bathing suit guide for women with wide rib cages

Swimsuits for Wide Rib Cages: A Fail Proof Guide

Although it may seem challenging to find and style swimwear fashionably with a large rib cage, there are ways it can be done.

Throughout this article, we will cover what a wide rib cage is and why you might have one– and how to work with it. 

“My rib cage is too wide”

Having a wide rib cage means that your ribs are naturally a very broad part of your upper body. It often creates a square, boxy look on the torso.

how to know if you have a wide rib cage

The rib cage is almost always as wide (if not wider) as the chest, and the hips and butt are smaller. 

A wide rib cage may simply be the result of:

  • Family genetics
  • Your natural bone structure and anatomy 
  • Eating or exercise habits
  • Age
  • Various lifestyle choices 

Additionally, because each body is unique, a rib cage may look wider depending on the body shape and how the weight is carried.

For example, on bodies with a shorter torso or smaller pelvis, the rib cage may appear even wider.

How do I know if I have a wide rib cage?

characteristics of a body with a wide rib cage

You likely have a wide rib cage if: 

  • Your ribs feel somewhat disproportionate to the rest of your body.
  • Your rib cage appears wider than your hip.
  • Your torso and core have a square look to it.
  • There isn’t really a curve between your chest and hips.
  • The body has a “straight line”
  • Clothing is difficult to get over the back, is tight, or won’t zip.
  • Your build looks “athletic” 
  • It’s sometimes challenging to find a bra cup size that coincides with the rib size.
  • Your ribs become more dominant and easier to see after you lose weight

Those who have this build sometimes feel insecure or unfeminine, but it’s not something you should be worried about.

You just need to get the right styles.

What bathing suit is best for a wide rib cage?

There are swimsuit styles that will help minimize and/or complement a wide rib cage.

best bathing suits for wide rib cages

Of course, this also depends on your body type. If you have broad shoulders, a wide stomach, and or a wide rib cage, try these swimwear styles:

  • Tankini tops with ruffles. It is especially flattering if the ruffles extend down the swimsuit. Ruffles are eye-catching and take the attention off of the rib cage. This makes for a flattering look.
  • V-neck or triangle tops. This highlights the bust and adds a curvy shape to the top half of the body. 
  • One-piece swimsuits with vertical stripes, especially on the midsection. Vertical stripes elongate the body, which is what you want for a wide rib cage, especially if you have a short torso.
  • One-piece swimsuits that are in dark colors. These are very slenderizing, and a single dark color (such as black or dark blue) makes it difficult to spot a wide rib cage.

If you have a more athletic build with a wide rib cage and flat stomach, here are some bathing suit styles that will flatter you:

  • Tie-over bikini tops. The knot or bow distracts from the rib cage, and puts more attention onto the bust. 
  • Distracting swimsuit bottoms. If you’d like to draw attention to the bottom part of your body to take away from a broad rib cage, try a pattern with vertical stripes or distracting colors. Pairing this with a neutral top is even more effective. This will also create a more hourglass figure, as it gives the hips a nice curve. 
  • Added waist definition. Swimsuit designs made to accentuate the waist include:
    • color blocking 
    • cut-outs specifically over the midsection
    • waist tie-overs 
    • Swimsuit belts
    • smartly placed lines (including diagonal lines or lines that are specifically placed to define the waist)

Defining the waist area will create a more curvy silhouette instead of a straight one, and draw attention away under the chest.

What to avoid

  • Light-colored, shapeless swimsuits. This will only broaden the rib cage, and this style will not accentuate the curves you do have. 
  • Swimsuit design that highlights the rib cage. For example, if you have a two-piece with a high-waisted bottom and the only skin showing is on the ribs, that may create an appearance of an extra curve in that area. 
  • Horizontal lines, especially those that go over the midsection. Horizontal lines over the rib cage will make it look even wider, and it wouldn’t accentuate the waist at all. 

5 tips for styling a wide rib cage in swimsuits

In addition to choosing the right swimsuit, there are certain ways you can style swimwear when you have a wide rib cage.

Listed below are some suggestions on how.

  • When selecting a swimsuit cover-up, choose one that elongates the body. You can do this by choosing one with an open front or one that shows off the length of your legs.
  •  Don’t wear a shapeless swimsuit cover-up. If not an open front, find one that accentuates the waist. 
  • Choose a swimsuit that is adjustable on the back. 
  • Make sure your swimsuit makes your rib cage look the way you want it to, and also that it highlights the parts of your body that you love. 
  • When it comes to accessorizing your swimsuit with shoes, sunglasses, a bag and cover up, make sure that you feel good with what you’re wearing and it has your own personal flair. This will help build confidence, and confidence is more noticeable than broad ribs. 

Choosing the right swimsuit, knowing what to avoid and using styling tips will help you know what to do and feel confident if you have a wide rib cage. 

When Katie was 10 years old, she won her first writing prize in an essay contest. That experience sparked her love and interest in writing. Throughout her life, she’s had various opportunities to expand her skill set. She wrote extensively about her experiences traveling the world and doing charity work. Currently, she is busy writing and taking care of her two step-sons and newborn daughter. She loves being a mother and makes time every day to fulfill her passion for writing & fashion.

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