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Fab Body Guide, Part One: The Best Swimsuits For Full Figures

Ah, the quest for the perfect swimsuit. After trying on numerous bikinis, one pieces, monokinis — you name it — what was once a fun shopping expenditure can sometimes turn into a disheartening experience. Believe me, I know how it feels.

Regardless to what you may think, full-figured women have a lot of different options to choose from. Complement your curves with a sexy one piece or dare to bare in a bikini. The key: Try to avoid suits with little or no support.

To learn what kind of suits are best for a large bust, bottom heavy, and plus-sized figures,


  • Large Bust: If you're plentiful in this area, look to halter-style bathing suits. Wide bands around the midriff will give your girls much-needed support and lift while showing off some of that sexy décolletage.
  • Bottom Heavy: Minimize a heavy tush with a bikini bottom that has a wide set band or opt for a short, skirted version. Avoid string bikini bottoms and boy shorts.
  • Plus-Size: Swim dresses are flattering to plus-sized figures. Look for darker colors and prints with longer or shorter lengths to conceal or reveal as much as you please. Avoid baggy fits and bright colors.


Join The Conversation
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 9 years
I don't think Marilyn is full-figured at all, she's curvy but when did that become full-figured.
rabidmoon rabidmoon 9 years
Marilyn's famous "size 14" dress size was evidently UK, not USA sizing, which would make it equivalent to about a size 10/12 depending on the brand and sizing, however in Marilyn's day, overall sizes were SMALLER than they are now, making her more likely to be a US sized 6/8 on her average day, and at her height, that is to me absolutely ideal, curvy and perfect, just like that other photo of Elizabeth Taylor, who looks trim but shapely. I am not particularly thin, by any means, but no way would I wear a "dress" style swimsuit, and I would not wear a skirt either, because I fail to see how putting my arse in some flippy thing is going to make it smaller, if anything it accentuates it too much. "Damn, that is a lot of fabric." That is how I would feel anyway. Trust me, draping my butt in a skirt is like throwing a tablecloth on a hill. Its still a hill, and everyone knows it. :p For some fuller body shapes, especially shorter ones like mine, I still think you cannot go wrong with a really good looking one piece, preferably halter neck with a really cute or cleverly designed fabric and reasonable support, that shows enough thigh to elongate the leg without exposing too much butt, and supports the bust so that it rocks your upper body and takes the eye away from said butt. :D I would rather swim in THAT, and save the "skirting" for a sexy sarong and sandals apres-swim...I would feel like a wierdo Victorian in anything more!
CoralAmber CoralAmber 9 years
I bought the cutest bikini, but I haven't got the courage to wear it. I have a belly, not just a "pooch" or anything so quaint. Every once in a while someone asks me when I'm due because my belly is so much "rounder" than the rest of me :D
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Marilyn is hardly full figured. I'd rather be curvy any day!
catesugar catesugar 9 years
I was ready to have a crack at the editor for using Marilyn Munroe as an example of a "fuller figured" person, but I can see that several people have already beaten me to the punch! It is, however, a time for people to take a hard, long look at how they think about size. At 173cm I am 66kg and a US size 8. Probably half the people reading are thinking "FATTY". I have no cellulite, a flat stomach, so why should someone my height and build be a size 0 or even a size 4 or 6? Is it simply some fashion designer's androgynous dream? I think I'd rather resemble Grace Kelly than Posh Spice.
lisseth0221 lisseth0221 9 years
Hey itsme! I totally agree! I have the biggest problem finding a good supportive halter top! They are usually too skimpy and I am usually terrified of one of my girls falling out!! lol
sfbutterfly24 sfbutterfly24 9 years
I want her shoes!!!
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
I love it too mondaymoos!! :) It's cute and there aren't a lot of people that have them. My family didn't even know what one was until I wore it at their pool :) Everyone really liked it though!
itsme3683 itsme3683 9 years
chances are, if you actually have a LARGE bust, then it's just a matter of finding the halterneck suit that covers half your boob!! i hate being told that it's so easy for big-boobed girls to just get a halterneck to offer support when if it's really a problem halternecks can be excrutiatingly painful because of all the boobage pulling down on the flimsy neck fabric...
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
I LOVE my monokini, kiki!
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
I've gained some weight and my stomach is not very good right now. So instead of forgoing a bathing suit altogether this summer I got one of the monokinis :)
bbkf bbkf 9 years
I'm very curvy (36-24-38), and my favorite bathing suit trick is to get a brightly printed top and a dark, solid bottom. Keeps the eyes on the rack and off the hips!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Uggg...with my boobs, it's so hard to find proper ones! I am pretty tiny so I need a small, but my boobs are a 32D!!! Good luck with that one!
Rnicolew Rnicolew 9 years
Marilyn is curvy- full figured?- nah!I love that photo of her....The swimsuit is divine on her curves....
HipMom HipMom 9 years
I hate swim dresses - plus nobody wears them in Europe, you just bring more attention to yourself, and not in a good way. But until I get down a couple of sizes, no bikini for me - halter one-piece and halter tankinis only.
cocomademoiselle cocomademoiselle 9 years
Thank you Fab for a post on fuller figures! It's always nice to read some advice on how to translate fashion into a "plus size language"!
morganfay morganfay 9 years
@ plasticapple "none of those will hide the cellulite on my thighs!" : thankfully cellulite is quite independent of size. Size 2 and got plenty, baby. :D Who cares?
Isista Isista 9 years
I know that I'm fat. I have pasty white skin, freckles, cellulite, a big chest and a big butt. But I love the water. Am I going to strut around in a bikini? Not on your life. But I'm not going to cut a part of my summer out because I have lumps and curves. Sorry, beach-goers, guess you'll have to deal with another fat girl in a swim suit. That being said, some of these suits are kinda cute. I really like the one-piece retro suit. I almost bought that same one actually. P.S. Sorry for the mini-rant.
lizlee89 lizlee89 9 years
yay thanks!
shopgirl123 shopgirl123 9 years
LOVE that first lavander Valvo.......... obsessed!!!!
plasticapple plasticapple 9 years
Yeah, none of those will hide the cellulite on my thighs! lol
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 9 years
I think curvy actually means hour glass figure but it's used to mean full figure even though it doesn't mean that, but that's kind of off topic and irrelevant.
MisterPinkNoTip MisterPinkNoTip 9 years
Marilyn =/= full figured. I guess they meant curvy, but I hate how curvy has become a euphemism for fat sometimes. Anyway, I do think retro styled swimsuits look best on curvier (I mean hourglass shape, not overweight) women.
javsmav javsmav 9 years
I don't care what anyone says, if you're fat, you can't hide it in a swimsuit. There's no way I'm going anywhere near a bathing suit this year--at my weight, it just shouldn't be done.
Bettyesque Bettyesque 9 years
Which one of those models is full figured exactly?
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