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6 Jul

my tips (and favorite places) for buying swimsuits for big busts

bikini top by Target

if you have a large chest (DD or higher), you’ve probably been there, nearly in the tears, in the fitting room of a store. after trying on what seems like 100 adorably patterned, trendy, strappy bikini tops, none of them fit. NONE.

you leave the store, defeated, and go back home without any cute new bikini tops for your upcoming trip, leaving you wearing that same lifesaving bikini top you found ages ago that, yes, still fits, but is so tattered, because you’ve worn it for years.


I literally wore the same bikini tops that I found at a department store once for years. they seemed to be the only tops that could contain my boobs, while seeming somewhat sexy (which is  a fine line when you have a larger chest.)

if you aren’t in the DD+ club, consider yourself lucky this time of year, when the weather is warm outside and you can wear cute strappy or backless tank tops and bikinis that come in all different types of prints and sizes. you don’t need underwire or thick, supportive straps to hold your boobs in place. and yes, the grass is always greener, but when it comes to FASHION, the grass is truly greener on the other side, because clothes are typically cut to fit the average sized person – all over, including the bust. have you ever seen a model on the runway with DDDs? no – the close wouldn’t fall right on the model!

I’m a 34G at the moment (ugh, pregnancy boobs!), so this problem has worsened for me. it’s caused me to look all over the place for bikini tops, scavenging. luckily, I’ve picked up a few tips to help you narrow down the search, as you seen hours scrolling through swimwear on the Internet. and then, I have a few brands/stores I recommend.

tips for purchasing bathing suits for big busts

1. avoid padding

padding takes away room for your boobs and makes your boobs look bigger than necessary. I’ve found that it also takes away from the support – no extra weight is needed when you have your big boobs carrying all that poundage. of course, you’ll need to embrace the hard nip when it’s cold or when you get out of the water, but apparently that’s in now anyway.

most bathing suits that come with breast padding have removable cups, but if they don’t, and it’s a suit I really want, I’ll cut a tiny slit and pull the cups out, and sew it right back up! just use thread that best matches the suit.

2. try to buy in cup sizes, not S/M/L/XL sizing

if you’re in the big boob club, you know that a size XL isn’t going to cut it – that’s the equivalent of usually a D size or, the brand just gives you extra room around the rib cage, which isn’t helpful when you’re trying to cover your actual boob. when you can, try to go by cup sizing.

the exception: if the brand gives you size equivalents (i.e. XL = DDD/E), because certain suits that don’t have underwire might not necessarily be given cup sizing.

3. avoid trendy styles with minimal support

there are certain styles of bathing suits that just DON’T work for us, and once you accept that, you’ll save time and energy! these are some of the styles I find that don’t work:

  • anything strapless (especially when the suit gets wet, it becomes heavier, and it will just make your boobs look saggy!)
  • plunge neck (unless they tie to over support and coverage, like this)
  • triangle tops that don’t come in cup sizes or have an equivalent (see tip #2)
  • triangle tops that aren’t full-coverage (for example, this bikini top is meant to show more cleavage, which would result in major nip slips for us)
  • high-neck tops that cut in (see example here) – your boobs will spill out the sides, unfortunately
  • avoid tops that don’t offer at least one chance to adjust support (either around the neck like a halter tie or around the waist on the back)
  • wrap-style bikini tops (like these)
  • anything crazy strappy, it’ll make you look like a call girl (trust me!) – example here

4. one-pieces are actually your friend

you’d think it’s counterintuitive to the whole “support” thing, but I’ve found that one-piece bathing suits, if purchased correctly, can be your best friend and actually support you well and keep you fully covered! the secret? high-necks! high neck one-pieces keep you covered and offer more support, because they really tuck you in.

here are some examples:



5. trust the models online

if you’re looking at a bathing suit online and the model does NOT have your body type (i.e. a big bust) and she’s popping out of the top, it probably won’t fit you. use your judgment! not all trends are for all body types, so just know what works for you and embrace it!

6. buy colors/patterns that can go with neutral bottoms

I tend to buy mix & match bikinis and bottoms. since the bikini tops are harder than the bottoms, I spend most of my energy finding the cutest, full-coverage, supportive tops and then I supplement with bottoms in colors that complement the tops, like white, black, or a turquoise color. this way, it looks like you have a matching bathing suit or a cool color block situation.

don’t be discouraged if you find a bikini top that fits but it doesn’t come with a matching bottom – make your own!

