After countless years of magazines defining what a beach body should look like, we’re finally fully in the age of the fatkini. More and more women of all sizes are embracing their bodies at the beach and ditching the black swim skirts and oversized tees for plus-size bikinis instead. After all, a day at the beach or pool is always better when you wear a bold swimsuit that makes you feel unstoppable!
Take inspiration from these 5 women and try a plus-size bikini the next time you’re headed to the beach. *Answers have been condensed and edited for clarity and length.
“It was a big deal for me to wear a bikini for the first time. I always wore basketball shorts and a T-shirt to swim in. Firstly because I could never find a bathing suit that fit, and secondly because I was desperate to hide my body. I tip-toed my way into bikini wearing. It started with sleeveless shirts, and then crop tops, and then finally a bikini. The moments leading up to my first time were filled with a lot of anxiety and trepidation. But that day when I was wearing that bikini, fat body and all, out in the 100-degree Texas wild, I felt so empowered—it was unbelievable. There’s something so freeing about it. It felt like I was taking back control over my body and my comfort. It’s a moment of no more hiding, no more shrinking, and no more sacrificing your comfort. Yeah, it’s scary, it’s risky—and it’s worth it.”
– Jess H.
“Three years ago, I ended a relationship with a partner. I gained 80 pounds while we were together, and he openly shared his dislike of my weight gain. It broke my confidence and I had to learn to love myself all over again. I found the body positivity movement on Instagram and read stories of women loving and accepting themselves at whatever size because our worth has nothing to do with our bodies. I started doing the same. I learned that every body is a bikini body and it gave me the courage to buy one and wear it to the pool at the gym. I didn’t want to have to deal with a one-piece. I was nervous, but it turned out that no one cared! Earlier this year, I bought only bikinis for my solo trip to Hawaii. I proudly wore them to the beach and asked strangers to take photos of me. I posted those pictures to social media (after getting encouragement from the Diaverse) and was met with only love, support, and notes saying that I was an inspiration! If you want to rock a bikini but are nervous, always remember that you have the right to wear whatever you want—and there are lots of amazing options available for plus-size women!”
– Jessica F.
“Growing up, I always wore tankinis and one-pieces. I had stretch marks and was convinced no one else had them like me. As a teen, my parents would often make comments about how things fit, so I decided they could never know that I wanted a bikini. Toward the end of high school, I had a beach trip coming up. After scouring the internet for the bikini I wanted, I ordered it and had it delivered to my vacation destination. Putting it on, I felt like such a rebel. Looking back, it’s crazy the lengths I went to conceal it!”
– Sean P.
“I wore my first bikini during my 30th-birthday trip to Mexico in 2015. I was terrified but decided it was time to stop being scared of showing my body. I love being in the sun and the sun loves me—how dare I stop such a beautiful relationship? It felt amazing to embrace the rays and ocean breeze on my skin. I’m not going back!”
– Lauren B.
“I felt empowered walking around the pool in my bikini. I was more nervous about my mismatched shoes! Some of the older women stared at me, but I just assumed they were staring at my shoes or wishing they had the confidence to wear what I was wearing. I received lots of compliments from those I was with, so I didn’t worry.”
– Nikki W.