Ask the Editor: Swimwear for Your 40s

May 28, 2024

The unofficial start of summer means that pools across the country are opening and beach trips are on the horizon, and that means swimwear. And the older you get, the tougher it can be to find the right suit.

Hi Abra,

Can you help me find a one-piece swimsuit that isn’t matronly?  I’m 46 with two boys, and the oldest Mom at the pool by a decade.  I need something that minimizes the pooch and (maybe) lifts.  Any suggestions for a swimsuit that feels good?  (Please no skirts.)

Daria

Growing up in the 1990s, I was taught to be painfully critical of my body.  No matter how it looked, there was always something that could be changed or improved.  Aging with a mind trained to see every flaw can be difficult, but after decades of messages about body acceptance, I mostly succeed at not caring about how my body has changed.  

That is until I sit on a pool lounger next to a woman who is nearly half my age.

Luckily, I’ve discovered a way to improve how I feel in swimwear.  First, I find a swimsuit that makes the body that I have now look its best.  Then, I style the hell out of it — bags, hats, sandals, sunglasses, cover-ups, all of it.  The goal is to be the best dressed woman at the pool.  Here are some sample outfits.

One. Emerson Frye Caftan // Good American One Piece // Old Navy Straw Bag // Target Sandals // Ray Ban Sunglasses 

This first look is meant to be bright and fun.  I own a similar suit, and I find the bright color really makes everything feel more fun.  This one from Good American is fully lined and designed to flatter.  Kohl’s has a similar suit for <$50.  J.Crew offers a similar color in their underwire suit if you need support.  Victoria’s Secret also has this color in a v-neck with a ruched bodice.

I recently splurged on the Emerson Frye caftan.  The caftans are really a great option if you want to be at the pool but covered up enough to visit a restaurant or go shopping after.  If you are looking for an under-$100 option, this one from Saachi and this one from Free People are worth your time.

Also, I love this Old Navy bag for summer.  It’s an easy, affordable look.

Two. Summersalt Swimsuit // Summersalt Shorts // Bogg Bag // Keds Sneakers // Aviators 

For a sporty, casual look, I love these swim shorts from the LL Bean x Summersalt collection.  Shorts offer a little more coverage and break up the look of a suit to emphasize the waist and minimize the middle.  I will probably end up buying this look myself.  

Land’s End and Title Nine both make swim shorts a myriad of different colors and styles.  Add them to an add existing suit to boost the look.

The accessories for this one keep it casual with the Bogg Bag (which stands up on its own to keep things dry), the Keds and the aviators.  I would wear my hair up, and maybe add a ball cap.

Three. H&M One Shoulder Swim // Printed Pareo // Raffia Sandals // Hoop Earrings // Cat-Eye Sunglasses

This look is a bit more glamorous than the other ones.  I love the pareo for being covered, but not too covered.  Add in a great earring, in a lower price point so you don’t have to worry about losing them, and a fun sandal to complete the look.  I would also probably add a wide brim hat.

Also, this look requires red nail polish.  I don’t make the rules.  I just enforce them.

{this post contains affiliate links that may generate commission for the author}

Ask the Edit, Posts, Style

share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. C says:

    Oof, I really felt the comment about feeling ok with your body right up until someone else sits next to you! Happened to me this weekend.
    Love love these styles- will definitely be trying them out for more pool visits this summer!

  2. Jill says:

    These are great. Aldi just had Bogg bag dupes. Internet went crazy. 🙂

  3. Diane says:

    I would add a recommendation for Boden one-piece swimwear. They have long torso sizes, and they are very fun, flatering, and well-made. I have a lot.

  4. HW says:

    Oh man, have you ever tried La Blanca suits? I can’t remember how I first was exposed to them, but I cannot recommend them highly enough. I’ve really struggled the extra lbs/stomach after my second child and not loving my body and did not love how I was not as present as I wanted because I wasn’t as in love with putting on a bathing suit, but these have been like a real shot of confidence.
    It’s kind of like the NYDJ version of a bathing suit (built-in compression/smoothing) but with added flattering ruching/crossover bands in the front + attractive & bright colors/prints + (my fav) lift/cleavage and adjustable straps on the top, which really accentuate a figure I wouldn’t necessarily have otherwise (sz8 pear). And all of this with a higher rise (on the bikini front) and more coverage in the rear without going full on mom-jeans version of a tankini (though they do have those too — another nice feature is the mix and match of it all). Anyway, no affiliation, just seems like y’all might enjoy/benefit from some of these same features and the shot of confidence/mental boost from having a suit I know I’ll feel comfortable in. My favorites are the Goddess bikini (banded mid-waist bottom +twist front top) and the Goddess Rouched [sic] Body Lingerie Mio one-piece.

