the cover up back on if I am around a lot of people.

    2. Hi Lois, I wear black board shorts over a swimsuit. I also wear the shorts with a swim top. The board shorts I have are black and so I find a top or swimsuit that has a bright pattern with a small amount of black mixed in. The shorts come to just above my knees, and are board shorts for ladies. They fit very well without being tight. I feel better with my thighs covered! I hope this idea helps!

  8. Excellent article, but the models used did NOT go with the story, which is something I find pretty offensive. If the article is about how to look slim and the site is how to look good over 40, yet you use skinny models who are 20, at best — how is that not going to offend your readers? You’re saying one thing and doing another.

    I see Deborah’s comment that there aren’t models over 40 to be found — how much effort was put into that? If there’s a need and no supply, then why not host a competition of some sorts? Don’t just shrug and say, “Oh well.”

    1. Hi Karin,
      We put many hours of effort into searching for fashion shots from retailers that use 40+ models. If you can point us to some we’d be thrilled to use them. We also always invite our 40+ readers to send in photos of themselves in various outfits which we always post. So we’re trying to change things, because we feel the same way.

      1. Great tips on the suits. A huge factor in looking good is being confident in yourself. Make up your mind to have a good time and jump into that suit with both feet. Confidence is beautiful…not always easy…but beautiful ;o)

      2. Good answer Deborah. I know you try hard to find older and sometimes larger models, and of course it’s impossible to find ones to showcase every fashion you mention in your articles. I think its a great idea to have readers send in their pics too. Keep up the great work!

    2. I absolutely agree! Use women our ages with our bodies. Seeing 30-somethings in a swimsuit just depresses me. Show we women I can identify with!

      1. Hi Mary,
        I would love to but I rely on the photos from the brands/stores and they don’t use women our age with real bodies to model. It’s annoying. If you know of a brand that does, please let me know and I will post.

        1. Hi Deborah,One company that regularly features plus-size as well as smaller-size models in their catalogs and web photos is ModCloth. They have a lot of fun and “funky” clothes including swimsuits! p.s. I love your blog and website!!

          1. Thanks Carol, I see the plus size models there, and Nordstrom has them too, but the problem is they are all young! It’s hard to get both, mature women and bigger sizes. Thanks for the tip about Modcloth!

  9. I have been wearing tankinis for years, covers the belly. You can always flip up the top when you are lying down to tan your stomach

  10. Love the article would love for you to consider using models with less than perfect figures and faces. Most women over 40 don’t look like these models and these models are not over 40.

    judith pepper

    I was one of your featured over 60’s several months ago!

    1. Hi Judith,
      If I could find models who were over 40 I would use them, but alas, they are nowhere. If anyone finds a retail site that uses 40+ models I’d love to check it out. Thanks!

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