Help me find the right swimsuit store.
April 8, 2012 8:36 PM   Subscribe

I need a women's swimsuit and due to difficulty ever finding one in stores I'm going to try buying one online this year. Suggestions for retailers that have good product and good return policies if it doesn't work out? More about what I'm looking for inside.

Last year it was a nightmare finding a suit. I eventually gave up and bought one I didn't like out of desperation - and I ended up not going swimming because it looked terrible and wouldn't stay in place. That can't happen this year. I'm going to the beach!

I want something cute, but I also don't want something that's as revealing as most bikinis are. I've been eyeing tops in this style, thinking that I could pair the with a bikini bottom that has decent coverage. I'm not set on that specific idea, but I have a few criteria that have ruled out almost all swimsuits, ever, that I have seen in person:

(a) I wear a size 30DD bra. I need a top that will stay in place when I'm swimming around and perhaps give me a little support. My bra size also makes sizing a one-piece hard; if they fit the rest of my body they're not likely to fit my breasts.

(b) I don't want to wax my bikini line, but I have dark hair and pale skin, so there is no such thing as a clean-shaven look for me. Most suits are cut high enough that I would either have to wax or walk around looking as though I have serious visible pubic stubble. I personally find that a bit too embarrassing.

(c) I'm skinny, but I do have a bit of a waist. I thought boyshorts would be my savior, but all the ones I tried last year either seriously gapped in the waist (too big) or caused me to bulge out of other areas (too small). Bikini bottoms were easier to fit.

(d) I don't want to wear something dowdy. "Retro" or "sporty" seem to be like they'd be good alternatives to either super-revealing or dowdy, but it seems like dowdy is the natural consequence of wanting a lower-cut bottom or not-boyshort.

So I'm going to try online, but I need some suggestions of places that carry the kind of suit I'm looking for, that have good return/exchange policies (because I'd be shocked if the first thing I bought fit me well enough). Help!
posted by Kutsuwamushi to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (27 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Try Lands End! They have a pretty good selection in Sears stores so you can try them on.
posted by jschu at 8:46 PM on April 8, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Try Land's End or Everything But Water
posted by katemcd at 8:49 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have problems finding swimsuits too, because I'm plus sized. I bought a tankini (actually a tank top and swim shorts in two pieces) from Swimsuits For All. I'd link it but I think they took the specific items I bought down--I bought them last year, I think. They were the Beach Belle brand. Their suits come in standard sizes, too, if that's what you're looking for.
posted by asciident at 8:49 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm a size 10 with a 36F bust and managed to find a cute swimsuit called "Catalina Cougar" at Also, you might have good luck at Intimacy - ( In addition to an awesome selection of bras, they have swimsuits that offer excellent support.
posted by Cookbooks and Chaos at 8:49 PM on April 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

I would look at a tankini with board shorts (not boy shorts) of some sort in your shoes. I buy from Land's End, but I'd also look at Title Nine. I'm making my first (non-swim) purchase from Title Nine right now, so I can't speak to the return experience, but I've had no trouble with Land's End.
posted by immlass at 8:53 PM on April 8, 2012

Athleta makes lots of bikini top/ boy short or board short bottom combos and they come in DD sizes too. The DD sizes are huge, they're cut for active coverage, so as a 30DD you could probably go with an XS top.

JCrew also makes Dd tops in a small or xsmall but I don't know if they have a board short option.
posted by fshgrl at 9:04 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I really like this top at Everything But Water, but I'm not sure how the sizes translate to someone who has a larger cup size. Any clues?
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:28 PM on April 8, 2012

I solved the not wanting to wax/terrible bikini line problem by getting laser hair removal. Serious worthy every single cent. You have no idea.

I like J. Crew bathing suits, especially their tops with more support. I'm a 34B, so most non-supportive suit tops flatten me out and make my boobs look blah.
posted by two lights above the sea at 9:31 PM on April 8, 2012

Response by poster: Am I missing it, or is Intimacy physical-store only?
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:35 PM on April 8, 2012

Response by poster: Also, I'm afraid that laser hair removal will be a waste of money, because I don't have much money and I also have the most recalcitrant body hair imaginable, despite it not being that exceptional looking. Seriously, hair removal NEVER works like it's supposed to on me.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:36 PM on April 8, 2012

Pale skin and dark hair is actually a really good indication for success with laser hair removal. Seriously worth a consultation, especially for that area.

Title Nine usually has some great suits, and they are very clear about what works for different chests. They carry specific suits for C-DD cups. Lots of their suits have various mix-and-match combos, including board shorts which work for a variety of prints.

I didn't see any really awesome prints/colors at the moment, but I bet more styles are coming in. Call them if you have questions about the fit - their customer service is really amazing. They actually all know about the various products and can offer you comparison tips between different products.

Athleta also has great bra-sizing for swim suits. Here's a whole bunch of very cute tops for 30-32 DD. They also carry a variety of bottoms, including boardshorts.
posted by barnone at 10:13 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

And these breeze shorts are awesome. Light, flattering, good colors that match their suits. A cute bikini top and short board shorts like these might be a good look for you!

Their performance swim line is also really supportive - it's in S/M/L/XL sizing but fits very well. They're a bit more sporty, but take a peek.

