Women’s bathing suits now come in a variety of styles that are flattering for many different body shapes and sizes. One of the most liberating advancements in women’s swimwear is that many two-piece bathing suits are now sold separately, allowing tops and bottoms to be mixed and matched. The key to selecting bathing suits that look best on bodies with larger hips and thighs is to look for suits with specific features that flatter that shape.
Skirts are one of the most flattering bathing suit features for bodies that are heavier on the bottom half. Over the last decade, skirts have become increasingly popular on both one-piece and two-piece swimsuits. The best bathing suits for thicker hips and thighs have skirts that are short and slightly flared, resembling a tennis skirt more than a tight tube skirt. Bathing suits with wraparound skirts and asymmetrical skirts are also particularly flattering on curvy hips and thighs.
Boy-cut bottoms are available on both one-piece and two-piece bathing suits. Their straight-across cut at the waist and thighs minimizes that area, while the extra fabric at the thighs creates a smoother silhouette. In contrast, one of the least-flattering styles of bathing suits for a fuller bottom half is the French-cut bathing suit, which is cut high at the thighs.
Ruching is a sewing technique that gathers the fabric to create a rippled effect in which the fabric doesn’t lie completely flat against the body. Ruching has been a popular feature for many years on wedding dresses and, in more recent years, on swimsuits. Ruching at the hips and thighs camouflages extra weight and adds a decorative detail to the swimsuit.
Two-piece bathing suits with a bandeau or bikini top and a high-waisted bottom piece are a modern and flattering option for creating a smooth silhouette at the bottom half of the body. They create a visual effect that’s similar to a body-shaping garment typically worn under clothes.
Unlike a bikini or a monokini, a tankini covers more of the hips and thighs while still having the freedom of a two-piece. Tankinis for bottom-heavy body shapes look best when they’re fitted at the bust and slightly flowing at the sides rather than clingy at the hips and waist.
V-necklines and sweetheart necklines are flattering on virtually any body type. They’re especially flattering on bodies with full hips or thighs, however, because they draw the eye to the upper half of the body.
References and ResourcesMarie Claire: Big Girl in a Skinny World: Swimwear
New York Magazine: Don't Look Like a Fool This Bathing-Suit Season