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Wednesday 3 July 2013

Plus Size Picks: non-frumpy swimwear in larger sizes

It's plus size swimwear time! You must have known this was coming. Shopping for swimwear is tough regardless of dress size, but it's particularly difficult when 90% of the swimwear available to you looks like it's been designed for pensioners. The plus size swimwear world is a minefield, but if you know where to look, there are some more fun and modern options than boring black one pieces and frumpy florals. I've tried to pick a mix of bikinis and swimsuits, because who says you have to cover up if you don't want to? Just check out this gallery for inspiration, then find your perfect piece from my favourite finds from the UK high street and beyond...

Purveyor of tiny clothing H&M wouldn't be the first place you'd think to look for swimwear in larger sizes, but actually the brand caused a bit of a furore when they featured swimwear modelled by a (shock! horror!) size 16 model without slapping 'plus size' all over the shoot this summer. This bargain bikini was part of that shoot, at £14.99 for the top and £12.99 for the bottoms, up to a size 28. It's also available in orange.

ASOS curve offers up a few options up to size 26, and sells their bikinis as separates, so you can buy different sizes to suit your shape. I'm a fan of this 50s inspired floral bikini (£34), but there are also polka dots, nautical styles and lots of fringing. They've even adapted their bestselling high waisted bikini bottoms to suit a curvier figure.

The Domestic Sluts are no stranger to the late, great Esther Williams' retro swimsuits and bikinis (at least three of us have them) but unfortunately the main UK suppliers don't stock larger sizes. Luckily, Modcloth do and they have very good international shipping options. They sell both the high waisted bikini and tthe one piece (which they call the 'Bathing Beauty' after one of Williams' most popular films) in loads of colours and prints for $89.99 (about £60).

Melissa Odabash is the leading lady of the designer swimwear world in the UK, and the good news is anyone size 12 - 32 can get her look for a lot less, as she's teamed up with Simply Be to produce 'Sea by Melissa Odabash', a range of classic styles at a lower price point that feature all of her trademarks. This range is great for anyone who doesn't want a flash-in-the-pan trend, or anything too over the top. My top pick is this halter bikini in her classic giraffe print for £40.

This one piece from Very's in-house swimwear brand Resort is sold in cup sizes and goes up to a 44F, making it a great choice for both fuller figured and larger busted ladies. It's also got built-in shapewear panels to make the most of your best bits. Oh and it's leopard print, so obviously it's awesome. Grab it now for £29, or check out the bikini, swimdress and tankini in the same range, all up to at least a size 24.
Finally, if you're willing to spend a bit more and get something shipped from the USA, the best designer swimwear in plus sizes comes from the amazing Monif C. There are printed high-waisted bikinis, swimsuits will fringing all down the front, ruffled collars, one-shoulder suits - stuff you just won't find in your local Evans store, up to around a size 28. This Anguilla swimsuit is $158 but international shipping is a hefty $49 on top of that. It might be worth having a word with a friend in the USA if you're tempted, or petition Monif C to launch in the UK soon!

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