Swimsuits for the active large-breasted ladies?
June 18, 2007 1:28 PM   Subscribe

Swimsuit suggestions for active, large-breasted women? Please help me survive a SoCal summer!

It's my first summer in San Diego, and I need a swimsuit that will hold in the girls without making me look all frumpy. I'm planning on spending a lot of time in the water diving, swimming, and hopefully learning to surf. (I will not be sunbathing, since my pale pasty self burns right through 45 SPF. So no swimsuits that are only good for lying around in.)

I am 5'4", size 14, and wear a 36DDD or 38DD bra, depending on brand. I have always worn one-piece Speedo-type racing suits, but I am sick of the pancake-boob look. I am more muscular/curvy than pudgy, but the teeny straps on bikinis tend to look ridiculous on my broad shoulders and hips. I am looking for a one-piece or tankini that would be cute and have plenty of support.

I'm aware of fig leaves and bravissimo, but I'd really rather be able to try the suits on. Thanks!
posted by ilyanassa to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I like the sportswear from the Junonia catalog. You won't be able to try on, but I've found their sizing to be pretty accurate. Their swimsuits are very sturdy and long-lasting (I used to do a lot of water aerobics).
posted by agatha_magatha at 1:43 PM on June 18, 2007

Land's End has a great variety of swimsuits in supportive styles for a great variety of body shapes. You can try them on in person at Sears and also order online for more fabric/size choices.
posted by jamaro at 1:50 PM on June 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

Poppi Swim & Sport has some really cute styles that are flattering to larger-breasted women, and offer custom sizing for a reasonable price (!). They're in Portland, but they do refunds/exchanges. (I haven't ordered from them myself but I've heard a lot of praise for their suits.)
posted by Melinika at 1:50 PM on June 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

lands end offers underwire swimtops. While this may not be ideal when you are really active, it looks good on the beach.
posted by Foam Pants at 1:56 PM on June 18, 2007

I'll second Poppi.
posted by lisa g at 2:19 PM on June 18, 2007

My personal trainer and the owner of my local lingerie store say it's better if you buy a sports bra and then wear a swimsuit over it. Apparently, the support in a regular bathing suit is pathetic once you've past a C or so. YMMV.
posted by acoutu at 2:40 PM on June 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

Exelnt Designs has a huge range of sizes and designs. I ordered a tankini from them a few years ago and was quite pleased.

The idea of trying to find a swimsuit that I could wear over a sports bra, without the sports bra showing or looking bunchy, makes me quite sad.
posted by Squeak Attack at 4:34 PM on June 18, 2007

I searched through my bookmarks and found three more links. I haven't ordered from any of these, so buyer beware.

Wild Iris custom swim wear

Shorefit Sunwear

Swimsuits just for us.com
posted by Squeak Attack at 4:48 PM on June 18, 2007

Venus Swimwear might have what you need. I am about the same size and have limited results with fitting bikini tops for comfort and lift.
Good luck and post your results!
posted by Carnage Asada at 5:40 PM on June 18, 2007

Malia Mills? I remember she used to do different top-bottom sizes, which is awesome. Maybe with your particular burn burn burnyness (which I share with you!) you could go for a tankini style suit for max midriff coverage?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:28 PM on June 18, 2007

p.s. (FYI) -- from page 2 of the MM website:

"In 1993, we started Malia Mills with the goal of making great fitting swimwear so women would feel good about shopping for and wearing a swimsuit.

We set out with a simple idea…to engineer tops to fit specific bra sizes and to cut bottoms to fit specific shapes. Along the way we’ve added tankinis and one-pieces with great fit as well.

Today, we have styles for sizes 30A to 38DD and 2 to 16. For sure we don’t have enough styles to suit the myriad of amazingly beautiful shapes and sizes of women everywhere. But we’re passionate about celebrating women and articulating an inclusive and inspiring voice on the subject of women and beauty. We hope to inspire all women, regardless of their swimwear of choice, to feel fabulous about their unique look. Love thy differences!

We have three stores in New York City, and they are where we have our biggest selection of colors, styles and sizes. If you can’t get to one of our stores please peruse our webstore.

