Swimsuit Review: More Suits for a Large Bust and Soft Belly

In the last swimsuit review post I ended seeming as though I didn’t find anything good. And then last weekend we took a trip to Rehoboth Beach and I knew I’d be spending time in an indoor pool and I was still without a suit so I kept the green tropical bikini. It was really my favorite, and I still loved it as I swam a couple laps, did handstands, and played ball with Emerson. But I still would like something with a bit more coverage for active days at the outdoor pool so I returned what didn’t work and ordered some more. The results:

Nordstrom

Since my last order, they had more suits available in my size so I figured I’d try some out.  Nordstrom's free shipping and returns makes it so easy, I hope they continue to expand their swimwear selections, there's nothing better than being able to try swimsuits at home, in your room, away from fluorescent lights, pushy salespeople, and fitting rooms that smell like Fritos.

Miraclesuit ‘Ansonia' Mesh Inset One-Piece Swimsuit in White

wardrobe oxygen swimsuit review miraclesuitThe seaming below and gathers at the bust gave me hope that this suit could possibly work. Maybe I’d feel like a Bond Girl in this awesome one-piece.  I also ordered this in a 14.

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Yeah, I need suits that are by cup size. This was also short in the torso, if I hiked it up to have the seam in the right place for the bust, I gave myself a front and back wedgie. This would be a darn sexy suit for a slimmer, smaller busted woman who just wanted a bit of tummy control to refine her shape.

Miraclesuit Front Zip One-Piece Swimsuit in Charcoal Black

PicMonkey CollageI ordered a 14. This suit (and a few others below) is proof as to why I need a bathing suit with bra sizing. If you follow me on Snapchat (I’m wardrobeoxygen) you may have caught my rant about Miraclesuits. How can a 5’3” short-waisted woman find a size 14 one-piece too short in the torso? Boobs. Seems as though Miraclesuit forgot that women with bellies may also have breasts. I think with a smaller bust both of these suits would have fit.

MICHAEL Michael Kors ‘Draped Solids' Bandeau One-Piece Swimsuit in Black

PicMonkey CollageI ordered a 14. I figured what the heck, why not?  I should have known.  This was a huge major colossal fail. The suit has no structure, it's one layer of traditional nylon spandex with a bit of lining in certain spots. However, I think if one was younger and firmer this would be a really gorgeous suit.

Lands’ End

Lands’ End has always been one of my go-tos for swimwear, but I was hoping to steer clear of them this year because of their debacle with Gloria Steinem. But Lands’ End makes clothing and swimwear for a broad range of sizes and shapes, the price is good for the excellent quality, and I have owned Lands’ End suits before and know they work for my shape. I also know that I need a bra-sized suit, I don’t need a bikini, and one-pieces are often too long in the torso so I went with their tankini pieces.

Before ordering from Lands’ End, check sites like Retail Me Not to see if there are any promos going on. Lately there’s been plenty of codes to get 30-40% off and most include swimwear.

Lands’ End Beach Living Adjustable Top and High Waist Control Bottom in Deep Sea

lands end beach living tankini wardrobe oxygenI ordered the top in 14 DDD cup, and the bottom in a 14. I like a suit with color, but I just didn’t feel me wearing a purple or pink swimsuit with a big bow in the front so I went with Deep Sea (navy).

The control bottom sucked me in, but it gave me muffin top. The top had underwire but if I had the underwire truly under my breasts and not an inch lower, I’d have the cups end up near my chin. No adjustment of the bow or the straps could get placement right, but even so the suit gave more support and separation than one without underwire and I had enough fabric to not be spilling out. The top though was perfect in the torso – not too tight but not too loose. I think with a different bottom it would have been more flattering.

But this suit is a whole lot of meh. It reminded me of the green one-piece in the previous post. It’s fine. It’s okay.  I wouldn't look twice at a woman wearing it at the pool or beach.  It’s what most women my age and size wear because it fits and it sucks to try on swimsuits and it gets the job done without more agony at the full-length mirror. I just can’t justify spending $100 (that is if there’s not a Lands’ End promo going on) for meh.

Lands’ End Beach Living Adjustable Top in Black Horizon

Lands End Beach Living Adjustable Tankini - Wardrobe OxygenGoing through the clearance section at Lands’ End I found this black and white striped top in DDD cup 14 and ordered it since it was on sale for $35.99. Here it is featured with the Miraclesuit bottom I reviewed in this post.

