You Don’t Have to Wear a Bikini to Be Sexy

Think of Your Swimsuit Like Any Other Outfit

Have you been hiding away from having fun on the beach or at the pool because you dare not put on a swimsuit? Do you strive for a bikini body but have grown weary of the effort? Well, you may not need a different body. Let me tell you why.

Confession: I have a tiny obsession with swimsuits – even before we had a pool (and we don’t live near the ocean).  I  want to believe that one day I will put THE swimsuit that will make me look like a supermodel. I will instantly turn into Cindy Crawford or Christie Brinkley with long smooth legs and a non-protruding belly.

However, after trying on multitudes of swimsuits over the years, I’ve come to realize that swimsuits are like any other clothing you put on. A great outfit can change the way you feel about yourself even beyond how you look. When it’s flattering and comfortable, you will have the confidence to stand a little taller and smile a bit more. The same concept applies to swimsuits.

Plus size swimsuits | Swimsuits for women over 50

Bikini Body Bolognes

Have you heard or read a statement that goes something like this, “Steps to a bikini body: Buy a bikini. Put it on.”  I think they are meant to encourage women to have a love for and except their bodies as-is. And maybe some women can be empowered by a meme-worthy encouragement like that. I, however, find it can create another reason for women to feel less-than. And that’s what I want to talk about today.      

What’s Meant for Good…

If you have followed any body-positive bloggers or Instagram accounts, you’ve likely seen your fair share of bikini-clad, “real sized” women who seemingly have no issue sharing rolls, cellulite, and stretch marks with the world. I’m not berating these brave humans. They certainly let us know that we’re not alone with our love handles and what I like to call “gills” on our backs (a.k.a. Back Fat). I also understand that the more we see photos of women who aren’t models, actresses or simply genetically blessed and who aren’t tight, toned and tan, the more normal (we hope) it will become to our sons and daughters looking on. But a quick trip to the beach ought to accomplish the same thing.

Encouraging, REALLY?

What festers in me the most is the underlying insinuation that to embrace your natural body you should be okay exposing more of it in public. That, because I’m not comfortable letting my menopausal, stretch marked belly hang over my bikini bottoms I have a long way to go in body confidence journey.

Look, no matter what your size is, if you are REALLY comfortable with wearing a bikini, then suit up. But if there’s something inside you that would rather be comfortable and wear a swimsuit that flatters your body the best, don’t feel sorry about it. It’s all about what feels right to you.

Wearing a modest swimsuit that covers the jiggles and bits doesn’t make you a prude or mean that you’re ashamed of your body. It says that you’re still holding on to your primal sense of privacy. Adam and Eve before the apple if you will.

1 Corinthians 12:23 ESV “And on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,”

Fashion for women over 50 | Flattering swimsuit for women over 50 | Body Confidence

Swimsuit: Raisins Curve (Plus) (Misses) – wearing size 18 Skirt: Bohemian Traders Tea Skirt – wearing size XL Sandals: B.O.C. (similar)

The Swimsuit

Body Confident In a One-Piece

Think of your swimsuit like any other outfit. I wouldn’t walk out of the house in an outfit that squeezed my belly out over my waistband, whether my shirt covered it or not. It’s not flattering or comfortable. So I’m not going to wear a trendy cutout swimsuit or a swim bottom so low that I always have to pull up to tuck my tummy back down in them.

I also choose clothes that I’m not adjusting constantly. And if you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know comfort is my love language.

I went through my swimsuits recently, after having my breast implants removed to see what I had that still might fit my smaller chest. Even though most of them still fit, several were too low under the armpits to corral my extra underarm fat (pushed up from the lift). And they also exposed the scars. I’m not ashamed of them; they are part of my story. But the fresh scars will darken with sun exposure.

Not swimsuit ready? You might not need a new diet or exercise plan. You might just need a new swimsuit. || Figure Flattering Swimsuits for Women With Curves

Posing for swimsuit photos is CRAZY hard!

So I’ve found a couple of new swimsuits that I love. Including this one, I’m featuring from Raisins Curve. It could easily be worn as a top with palazzo pants or with a skirt like I have styled it here. It’s quite gorgeous, and it feels good too. It has some smoothing power, but not so much that you can’t breathe.

Another suit I love is this sporty front zip Timothy Snell one-piece. It can look sexy but still modest with the zipper down a bit. Or zip it all the way up like a scuba suit when you think your chest has had enough sun because you looked down at all the brown and white spots on your décolletage and thought you dropped a piece of salami out of your sandwich. 😉

If you like the ease of a two-piece (because sometimes getting to the bathroom is ALL that matters), there are lots of modest options available. See one of my favorites from Torrid here. I have pieces of many brands that I can mix and match to my heart’s content. I’ll save those for another post.


The “size chart” is your friend. And the customer reviews can be your BEST FRIEND. Read the reviews. The best ones tell the size they bought and in a perfect world would give their measurements. I’ll put my measurements at the bottom of this post. But the next best thing is if they include the sizes they normally wear in pants/dresses etc.

I hope you’ve found something to be encouraged by today. If you’re killing yourself to get that bikini body and are going to feel bad or miss another year of summer fun because you haven’t yet reached that confidence level, you may not need to change your exercise routine or your diet. You might only need to change your swimsuit!

Be confident. Be comfortable. Be cute.


A great swimsuit can change your attitude. | Body confidence in a swimsuit.

