It’s safe to say that summer is approached with a mixture of joy (warm weather!) and dread as you contemplate the woes of swimsuit shopping. Every woman — no matter her figure, proportions or size — understands just how frustrating it can be to find a stylish suit that actually fits and flatters. But women with large chests know this frustration perhaps more than anyone.
Swimsuits for big busts require a very specific set of design details that must be checked off, lest we make ourselves prime targets for wardrobe malfunctions or a day full of constant readjustments and covert boob stuffing. Unfortunately, it seems as though mainstream swimwear retailers carry only two types of swimsuits: the barely-covers-your-bits suits or the kind designed with grandmothers in mind.
But fret not! Though it may feel like they are few and far between, stylish swimsuits that support large chests do exist. Here’s what to look for, plus eight new styles that were designed with big boobs in mind.
What to look for in a swimsuit:
When buying a bikini, opt for swimwear that’s sold as bra-sized separates and choose the same size that you buy for your regular lingerie. “This will ensure a perfect fit, plus it will provide the proper lift and support for a larger bust,” explains Victoria Shelton, a garment technologist at Figleaves.com. “Our body is more than just a small, medium or large. Shopping swimwear with bra sizes can be life-changing, as a perfectly fitting swimsuit gives you confidence at the beach or pool.” Bonus when buying separates: You can get your bottoms in the correct size as well.
When in doubt, look for a swimsuit with underwire, which provides you with extra support. That said, Shelton notes that more designers are coming up with amazing, non-wired styles that also work for larger busts – think contoured and molded cups. “The real trick is to make sure you’re looking for a brand that is specifically designing for larger cup sizes,” she says.
Avoid thin, loose straps or strapless silhouettes. A suit with thick straps will give you extra lift up top. Also key: Look for one with adjustable straps so you have more flexibility. (These can be straps that you can criss-cross in different ways, or with metal adjusters similar to those you find on a bra.) Halter tie necks are a good option, too, since you can adjust to your level of comfort.
High necklines and/or backs
If you’re looking for more coverage and extra support, high-necks are a great option. You can even find sexier styles with mesh. Additionally, if a suit has a high back then it will provide you with more side-boob coverage and more support in general.
Swimsuits that check all the boxes:
If you’re searching for a swimsuit that caters to large busts, the options below are a great place to start. Trust me, I’ve tried on countless options to find the ones that check all the boxes above, and these are the swimsuits that passed the big boob test.
Gabi Fresh has collaborated with Swimsuits for All for several years now, making stylish options for women of all shapes and sizes, and this sexy orange one-piece is from this season's ‘70s-inspired collection. The encircled shelf bra with molded cups is one of those awesome alternatives to traditional underwire, and the thick, crossed straps in the back provide added support. Also nice: The tortoise shell accents add a trendy touch.
Freya has been a godsend to me over the years. This bikini top, which fits more like a comfy bra, has light padding and adjustable straps to create a flattering, separated shape. You'll feel covered and lifted when wearing it. The best part: It's available in a wide range of sizes, from 30D up to 38G, so you're guaranteed to find a good fit.
Pair the top with the matching Sundance Rio Brief ($42); I find that ties are more flattering since you can adjust them, and they tend not to cut into your skin.
The sweetheart-neckline on this Miraclesuit piece is especially flattering to large busts. Plus, the thick and wide straps also provide more support, as does the high back. Also nice: The ruching adds a touch of tummy control, if you're looking for that, and the gold front zipper makes the suit feel fashionable.
This bikini top sold by ModCloth checks off a lot of musts: high neckline, a halter top, adjustable straps, and a wide range of sizes. It also comes in seven different prints and with a trendy high-waist bottom, sold separately for $49, for a hint of vintage style.
The wide straps and tie neck make this Figleaves suit an easy winner for big boobs, giving you the ability to control the level of lift you're comfortable with. The underwired cups add extra support and shape while the high back provides coverage in terms of side-boob. And can we talk about how cute that polka-dot halterneck is?
I usually shy away from super-deep v-necks in a swimsuit since coverage tends to be questionable. However, this suit designed by body champion Ashley Graham checks off a bunch of other design details that make it a great option for large breasts, including thick straps, full side coverage, and a high back with criss-crossed straps. Most importantly, though, it'll make you feel like a bombshell.
BareNecessities is another great place to shop for cup-sized swimwear. They have a ton of one and two-piece options to choose from in a huge spectrum of sizes. I was initially drawn to the simple design of this Fantasie bikini, as well as the large size range (32 through 42 band size and D through HH cup sizes). The 3-part underwire cups create a rounded, perky shape and the reinforced side boning prevents spillover, so you'll feel very confident when you slip out of your cover-up.
I discovered Rod Beattie swimwear when I came upon a rogue one piece with crazy cutouts hanging on a rack of dresses. I wasn’t even interested in shopping for swimwear but decided to try it on for the heck of it. The result? A flawless fit. That's because many of the suits are tailored with large busts in mind, and they’re all incredibly sexy. This particular swimsuit comes in a few colors and lots of sizes, including plus, and it has the thick, criss-crossed back straps that help keep the girls in place.
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