7. only buy online at places with FREE returns!

there’s a lot of trial and error with bikinis and I’ve learned that buying online is much easier – I hate breaking down in fitting rooms and leaving with all that wasted time in stores. thus, whenever I shop online, I make sure it’s a place that offers FREE returns. then, you can order a certain top in 2-3 sizes and not worry about wasting money on shipping.

my favorite places to buy bathing suits

I buy most of my bathing suits on Target or ASOS. what I love about ASOS is that they have a “fuller bust” line, targeted towards us girls, with, well, fuller busts.

I also have some bathing suits when Victoria’s Secret were making their swimwear line – and they were great, I’m bummed it was discontinued (well, they still have a small line through PINK, but I haven’t found anything worthwhile there.)

there are a few other brands that I’ve heard of for bigger busts, but I haven’t tried, like Monday Swimwear (they’re sold out in XL in all of the styles I’d get) or Lilly and Lime.

some of my favorites lately:



do you have any extra tips or favorite places to buy swimwear for big busts?

  • Jessica

    Figleaves is amazing.

    Thu July 6 at 3:44 pm Reply
    • Stacy

      OMG, thanks for this recommendation! I am looking at their site now and LOVE everything and the price! 😉

      Thu July 6 at 5:19 pm Reply
    • Ali Maffucci

      I haven’t yet tried them, but heard great things! Thanks for the reminder!

      Thu July 6 at 6:18 pm Reply
  • Erin Naughton

    Thanks for this Ali! I’ve struggled with bathing suits for years, I’m a 36DD. I love shopping on you shop by your bra size and bottoms are sold separately- spend a little more but worth it to feel all put together st the beach or pool!

    Thu July 6 at 3:50 pm Reply
    • Ali Maffucci

      I haven’t had luck there, but I’m going to check again! Thank you!

      Thu July 6 at 6:18 pm Reply
  • Katelyn

    I am a 34G and just purchased 2 suits this summer from Kortni Jeane. She makes cute suits for real bodies. They are a nice thick materials and very supportive. I got the swing top for extra coverage in a medium and they fit great! CHECK HER OUT!

    Thu July 6 at 4:03 pm Reply
    • Ali Maffucci

      Very cute stuff!

      Thu July 6 at 6:18 pm Reply
    • DiAnne

      I thought I was the only 34G on the planet ! I have lost count of how many times I have been asked in the bra store if I have implants. NO I DO NOT !!!
      Will definitely check out your link.
      Thanks !

      Sat July 8 at 4:33 pm Reply
  • Deborah

    Also I had great luck with Fanstasie bra sized swimwear. 32h? They’ve got that. Another tip, once you find a brand and size that works, you can find new with tags tops on EBay in last season’s color or pattern, since these expensive tops can run $100 retail.

    Thu July 6 at 4:08 pm Reply
    • Ali Maffucci

      Thanks for the suggestion!

      Thu July 6 at 6:18 pm Reply
  • Katie

    Have you tried the Halto? It adds support at the neck to a halter top so that you don’t get the painful strain that heavy boobs put on that next strap!!

    Thu July 6 at 4:16 pm Reply
    • Ali Maffucci

      OMGGGG I need this!!!

      Thu July 6 at 6:18 pm Reply
  • Lindsay

    Awesome helpful post for pregnant mamas and nursing mamas! Thanks for all the websites! I have found that Target carries DD separates at super reasonable prices! Love your American flag bikini!

    Thu July 6 at 4:19 pm Reply
    • Ali Maffucci

      Thanks lady!

      Thu July 6 at 6:18 pm Reply
  • Allison Clayton

    Seriously, BLESS ASOS!!!! I only buy my bathing suits from them because I can select 34F. No fuss, no muss 😀

    Thu July 6 at 4:21 pm Reply
    • Ali Maffucci

      They’re the best, right?!

      Thu July 6 at 6:18 pm Reply
  • Marissa

    Amen Deborah! About 4 years ago I spent 3 hours in the lingerie department with a wonderful saleslady who finally got me into Fantasie bras. For me they are the absolute best. I just couldn’t stand to wear minimizers anymore. I was a 32 G then. I’m a 32 F now after losing 30 pounds. My goal is to get down to a 32 E. How many people are motivated to lose weight just so their boobs will go down? LOL. I recently bought some tankini tops from Athleta and Title 9. I just bought the biggest cup size they offer and stuff everything in. It all stays in place, but is a little much on the cleavage. I just settled.

