Shopping for a swimsuit can feel nerve-racking if you're not used to flaunting your silhouette, but it's a necessary evil if you're prepping for a tropic getaway or a casual trip to the pool. For some women (particularly those with a fuller figure or cup size), donning a bathing suit can feel like baring their soul, but the right cut and design can accentuate any body shape and size.
A recent study from the New Florida Journal of Anthropology found that swimming competitors, Asian, Black, white and Latina women have different body ideals and preferences. For example, just 44 percent of Latina women were satisfied with their busts; while 25 percent wanted to be two sizes larger. Meanwhile, while the sample of Black women studied showed more dissatisfaction with their weight, they revealed that "about half wanted to be one size larger and the other half wanted to be one size smaller." But even if certain ethnicities have a negative approach to bathing suits, the body positivity movement has helped in slowly decreasing the overweight stigma and luring customers to wear whatever they please.
When it comes to finding the right swimwear top, the sizing and fit can be a little deceiving — and frustrating, to say the least. Whether you're a size C or blessed with a bigger cup, Shop TODAY asked experts to share their swimwear shopping tips along with some of the best cuts for women with large busts.
How to shop for the right swimsuit if you have a larger bust
When it comes to bathing suits, you ultimately want to embrace your features confidently. Before adding some swimsuits to your shopping cart, bra fitting expert Jenette Goldstein recommends recognizing the era your body comes from.
"If you’re a classic '50s hourglass, the retro one-piece bathing suit was made for you. If most of your curves are on top, a '70s tie-side bikini can draw the eye and give your lower half a fighting chance," Goldstein suggested.
For swimwear designer Gabriela Pires, the most important aspect is to size up. "Women sometimes feel embarrassed buying a larger size. However, women shouldn't worry about the label; they should worry about the fit," said Pires.
Pires also suggested considering the amount of fabric used to make a piece and choosing a design that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
"A mistake people make is following the current trends. Confidence is the most important thing you should have when wearing a swimsuit because you're showing most of your body and should feel great about it," she shared.
What swimsuit styles work best for bustier women?
If you have a larger cup size, there are a few particular swimsuit styles that are more flattering than others, according to Goldstein.
"Busty gals should zero in on bra-sized swimsuits with underwire. When you are an F cup [size] on a 32 band, an off-the-rack ‘large’ [size] just won't cut it."
Another busty-friendly design Pires called out is a wrap top for their wider band and additional support. "The biggest trend nowadays are wrap tops because they provide support and become a push-up, which you can adjust how tight you want the top to be."
"Strapless swimsuits are not advisable for busty women because they don't have enough support unless they have straps on the neck," Pires added.
Swimsuits for big busts to shop
Soak up the sun in this non-transparent white bikini top from Aerie. No need to check if your sodden suit is revealing your bust due to its extra padding and lining. According to shoppers, this top is also supportive enough and perfect for long periods of wear.
Unlock your inner mermaid with this crossover bikini top featuring an ocean-like print. If you're looking for something a little more discreet for your family vacation, this style is essential to hold your twins without unexpected flash accidents. One customer also emphasized this top offers enough discreteness and supports her bust during water sports and exercises.
Abercrombie offers the Curve Love version of their bestsellers, which runs from XXS-XXL. This style offers a fuller bust support and adjustable straps to accommodate your cup size, making it ideal for cup sizes D-F.
One customer that wears a size 32G added, "Having a big bust and smaller band size has made bikini shopping a nightmare. The medium fits me like a glove and I’ve never put on a swimsuit so flattering and comfy in my life."
If water activities are part of your regular summer itinerary, this top is perfect to move with ease. As part of the brand's surf collection, this bikini top encompasses a Sea-Flex fabric to allow flexibility without compromising aesthetics.
This premium top will create the illusion of a bigger bust due to its keyhole feature on the front. You don't have to opt out from eye-dazzling styles like this one, especially when it adds standard coverage.
This underwire top evokes a sporty allure with its comfortable and supportive design. It comes with two adjustable bands to secure your bust while playing volleyball.
"I didn't know how I'd feel without padding in it but I feel super confident and beautiful," shared one customer.
Exude beach glamour in this passionate hue from Girlfriend Collective. The top will support every inch of your breasts while hiking or jumping from a cliff, thanks to the high-impact support. Don't worry if you forgot your sunscreen — this top is made with UPF 50+ protection.
The most popular bathing suit from Summersalt continues to be on trend this summer. The one-piece and sidestroke elements can elevate petite bodies to long torsos and add some extra panache to your out-of-office attire.
"I felt elegant and secure at the same time. The structure of the suit provides support and compression in all the right places," said one verified buyer.
If you're looking for moderate support but a soft feel, this flirty top will enhance your conspicuous beauty. The middle tie knot and adjustable straps add a demure look to your swimwear look. P.S. Most customers recommend sizing up in this top.
Add support to your breasts with this tie-dye top featuring a full-coverage design. This suit will create a lifting effect and add extra support to those women with plus sizes.
Depending on the size of your bust, Goldstein advised "approach[ing] halters with caution. A standard balconette-style top will keep your cleavage within legal limits and take the weight off your neck."
Instead, choose a classic triangle halter top like this one. The classic design will match most of your bottoms and create the visual lift you desire.
If you're a busty gal that wants extra coverage, select a crop-style suit. The high neck design will balance the weight of your chest.
"I was worried the back straps would be too tight and cause bra bulge but it was smooth and perfect," added one Target shopper who gave this five stars.
This criss-cross halter top offers enough coverage but keeps it revealing with the keyhole cut on the front. It's a great alternative to the classic halter top and offers a bandeau style on the back.
"Using a halter top will give you more support and cleavage," said Pires. This style also covers the unwanted bulging on the side of your breasts while pushing the skin towards the front. This one comes in bra sizes and customers love the amount of coverage it provides.
For those with bigger bust sizes, this swim top will add support and look flattering on your body due to its supportive underwire and adjustable shoulder straps. It comes in inclusive sizes from DD to F for that extra fit.
Take this sporty top from salty swims to outdoor workouts. The top is made with a double-lined compression material that supports your breasts in place through any plunge.
For those that avoid bikinis, try this sculpting one-piece swimsuit from TA3. The swimsuit features full rear coverage and lightweight activewear compression for a figure-hugging feel. One TODAY editor said this swimsuit "does a great job shaping my body since it uses compression fabric and an adjustable lace-up back and my girls are completely supported!"
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