Prints or Plains? What is the most flattering?

For many, a swimsuit is a practical essential required if you want to swim or get wet. Function trumps form and some are happy to just grab any old swimsuit that fits and works for their needs. For the rest of us, a swimsuit is an extension of our wardrobe and needs to be something that looks and feels “like us”.

Just as we take care to choose clothing that reflects our personality, flatters our figure, or follows fashion trends, we adopt the same considered approach when buying swimwear. Style is of course, our main priority, as fit and support is key. But print and colour also play a major role in the swimwear we choose.

Whether it’s a block colour, floral or geometric print, these details can help accentuate your body and create the ideal silhouette without having to change your body shape or size. The right print can show your personality off to the world and celebrate your unique style.

Woman with blonde hair wears Whitehaven 3 tier tankini top and matching bikini bottom

Discover why we love printed swimwear and find your new favourite swimsuit

Why Choose a Printed Swimsuit?

While plus-size women are sometimes told they should avoid wearing clothing with a lot of patterns, this simply isn’t true. In fact, this season’s prints will flatter and enhance your body type. If you love showing off your personality with bright colors and fun designs, here are some tips to look out for.


Stripes can be quite magical. In uniform, horizontal bands they tend to flatten the body but vary the widths and spacing of the stripes and they start creating all sorts of wonderful optical illusions. Making friends with vertical stripes will lengthen your silhouette. Diagonal stripes convey energy and creativity and are the most slimming pattern.

Woman with slicked back hair poses on a beach wearing Acapulco Black and White criss cross one piece swimsuit

Use the optical illusion of stripes to accentuate your best bits

Panels and Mixed Prints

Clever patterns can create a curvaceous figure. Choose prints that vary in size and intensity to give an illusion of shading around your waist to look slimmer. A bold print will draw the eye towards the torso and away from limbs, while a monotone print will draw attention to the limbs and away from the body.

Darker side panels with a print or light colour through the centre will create an optical illusion, making the silhouette appear slimmer and elongated.

Woman with slicked back brown hair wears blue Whitehaven print V neck swimsuit.  Woman with short grey/blonde hair wears Acapulco black and white cap sleeve one piece swimsuit

Panels and contrasting prints are great for creating your ideal silhouette or accentuating your waistline

Floral Prints

Larger floral prints are the most flattering for full figured women. If you aren’t comfortable being in blocks of bright colour, a floral print can add movement to your look while still giving you that pop. Most floral print swimsuits also feature small ruffles which are a great way to emphasise and soften your bust area.

Woman with blonde hair wears Frenchy Black floral 3 tier ruffle tankini top. Woman with short brown hair wears Bora Bora floral print frill sleeve zip up one piece swimsuit

Floral prints look amazing and help show off your vibrant personality

Animal Print

Animal print works in a similar way to a floral but uses warmer tones similar to your skin to create a harmonious all over print. Animal prints, especially Leopard, are all about showing off that personality. The key to choosing the best animal print for you is to go for the tones that work with your colouring. Leopard prints are eye catching, so get ready to receive lots of compliments.

Woman with long brown hair wears Leopard print crop wrap top and high waisted skirted retro pant

A Leopard print is always a good choice for a timeless look that works with your skin tone

Block Colour

Keeping it simple with block colors is always a winner, especially when you can accessorise with patterned sarongs, kaftans, and jewellery. When seeking block colours, aim for the right style to accompany your shape. Round scooped necklines create a wonderful curved effect and add femininity to your body, while a V neck will draw attention to your bust area.

Picking the right colour is also important. Red is a powerful standout colour that looks particular great on blondes and light hair with fair skin tones. Light or dark skin with dark hair suit rich jewel colors such as emerald greens, deep purple plums and sapphire blues.

Woman with blonde/brown hair lounges by the pool wearing metallic deep teal one shoulder one piece swimsuit

Block colours can be great for highlighting your natural beauty and gorgeous curves

Classic Black

Many people default to black considering it the most “slimming” colour. This is both true and false. Black can make you appear smaller as it is a darker tone that recedes. While the black swimsuit takes a back seat, your exposed skin will stand out. Arms, legs, midriff, shoulders – whatever is covered in black will draw the eye to it. With this is mind, if you’re choosing black for its slimming properties, make sure you feel confident about what is left on show.  

If you want to distract the eye and keep it away from your exposed skin, a print is going to attract attention. A frilled swimsuit with a bright, bold print will distract the eye away from your arms and legs, while the ruffles diffuse the edges of your body, confusing the gaze. This can often be a better choice than plain black if you don’t want the focus to be on your silhouette or bare skin.

Blonde woman wears black 3 tier ruffle one piece swimwear. Woman with slicked back brown hair wears black tank tankini top and pant.

Black is a classic and draws attention to your glowing summer skin

Learn more about choosing your perfect swimsuit with our latest body shape guide in collaboration with Nat Angel from Let Me Try Before You Buy.
November 14, 2022