Busty Girl Swimsuit Problems — Solved

As excited as we are for beach season, it doesn't come without its challenges — namely, finding that perfect swimsuit for lounging by the sea. This is an especially tiresome process when you're working with D+ cups up top. Whether you're trying to squeeze into conventionally sized bandeau tops or covertly mismatching suits in the dressing room because you need an XL top and an M bottom (hey, we won't tell on you), finding support, comfort, and style in your swimwear is easier said than done.

Seeing as you'll be hitting the surf and likely engaging in a round of competitive paddleball, your suit needs to have more hold than your regular ol' underwire bra — something hard to achieve with traditional "S/M/L" sizes, especially if your bust and waist size aren't on par.

We went to three swim brands that answer the busty girl's call for — drumroll, please — bikinis and one-pieces that are actually made for women's bodies. And, they've heard it all: complaints about not being able to find a two-piece that fits correctly, suits that look too much like lingerie, and accidentally getting a French-cut out of a one-piece.

Ahead, the experts at Swimsuits For All, Panache, and Shoshanna offer great tips to navigate the tricky (salt or chlorinated) waters of swimwear. Click through for their insider insight, as well as market solutions to the peskiest of swim problems, so you can actually get excited about finding a new suit for the summer.

The Problem: Conventionally Sized Bikini Tops Don't Fit Right
"Women are so much more than S/M/L," says Shoshanna Gruss, founder and creative director of the namesake label. Part of the reason she started a brand that offers cup-sized swimwear was her frustration at not being able to find a suit that fit her athletic — but busty — physique. "A lot of companies, they just scale accordingly," explains Sara Mitzner, fit expert at Swimsuits For All. "They’ll scale a size eight with what they think is the average size eight bust. The same for 10 — everything just gets bigger incrementally. And, that’s not necessarily how women’s bodies are shaped."

The most important rule when shopping for swimwear is to buy according to your bra size. However, if you're at a mall or on a site that doesn't offer bikini tops according to your cup, all hope is not lost: There are certain silhouettes that can work — as long as you can buy the top and bottom of the suit separately.

Halter bikinis are probably your best bet in the conventionally sized market because they tend to have wider, sturdier straps and are adjustable around the neck. Another great feature to look for is a tie-back. Whereas you're a little restricted with a clasp-back, a tie-back lets you loosen or tighten according to what's more comfortable and how much support you want. Aside from those silhouettes, though, there are other surprising styles that can work for you as well. See what we're talking about ahead.
The Solution: Buy Your Sets Separately
Nowadays, most retailers will sell their tops and bottoms separately, so it's easier to mix-and-match your perfect fit — which saves you from some incognito hanger-switching. This particular top has padded cups and elastic at the bottom, all of which work together to give you the support you need.

Fig Leaves Curve Leopard Print Bikini Top, $49.49, available at Simply Be; Fig Leaves Curve Leopard Bikini Brief, $32.99, available at Torrid.
The Solution: Fit Into The Mold(ed Cups)
If you're not shopping according to your bra size, seek out features that'll help re-create the feel (and support) of your skyvvies. At the very top of this list are molded cups and underwire. This velvet set offers both, as well as adjustable shoulder straps, to support DD cups comfortably. And, while it's sold as a full suit, you can pick different sizes for each piece.

Triangl Structured Velvet Bikini in Electric Blue, $89, available at Triangl.
The Solution: Seek Out Adjustability
Again, when shopping from limited size offerings, it's all about making the pieces work for you. Adjustable straps are key for personalizing the support you get.

Xhileration Women's Plus Size Ruffle Underwire Bikini Top, $19.99, available at Target.
The Problem: Bandeau Tops Won't Stay Put.
The issues busty girls have with bandeaus have been well documented. "It doesn’t typically provide that support, because you don’t usually have straps to really help lift," explains Mitzner. But, Kay-Lin Richardson, director of sales of North America for Panache, believes the market has "come a long way," as far as bandeaus for big chests go. Nowadays, you can find that simple silhouette equipped with extra-supportive features like an underwire, molded cups, gripped sides, and heavy-duty straps.

"The main thing for someone with a bigger bust is that they have to try a bunch of different suits and different brands," explains Gruss. Take advantage of return policies, and really branch out in terms of styles. Mitzner encourages keeping an open mind. "Your body type does not keep you from wearing anything you want to wear," she says. "It’s a matter of finding the right one that’s made for you, that’s going to look great on you, that fits you and flatters."
The Solution: Grab Back-Up Straps
An obvious solution to the age-old bandeau problem, straps get the job done — but, not alone. This top, which goes up to a 3XL (49-51 inches), also runs a little longer down the torso to support under the breast.

Forever 21 Plus Size Watercolor Twist-back Bikini Top, $17 $13, available at Forever 21.
The Solution: Try A Bustier Fit
As opposed to a regular ol' bandeau, a bustier extends a little further down your torso, which is helpful for keeping your bust fixed in place. This style is also more likely to have molded cups and underwire to maintain its shape. The "Palermo" works up to an E or an F cup, according to the Prism site.

