If you’re a woman over 50 on the hunt for a swimsuit to wear that you actually love—believe me I know that the struggle is real.
Having just returned from a NextTribe “Stretch Your Mind, Stretch Your Body” retreat on the beaches of Troncones, Mexico, I’d already done a bit of research about what kind of swimwear was available for a soon to be 60-year-old body. Then I faced a horror more daunting than my terror over bears, heights and being photographed nude: I videotaped myself wearing the swimsuits I’d found…and ran the footage in one of my “Talk’n Closet with Kim” style segments. Talk about overcoming personal fears!
Fortunately, while I was on that aforementioned retreat, I was afforded the opportunity to interview the Tribe and got to see the swimwear that real women were wearing. I interviewed them about the styles they’re currently loving, got in-depth information about the “why” behind their favorite new suits they had packed for the trip—and used the info to put together a list of shoppable items.
The coolest swimsuits for women over 50 this year include bikinis, 2-pieces, cut-out one-pieces and cheeky tush maillots. Get inspired by what the Tribers wore to the beach this year to pick out a suit (or two!) for yourself—sans terror.
The Skinny on Swimsuits
But first, a little history lesson on swimwear.
A hundred years ago, only men wore swimsuits. Women donned beach “costumes,” composed of copious amounts of material, billowing around their bodies in the salty summer breezes. Because…women “didn’t swim.” Of course not. During the first few decades of the 20th century the only fun women could have in the sea water was holding onto a rope tied to a buoy secured in the sand. Grrrrrr.
Thankfully, times, styles, and social mores shifted (and pretty quickly). During a 1946 fashion show at Piscine Molitor, a popular Paris swimming pool, designer Louis Réard unveiled the bikini, five days after the first nuclear test over, yes, the Bikini Atoll. Claiming it wasn’t a real bikini unless it fit through a wedding band, he had to enlist a stripper to show off those scanty squares of fabric on the runway; even the French models were screaming scandale!
Soon after, Lycra was invented, and, well, little was left to the imagination. Austrian-born American designer Rudi Gernreich deconstructed the swimsuit further in the ‘60s, creating the thong and the topless monokini, all in the name of liberating women everywhere.
Fast forward to today, when a company called Swimsuits for All celebrates the body-positivity movement and collaborates with supermodel Ashley Graham as she promotes inclusivity and runs boundary-pushing ad campaigns.
Take the most recent one starring Ashley and her 53-year-old mother, Linda Graham, wearing—yes, a bikini. In 2016, that plus-size, barrier-busting brand placed a campaign in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue featuring then-56-year-old model Nicola Griffin, who with her silver mane, tanned limbs, and metallic gold bikini, is the epitome of aging boldly. Griffin was the oldest woman to ever appear in the swimsuit issue, telling The Huffington Post: “I am overjoyed to represent all women over the age of 50 and hope this campaign inspires them to feel confident in a swimsuit—a gold bikini, no less!”
Swimsuits for Women Over 50: All In
Now that beach blankets beckon, waves wait impatiently for boogie boarding and surfing, and cool pools shimmer enticingly, let’s take a look at some can’t-be-called-dowdy swimsuits for women over 50, shall we?
Pick an area of your body you love, and there’s a swimsuit to accentuate it.
Pick an area of your body you love, and there’s a swimsuit to accentuate it. If you’ve got the shoulders, show ‘em off with strapless. Long legs? Go for a high-cut thigh look. Love your waist? Today’s trend toward belted one- and two-pieces give off that, well, quintessential Bond Girl look.
Not into the bikini, no way, no how, for no body? Whether you’re seeking freer movement or more modesty, there are a dizzying number of sexy one-piece wonders out there—from monokinis to maillots.
We’ve got you covered….or not.
(By the way: We are painfully aware that many of the models below exemplify a certain standard of beauty that, for most of us, is not obtainable. That’s why we included some real NextTribe swimsuit models wearing similar styles below the shoppable products. You can also see even more NextTriber readers showing off their swimsuits here.)
Wrap It Up
Give the gift of a beautiful you, in a side-tie swimsuit like this sexy one-piece from Cupshe.
Cue the tropical drinks with tiny umbrellas; this Zara suit is fruitilicious and fun.
Key to Coverage
Featuring a sexy keyhole with pretty draping and pendant print, the Samsara from Soma provides cool coverage in a tummy-disguising tankini with swing fit and underwire bust support.
Take a walk on the wild side with this lovely leopard suit with flexible boning and underwire cup for extra support and hold.
Florals with a flounce, oh how sweet in this bikini by Cupshe.
Pom Pom and Circumstance
Pom poms continue to adorn everything we love about resort and beach attire, especially on a suit like this off-the-shouler swimsuit with lace up detailing from ASOS.
Nice ‘N Nautical
Cupshe, a California-inspired swim and beachwear brand, is our fave new go to for its affordable prices and adorable styling. These stripes lead the eye to flatter your figure and the plunging halter is mad sexy.
Put a Cap On It
Cap sleeves with a brazen cut-out back makes Athleta’s Cortes Short-Sleeve One Piece a 2-in-1 for you; doubles as dining attire worn with a dress sarong for casual evenings out. See our editor, Jeannie Ralston, modeling this suit in the slideshow below!
Tie One On
Robin Piccone brings the string theory to life in its Luca Bandeau Bikini Top that ties, centered around metal detailing.
A version of this article was originally published in June 2018.