Big, huge thanks to everyone who commented on my recent post bemoaning the difficulties of finding a supportive bathing suit. Per the advice of many readers (and lots of friends who commented on my Facebook; friend me! And the painfully under-liked PW Style blog’s page!), I ordered a suit from Victoria’s Secret. (Better yet: On sale!) For less than $65, I found a bathing suit that is supportive and fashionable. And I swear to god, it makes me look skinnier.
I ordered the top in my bra size. It came with removable padding, which I fully intended to throw away, but after trying on the top with and without the pad, I decided it was a necessary evil. Without, the top is a little too loose (perhaps indicating that I can go down a cup size?) and I do like the additional protection it provides in the nipple area, despite being generally against making my boobs look larger than they already are.
I also really like that the back fastens with a clip instead of tying. It feels more supportive this way and I can still adjust the top by fastening the neck to my preferred tightness. My girls are up high and close together and I feel certain that a large wave would not cause me any boob-related embarrassment. Thumbs way up.
I also ordered the scoop bottom, which sits a little higher on the leg and has a higher rise and a higher back. For a girl with a moderately sized derriere, it covers just the right amount of trunk junk without feeling prudish. That said, if you prefer more or less coverage, you can order accordingly, a feature I really, truly appreciate. Additionally, I took a victory lap around my bedroom and found that the bottom didn’t ride up. Thumbs? Still up.
Victoria’s Secret is currently in the midst of their semi-annual sale, which means bathing suits are running 25 percent to 50 percent off. Buy yours today!
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.
Heads up for all those that have a less boring bra size than me: there’s a neat piece by Felicia D’Ambrosio over at City Paper on getting a custom bathing suit for her above-average rack at Topstitch boutique in Old City.
Finding a bikini that could contain the monsters without evoking Auntie Pearl in her bathing cap has occupied my last five springs, with poor results. Everything was too matronly (all D-cup-specific lines), too expensive (Betsy Johnson’s bra-kinis) or better suited for Rio or Nantucket than the Jersey Shore (Victoria’s Secret, J. Crew). I vented my retail frustration to the ladies of Topstitch Boutique one day and was thrilled when designer Emily Geddes offered to construct me a custom suit.
D’Ambrosio doesn’t mention how much the custom suit ran her, and it would probably vary from person to person; but seeing as how she disqualifies Betsey Johnson bikinis earlier in the piece for being too expensive, I figured it had to be under $200. Then I said, Emily G, you lazy ass. Call… the other Emily G… and find out.
Unfortunately, Other Emily G gets in at 11, and it is currently 10:40. So in the meantime, here’s another spot for handmade bathing suits that I love: etsy’s LAdramaqueen.
Maybe it’s the way the suits incorporate the parts of vintage suits I like (the shape) and leave most of the parts I don’t like (the fabric) at home. Maybe it’s because the models, unlike most swimsuit models, don’t make me feel quite so ungodly pale. Maybe it’s because the suits all look beautifully constructed and come fully lined. Maybe it’s this totally amazing user profile:
Hello, my name is Tani Marie.
I have been handcrafting clubwear, swimwear and lingerie since 1999. I learned my craft building exotic dancewear. I was hired as a house mom at a gentlemen’s club and started selling clothes that I purchased to the dancers. Not being impressed with the clothes available, I decided to start making them. After a few months of designing and experimentation I was able to construct outfits to sell. Six months later, having a large variety of patterns, styles and custom orders it was time to do it full time.
The experience gave me incredible insight into fitting and complementing for all body types. My style has always leaned to the sexy side, and I draw inspiration from hip hop, 80’s punk rock, classic funk, classic pin ups, classic cinema, anime, lowrider cars and bicycles, roller skating and surfing.
But whatever it was, I’d had that chevron maillot on the left open in a firefox tab for about a week and a half, trying to decide whether it was worth spending $110, but it looks like I waited too long and it’s sold out. Sad face. But all the others are still available for about the same price.
And now it’s 11:15 (blogging: a surprisingly time-consuming process), so let’s try Other Emily G again!
…OK, so Other Emily G’s still not in yet, but the nice lady who answered the phone last time said that she’s talked to the owner since I last called; for a suit like the one in City Paper, it’d probably be $125-$150, maybe a little more if there are a lot of fitting issues. Try to bring a bra or swimsuit you already know fits you well if you suspect that you’re outside the norm.
You’d need to make an appointment for a fitting, which can be just about any time during their business hours just so long as you let them know beforehand.
54 N. 3rd Street
T-Th 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
F-Sat 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Sun noon-5 p.m.
P.S. Uh, no actual machine guns in this post, I’ve just had the Cramps stuck in my head while writing this. For all the bullet belts, patent leather and, yes, actual bikini girls with machine guns you can handle, I suggest you watch the video:
First, a quick look at the weekend weather forecast for Ocean City, NJ.
So maybe you won’t be tanning and playing beach volleyball this weekend. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare for the summer by purchasing a flattering swimsuit.
A few weeks ago Emily G asserted that most women under the age of 35 look better naked than clothed and suggested some two-piece bathing suits. But perhaps you don’t agree. Perhaps you’ve always thought that modern swimsuits are just a little too revealing. A self-effacing gal like you certainly doesn’t want a bikini or even a skirted one-piece. Fear not, Modest Mary. We’ve found the perfect swimsuits for you, too!
To quote their website (emphasis mine),”WholesomeWear is a modest line of clothing for ‘wherever.’ Our WaterWear is the first to be introduced because the need for modesty in swimwear is greatest and the supply is almost non-existent. Swimwear that ‘highlights the face rather than the body‘ includes an undergarment with bright colors at the neck and shoulders to draw the eyes to the face.”
Here’s an example of their Extended Slimming Swimwear, which, as you can see below, covers both your elbows and your knees for ultimate coverage. This fine piece of presumably Amish craftsmanship will run you almost a hundred bucks, but that is a small price to pay for modesty.