I have no idea why this top fits better than the navy one but it does. The cups align better, neckline looks nicer. I know it lays better on the torso because of the different bottom I paired it with. Totally shows the power of getting the right bottom for your specific body! Thanks to my promo code and it being on clearance, this top only cost me $22. I plan on keeping it, it’s perfect for playing at the community pool with Emerson.  Of course I'd end up with a suit that has stripes!

Bare Necessities

I already raved about Bare Necessities’ selection for bra-sized swimwear. Based on my last order, I ordered two more things from them:

Freya Sagittarius Halter Swimsuit

PicMonkey CollageI didn’t order this the first go-round because I’ve had halter swimsuits before and while they make a large bust look amazing, after a day at the pool your neck ends up sore from holding up your breasts. But this is Freya, Freya rocks, and I could order it in a cup size so likely the rest of the suit would be designed to help keep my breasts lifted. I ordered a 36E.

I am too short for this swimsuit. While it doesn’t look bad from the front or side, in the back you can see how it just doesn’t fit, and that issue affects the whole bust area. There’s a backstrap, which should help with the breast support, but because I am short in the torso, it can’t lie in the right place and ends up all squished down which pushes up the front, which makes my breasts lie funny in the cups which causes me to tighten the halter straps which puts more strain on my neck…

This is a cute suit if you have a longer torso or are taller. The top is made so it can support a large bust but also flatter and enhance a smaller one. And the dots are gold foil, the fabric is really nice, this suit feels and looks expensive. You can easily rock it at the pool, but gosh it would be fabulous on a tropical vacation with a big sunhat, the dots gleaming in the sun, a frozen cocktail in your hand. If you buy it, email me a picture of you wearing it and being utterly fabulous, dahlink!

Fantasie Versailles Bikini Swim Bottom in Black (shown with Freya ‘Pier’ Halter Swim Top)

PicMonkey CollageI really like the fit of the Fantasie Kuranda swim bottom and thought this bottom would essentially be the same thing but in black.  Newp. No. No way. Nuh-uh. It does have a more adjustable side, you can see in the side view I cinched it tighter for a smaller side, but it is a stretchier, thinner fabric and a lower-rise style.  When I bent over it rolled down even lower and I spilled over the waistband.  I know my strengths and love to highlight them; my lower abdomen is a part I prefer to keep covered.

Final Result?

Fantasie Tie-Side Boyshort Swim Bottom and Balconette Swim Top in KurandaI may still look for a better black control swimsuit bottom to go with the Lands' End top, but otherwise I feel ready for summer.  I have the Fantasie Kuranda Balconette Top and Boyshort Bottom as my sassy sunning and funning swimsuit, and my Lands' End Beach Living striped tankini top to wear for playing in the ocean or pool with Emerson and being more active.  I'm ready to have fun in the sun!

33 Comments

  1. oneWEIRDword
    April 19, 2017 / 7:04 pm

    Your facial expressions say it all! Such a useful post; much appreciated. Bathing suits look so different in real life and they can be the bane of my summer existence. However, I just got a Lands End tugless tank in a retro orange-pink-navy paisley pattern and I quite like it.

    I’ve always been determined to get out there and swim no matter what my weight. My mom was so self conscious about her weight she never did come out with us. Makes me sad she missed out on so much fun.

  2. July 6, 2016 / 11:15 am

    Thank you for doing this. I haven’t bought a bathing suit in at least 5 years and my local bra shop doesn’t carry my bust size so I really needed to go to a trusted voice to at least find a reputable place to look for suits. Ended up checking out Bare Necessities but what I wanted was way way back ordered so I went to Her Room. Hopefully it will work out!

  3. April 7, 2016 / 4:25 pm

    At least in the photos, I thought that white swimsuit looked great on you. In addition to buying swimsuits by bra sizes, I also buy suits that have a built in bra clasp. I almost always get them from Bare Necessities or another similar website. The bra clasp tankini tops are challenging to get on and off, but once they are on they look good and support nicely.

    I’m also troubled by the recent broohaha with LandsEnd and Gloria Steinem; I love their dresses (more so in previous seasons) and purchase many of them. But, I choose to believe that they made a mistake and that the quality of their offerings makes it worth my business.

    This was a great roundup you did – I know it’s a lot of work.

