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IMO the Best Swimsuit for Women Over 40

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Wardrobe Oxygen wearing the Lands' End Tugless Tank in black with a straw fedora and aviator sunglasses. She is standing on the beach with her dog on a leash.
I look at the camera, my dog looks at the ocean!

We may have back to school being shoved down our throats, but there are still a few weeks before Labor Day, and anyone near a lake or beach will have weeks after that where they're enjoying the warm weather and cool water. I just got back from a beach vacation and had a good opportunity to assess my swimsuit collection. One suit I took on this trip, and last year's trip too. I consider it to be the best swimsuit for women over 40 and pretty much any grown-ass woman. It continues to be a winner year after year for me and many of you in the Wardrobe Oxygen Community. It is the Lands' End Tugless Tank. I have owned a variation of this swimsuit for over a decade, and considering I'm 47, that's proof it's great for us over 40 as well as pretty much any age!

This post was updated for 2022 with new links and offerings from Lands' End. I love this suit so much and have been trying on spring and summer clothing and re-tried this suit and still love it. I just HAD to share it… especially since at the time of writing this Lands' End is having a sale!

What is the Best Swimsuit for Women over 40?

collage of different prints available in the Lands' End Tugless Tank
Talk about variety! And to think this is only some of the prints and styles currently available for the Lands' End Tugless Tank!

This swimsuit I am wearing in these photos isn't my first Tugless Tank from Lands' End; I think this is my fourth. It's not like the old ones wore out, these suits wear like iron. It's just that over time my body changed, my tastes changed, or I succumbed to influencer pressure and felt I needed something bolder, brighter, and exposing less skin.

As an influencer who uses her platform as a way to normalize bodies that look like mine, I don't mind showing skin in pictures or in real life. I'll rock a bikini at the beach or community pool happily. I love color, I love print, I love showing that every body, regardless of size, shape, age, or ability, looks amazing in what swimwear makes them feel great.

But as I mentioned in a previous blog post, I am not the same person I was last year, and surely not the same person I was in 2019 (AKA PrePan). The current me wants to dress for herself, which means comfort and joy. In some parts of my life, that means bold prints and bright colors, and cool silhouettes. In others, such as swimwear, that means chic and practical… just like the Lands' End Tugless Tank.

You may also like: summer getaway capsule wardrobe featuring the Lands' End Tugless Tank
Is this the best swimsuit for women over 40? Alison of Wardrobe Oxygen models the Lands' End Tugless tank in black. She is standing on the beach facing to the right and is smiling at the camera.

Why Is The Lands' End Tugless Tank so Perfect?

I was chatting with my sister who is a different shape, size, and height from me and she shared how much she too loved the Tugless Tank. I was reading comments in the Wardrobe Oxygen Community on Facebook and multiple readers across the country, of different sizes and ages and personal styles were raving about this suit. And I think how I also have it and think it's pretty perfect.

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Why is this swimsuit perfect? Because it looks simple but it is quite innovative. What appears to be a run-of-the-mill tank-style one-piece swimsuit comes in multiple variations to accommodate short torsos, long torsos, plus sizes (up to 26W in regular and long torso), those who have had a mastectomy, those with a larger bust, and an option for those who prefer a little tummy control. They even have a long-sleeved version that still has the built-in bust support.

The Lands' End Tugless Tank is chlorine resistant. Seriously, you can spend all summer in the pool, even forget to rinse your suit after laps, and it will still be the same color come Labor Day. It also resists breakdown from sun, sweat, and other environmental factors. The fabric is UPF 50; The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends it as an effective UV protectant only for covered areas.

Why is it called Tugless? Because it is the first swimsuit I have ever owned where I haven't had to pull out a wedgie after swimming laps or going down a water slide or playing in the surf. Where the straps stay in place, no matter what. Made with LYCRA® Xtra Life™ spandex, this suit will last 10X as long as other swimsuits, and will hold its shape after multiple wears.

Alison in the Lands' End Tugless Tank swimsuit in black. She is standing on the beach with her hand on her head laughing to the camera.

Is the Lands' End Tugless Tank Good for Large Busts?

