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Revealed! The Most Flattering Swimsuits for Older Women in 2024

These standouts have the fit, style and price to make the biggest splash.

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photo collage of bathing suits for older women
Ethel Staff
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As summer kicks into high gear, you may be wondering how you ever imagined that swimsuit from five years ago could make it through another season in the pool. Or perhaps you’re packing for a vacation and noticing how faded your tankini is. Either way, it’s time for something new.

We’re here for you with dozens of styles to inspire your search. Just remember the ABCs of swimsuit shopping: accentuate the positive; balance expectations, price and choices; and camouflage everything else!

You’re in the picture

More than a few commenters on my recent articles have mentioned they don’t see themselves pictured on retailers’ websites. Age diversity in fashion is only now — and only slowly — being reckoned with. But it’s happening. The Pucci Spring 2024 runway show, for example, featured the 60+-year-old faces and figures of last-century supermodels Isabella Rossellini and Christie Turlington. That shocking concept made news in fashion publications like Vogue — just as Martha Stewart did last summer at age 81 when she posed for Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue.

When a swimsuit brand rocks the proverbial boat by showcasing its wares on gray-haired models, it deserves attention too. Especially when the suits are stylish, flattering and frequently under $75. Maxine of Hollywood is doing just that in standard and plus sizes — and to be clear, it’s nothing like that other “of Hollywood” label that led with a certain man’s name.

You can find and compare prices and options for Maxine suits on several sites. Standout styles include: the Oahu Oasis swim dress ($54); the Shirred Front Girl Leg swimsuit in electric safari or Tahitian Tribe prints ($42); the V-Neck Drape Front Mio ($44-$56); and the Grecian Tile High Neck Tankini top ($51) and coordinating bottom ($30).

Using our imaginations

To be honest, most of us have never seen ourselves in swimsuit ads — ever. We have either been too flat, too short, too apple or too pear — and even too pregnant — to find ourselves represented there. So, we have had to use our imaginations, relying on years of experience and the occasional disappointment to find our swimsuit match. What’s also helpful? Scrolling through online reviews from customers whose stats resemble our own.

Christine G., a 71-year-old customer, reviewed the Pour Moi Cali Ring Control Underwire One-Piece ($112) shown on a model nearly 50 years her junior. In her five-star assessment on a retail website, she wrote: “This suit makes me look and feel sleek and in shape. It has fantastic support and is modest enough that I can be active in the water without worrying about a ‘wardrobe malfunction."

Elizabeth K., a 55+ customer on another website showcasing swimwear on 20-somethings, wrote this about the ribbed texture of the Spinnaker Panel Line One Piece ($140): “This suit is sexy and discreetly covers and supports the 50-something's body! I love the cut and panels. Its thicker texture is very flattering.”

Both suits illustrate the popularity of texture this season. You can find more ribbed texture in a cross-front maillot ($130) and puckered patterns in rippled stripes, animal-print stripes and plus sizes of khaki or violet ($80 each) and black ($103). For added drama, consider one-shoulder suits in olive or white, or an asymmetrical bikini top ($40) with a coordinating bottom ($30) in fuchsia.

Attention-grabbing

A new twist on accentuating the positive is this summer’s use of scallops. They draw attention upward on Sea Level’s Square Neck Bralette One Piece ($140) in black or blue and Panache’s Control Underwire One-Piece with scallops in sunny yellow ($146).

Both collections take the plunge and use scallops to frame cleavage on two-piece suits like the Spirit Lauren Plunge Bikini Top ($73) with coordinating Spirit Classic Bikini Bottom ($48) and the Longline Tri Bra ($100) with coordinating Mid Bikini Pant ($50).

Gathered together

Shirring and ruching, which both create little gathers that disrupt the smooth surface of a fitted swimsuit, are again in full display this summer to neutralize any lumps and bumps.

Hilor delivers a shirred, twist-front maillot in 18 colors ($36) while Sovoyontee adds a boy-cut leg to its retro-styled suit ($36) in 27 colors. Sea Level Swim jumps in with an eco-friendly version made with 85 percent recycled nylon ($110) and offered in trendy cobalt blue. Another hot hue this summer, burgundy, combines with ruching to elevate Cupshe’s Cross Back Swim Dress ($38). Ruffles meet ruching in a swim dress of blue or black abstract prints ($43-$60) or in the elegant Island Goddess Off the Shoulder Ruffle One Piece ($97-$135).

Eye-catching

If the goal is to camouflage, prints, patterns and stripes can be the shiny objects that catch the eye, redirect it elsewhere and deliver a poolside magic act.

Large-scale tropical prints are a favorite trickster and abound in a range of swimwear sizes. Bold blooms blossom on plus-size options like La Blanca’s Paradise Ruffle Cold Shoulder Mio ($135) or Elomi’s Sunshine Cover Tankini Top ($99) and matching bottoms ($46).

Lands’ End offers its Sporty Tugless One Piece in a vibrant orange and coral print ($67) or the more subdued emerald palm foliage ($83) — both available in petite to plus sizes. Hibiscus-splashed swim dresses with side-tie sarongs can be plucked from the offerings at Old Navy ($23-$40) and the Aidonger store on Amazon ($39).

If Old World classics are more your style, artful mosaic prints adorn Coldwater Creek’s ShapeMe Sarong Swimdress ($118-$134) in standard and plus sizes. At Boden, the emphasis is on Tuscan tile patterns for its Porto V-Neck Swimsuit ($120) in regular and long fits.

Petite shoppers looking for the vertical lift of stripes can find it in the “Palm Royale” coloration of Mango’s Stripes Print Swimsuit ($80) and the vibrant shades of Anne Cole’s Easy Breezy Stripe Shirred Lingerie Maillot ($88).

On the block

For purists, color blocking can add visual interest without too much fussiness. Summersalt masterfully splices its one-shoulder Sidestroke design ($115) into dynamic trios such as navy, sky and sand. Elsewhere, shades of blues, pinks or purples combine for Cupshe’s Keyhole Cutout ($30-$35), Eomenie’s Tummy Control Cutout ($36) and Freya’s Freestyle Underwire in astral navy ($72).

Those who like to mix and match will appreciate the options color-blocked bikinis and tankinis offer. The Santorini bikini top and bottoms ($45 each) and Beach Riot’s Mackenzie top and coordinating bottom ($98 each) lay the foundation for a vacation-full of possibilities. Ditto the Square Neck Tankini Top ($31-$39) and coordinating swim bottoms ($35-$46), both in chlorine-resistant spandex.

Ready to make a splash? These examples — and the choices they inspire — will get you set for any pool or beach in your future.

 
Where do YOU buy your swimsuits? Let us know in the comments below.

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