  4. mendotawaves
    April 7, 2016 / 8:25 am

    Thanks for the pieces about choosing a swimsuit! I think they portrayed very well the difficulty of finding one that one likes and showed good suggestions.

  5. Kathryn Parker
    April 5, 2016 / 11:04 pm

    Inspired by your post – I am a similar shape – I tried on some bathing suits today when I went bra shopping. I haven’t owned a bathing suit for years. I was also motivated hearing a conversation with a wee boy and his mum earlier this week in the next door changing rooms. She was trying on bathing suits and he told her how great she looked in one of them and was clearly excited at the prospect of mum being able to go swimming with him. Made me feel guilty as a mum of two that I hadnt hopped in the water on family outings for years. Partly embarrassed by my changed body and too frugal to pay extra for something that comfortably contained my boobs. Today I brought a black bathing suit that I feel great in. It is the Versailles black bathing suit by Fantasie at fantasieswimwear.com. It contains my bigger boobs and has gentle folds over the tummy to make my baby belly look good. It also fits well around my booty and legs. Yay! Thank you for inspiring me with this post.

  6. Kate McIvor
    April 4, 2016 / 10:08 pm

    You’re the best! Now I’m going to try a fantasie bikini myself. Thank you!

  7. April 4, 2016 / 6:06 pm

    I too am a fan of Land’s End. I hadn’t heard about the Gloria Steinem stuff… I have that same style top. I just went with the regular non-compression bottoms. I too am large breasted with a soft belly.

  8. Marcia Brinkley
    April 4, 2016 / 2:51 pm

    I’m 64, short, large chested and have extra skin in certain spots after weight loss surgery, so finding swimsuits has been a challenge. I swim laps, too, so need a higher neckline and a racerback, along with overall support and flattening. The only suits I’ve found in the past couple of years that work for me are Miraclesuits, either the Touche color block or the Helix. They come in D and DD cups (the Helix also comes in DDD), they’re flattering, they hold up in chlorine (some of mine are 3 years old and showing no wear), the necklines are high enough to avoid scooping up water, and the racerback helps with holding up the girls. I just bought a new one online so I know they are still available but it takes a bit of hunting.

  9. Rachel
    April 4, 2016 / 2:17 pm

    I’m so grateful for these two posts – they have made me feel much more at ease about the sight of myself in my togs. Thank you.
    I’m glad you kept the jungle bikini – that has been my favourite so far because it is so fun! Wishing you many happy times spent enjoying the pool/beach in these!

  10. April 4, 2016 / 2:14 pm

    Not that my opinion really matters, but I’m so glad you kept that green tropical bikini!!
    And I totally agree that the striped tankini looked great—I laughed at your comment that you’d end up with a striped one!! It’s good to have humor about these things!!
    For me….”listening” to you go through all this, makes me only gladder (is that a word?) that I don’t need a new swimsuit—that i only wear mine twice a year at the hot springs—and what I have is all good!
    jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

  11. April 4, 2016 / 2:01 pm

    Thank you so much for these posts!! I am bigger than you, but also 5’3″ and large chested. I didn’t know where else but Lands’ End to look for suits by cup size. I do water aerobics so I need several good ones! I did recently get a Krinkle suit, which you can get regular/d-cup. I am an H, and everything fits in there, although it doesn’t have the support of an underwire like Lands’ End. It’s a great water aerobics suit because it’s chlorine resistant, but I still have to wear a sports bra with it.

  12. Lisa S
    April 4, 2016 / 12:07 pm

    Thank you for mentioning the Lands End debacle and your subsequent hesitation to buy anything from them. It is nice to know I’m not alone in avoiding this company (and its well-made men’s staples) thanks to its craven, anti-women backpeddling earlier this year.

    • April 4, 2016 / 12:21 pm

      I am still floored by the whole thing. They’re a major corporation with a huge executive board full of intelligent people. They had to know that using Steinem may cause waves. Stand by your decision or don’t make such a decision in the first place. Their base customer is moms and private schools, they have stated that in many interviews. They never stopped to think that using Steinem would possibly upset a portion of their audience? And that them pulling the piece would upset another huge portion? Time and time again Steinem speeches get protested even if they don’t discuss a single controversial topic, just because people associate her with being pro choice. To not realize that, and then to not defend your decision to feature her and the ERA… so many many fails. So disappointed in a brand I have supported and promoted for many years.