As someone with a large bust, I struggle to find suits that will not only fit my chest, but give it great shape while staying in place even if I do a flip turn. The Lands' End Tugless Tank is always secure; I can even dive into the deep end and know I won't be underwater trying to slip everything back in place before I come up for air.

The Lands' End Tugless Tank comes in cup sizes (regular, D, DD, and DDD). For regular you have the choice of soft cup, shelf bra, or just lined. For the D-DDD sizes, you have a soft cup. And unlike some other swimsuits I've gotten with weirdly shaped soft cups that are visible on the outside, these are virtually invisible while providing support, shape, and modesty.

You may also like: the best swimsuits for large busts
Alison standing on the beach in a black Lands End Tugless tank with her hands on her hips looking off into the distance.
For reference, I am wearing a size 12 DDD in the Lands' End Tugless Tank.

Is this the best swimsuit for women over 40?

Let's be honest, trendy swimsuits are a lot of fun, but there is something to be said for a classic maillot at any age. While I currently own this suit in black, in the past I owned the Lands' End Tugless Tank in other colors and some of their fun prints. Some provide a more athletic vibe, others are feminine and flirty prints, and Lands' End always carries a range of solid suits in classic neutrals as well as pops of color.

Oh, the best part of the Lands' End Tugless Tank? It is always under $100, and Lands' End regularly has sales where you can get it for much less. With department store swim brands heading towards $200 for a basic suit, it's nice to know you can get style, performance, and quality from Lands' End for way less!

What swimsuits for women are available off-season?

Again another reason to love the Lands' End Tugless Tank! While many retailers end or drastically reduce their swimwear selection after Labor Day, Lands' End offers this classic swimsuit in a range of sizes, colors, and features all year round!

Alison and her dog on the beach walking away from the camera
Can't write a review without a backview!

Fit Tips for the Lands' End Tugless Tank

I find that I do best going up one size if a swimsuit has tummy control, and down a size if it does not. I do not get the Lands' End Tugless Tank with tummy control, but there's nothing wrong if that makes you more comfortable. I am a size 14 in most brands; my Lands' End Tugless tank is a size 12.

As for the bust, I am a 36 F/G and after decades of weight fluctuation and years of breastfeeding my breasts require support. I find the DDD cup Lands' End Tugless Tank to offer enough support, left, and shape to feel confident, even to dive into the pool or just tie a towel or pareo around my waist.

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28 Comments

  1. I read your review of the landsend packable raincoat and I’m sold! I’ve been a landsend lover for decades now and I’m always surprised when I meet women my age who haven’t heard of them. Happy to see someone my age loving LE too.

  2. I dug up this old review before taking the plunge (hee) and buying two tugless tanks during Lands End’s recent swimwear sale. I really wanted the hot pink color but it didn’t come in DDD cup – at $20, I said what the heck, and went for it. I just wanted to share that even though I was somewhat flattened in the chest, the suit still looked ok and fit well everywhere else. I just got back from a beach vaca in Maine, and the suit did not budge one bit in the rough surf. I’m excited to try the black one I purchased with the proper cup size soon!

  3. I bought one of these a few weeks ago (in the tropical print). I am 58 and when I wear it I feel happy and athletic. Thanks for your recommendation! I love it for paddle boarding. No tug, indeed!

  4. I didn’t spot an answer to an earlier question about apron belly hang. It’s always been a problem and weight loss at an older age has made it worse. Does the suit contain the floppy bits? Or does anyone have a recommendation for what does? I’m restricted to boy shorts for the moment.

    1. It doesn’t have tummy control, but it has a leg opening designed that it keeps everything in without looking frumpy. I have apron belly hang and love how this suit, even if I move a lot and maneuver in and out of kayaks and canoes, doesn’t shift and have bit spill out in front or in back.

    2. I also have apron belly fat (the one area I really hate on my body). I am a size 18w, 40DDD bust, hourglass shape, short height. This suit looks good on me, and I did not get the tummy control one. I think I could wear this out almost like a tank top, with a light shirt tossed over and shorts/skirt/jeans. Nothing will completely make the apron invisible, but this smooths things nicely, and I feel good in it.

