Fitting guide: Best plus-size swimwear

September 05, 2023

Fitting guide: Best plus-size swimwear

What do us curvy women want when it comes to swimwear? For a start, we want our plus-size swimwear that fits us properly – on the belly, boobs and bum. We also want to feel confident, supported and able to move freely. Thirdly, we want beautiful quality pieces that are made to last.

The problem with a lot of plus-size swimming costumes, tankinis and bikinis is that the fit is often not quite right. A one-piece, for example, may fit you on your tummy but be saggy on your bum. Or a tankini could fit your boobs but ride up at the bottom. Another problem is that cheap, flimsy fabric can easily stretch out of shape after a few uses.

Deakin & Blue X-Back Swimsuit Plum

What is curvy or plus-sized?

In the UK, if you’re over a dress size 16-18, you’re considered plus-sized. In the USA, plus-size is a UK size 20 or bigger. The average dress size for women in the UK is size 16, so lots of us are looking for clothing tailored for curvy women.

Fashion designers and manufacturers use the term ‘grading’ to refer to the way an item of clothing is adapted for a range of sizes. Across much of the industry, the sample size on which all sizes are based is a UK size 6 or 8. From this sample size, clothes are simply increased size - often across the entire shape of the garment using crude measurements. For example, a t-shirt that fits a size UK 8 well, might have 2cm added to its width, length and sleeve size for each dress size going up. But this doesn’t account for the way bodies change size as they get bigger. For example, somebody who wears a size 20 swimsuit is likely to need a longer gusset-to-underbust to account for a bigger stomach. Likewise, simply increasing sleeve circumference doesn't account for the fact that upper arms get bigger than forearms.

What’s different at D&B?

For a start, we use a size 14 as our sample size. Secondly, we use a bespoke grading system for our swimwear that changes every aspect of its size. And then, once the swimwear samples have been made, we use our trusty wear-testers, who are all shapes and sizes, to try them out.

We also:

  • Show our swimwear on a range of bodies so you can see what it looks like in different sizes
  • Celebrate different bodies
  • Have a unique sizing system that takes into account bust sizes
  • Provide detailed fit guides and measurements for our swimwear
  • Use extra-durable fabric that doesn’t stretch out of shape
  • Offer fitting calls over FaceTime
  • Listen to your feedback

Our top three styles for sizes 16+

All our swimming costumes and bikini bottoms come in size 8-24, so you have your pick. All our swimwear comes in three bust sizes – Hepburn (cup size AA-B), Monroe (cup size C-E) and Hendricks (cup size F-HH). Here, we’ve selected our favourite three.

Deakin & Blue Essential Tankini

The Essential Tankini

The super-soft bonded fabric and classic tailoring of our Essential Tankini make it a favourite for curvy women. Like all our swimwear, it comes in three supportive bust sizes so you can find the perfect fit for your beautiful body – plus, you can mix it up with different colour bikini bottoms.

We love:The simple, classic shape and mesh detail.

Top tip:Pick an Essential Tankini with High Waister bikini bottoms or Swim Shorts if your top and bottom are different sizes.

Deakin & Blue X-Back

The X-Back Swimsuit

Available in six different colours and patterns, our X-Back Swimsuit is our top seller across all sizes. As you go up through the sizes, it gets longer to accommodate every beautiful lump, bump and jiggle, so pick your dress size and curve size for the perfect fit. Our customers tell us that wearing their X-Back Swimsuit feels like a hug.

We love:The gorgeous cross-back, soft fabric and beautiful colours.

Top tip:Size up if you have a longer-length torso – you may have to size down on the bust.

Deakin & Blue Long Sleeve Swimsuit

The Long Sleeve Swimsuit

If you've ever bought an item of clothing and found it too tight on your upper arms or too baggy on your forearms, we feel your frustration. Properly graded to account for the fact that our upper arms are usually proportionally bigger, our beautiful Long Sleeve Swimsuit has mesh sleeves perfect for that bit of extra coverage - especially if you're self-conscious about your arms.

We love:The double-layered fabric and mesh sleeves for extra warmth.

Top tip:There are two ways to fasten up the zip on the Long Sleeve - we'll let Lucy show you how in the videos below.

Option 1: Bend and flick

Option 2: Reach and pull (for the more flexible)