  13. Karen Bowers
    April 4, 2016 / 11:24 am

    What a great post! I love how your face shows so clearly which suits don’t work!

  14. mostlatestvegetable
    April 4, 2016 / 11:20 am

    I just got resized at Nordstrom and found, to my utter astonishment, that I was wearing a too-big cup. This necessitated a new suit (will eBay the Freya Tula Poppy that was too big – wasn’t jazzed about it anyway), so I ordered a Freya Tootsie bikini in Marine Blue (36F/Large) from BareNecessities this morning. 25% off with their current promo plus free shipping is pretty darn good. Fingers crossed! I strongly considered the Fantasie Kuranda after your review, but my husband thought it was a little too serious for me. I’m a huge stripe girl, so if the Tootsie works, I’ll be all set.

      • mostlatestvegetable
        April 4, 2016 / 1:04 pm

        If it doesn’t, then Kuranda for sure!

  15. Pam S.
    April 4, 2016 / 11:15 am

    I love this post! It was so great to see the suits that didn’t fit right and then bam! Suddenly there’s the striped tankini top that looks awesome. It really goes to show that persistence pays off when shopping for a flattering suit, and that there are such things as flattering suits! Bravo!

  16. eds_77845
    April 4, 2016 / 10:57 am

    Ugh…hadn’t heard the LE thing, so had to go read up on it. Living in Ted Cruz country, it is epidemic to feel you can’t do business with and certainly not vote for someone who does not agree with you 100% on one moral issue. You picked some cute suits!

  17. Diane Stenglein
    April 4, 2016 / 9:50 am

    Thank you for all of these reviews. I’m in the market for a new suit or two this year. I have a Freya Active tankini top, but the elastic is starting to go, and I HATE the one piece that I picked last year. (The cups never fit right.) I ordered a few new things and am hoping for the best!

  18. Emily R
    April 4, 2016 / 9:43 am

    Thanks so much for these in-depth reviews!! I’m glad you found some pieces that work for you!

  19. Jen W
    April 4, 2016 / 9:35 am

    I’m with you in avoiding Land’s End after they cancelled the ERA fundraiser, but glad you found the striped top. I loved the tropical print suit on you. So glad you decided to keep that one!

    • April 4, 2016 / 12:12 pm

      I own a lot of Lands’ End clothing and will be showing plenty of it in the future because it’s good clothing, but I will be avoiding future purchases because of their decision. If they were going to cave like that, they shouldn’t have done the campaign in the first place. Such poor planning and such a lack of consideration for their current customer base.

      • CEB
        April 4, 2016 / 1:20 pm

        Appreciate your response and highlighting the issue with LE, but I am a little disappointed that you still purchased and highlighted items from this company. I used to buy a ton of clothing from Lands End, but can’t bring myself to spend any more money at a place that chose to highlight a feminist icon and caved to pressure in such a public manner.

      • oneWEIRDword
        April 19, 2017 / 7:07 pm

        I am still buying from them because it took me so damn long to find a bathing suit I like.

  20. Shelley A.
    April 4, 2016 / 9:14 am

    Wow you’re brave and I love your confidence!! Bathing suit shopping is awful! Thanks for the reviews!

  21. Dee
    April 4, 2016 / 9:09 am

    Check out the swim capris at Coolibar. I am sure other places sell them, but this is where I bought mine. I love, love, love them. I wear a tankini top with them. You can also buy swim leggings, bermudas, and skirts. The plus side is your shape is shown but the sags are all contained. I am a grandmother, aged 63, and I wear the XL. Now, when I climb out of the pool using the ladder, I know everything is tucked in where it should be. hahaha I love my swim capris when I go to Puerto Vallarta. Less worry of sunburn!

  22. HokieKate
    April 4, 2016 / 8:13 am

    Great reviews! I’m also a big fan of LandsEnd Beach Living separates.

  23. Patricia
    April 4, 2016 / 7:35 am

    Trying on bathing suits and showing them to the world? I salute your bravery! I haven’t enjoyed trying on bathing suits since that one all too brief moment I was a size 6. Twenty years later (and many pounds) it’s not so much fun. I have my best luck with takinis. Gives me the coverage I want and I can try and buy different size tops and bottoms. I usually try mine at the store. I can haul in a ton of suits and just keep trying till I find one that doesn’t make me cringe.

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