I have big boobs. 36Ds, to be precise, a measurement recently confirmed by not one, but two different bra fitters after I haughtily insisted that I knew my body and I was most definitely a C-cup. Turns out, they know my five-foot, three-inch body better than I did.
I like my large chest well enough. I look phenomenal in dresses made to accentuate curves and my boobs aren’t so big that I suffer from health problems like a good friend who is considering reduction surgery after years of lower back pain.
The only time I find myself longing to be smaller is when I’m clothes shopping in the summer, when I stare longingly at skinny-strapped dresses and halter tops. Shoving 36Ds into a strapless bra and expecting them to stay in place is a little like sticking a spoon to your nose. It’ll work for a while, but it’s not a permanent bond.
I’ve avoided the bathing suit dilemma for the past seven years by simply not wearing one. This is not as hard as you would expect when you factor in that I can’t swim — ask me about that one over drinks sometimes — and that both my boyfriend and I make our livings creatively so we don’t have a lot of cash to blow on vacations.
But this summer, I need a bathing suit. I’m going on a week-long trip to Ocean City, Maryland, and am very much looking forward to splashing in the ocean and reading on the beach. If only I can find something to wear.
I don’t think my criteria is especially strict. I would like my boobs to safely strapped to my chest. I’m not going to be jogging along the beach in my bathing suit top, but if a particularly strong wave hits me, I’d like to feel confident that I am not pulling a Janet Jackson at the Superbowl. It should also be Not Ugly. I’m not saying it has to be cute, but it should not make me visibly cringe when I see it on the hanger. I’m open to one-piece suits, though I’d much prefer a two-piece, because while I am pretty short — approximately 5’3” — I have a long torso, which makes me a tricky fit. Also, I am 25 years old and I work hard to be skinny, dammit. No granny suits for me, please.
Per recommendations from other well-endowed friends, I ordered a suit from J. Crew. When it arrived, I excitedly tried it on in my un-air-conditioned bedroom. The lining was so thin, my nipples showed through and there was such minimal support that my usually perky chest seemed to be reaching for the floor.
I’ve now been on the hunt for two weeks and have tried on 36 suits in five stores. The only one that was even an option in terms of fit was hideously floral and came up so high on my waist that I looked like I was trying to hide a big belly underneath. I’ve also scoped out Athleta.com, which carries swimsuits for women with C to DD cups. I’m sure these suits are serviceable but they’re also ugly as sin.
I have realized that whatever suit I buy must — MUST — have an underwire, which is harder to find than you might imagine. This morning, in a fit of desperation, I ordered this suit from Anthropologie.
For a whopping $216 (plus tax and shipping!), I am hoping that this suit will fit appropriately. If not, I’ve got a list of back-ups to order. See them below the jump.
Also: I’d love to hear from you on this topic. I’m sure that I am not the only big-boobed girl who has run into this problem. Where did you find an appropriate swimsuit? How much did you pay for it? And if you’re a lady with smaller breasts, what other problems do you have when shopping for a swimsuit? We may feature your comments in a future post.
This cute blue bikini with underwire will only run you about $50. But be warned: The sizing is not good for your self esteem. My 36Ds require a XXL.
For reasons I will never comprehend, this suit comes with padding and underwire. But, the padding is removable and it comes in a ton of bright, cheery colors. You can also choose from a variety of bottoms so you’re sure to get an appropriate amount of coverage — no matter how you define appropriate.
This simple, elegant suit carries sizes up to a 38DD and most user reviews are favorable.
This suit comes in a variety of colors. I don’t love how much in resembles regular undergarments, but for someone looking for something simple, it’ll do the trick.