Prism Palermo, $204, available at Prism.
The Solution: Zipped-Up Front
A front zipper is Mitzner's secret weapon when it comes to swimwear. "It operates sort of like the best sports bra you’ve ever had: You’re in there, you’re supported, and it’s zip-closed, so you’re really staying wherever you are whenever you put it on." This high cut top, which fits up to a 40D, has removable padding as well as a racerback.

Aerie Zipper High Neck Bikini Top, $32.95 $15, available at Aerie.
The Problem: Flimsy Straps Offer No Support
When you've got D+ cups, adjustable straps are key. "You can really lower or raise them according to how perky or large your boobs are, or how much you want them lifted," suggests Mitzner. These come especially handy in one-pieces, when you're working with a single piece of fabric and need extra support.

Luckily, most bra-sized suits have this covered, with thicker-stitched straps and loops to bring the support up and down as you please. With conventional-market tops, halters are particularly appealing, since the straps tend to be wider and you can usually tie them yourself at the nape of your neck and around your back.
The Solution: Extra Support From The Side
The straps on this patterned top thicken right on the outer edge of the cup, adding an extra dose of protection from side-boob spillage. This particular style is available up to size 28.

Eloquii Ruffle Cap Sleeve Bikini Top, $79.90, available at Eloquii.
The Solution: Straps you can have your way with.
Aside from being fully adjustable, with a stretch to them, the straps on this bandeau top can be worn as shown, as a halter, or strapless for support for up to a 36D. Richardson notes how halters have become increasingly popular as of late for bustier women. "You have the uplift. Then, you have the adjustability of the neck, and if you don’t want tan lines, or maybe you don’t feel 100% comfortable wearing strapless or bandeau...the halter neck is like your in-between."

J.Crew Underwire Bikini Top in SZ Blockprints™ Floral, $58, available at J.Crew.
The Solution: Wider & Wider
The extra-wide straps have a stronger grip on your shoulders (so, less slippage) — extra points for underwire support and a zip closure. This set from ASOS runs in cup sizes DD-G.

ASOS Fuller Bust Exclusive Fallen Floral Print Longline Bikini Top DD-G, $32, available at ASOS.
The Problem: Tops provide too little support in the back.
The party may be in front, but you should shift your focus to the fit in the back. The structure of the straps around your back can give you as much great support and lift as a molded cup (although, ideally, you'll get the full package with an underwire and everything). Mitzner recommends a cross-back for that very reason, since doubling the ties gives you twice as much coverage. Additionally, "a keyhole back is really great," she says, if you're looking to get that scoop look. More athletic cuts — like a completely covered back with a zip front, similar to the silhouette of a sports bra — achieve the same effect.
The Solution: Embrace The Cut-Outs
This cut-out number offers the traditional coverage of a one-piece but comes with a built-in shelf bra that works to keep everything in check.

Chromat Saldana Suit - Navy/White, $226, available at Chromat.
The Solution: All Covered Up
This lengthy, covered-up top has an almost tank top fit to keep you fully covered, while the sweetheart neck still allows you to show a bit of skin. off. This top also has underwire, an inner bra, and convertible straps for maximum support.

Addition Elle Cactus Sweetheart Underwire Bikini Top, $62 $43.40, available at Addition Elle.
The Solution: Criss-Cross Applesauce
Double the straps, double the support for up to a 44 DDD.

Lane Bryant Cross-front Bikini Top with Built-in Bandeau Bra, $52.99, available at Lane Bryant.
The Problem: Monochrome one-pieces drown out the figure.
While one-pieces are almost universally flattering, their sometimes shapeless nature can be tricky for someone with a bigger bust. Shoshanna always considered one-pieces too "cumbersome." Sizing is especially difficult when you've got big boobs, explains Mitzner, because "you're absorbing so much of the suit in the bust" — in other words, the bust requires so much more fabric to cover up — that you may need to go larger than what you'd normally wear. You then run the risk of an accidental French cut, or exposing more of your bottom than you intended, since "it ends up being shorter in the torso."

When it comes to a one-piece, "you want to be looking out for the vertical of the suit," explains Mitzner. A great way to do this is by finding prints that cut the suit horizontally, defining your figure. Molded cups and underwire are also great here — again, seek out the bra-cup sizing.

If you're looking to minimize the size of your breasts, Mitzner suggests a high-neck style, since it'll "draw attention to your face." On the other hand, scoop- and V-necks are also incredibly flattering. Another great alternative to a traditional one-piece: the monokini, a swimsuit hybrid that offers as much support as the rest of them, in a different, less-common silhouette.
The Solution: The Monokini
Gruss has found an unlikely solution to the one-piece dilemma in the monokini. "You have this three-way pull," she says, "but it’s still sexy."

Alpine Butterfly Goddess One Piece, $159 $95.40, available at Alpine Butterfly.
The Solution: Get See-Through
The same concept of the monokini extends to this Cynthia Rowley one-piece: Fitting through size 16/18, the roomy bust coverage allows for larger breasts.

Cynthia Rowley Mesh One Piece Suit, $165, available at 11 Honoré.
The Solution: All-Over Prints
With this gingham piece, your boobs stay put in the built-in underwire cups. "You have the same support as if you were wearing a bra in your size, but it’s hidden," explains Richardson.

Tory Burch Gingham One-piece, $258, available at Tory Burch.
Show More Comments...