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Paula’s current measurements:
Bust: 44″  Waist: 39.5″  Fullest Hip: 50.5″

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  1. I don’t know how many ways I can say I love this post, so just assume that I speak multiple languages and it’s all typed out for you to read.

    I feel the same way about those motivational posts. I know my body and I know my comfort level; I’m not insecure nor do I have low self esteem. I’m me and I’m happy with that.

    • Paula

      Ha! You mean your not gonna post undie shots EVERYDAY so we know you’re well adjusted and happy?!?! 😉 Seriously though, thanks for the love and your support. Confident modesty is super attractive!

  2. /

    I love your swimsuit with the cold shoulder and Yes it is very flattering. I have several two piece suits and the tops cover the love handles, so I can mix and match the bottoms. But, I am more comfortable in a one piece and have no shame in my game. Enjoy your Summer and wear it all. . .

    • Paula

      Thank you Neti! I do love great mix and match pieces too! 😬

  3. Oh man I hate swimsuits! Living in Florida it’s hard to avoid having to put one on but I would so much rather wear just about anything else. It’s hard to find a good swimsuit. I prefer wearing board shorts and a tankini top – I hate being overexposed.
    Your post is so truthful and on point Paula! I loved reading it, what else can I say but “Amen!” sister!

    • Kim

      I feel the same way! I like the ease of wearing a two piece without showing my midsection. Plus, the shorts cover a certain area I refuse to shave.

      I mostly avoid wearing a suit because I like to wear breathable clothing.

      Cheers! to another honest and humorous post!

  4. Stopping over on Cyndi Spivey’s recommendation. I’m so glad to hear someone say you don’t have to bare it all to be confident. I’m all for a little coverage where it counts. Thanks for being real!

    • Paula

      Oh, thank you Jo-Lynne! I love both of you ladies so much. You’re an inspiration to so many women the style can be trendy, flattering and modest at once!


  5. Gwen C.

    You have SO hit the nail on the head! Amazing that in this day and age, the fashion industry still pushes ‘anorexic thin’ as the desired look. I’m not plus size, but I still have wobbly, unattractive parts (thank you, gravity). Despite all the information about eating disorders, non-stop dieting, and the foot damage due to wearing high heels, we’are still being shamed for choosing comfort over the latest styles.

  6. Laura Scott Clow

    That swimsuit is flouncy and fun, much more interesting than one made from half a yard of fabric! Your message is so on target, thanks for this post!

  7. Malisa Thacker

    Found you on Cyndi Spivey’s recommendation! I’m all about finding a trendy, modest & comfortable swimsuit! Enjoyed your blog post 😃

  8. Peggy

    Hi Paula, Cyndi Spivey suggested her followers take a look at your blog. I am glad I did. I subscribed. I dress to please myself. At my age, 64, there are things I will not wear because I am just not comfortable exposing so much skin. Our personal comfort level is the key. Looking forward to future blogs.

  9. Jan Fusco

    Just found you blog thanks to Cyndi Spivey. Love it. Just read your bio and I can’t believe you have 2 grown sons and 5 grandchildren! You look like you’re in your twenties. Lookin’ good my friend. I myself am a retired teacher of 35 years, pushing 64 years and I am definitely a very full-figured (aka fat) woman. I’m working on that but in the meantime it’s good to have a fashion blogger that shows us some plus size clothes. I look forward to your posts.

  10. Jodie

    Girl!! You are on fire!! Tris isn’t just for play size women!! I know plenty of regular (what do you call the I betweeners?) women that struggle with swimsuits! Take my mom’s for instance!! They still berate themselves yet they are so lovely and fabulous!!
    I just bought a new swimsuit this year—after 5 years with my old one (what was I thinking?) and I makes me want to go to the pool ASAP!!
    Love you, love your message and absolutely love that suit!!

    • Paula

      Jodi- you’re always so supportive with great things to say. Rick your swimsuit and have fun. Tell the moms I said so. Everyone else is freaking out about their own bodies and not looking at theirs. 😘


  11. Jodie

    Can I just say I wrote that comment on my phone—that’s why all the mistakes!! Eeek!!

    • Paula

      I type EXACTLY like that on mine. 💓

  12. I’m rather glad I live in a country where swimsuits are bought almost exclusively for holidays (and then I pick city breaks haha). My bikini days are over but if I were to sun bath – I’d want to rock it like you! xx

  13. What a great story. Your swimsuit choices are lovely and hip! I think no matter what size you are confidence is the key! I’m a size 14 and I hope people say I want to be like her!

  14. /

    Love this Paula and this suit is such a cute fit on you! I absolutely love it paired with the gingham skirt and had no clue it was a swimsuit when I first saw that picture on instagram!

  15. Jennifer K

    I just want to Thank You.
    I lost 85 lbs and then started power lifting, etc and gained 20 lbs of muscle several years ago; this winter (my 40th birthday) I had an abdominoplasty to remove the excess skin on my belly and small low-profile implants to fill the excess on my breasts. I look just as a bikini body should but have no interest in showing my skin to the rest of the world. My body, my skin is for me and my partner – but our society says we have to show it off to be sexy. I say screw that! I don’t need to draw attention with a body part, my energy and personality should be enough.

    • Paula

      Good for you Jennifer and you are absolutely right! Modestly is looked at today as prudish but I think we’ve gone so far in the other direction it’s anesthetized us to what it is to value our bodies as private.

      Hugs to you.

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