Swimwear for Large Busts and Soft Bellies

Around this time of year, I am bombarded with reader questions on where to find swimwear to flatter their body. While one can find a triangle bikini anywhere from Walmart to Saks, it’s harder to find swimwear for a woman with curves. As a woman with a large bust and a soft tummy, I have a few recommendations for bathing suits that control the midsection and/or support and properly cover a large chest.

Aerin Rose
Aerin Rose was kind enough to send me their “Butterfly 335” suit for review and I have to say I am highly impressed. Not only are these swimsuits sized like bras (cup-sizes B through G and band sizes 32 through 44), but they also have shirred tummy control bodices to whittle the waistline. My tummy looked firm while I felt comfortable, and my breasts were well covered and supported in the flattering halter top. Learn more about Aerin Rose on their Facebook page and shop for their bra-sized swimwear here.

Swimspot
I wrote about Swimspot here, and I still agree that Swimspot offers attractive swimwear for large busts. They have fit specialists who will work with you to find the perfect suit for your specific figure. When I worked with them last year, they suggested the Athena Maldives Halter One-Piece for me; I still find it flattering, supportive, and sexy while properly covering and containing my bust and smoothing my middle. All Athena swimsuits have a Slim-Power lining to smooth the tummy, and their Support Group line offers sizes 32D – 38FFG. They also carry Next Swimwear which is a brand for the woman who has a larger bust and desires support during water activities – their Stand Up top has floating underwires and a racer back to keep your bust in place while surfing, swimming, or taking part in any other water activity.

No Show Active Top
For the woman who wants to catch rays in a classic bikini but desires support and coverage when swimming, surfing, or playing a game of beach volleyball, the No Show Active Top is a great option. Simply zip The No Show Active Top over your bikini top for the coverage and control you need for any activity. They come in a variety of colors and prints to coordinate with most any swimsuit. 

Lands’ End
You didn’t expect me to write a post about swimwear and not mention Lands’ End, did you? Lands’ End offer suits up to a DDD cup and I have found them to truly be supportive. Their fabulous Beach Living swimsuit collection has many tops and suits made for large busts including bikini tops.

Lands’ End also has Slender Suits which slim the middle without binding. Their Princess One-Piece Slender Suit is elegant, classic, has soft cups to support the bust, and Slendertex® fabric to control the midsection.

SPANX
To use SPANX‘s word, Bra-llelujah, they now carry swimwear! This is a perfect fit for SPANX, who has already mastered not only control garments, but supportive yet comfortable bras. Their Bra-llelujah! ® One-Piece is a classic style with underwire cups and adjustable straps – not only does is come in bra sizes (up to 18 D/DD) to properly support the bust, it also sucks in the tummy with the power of SPANX. Their Blue Nile suit is feminine, flirty, and comes in sizes up to a 16D/DD with all the control you’d expect from the brand.

Bare Necessities
Bare Necessities is one of the sites I go to for control garments and bras to fit my large bust, it’s also a site I turn to when looking for swimwear. Many of the lingerie brands that cater to curves also carry swimwear (Freya, Fantasie, Elomi) and Bare Necessities carries them.

As for tummy control, Bare Necessities carries the classics like Miraclesuit® and Magicsuit®, they also carry brand-name control swimwear from SPANX and Tommy Bahama.

Cacique
Cacique is a great resource for larger sizes of bras, and they are also a great resource for larger sizes of swimwear, offering styles up to an H cup. Cacique carries one-piece styles, separates, and also Miraclesuit® for control swimwear.

My Personal Swimwear Tips:
  • Skirts emphasize, they don’t hide. Skirts on swimsuits work in the same manner as a tunic or muumuu – they may cover, but they don’t fool anyone. A skirt is a great choice for modesty or a retro feel, but you’d do better with strategic shirring or a flattering leg opening to make your body look not only smaller but also younger.
  • Buy a size smaller than what you wear in clothes. Unless otherwise specified (Miraclesuit® often has specific fit tips, always read customer reviews), bathing suits stretch. What seems to be a great fit when dry can end up with a saggy rear and exposed busom come a dip in the pool.
  • Buy a cup size larger than necessary. Unless it is underwire and bra-styled, going up a cup size will give you additional coverage. When I was a D cup, I would always buy the DD cup style from J. Crew – it still fit great, but gave me a bit more security under the arms and between the breasts.
  • Don’t machine wash your swimwear. Not only are you dealing with a delicate synthetic fabric full of Lycra and compression materials, it is a fabric being beaten with salt, chlorine, sand, and concrete. Baby your swimsuit and it will keep its shape, elasticity, color, and fit for more than a season. Products like Roux Maison Swimwear Detergent will extend the life of your suit and remove everything from chlorine to sunscreen without fading or residue.