The key is ordering waaaay more than you'll need, and sending the rejects back.
posted by barnone at 10:19 PM on April 8, 2012

If you're like me, you're concerned with support as well as...capacity. Try who have suits (yes, bikinis) sized by bra size.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:33 PM on April 8, 2012

Cyberswim has great customer service and offers suits designed for bustier women
posted by spunweb at 1:33 AM on April 9, 2012

I see no reason why I should be running around in what is essentially underwear when my husband gets to wear shorts, so I started wearing swimshorts several years ago and have never looked back. I wouldn't wear undies in public the rest of the time, and also can not be bothered caring about my bikini line (seriously, my pubic hair is my own business, why should I wear clothes so small you can see it?), and it has never been a problem.

I have two pairs, sadly neither of which are still on sale. But they're pretty basic, so here are examples. I have a longer pair which is like the ones on the far right here. The have the same ties at the top which helps with the small waist/big butt combination I have going on. Anything longer than that flaps around and is annoying when actively swimming, something to keep in mind if you swim for exercise. I had a pair the length of the ones in the middle but they were much to long for swimming and horrible once they were wet. I also have a shorter softer pair along these lines, but not pink and girly looking. They are less flattering than the others but a lot more comfortable to swim in, and still do a better job than boyleg shorts which only work on a few body shapes.

Then I wear a tankini on the top. You can pair anything with shorts really, so treat finding the right top as a separate problem (I'm much smaller chested so can't really help there).
posted by shelleycat at 1:39 AM on April 9, 2012

Oh, actually these Seafolly shorts are the very short ones I have, except mine are plain black. Again they have the tie across the waistband which really helps make them fit well with a smaller waist. Also, avoid anything that closes with just velcro because it's really stiff and scratchy. Scratch marks on your belly is no fun!
posted by shelleycat at 1:46 AM on April 9, 2012

Best answer: Popina Swimwear has some great retro styles, and they're lovely people who are great at fitting real bodies. You might try giving them a call and asking exactly what you've just asked us.
posted by dizziest at 4:27 AM on April 9, 2012

nthing Land's End. I buy several sizes and styles on-line (usually I can get some sort of free shipping deal), try them all one at home, and then return the losers to Sears' B&M, so there is no shipping cost.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 5:35 AM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: 30DD and a swimsuit? Get thee to a bra-sized swimsuit specialty shop. In addition to biggerbras mentioned above, I'm aware of figleaves and there are others. Even a "large cup" swimsuit from a non-specialty store is going to fit badly at best.
posted by thatdawnperson at 5:50 AM on April 9, 2012

Lands End is awesome because they specifically make tops for bigger cup sizes (see their D-DD-DDD page. They also allow you to mix and match tops and bottoms, and have those cute little swim skirts for more coverage, too.
posted by echo0720 at 6:15 AM on April 9, 2012

Bravissimo makes bikinis, one piece suits and tankinis for women with larger cup sizes.
posted by crankylex at 6:26 AM on April 9, 2012

I've always found that swimsuits designed for sport swimming (e.g. speedos, other styles that racers wore before they started wearing bodysuits) have excellent support and relatively low-cut legs. They are not fashionable in the "cute" sense, but because they have such good support, they look better on me than any suit designed to look good. Also, due to the relatively high neck, there is much less drag and thus they are much better for serious swimming and water sports. I also wear a DD (34DD) and I have never had trouble fitting any of these suits (in fact, I won't wear any other, because these are the only ones that offer good breast support without wires, etc).
posted by jb at 8:10 AM on April 9, 2012

I am DDD and I love the underwire options at Lands' End. Their Beach Living collection has a ton of different tops and bottoms that you can mix and match in different colors and patterns. Many of the bottoms have coverage (they have swim shorts, skirts, skorts) without being dowdy, and many of the tops come in DD/DDD sizes (though not all of these have underwire).

My local Sears is too small to carry any Land's End merchandise, but you can return anything bought online there. So I order online and then return anything to the store if I must. But I have seriously been very happy and impressed with the suits I've bought at Lands' End. I have at least three, and they fit and are comfortable & supportive.
posted by aabbbiee at 8:14 AM on April 9, 2012

I would say try to see if you have a local swimsuit shop. Here on long island there is a place called blums. They have larger bust sizes (my wife is a ddd ). They sized her and helped her till she found the right bathing suit. they are well known and a lot of women shop there.

I would see if you have a local shop like that somewhere by you.
posted by majortom1981 at 1:18 PM on April 9, 2012

As a larger-breasted person, I've found halter-type tops are very uncomfortable and painful to wear because they force my neck to carry a lot of weight. I prefer traditional bra-style straps or a racer back.
posted by quince at 4:32 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Mod note: please make sure your answers are about bathing suits, thakns.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:01 AM on April 10, 2012

Cupsized swimsuits were a revelation to me. I got mine from a UK catalogue that specialises in plus sizes, SimplyBe, but the brand is Panache and should be available in the US too. I have never seen bra-sized swimwear in regular stores in anything above a D cup here, so the high-street/mall offerings have never been good for me. (I'm a GG - not sure what that is in US sizes - so you should have no trouble.)

I'd recommend looking at as well as they have a good return policy and I believe they ship internationally. As it's an outlet site, they are very likely to have the smaller backsize you have.
posted by mippy at 9:39 AM on April 10, 2012

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