When shopping for the most flattering plus size swimsuits, the most basic thing you need to know is your body shape or type. Knowing your body type means knowing exactly where your problem areas and your assets are—the ones you wanna camouflage and the ones you wanna show off—and which type of swimsuit designs you should wear.
There are six basic plus size body types: apple, rectangle, pear or triangle, inverted triangle, hourglass, and diamond. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses.
And these strengths and weaknesses will heavily influence your choice of swimwear in terms of design, color, pattern, and cut.
That said, here’s a complete guide on how to choose the best plus size swimsuit based on body shape.
Note: If you’re NOT a plus size, click here instead for a regular size guide.
Plus size apple (or round)
You have an apple body shape if:
- You have wide and rounded shoulders.
- You have full breasts.
- You are top heavy and carry the most weight in your tummy first, and shoulders next.
Note that there are two types of apple ladies: the born apples, and the new apples.
Born apples have always been shaped like an apple no matter their weight loss or gain.
New apples, on the other hand, are women who originally had different body shapes when they were lean but morphed into an apple shape when they put on the weight. They gained all the fats in their midsection, making their bodies resemble an apple instead of their original body type.
Although most bodies retain their own shape when they gain weight, know that it is not uncommon for a certain body shape (even for an hourglass) to turn into an apple if it gains weight.
If this applies to you, it’s about time to consider a swimsuit style makeover.
How to pick the best swimsuits for plus size apple
Your likely goal if you have an apple body would be to look for swimsuits that camouflage the tummy fats. Therefore, look for ones with attached tummy control panels. They tuck in the tummy and shape your waist like an hourglass.
You can also play with stripes. Diagonal and horizontal patterns are perfect for slimming you down.
Avoid horizontal stripes at all cost though. They create the opposite effect and make you appear wider and bulkier.
Furthermore, you can never go wrong with swimsuits that mimic an hourglass shape like peplum tankinis and A-line swim skirts. They create the illusion of a slimmer waist and wider hips.
I’ve written a detailed guide specifically for plus size apples on how to pick the most flattering swimsuits for them here.
Plus size rectangle
There’s quite a difference between a lean rectangle and a plus size rectangle. To illustrate that, here are the characteristics of a lean rectangle body:
- Little or no waist definition
- Breasts and booty are small or average.
- Hips, waist, and shoulders are almost the same width.
However, once a lean rectangle turns into a plus size rectangle, the last description no longer applies.
True, a rectangle body tends to gain weight equally on all parts. But this is only true for a rather short extent of weight gain.
When faced with an extreme weight gain, most rectangles gain the most weight in their midsection, making them more of an apple than a rectangle.
Difference between plus size apple and rectangle
Where plus-size apple and rectangle differ are with their shoulders and bust. Apple’s shoulders are bulkier and more rounded, while rectangle’s are more angular. Apple also has well-endowed breasts while a rectangle has flattish to average breasts.
How to choose flattering swimsuits for a plus size rectangle
Like a plus size apple, a plus size rectangle should opt for swimsuits that camouflage the tummy. You can do this by wearing swimsuits with tummy control panels or wearing slimming patterns like diagonal and vertical stripes.
To enhance your breasts, push-up bikini tops are your best bet. But if you find push-up tops restrictive, opt for voluminous tops with ruffles and frills in it. They’ll make your breasts appear larger without having to adjust your cleavage.
If you want a specialized guide just for your plus size rectangle body, click here to read the article I’ve written just for you.
It contains detailed tips and tricks on how to spot the best swimwear designs for your body type.
Plus size pear (or triangle)
You have a plus size triangle body if your body meets the following descriptions:
- Your shoulders are noticeably narrower than your hips.
- You have small to average breasts.
- Your waist curve is well-defined despite a weight gain.
- Your hips and thighs are prominent and where you carry and gain the most fat.
How to pick the best swimsuits for plus size pear
All the drama should be happening at your upper body while your lower body (hips) should be downplayed.
This is to balance your proportion and make your hips appear slimmer while your narrow shoulders wider.
When wearing stripes: Wear diagonal and vertical stripes as your bottom but avoid horizontal ones. Horizontal lines will make your hips appear wider while diagonal and vertical will slim you down.
