It’s finally easier for women with big boobs to buy bras — pretty, sexy ones at that. But ask any woman above a DD, and she will tell you that the same is not true for bathing suits. Swimwear is, unfortunately, lagging behind.
Go to H&M or Forever 21 and you’ll find wisps of bikini tops — tiny triangles of cheap fabric in small, medium, and large. And a lot of the tops in specialty stores look like your grandma’s bras were given a waterproof coating. Essentially, when it comes to swimwear, if you’ve got boobs: Good luck.
And yet retailers will note that their most commonly sold sizes are, in fact, larger than DDs. Rigby & Peller‘s most commonly sold size is a 32E, and according to Bare Necessities, its five best-selling bra-sized swim tops are 34DD, 36DD, 34E, 36E, and 34F. Clearly, demand is not the issue.
For many, cup-sized swimsuits are simply a non-negotiable, but the options that do exist are inarguably limited, and oftentimes seriously lacking in style. And so, it’s worth recognizing the noble work (no, really) of the brands creating viable options for women larger than a DD cup.
With that said, here are the labels you should bookmark. Hopefully, the swimwear industry will take note, and our options will soon be far more extensive. Consider this one busty girl’s call to action.
This British brand is exclusively sold at Bare Necessities stateside. While Pour Moi, like all the brands listed here, has its hits and misses, there’s one style I’m particularly excited about. The Glamazon Scoop Neck Swim Top rings in at just under $50 (it’s $46), and, thanks to the mesh detailing, it looks more like chic athleisure than bra-on-the-beach. Plus, the underwire is subtle enough to be almost unnoticeable. If you want to add some sex appeal, just add the equally meshy bottom ($29).
Phylyda is a new brand that’s particularly fashion forward. The debut collection, which launched in October, features tops, bottoms, and one-pieces in jewel tones like rich copper and magenta, all with elevated details and a wide range of sizes.
“I spent the past ten years designing for luxury ready-to-wear houses in Paris, and growing into my thirties, I increasingly felt that I didn’t want to continue promulgating one silhouette type to be every woman’s unachievable goal,” explains founder Lydia Mauer. It’s a bit pricey — tops ring in at around $150 — but they’re definitely worth-it investment pieces, and an important brand to watch.
Like the clothing, it’s all largely inexpensive: the Tie Shoulder Crop Bikini, for example, which comes in sizes up to an F cup, is only $25.80. The delicate bows are unusual for a bigger-cup bikini (on which the details usually look made to support the weight of a truck of watermelons), and the #millennialpink hue keeps it on trend.
Like Bare Necessities, Figleaves is a veritable online mall for all things lingerie. However, it also carries an in-house brand, and most styles go up to a G cup. This high-necked top ($45) offers a unique silhouette for the woman who wants to look chic but still covered (and it distracts from the underwire). The matching bottom, if you’re into it, lends a retro look thanks to its high waist.
Freya’s underwire swimwear isn’t a foolproof dupe for high-fashion options, but it’s making a far more stylish case for truly supportive suits than almost any other brand. Because Freya makes both bras and swimwear, once you’ve found your size in one, the other is easy to shop for.
Currently, the brand is experimenting with sexy sheer crochet (this cup-sized one-piece is $125), fashion-forward one-shouldered styles, and retro-inspired strapless tops with accompanying high-waisted bottoms. Also of note: Freya, (and Fantasie, below) are owned by Wacoal, which you might already know for its department store lingerie staples.
Compared with many of its peers, Fantasie’s selection is extensive, which is great — we need as many options as we can get! Despite the company’s cringe-y name, the selection means there’s likely something for everyone. Though pricey, the black-and-white graphic of the Cocoa Island Balcony Swim Top ($74, above) is one of the best patterned pieces I’ve seen.
This brand is a great bet for larger-cupped bras, and its swimsuits have something to offer the woman who’s not shy about her boobs and not about to let them get in the way of her bikini-wearing (one could easily envision Kylie and Co. in the brand’s Icon Halter Swim Top, currently 50% off at $43.99 and available up to an FF). For something a little less va-va-voom, try this burgundy top ($89).
Panache and its sister brand, Cleo by Panache, make sturdy swimsuits that look rather bra-like. You can rest assured that they’ll hold you in, and if you’re looking for true basics that won’t soon feel out-of-date, picks like the Anya Balconette Swim Top ($59) are a good bet. Cleo’s offerings are characterized by louder, brighter patterns, with the same bra-sized foundation.
This British institution is the bra shop to the Queen and Kate Middleton — no endorsement could be stronger — and its brick-and-mortar locations are popping up with a number of stores stateside. The fittings here are based on a proprietary system devised by the company and might just change everything you thought you knew about your cup size, which makes the experience totally worth it.