  5. I’ve been wearing one of these in New Zealand for two years, alternating between rough surf and mineral-water hot tubs, and it’s holding up beautifully!

  6. I ordered the suit and it came yesterday. Fit like a dream, great quality. Just like you said, Allie! Thank you for the recommendation.

  7. I want to try this suit but real talk: will an ample tummy hang out the bottom or is there real coverage there? I choose swimdresses so I don’t have to worry about apron belly spill (and yay! I’m now old and confident enough to admit on a public board that I have an apron belly!). I’d love a regular tank!

    1. Not sure where my response went! I have some belly spill and while the version without tummy control won’t compress the stomach, everything stays inside the suit, even if you’re doing water sports and active things.

  8. Yes, the Tugless Tank is great. However the past two years LE has not carried my size which is mastectomy 12 D cup. They can’t give me an explanation.

  9. It looks awesome on you! I got one based on your recommendation and sadly it really doesn’t work for me. I am about 5’6, a size 6 and it just doesn’t flatter . But I will say it certainly stays put!

  10. I ordered the long sleeve version in 2 sizes to see if it works for me. I’m committed to the apply sunscreen as infrequently as possible which means long sleeves in the water! I was sad by the size and color choices. No black in anything smaller than a 12 or larger than an 18. 🙁

  11. I am a long time fan of Land’s Ends suits. I have a long torso; nothing works unless I get a bathing suit that takes this into account. I have three suits and he one I almost always choose to wear is the “Tugless tank” I got last September on clearance from Land’s End. I think I need another one. . . I’ve moved to a condo complex with a pool–and summer is loooong and hot in Arizona.

  12. I took the plunge and bought the tank in black. You look so comfortable in your photos and too often bathing suits and comfort don’t go together….

  13. Is it just me? I know I have friends who disagree but when I am in a swimming costume, I don’t ‘want’ boobs. For a long time I looked longingly at costumes with a racer back and didn’t dare buy one, because I thought people would laugh that I wasn’t a strong enough swimmer to deserve one. But then I thought, what the hell – I’m a swimmer, because I swim. I now have two, from Zoggs. High neck, just a bit of elastic under the boobs and my 34E are squashed nicely in space and I don’t have to bother about them. I admit I don’t want to spend a lot of time lolling around in a costume – I hate the look of my legs coming out of it, and swim by imagining I am invisible. But anyway, who wants to burn – and covering up as soon as I am dry is less of a bore than putting on loads of sun cream? So for me, the idea of a swimming costume with cups etc. is anathema. Anyone else agree?

    1. I 10000% agree!!! I hate that modern swimsuits present my breasts like two cupcakes. I want them smashed down and out of the way.

    2. I think it depends on your chest size. I am a 34B and if I don’t have swimsuit with ‘soft cups’ I look like I’m 12. Well, no, I don’t. My legs and hips are clear testament that I have had children. Some things are just not meant to go back to their original size and position I suppose. But – suits with nothing to “help” up top make me flatter than a pancake. Interestingly, I like soft cups but I hate underwire in a swimsuit. I can understand why some need one for support – but I’d rather look like a pancake than deal with that contraption in a suit.

      1. YES!!! All of what Monica said from a 40B who just turned 50 and has two teenage sons and the body to show for it. Though I also agree that I do not understand how anyone wants to swim with the contact danger of boobs floating out of the top …..

  14. As Kate said, I love the LE semaphore flag print this season. Bold! And colorful.

    I think I’m going to become the trendsetter who takes us back 100 years in beachwear, LOL. I just don’t think there’s any way I will ever feel comfortable exposing as much skin as in the past.

    If I’m swimming laps, I’ll wear my tugless tank. Otherwise, I’m leaning towards something more modest, maybe something linen and flowy. Like you, Allie, the 2021 version of me is different from my pre-pandemic one.

    Trying to feel ok about it all.

  15. Thank you! I just ordered a turquoise tank. I really appreciate your reviews and all the thought and hard work that goes into them.

  16. I bought my first one on your rec and it’s still in such great shape I don’t need another, but I’m eyeing their new semaphore flag print!

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