Fitness swimsuit sizing for busty women
August 26, 2008 6:55 AM   Subscribe

I would like to start swimming laps. I have big boobs. What size Speedo or Tyr-type woman's swimsuit should I get to prevent uncomfortable boob-flopping?

Years ago, I enjoyed lap swimming. I'd like to take it up again. Unfortunately, I have misplaced my swimsuit, and I'm having trouble shopping for another one. I remember that the nice lady at the sporting goods store recommended that I buy a suit that was a little tighter than normal, to compress my big boobs. But I don't remember how much tighter than normal she said to go. Does anyone have any insight?

My bust measurement is 36, my underbust is 28, and my waist is 27. (Those measurements are correct. I have no waist. I like to say that I'm like two grapefruits nailed to a two-by-four.) I wear a 30F bra. According to the charts I should probably get a size 34 swimsuit, but the charts don't have an underbust measurement, and I suspect when they say that a 34 is good for someone with a 36 inch bust and a 28 inch waist, they're imagining someone with a 28 inch waist, a 34 inch underbust, and a 36 inch bust, which is to say a small-busted, proportionate woman. Should I, a large-busted mal-proportioned freak, get a 32 inch swimsuit? Or should I stick with the 34? Or go down to a 30? Help!

I'd like to order a suit online if possible, and if not I'd like to get it from a general sporting goods store rather than a fancy swimming store. Is that a lost cause? Do I need to go to the fancy swimming store out in the burbs and get fitted by a pro?
posted by craichead to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm definitely a leisure swimmer, but I would recommend Panache cup-sized swimwear. You can get this in the UK from Bravissimo, but it's probably easy to pick up on eBay. My tankini, at full RRP, would have been $120, though. I found wearing a regular costume made the costume stick out and water went in, which was unpleasant (I'm 36FF but with hips to match).
posted by mippy at 7:06 AM on August 26, 2008


It is worth it to go try stuff on once and order on line from then on. Especially since TYR, Speedo, and Nike are all cut differently. If the general sports stores have suits and you want to screw around there, there is no reason to go to the swim store. The swim store just may have a little more expert advice.

My advice, if you do go alone: try on the three different brands in multiple sizes and go for a poly suit (Speedo is Endurance, TYR is I think called Durafast). They last longer and stretch less. From my well endowed friends, I think Speedo will probably fit better.
posted by dame at 7:07 AM on August 26, 2008


Buy a rashguard and wear it over your suit top. Also helps with sun protection. Athleta, REI, and surf shops sell 'em too.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:09 AM on August 26, 2008


If you don't like the fancy stores, you can do what I do and buy a ton of suits [or try on] at a thrift store and get a feeling for what brands look decent on you. I'm built a little differently than you, but basically top-heavy and with no waist to speak of and I find that Jantzen suits fit me pretty well. It looks like their size eight might be close. That said, their website is terrible and their suits aren't really for lap swimming but they do the trick for me.

You're more likely to be able to squeeze your rack into a slightly smaller suit than you are getting a rack-appropriate suit and have your ass hanging out, is my somewhat educated opinion on the matter. One more piece of advice, Speedos are really good because they're high cut in the neck meaning that you don't get a whole bunch of water running through your cleavage when you're swimming.

Sorry I don't have more specific advice here, but best of luck, the right suit is out there for you!
posted by jessamyn at 7:12 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


While I'm not quite as large chested as you, I am a 38-D. I've found that Speedo and TYR are a bit roomier in the chest than Nike - I'd stay away from Nike as they are very skimpy in the chest area.

I'd say you'll probably be a bit 'cramped' in a size 34 suit, but a 36 might be a bit large around your bottom. Its going to be a tradeoff, unfortunately.

You may also consider, I believe TYR makes 2 piece "tankini" style racing suits - you could buy 2, in different sizes and mix the top and bottom? I know .. kind of pricey when you consider you won't use one of the combinations, but if it keeps everything "in place" it might be worth it.
posted by CorporateHippy at 7:32 AM on August 26, 2008


Freya have a very good swimwear line, i've had one of their bikinis in the past and it was good quality (i'm a 36G). Here are two simple bathing suits that might work for you - i'm linking to the UK figleaves but if you have trouble finding them where you are, MeMail me and i'll track them down for you. The line is called Freya Swim and there is a ton of variety, here's the full collection.
posted by ukdanae at 7:33 AM on August 26, 2008


(Forgot to say that my answer implies that i think a size-specific suit might still work, places like Freya are aware that women can have tiny bodies and big chests!)
posted by ukdanae at 7:41 AM on August 26, 2008


You can get swimsuits with built-in bras in actual bra sizes. I haven't tried them yet, but I got a professional bra fitting last week (at Zoe's in Concord NH) and they mentioned that they sell them. They aren't the sad little shelf thing that doesn't work with large breasts, but actual bra-shaped bras only in swimsuit material, sewn inside a one-piece suit. If you're willing to order online anyway, it might be worth trying.
posted by joannemerriam at 8:12 AM on August 26, 2008


If you're going for a one-piece, go for something high-necked and tight, preferably from a real sports shop. A lot of 'bathing suits' will not be suitable for real swimming, particularly if you're large in the chest area - anything that shows cleavage can have the tendency to fill up with water as you push off (or dive) and if the straps are particularly stretchy, the whole thing can come down exposing your boobs to the rest of the pool.
posted by missmagenta at 8:28 AM on August 26, 2008


You're going to have to go to the store and try it on. Seriously, there's no way you can avoid this.