You can wear horizontal stripes as your top though. It’ll enhance your shoulders. But don’t wear them as your bottom.
How to enhance your breasts and upper body: You can enhance your breasts by wearing push-up bikini tops. If you’re not a fan of bulky push-up tops, go for embellished and voluminous tops like off shoulder ruffled tops. Remember, the drama should be happening at the top.
If you want a detailed guide specifically written for a plus size pear woman, read this.
Here, I’ve written the key techniques on how to choose the swimsuits that’ll look best on a plus size pear.
Plus size inverted triangle
Here are the characteristics of a plus size inverted triangle body:
- You are top heavy. Meaning, your upper body is wider than your lower body.
- You have wide and broad shoulders.
- Your breasts are well-endowed.
- Your hips are noticeably narrower compared to your shoulders.
- Your booty tends to be flattish to average.
How to pick the best swimsuits for a plus size inverted triangle
To create a more feminine look, your likely goal would be to visually slim down your shoulders while enhancing your hips.
You can slim down your shoulders by wearing deep plunging V or U-neck swimsuits. They’re excellent at making your shoulders appear narrower.
To widen your hips, opt for bikini bottoms with embellishments like strings, ruffles, and frills. The extra details will trick the eyes into seeing your hips as wider.
You can also play with prints. Wear plain dark colors as your top and loud prints as your bottom. Plain colors (especially black) are slimming while prints and louder colors are enhancing.
I’ve written a detailed guide specifically for plus size inverted triangle ladies here.
It contains tips on how to spot the swimsuits that’ll look flattering on a plus size inverted triangle body as well as details on what designs to avoid.
Plus size hourglass
You’re a plus size hourglass if:
- You have large breasts and wide hips.
- Your shoulders and hips are proportionately balanced.
- Despite a weight gain, your waist is still well-defined.
- You gain the most fats on your hips and bust.
- Your shoulders-waist-hips proportion is 4-2-4.
How to pick the best swimsuits for a plus size hourglass
Consider yourself lucky if you’re an hourglass. Of all plus size body types, you have the most harmoniously balanced proportion. Meaning, your shape is versatile and it can almost always look good in any swimsuit.
You might have little inconveniences though like a slight tummy bulge. But there’s nothing that a swimsuit can’t easily fix.
Another thing you should take into consideration is your large breasts. You need to find bikini tops that offer enough support your breasts without you having to worry of wardrobe malfunction.
You can do this by wearing push-up bikini tops (usually with underwire) or sports bras (without underwire and usually more comfortable).
If you want a detailed guide specifically written for a plus size hourglass woman, click here.
It contains tips on which swimsuits to avoid and which designs look best on your hourglass shape.
Plus size diamond
You have a diamond body if:
- Your hips are the widest part of your body.
- You tend to gain the most fat on your lower stomach, buttocks and back hips.
- Some fats are in your uppermost thighs.
- Your legs and arms are slender and shapely and they’re your assets.
Some women mistake diamond body with apple. However, there are two distinct differences: the shoulders and the waists. With a diamond shaped body, the shoulders aren’t as bulky as an apple. They’re also more angular than round.
When it comes to the waist, a diamond’s waist looks more like a sloping outline while an apple’s waist is plain round.
It is, however, possible for a diamond body to turn into an apple when faced with a massive weight gain.
Best swimsuits for a plus size diamond shape body
Your problem areas are your midsection and back hip where you carry the most weight. Therefore, the goal is to camouflage these parts in order to bring focus to your best features which are your shapely arms and legs.
Swimsuits that mimic a slim waist:
Not only does a peplum sculpt your waist, but it also highlights your arms and legs.
Handkerchief top allows breathing room for your tummy but effectively sculpts it. It’s basically a combination of sexy and comfort.
Lines and patterns that are slimming
You can also play with patterns and lines. For example, vertical and diagonal lines are naturally slimming. However, avoid horizontal patterns at all costs as they only widen your midsection.
Bathing suits with tummy control panel
Choose a swimwear with tummy control if you wanna wear it tight without emphasizing your bulging tummy. This extra layer will not only tuck in your tummy but will also create the right curves and waist definition.
Here’s an article I wrote where I recommend a list swimsuits with tummy control panels ranging from low to high price range.