If you have any questions the best thing to do is to call Dionne our Fit Specialist at 800.685.3479. She’s here to help you with fit and size as well as color or fabric choice. We encourage you to reach out to us – shopping for a swimsuit online can be tricky and we’re here to help."
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:29 PM on June 18, 2007

Thank you all! I will stop by Sears and try Land's End tomorrow, and if that doesn't work I'll order off one of these websites. I'll post a followup. Thanks again!
posted by ilyanassa at 6:54 PM on June 18, 2007

Speedo makes good suits for athletic/ broad shouldered & bigger busted women. I'm all of the above and I like their bikinis a lot. They stay on really well too.
posted by fshgrl at 7:30 PM on June 18, 2007

I'd love to hear what you come up with. I recently tried to find a bathing suit (and I'll be looking up the options here) and could not find what I wanted at Lands End and MM is a little too pricey for me.

I'm in Portland and I've never heard of Poppi!

On a recent rafting trip I wore a sports bra under a tight-fitting nike sport shirt (synthetic quick-dry sporty material) and wore bikini bottoms. I was really comfortable and would do that again in a pinch. I think it would work especially well for watersports -- surfing, rafting, kayaking but maybe not so much for swimming.
posted by amanda at 8:20 PM on June 18, 2007

Im sorry, did you say you didn't want to look frumpy? excuse me if I don't believe that a woman with anything over a B cup should have to suffer looking like a grandmother with something to hide in a lands end swimsuit...and as a DD, in my 30's, I can sympathize. If you don't want to go custom, as squeak attack suggests, there are options out there in ready to wear... Shoshanna Lonstein was one of the first to make sexy suits for the D cup and above. Donna Karan, is also our friend, because she understands what being a real woman is about, oh, and as if you needed another reason to love Bloomingdales - if you are "gifted," (it comes with a halter strap), need a swim suit, and have a sense of style, this department store mecca is not to be overlooked.

Sorry if others here don't agree, but as you and I both know....its a fine line between attractive and frumpy.
posted by Kensational at 8:24 PM on June 18, 2007

Oh, and Guess What further googling reveals? Shoshanna is having a sample sale. Sadly, you are on the other side of the country for this to be useful but maybe someone else can go...Tuesday June 19th and Wednesday June 20th 10am—6pm. 231 W 39th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves, suite 422. Maybe I'll go too!
posted by Kensational at 8:41 PM on June 18, 2007

if you are going to learn to surf, i suggest you get a rashguard. surfing is hard; it takes a lot of energy, and you will be bouncing around a lot (whether that be intended when you pop up onto your board or involuntary from when you get tossed off) and you don't want the girls popping out of your top—which will happen if you are large up there. also, because you are spending a lot of time above the water (whether paddling out or in, on your board waiting your turn, or actually on your board) you are getting a lot of reflective sun exposure which equals a greater likelihood of getting burnt. wearing a rashie will also help the front of your chest from getting irritated from contact with the board.
posted by violetk at 6:45 PM on June 19, 2007

Thank you for the continued advice. I am sad that I never appreciated my swimsuit-buying opportunities when I lived in NYC. I will definately get a rashguard for surfing - just want to make sure I actually like surfing before spending money on equipment.

Update #1: Macy's, since I happened to be in the neighborhood. The Miracle Suit, which has an underwire and comes in several styles, is not miraculous. It has stiff fabric like a girdle, the cups are too small, and it's cut about 1" from nipple exposure. No good for anything but lying uncomfortably on the beach. Plus, all the girdle-squeezing gave me icky back cleavage.

I also tried on some halter-tops with soft cups. HAH! They barely held in the girls while standing perfectly still in a dressing room, and all the weight was on my neck. Unfortunately, many of the options on the above websites have soft cups, and I'm not sure they would work no matter how the rest of the swimsuit was constructed.

I'm going to try to get to Sears over the next couple days to try on Land's End, and to Bloomingdale's to try some of the higher-end options.
posted by ilyanassa at 10:30 AM on June 20, 2007

I'm going to second the Junonia recommendation (a bit late, but I hope it helps). I just bought the Sweetheart Tankini Swim Top. It actually fits (I bought and returned five swimsuits from Junonia, JC Penney, and Lane Bryant because they were too small at the bust). I do need to make a slight adjustment and stitch the shoulder straps about 2" shorter since they're not adjustable. Once I do that, it will keep things pretty 'contained.' Granted, I just do laps at the gym pool with it.

They have sporty styles that do really fit well. Returning has never been a problem if you need to keep trying on and the service has always been really fast.
posted by schnee at 8:24 AM on June 22, 2007

Don't know if you've been in the water yet - but San Diego water is cold. You don't need a swimsuit if you're going to be surfing and diving... you need a wetsuit.
posted by matty at 8:56 AM on June 24, 2007

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