Where do you like to shop for swimwear?  What swimsuit brands have you found that flatter, support, and control curves?

Note: I did receive free product from No Show Active Top and Aerin Rose, but the choice to write this post is my own and all options are also my own.

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  • Motherhoodispainless

    I have two go-to suits. One a retro-styled suit from Lands’ End, that I adore. And a Panache tankini that I bought at my favorite lingerie shop. I usually wear the tankini top with a coordinating swim skirt from Lands End – for modesty. 

  • http://bibliomomia.blogspot.com/ BiblioMOMia

    I adore you for this.  Seriously.

    My favorite this year?  The JCrew one-shoulder one-piece.  It’s the sexiest, most flattering, and most COVERING suit I own.  The internal bra is just fine for holding up the girls, the ruching does great things for my waist, and I love that the bottom is actually kind of two pieces–the top layer of the suit can be pulled up or down, giving you more of a straight-across leg or showing more bikini.  I bought the black and loved it so much that I’m buying a green one too!

  • Video_general

    It is hard to find one with a big enough cup size!

    http://www.itsmyprettyworld.blogspot.com

  • http://thriftstoremama.blogspot.com/ Thrift Store Mama

    Can’t wait to try all these.  I always thought a tankini top and bottom would be best for my large bust and soft tummy, but I could never get the Lands End tankini to fit properly.  Instead I wear a one piece from Lands End with an underwire bra and slimming panel in the tummy (and shirred fabric on top) and just make sure I don’t have to go to the bathroom if the suit is wet.

    I’m willing to spend A LOT of money on my bras and on my swimsuits and can’t wait to look at some of your other recommendations.

    Totally agree with your tips, too !

  • Southernliberal

    I have a pool and my suits get a lot of wear.  I bought 2 Miraclesuits in 2009, they are flattering, and they’ve held up well.  However, they began to be faded and stretched at the end of last season.  I still think that’s a good life span, but maybe I could have done better if I’d had your tips on laundering.  Will definitely try those. Am shopping for new suits this year and will check out all of your suggested sites.  Thanks, Allie!

  • http://twitter.com/KLETCO KLETCO

    I have a Fantasie swimwear suit that is FABULOUS!

  • crtfly

    When it comes to swimwear, this is one time I envy men. They don’t have the issues we do.

    Chris

  • MarcyB

    I swim laps most days of the week, year-round, in a chlorinated pool. For the past 2 years, I’ve been alternating 3 different colors of the same suit from Lands End, the Grecian Slendersuit, and none of them are showing signs of wear or fading yet. I love this suit – it’s the only one I’ve found that comes in a DD cup and short torso version AND is comfortable for swimming. I’m 60 years old, soft in the belly, big in the chest, and only 5 ft tall, and this suit is very flattering.

    I’ve also bought suits from Junonia.com and H2Owear.com in the past. They don’t offer short torso suits but they do have high-neck suits for water exercisers.

  • Eleanorjane

    What is *never* dealt with in all those ‘best swimsuit for your body type’ magazine articles is awful thighs. I’m an hourglass shape – my waist is fine, my boobs are fine, my thighs are things of horror! In New Zealand I dealt with it by wearing a underwire bikini top and board shorts (a girl version of the swimming shorts guys wear – coming to just above the knee). I get the feeling that this trick isn’t appropriate in the UK and Europe so I’m wondering what to do. For the first time in my life I’ve avoided swimming due to body consciousness which is bad!

  • Victoria

    Esther Williams swimwear for me!

  • http://twitter.com/barbekresla Barb Bergman

    I love the suits made by H2Owear. They’re designed for water exercise, so even the basic suits have better support than average because they’re fully lined with a non-stretchy fabric.
    They have a couple of DD support styles plus separates (shorts or briefs with your tank top?) and water bras. Suits are pretty much indestructible – twice a week, no babying, for 3 years before showed wear (and that was only in the elastic edging).
    Yes you do have to order online, but they’re small enough to have very helpful customer service.

    http://www.h2owear.com/DD-Support-Tank/productinfo/DDSS/12R_ID/

  • Donna-Leigh Harmon

    LANDSEND.COM !!!  Great customer service and return policy.  PLUS, they have such a large selection of tops and bottoms that can mix and max.  They have these great ‘swim shorts’ that are great when you are running around the pool bending over and chasing kids!