  5. Sara K says:

    Love it! As a older mum, that have crossed into the 4-0… Trying to show and model body positivity infront of her daughter, while also thinking “what the actual fuck” in regards to the aging process… Yes lets be the best dressed!

  6. Sharon Foster says:

    I’m obsessed with this boy shorts tankini swimsuit from Amazon. It’s sporty but not matronly with so many cute color options. I already have two of them. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0C69G77R1?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details

  7. W says:

    Lands End does not disappoint especially is you are busty. I get tankini’s because its easier to go to the restroom. They have sales frequently. I have been wearing them for a long time.

  8. Susan says:

    Love everything you style and all your content, Abra, even when it doesn’t particularly pertain to me. 🙂 That being said, I’m a chunky grandma with horrible legs. I’ve been wearing fitted biker short bottoms with bathing suit tops in my sister’s pool. Although it works, if there’s a way to make this look more fashionable, I would love to hear it! (Yep – I love the sarongs!)

    • evelyn says:

      I love the Athletica Pacifica Illume dress coverup. It’s basically a dry fit dress with a pocket and I’ve worn it in water.

  9. CJ says:

    Spanx now makes swim suits. I did order a two piece and liked the bottoms – high waisted, supported. The top left much to be desired. Not sure if a one piece would be better. I love Spanx a lot and really wish their suit had panned out better

  10. K says:

    If you’re looking for a two piece, I’ve had great luck with Unique Vintage’s Monroe high waisted bikini bottoms. Fits in with my midcentury aesthetic while looking cute and providing midsection/bottom coverage.

  11. Gabby says:

    TA3 truly delivers. 39 years old, 3 kids, a c-section, and 30 extra pounds later, I actually look forward to getting into that suit (I have the “pushy”). They are expensive but they did a 50% off sale on black friday and I’ll be hitting it up again this year. Highly recommend!

Join The List

Stay up to date on the latest from Capitol Hill Style!

sUBSCRIBE

Ask the Editor: Vol. IV, No Twenty-Three

This week, we have a wedding dress search coming up empty, cell phone slings that don’t suck, sunscreen tips for kids, and more. Let’s take a peek in the reader mail bag.

9

READ MORE 

Recent Posts

Two Ways: The Olive Striped Shirt

I’d write a quippy intro, but it’s 5:00AM and I’m sitting in an airport lounge, so let’s just get on with it, shall we?

9

READ MORE 

The Find: An Olive Striped Shirt

As you may have noticed, I do not have the most creative personal style. I am here for basics. But what I’m always looking for is basic-but, a piece of clothing that is basic but just a little different.

1

READ MORE 

VIEW ALL POSTS

Ask the Edit, Style, Top Posts | June 20, 2024

Ask the Editor: Vol. IV, No Twenty-Three

This week, we have a wedding dress search coming up empty, cell phone slings that don’t suck, sunscreen tips for kids, and more. Let’s take a peek in the reader mail bag.

9

READ MORE 

How To Wear It, Posts, Style | June 18, 2024

Two Ways: The Olive Striped Shirt

I’d write a quippy intro, but it’s 5:00AM and I’m sitting in an airport lounge, so let’s just get on with it, shall we?

9

READ MORE 

Features, Posts, The Range | June 18, 2024

The Find: An Olive Striped Shirt

As you may have noticed, I do not have the most creative personal style. I am here for basics. But what I’m always looking for is basic-but, a piece of clothing that is basic but just a little different.

1

READ MORE 

Features, Monday Mornings, Posts | June 17, 2024

The Mondays: June 17, 2024

From the rooftop deck of my D.C. hotel I can see it all. The Capitol building, where I worked on and off for a decade. My first apartment where my three-doors-down neighbor was a young Senator Obama. My second apartment building where I bounced from unit-to-unit as my salary rose and I was finally able […]

6

READ MORE 

RECENT POSTS

©2023 CAPITOL HILL STYLE | SITE BY LEIGH THE STUDIO