if you have a large chest (DD or higher), you've probably been there, nearly in the tears, in the fitting room of a store. after trying on what seems like 100 adorably patterned, trendy, strappy bikini tops, none of them fit. NONE.
you leave the store, defeated, and go back home without any cute new bikini tops for your upcoming trip, leaving you wearing that same lifesaving bikini top you found ages ago that, yes, still fits, but is so tattered, because you've worn it for years.
THAT WAS MY LIFE.
I literally wore the same bikini tops that I found at a department store once for years. they seemed to be the only tops that could contain my boobs, while seeming somewhat sexy (which is a fine line when you have a larger chest.)
if you aren't in the DD+ club, consider yourself lucky this time of year, when the weather is warm outside and you can wear cute strappy or backless tank tops and bikinis that come in all different types of prints and sizes. you don't need underwire or thick, supportive straps to hold your boobs in place. and yes, the grass is always greener, but when it comes to FASHION, the grass is truly greener on the other side, because clothes are typically cut to fit the average sized person - all over, including the bust. have you ever seen a model on the runway with DDDs? no - the close wouldn't fall right on the model!
I'm a 34G at the moment (ugh, pregnancy boobs!), so this problem has worsened for me. it's caused me to look all over the place for bikini tops, scavenging. luckily, I've picked up a few tips to help you narrow down the search, as you seen hours scrolling through swimwear on the Internet. and then, I have a few brands/stores I recommend.
tips for purchasing bathing suits for big busts
1. avoid padding
padding takes away room for your boobs and makes your boobs look bigger than necessary. I've found that it also takes away from the support - no extra weight is needed when you have your big boobs carrying all that poundage. of course, you'll need to embrace the hard nip when it's cold or when you get out of the water, but apparently that's in now anyway.
most bathing suits that come with breast padding have removable cups, but if they don't, and it's a suit I really want, I'll cut a tiny slit and pull the cups out, and sew it right back up! just use thread that best matches the suit.
2. try to buy in cup sizes, not S/M/L/XL sizing
if you're in the big boob club, you know that a size XL isn't going to cut it - that's the equivalent of usually a D size or, the brand just gives you extra room around the rib cage, which isn't helpful when you're trying to cover your actual boob. when you can, try to go by cup sizing.
the exception: if the brand gives you size equivalents (i.e. XL = DDD/E), because certain suits that don't have underwire might not necessarily be given cup sizing.
3. avoid trendy styles with minimal support
there are certain styles of bathing suits that just DON'T work for us, and once you accept that, you'll save time and energy! these are some of the styles I find that don't work:
- anything strapless (especially when the suit gets wet, it becomes heavier, and it will just make your boobs look saggy!)
- plunge neck (unless they tie to over support and coverage, like this)
- triangle tops that don't come in cup sizes or have an equivalent (see tip #2)
- triangle tops that aren't full-coverage (for example, this bikini top is meant to show more cleavage, which would result in major nip slips for us)
- high-neck tops that cut in (see example here) - your boobs will spill out the sides, unfortunately
- avoid tops that don't offer at least one chance to adjust support (either around the neck like a halter tie or around the waist on the back)
- wrap-style bikini tops (like these)
- anything crazy strappy, it'll make you look like a call girl (trust me!) - example here
4. one-pieces are actually your friend
you'd think it's counterintuitive to the whole "support" thing, but I've found that one-piece bathing suits, if purchased correctly, can be your best friend and actually support you well and keep you fully covered! the secret? high-necks! high neck one-pieces keep you covered and offer more support, because they really tuck you in.
here are some examples:
5. trust the models online
if you're looking at a bathing suit online and the model does NOT have your body type (i.e. a big bust) and she's popping out of the top, it probably won't fit you. use your judgment! not all trends are for all body types, so just know what works for you and embrace it!
6. buy colors/patterns that can go with neutral bottoms
I tend to buy mix & match bikinis and bottoms. since the bikini tops are harder than the bottoms, I spend most of my energy finding the cutest, full-coverage, supportive tops and then I supplement with bottoms in colors that complement the tops, like white, black, or a turquoise color. this way, it looks like you have a matching bathing suit or a cool color block situation.
don't be discouraged if you find a bikini top that fits but it doesn't come with a matching bottom - make your own!
7. only buy online at places with FREE returns!
there's a lot of trial and error with bikinis and I've learned that buying online is much easier - I hate breaking down in fitting rooms and leaving with all that wasted time in stores. thus, whenever I shop online, I make sure it's a place that offers FREE returns. then, you can order a certain top in 2-3 sizes and not worry about wasting money on shipping.
my favorite places to buy bathing suits
I also have some bathing suits when Victoria's Secret were making their swimwear line - and they were great, I'm bummed it was discontinued (well, they still have a small line through PINK, but I haven't found anything worthwhile there.)
some of my favorites lately:
do you have any extra tips or favorite places to buy swimwear for big busts?