    Thu July 6 at 4:52 pm Reply
    • Ali Maffucci

      I loved that my boobs went down a couple cup sizes when I lost the 30 pounds I did a couple of years ago! Best benefit ever 🙂

      Thu July 6 at 6:19 pm Reply
  • Jodi

    Asos all the way. I used to live in NYC and would splurge on a trip to Linda the Bra Lady every once in awhile. Amazing bra selection as well as swim!

    Thu July 6 at 5:03 pm Reply
    • Ali Maffucci

      Oh I’ll have to check her out!

      Thu July 6 at 6:19 pm Reply
  • Kathryn

    Swimsuits for All is sized by the cup or by the number so its easier to find one that fits big busts and you can order bottoms in a smaller size! Tons of options too!

    Thu July 6 at 5:17 pm Reply
    • Ali Maffucci

      Thanks for the suggestion!

      Thu July 6 at 6:19 pm Reply
  • Kate

    Bravissimo (www.bravissimo/USA) will rock your world!!

    Thu July 6 at 5:43 pm Reply
    • Ali Maffucci

      Will check it out, thanks!

      Thu July 6 at 6:19 pm Reply
  • Lizz R

    I was a 34H pre-pregnancy (I won’t mention what I am now… I’m fairly short, and seem to be carrying the baby in my ribs – hello, rib expansion!) and have found some nice tops ONLINE from Target. I have also had surprising luck at Zulily, but you have to be patient as their offerings can change. I totally agree that it’s all about getting a solid color bottom and mixing it up with the tops. Trying to find a set that fits both is just setting yourself up for failure!

    Thu July 6 at 6:03 pm Reply
    • Ali Maffucci

      Right?! Thanks for the note!

      Thu July 6 at 6:19 pm Reply
  • Anna P

    Thank you so much! It’s so frustrating to try to find suits and even cute shirts that fit. what do you do about shirts? I find that with larger boobs the shirts always fall weird and then I look like I’m wearing s pregnancy top. I don’t have a totally flat stomach, so I don’t like really tight fitting t-shirts. Thanks for giving us the real info!

    Thu July 6 at 6:22 pm Reply
  • Rachel

    I’ve been a 32FF for 8+ years now and i SWEAR by Freya Active swimwear! I actually buy the ones with underwire because I can’t stand not feeling supported & I like the lift and shape you get with it. They make really cute patterns (I love bright colors/patterns), pad-free (a must!), in so many different styles. I usually buy from – check it out!

    Thu July 6 at 8:22 pm Reply
  • Michelle

    I’m a 34C and ALL of these things are true for my size as well!

    Thu July 6 at 11:34 pm Reply
  • Lee

    Love love loved this post! Your pregnant tas look amazing <3 I wish I could do a one piece but my torso is literally the size of a 6’5" man 😛

    Fri July 7 at 12:18 am Reply
  • Paulina

    I must say that your photos scare me a little. I’m joking, you always look great, but when I see how much your boobs changed – wow :). All women that I know did get bigger boobs during pregnancy, but they started with much smaller ones than you, so that change wasn’t so dramatic. Now I know what to expect when I get pregnant.

    I also have big boobs (30H/30I) and it is already challenging to find a bra that can hold them. Bathing suits are a pain, because the only ones that cover my boobs are tied on the neck and give me massive neck pain after an hour or two. I hope to get pregnant soon, but it scares me when I think about getting new bras or bathing suits. It will be a big challenge 🙂

    Fri July 7 at 10:07 am Reply
  • Rebecca

    Hi great post! I’m a 32F and love my Body Glove underwire top order through Amazon. It’s not a halter top, it has full coverage, support, it’s comfortable, and lots of fun colors! Highly recommend!

    Fri July 7 at 12:20 pm Reply
  • Lauren Saks

    The store Anything But Water has a good selection. I’ve had success with the Sunsets brand.

    Fri July 7 at 6:35 pm Reply
  • Allison

    Check out ! Swimwear for ladies with C-E cups sizes.

    Fri July 7 at 7:48 pm Reply
  • K

    I love Freya swimwear. Great coverage.

    Sun July 9 at 10:31 pm Reply

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