Body Type

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.

jane seymour swimsuit

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) know how to pick the perfect swimsuit to enhance her figure and look wow! Here are five things to consider to look slim and sexy in a swimsuit.


1. Choose a Plunging Neckline

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

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

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swimsuits Brown

2. Look for Draping & Ruching

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

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

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4. Avoid Anything Too Snug

When you’re swimsuit shopping,  put your vanity aside and forget about the size tag. Look for a swimsuit like this cute leopard tankini 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.

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5. Drop Pounds by Going Dark

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

Dark colors minimize the area they cover, while light and bright colors draw attention. To minimize a heavy bottom, wear dark below. To minimize a heavy top half, wear dark above. Heavy all over? Wear a one-piece swimsuit in a dark color like brown, black, or this beautiful navy swimsuit.

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Click here to see More Classy swimsuits. 


Need help downplaying something specific?

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

Big hips – Try putting the emphasis high by choosing a suit with lots of detail up top. If it is a two-piece suit, ensure 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 in the stomach will also help you fade out of 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 trendy, but there is no reason you can’t wear a bikini over 40! Plus size? Plus-size swimsuits here.

Shop more slimming swimsuits here:





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24 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 women who don’t want the younger models. It might be something you might not want to do, but it would be helpful.?

  2. Ever notice how the “look slimmer” bathing suit articles are written by and photographed with thin ladies? I 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 lovely 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 suits. But those with more noticeable lumps and bumps would like to see how it looks on women who look more like us!

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

  4. I just returned from a cruise and was pleased with my pics when I saw them, which 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 two new swimsuits om Target and one from Walmart. I get compliments on both of them. One s a babydoll style, and the other looked like a tank top tied around the neck, with the bottoms being a skirt with a built-in girdle. Of rse, my earrings were always on to complement my bathing suits. I wo ed extra hard on my outfits for the cruise, which paid off. I lo your website. I of n got tips for the voyage here and on 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 prepare your wardrobe for them because you need to bring 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 feel fab!! Plus, you look 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 wearing whatever we want. No one cares, so why should we? And if they do, that says much 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 reasonably small waist. I have had a bit of a jelly belly since my last birth 3 yrs ago. Mixed sizes make it hard to find swimsuits to fit top and bottom. Summer clothes are 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 that you can select different sizes, and it looks like a one-piece with tummy coverage. Then, you can buy other colored bottoms to go with the top and update your look without breaking the bank:) With a jelly belly, go for a ruched top option, as it will disguise what lies beneath beautifully. I hope that helps. This isn’t a plug for my online swim and resort wear business, but if you’re unsure what I mean or want to see what this tankini would look like, here is a link:
      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 with legs that look like a world atlas, full of thread veins, purple and red, from ankle to thigh, and can’t afford to have them removed? Nothing covers them, nothing. Believe me; I have tried sally Hanson’s fake tan………………..can anybody help?

    1. Lois, please do not let your veins get in your way of enjoying the beach or pool. We should enjoy the lovely 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 wear longer shorts if you are over 40. I don’t mind seeing people with varicose veins, but I do mind seeing people in short shorts who do not need to wear them! Enjoy life! I wear my bathing suit and a lightweight and cool cover-up until I am ready to get in the water. When I get out, I put the lid back on if I am around many people.

    2. Hi Lois, I wear blackboard shorts over a swimsuit. I also wear shorts with a swim top. The board shorts I have are black, so I found a top or swimsuit with a bright pattern with a small amount of black mixed in. The shorts come 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 about 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? Why not host a competition if there’s a need and no supply? 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 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; of course, it’s impossible to find ones to showcase every fashion you mention in your articles. I think it’s also a great idea to have readers send in their pics. Keep up the great work!

    2. I agree! Use women our ages with our bodies. Seeing 30-somethings in a swimsuit depresses me. Show us, 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 natural bodies to model. It isn’t enjoyable. If you know of a brand that does, please let me know, and I will post it.

        1. Hi Deborah, One company that regularly features plus-size and 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!

      1. I found a great bathing suit that slims and looks great on my 56 year old body! It’s from target and it’s called a fly away tankini. It can be worn strapless or with a strap. I love it so much I bought 2 in the same color!

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