I'm a busty person who swims laps, and I love my Speedo. I think a Speedo racing suit, either the Endurance or the XtraLife Lycra in size 34 or 36 should work fine for you, actually: the size 34 is designed for someone with 34-27-34 measurements, and the size 36 is designed for someone with 36-28-36 measurements.

The underbust isn't relevant in the racing suits, because they're meant to stretch--your 28 inch underbust will be fine here. The hips might be the sticking point, which is why you probably want to try on both the 34 and the 36.

Most chain sporting goods stores have these suits.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:37 AM on August 26, 2008


Decent exposures has started selling swimsuits. I love their bras, but have not tried their swimsuits yet.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:04 AM on August 26, 2008


Do you have a store which specializes in sport swimming in your area? They will have the widest selection and probably the best advice for you on sport suits. I ended up buying a Dolphin brand suit a couple years ago and it works well. However, I tried on about five or six that the store recommended before I found one that worked.

Ask for a store recommendation either at the place you swim or find some triathletes and ask them. I never have faith that the big box stores are going to have what I want or the experts to help me.
posted by amanda at 10:21 AM on August 26, 2008


Thanks so much for the recommendations, everyone! This was really helpful, and I think it's clarified for me that I need some expert advice. I just realized that I have to go out to the suburbs tomorrow anyway, so I will stop by the specialty swim shop when I'm out there. I will report back on any swimsuit purchases!
posted by craichead at 11:12 AM on August 26, 2008


I really think you'd be ok with a trip to a general sporting goods store. Grab as many suits as you can take into the dressing room, and try them all on. I agree that Nike ones seem to be skimpier in the chest, but try them along with Speedo and TYR in a couple different sizes and styles. (Look at the straps in the back to figure out whether you've got two different styles from the same brand, or just two different colors. I've found that the racks tend to be pretty jumbled at my sporting goods store.) Tighter will be better up to a certain point because they'll squish everything in tight, but when you go past that point things will start to... squish out, I guess. You have to find that fine line, and a dressing room is the best place to do it. Good luck!
posted by vytae at 11:15 AM on August 26, 2008


I'm similarly large busted and I just bought a Speedo suit at my local Dick's Sporting Goods. The very first suit I tried on fit perfectly. I was pleasantly surprised and I think you might be too.
posted by peacheater at 11:38 AM on August 26, 2008


Also large busted and highly recommending Speedo. Almost always works for me.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:20 PM on August 26, 2008


OK, I'm definitely not large busted, but I do wear lots of speedos and Tyr suits, so I thought I'd weigh in. I specifically wear the racing-type suits, for lap swimming.

For reference, my bust measurement is a 33 and underbust is a 29. I wear the size 32 well in both Speedo and Tyr. However, Speedos tend to be built more for swimmer's bodies, meaning that if you are proportionally a little larger on top, you will do well in this suit. Being an hourglass shape, I have a little too much booty for my Speedos, so I tend to favor the Tyr suits. I suspect you will be the opposite, from your description. I don't think you will have any issues with the waist/no waist, as long as you don't have a really long torso, you should be fine.

I still haven't found a Nike suit that fits according to the size charts. And whatever you do, avoid the Tyr microbacks at all costs. They are very nice looking, but even I can't figure out how to keep the girls covered in this one.

A good place to look at suits online is Swim Outlet, you can order a few and return the bad ones.
posted by smalls at 12:40 PM on August 26, 2008


I don't think you will have any issues with the waist/no waist, as long as you don't have a really long torso, you should be fine.

If you do have a long torso, the regular Speedos (not the racing suits) come in long-torso sizes.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:15 PM on August 26, 2008


In the Tyr suits you want the Reversible Maxback. The double layer fabric, thicker straps, higher neck and most supportive back are all going to be better for bust support.
posted by 26.2 at 1:02 AM on August 27, 2008


Ok, so here's the happy ending. I was in the neighborhood, so I went to the fancy swim store. The nice people there hooked me up with a Tyr in a 34, and since they were having their end of summer sale, it was only $20. It was cheaper than I would have got on-line, and I know I got the correct size. Yay! Now I just have to get myself motivated actually to get up and make it to the pool.
posted by craichead at 2:32 PM on August 27, 2008


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