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Expect To See Some Real Movements On Plus-Sized Swimwear This Summer

The plus-size market has now - arguably - entered the mainstream, meaning that you no longer need to be what was formerly considered a ‘standard size’ to find well-fitting clothes. Whereas in the past, the plus-size section in a store (where it existed at all) may have featured a very limited range of items, now, consumers are increasingly demanding the availability of a brand’s entire range in sizes up to 6X.

This shift reflects a general change in culture and perception, with body confident movements spreading like wildfire around the globe and the media - keen to be part of the zeitgeist - eager to get in on the act. With summer just around the corner, swimwear markets and trends are now noticeably more inclusive when it comes to larger sizes, and the fashion world is continuing to re-evaluate now outdated concepts of beauty and style. We take a look below at how plus-size swimwear, like ladies plus size swim shorts, and relaxed fit swim tunics, is expected to make waves this coming season and whether this is a trend that’s likely to be short-lived or to stick around.

A Rich Range of Swimwear

Choices of swimwear are no longer limited to a skimpy bikini or a monochrome one piece - and, whatever size of clothing you take, this is a relief to many. Now, there is a huge range of different designs, styles, and cuts of swimwear on the market, catering to both the plus-size market as well as those who simply feel more confident with a little more coverage. Modesty is no longer viewed as the ‘matronly’ boring sister of the clothing world, but instead as a chic and considered fashion choice that’s becoming a popular option.

Board shorts, plus size swim bottoms, and swim skirts that can be paired with long-sleeved swim tops, tankinis, or loose-fit tops designed to swim in are not only readily available but trending, with modest swimwear making frequent appearances on the catwalks and in glossy celebrity magazines.

Shoppers expect to see beachwear such as plus-size swim shorts and swim tunics on the physical or virtual racks of their favorite store, alongside the more traditional one-pieces and bikinis, and the market is responding to this demand. 

Market Sense

The benefits to manufacturers and brands of offering more sizes of beachwear, such as women’s plus size swim shorts, tankinis, and skorts (swim skirts incorporating hidden, attached shorts), are many. The body confidence movements, and recent heavy celebrity championing of being plus size and proud, have resulted in more women (and men) than ever before being comfortable with their curves and not necessarily feeling the need to resort to dieting.

This, along with a general rise in living standards and disposable income, has resulted in a growing amount of the population being considered to be overweight or obese. In terms of market share, the global plus-size market is expected to be worth nearly $700 million within the next five years. 

More and more clothing retailers are seeing the business sense of catering to this market, with the brand Old Navy (owned by Gap Inc) being one of the most recent well-known names to expand their range by offering a wider choice of larger sizes, with 4X now being available as standard.

What’s Next For Plus Size Swimwear?

The pandemic pushed many businesses to innovate and, combined with the cultural shift in terms of what we now think of as a ‘standard’ body’; this resulted in brands and retailers needing to diversify their ranges and supply clothing that catered to the many, rather than the few - as well as needing to find ways to connect with these audiences and get them spending from home.

The signs all point to this trend being one that’s here to stay: whether it’s a full-coverage legging and swim top set or high-waisted swim shorts, plus size, with a swim bra or racerback vest, the rules have changed when it comes to beach and holiday fashion. And this isn’t just great news for the plus-size community but for all of us who have faced the yearly struggle to find swimwear that we love and feel confident in wearing.