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Home » The Vine

The Vine: April 18, 2014

Submitted by on April 18, 2014 – 3:17 PM24 Comments


I’ve just finished losing a considerable amount of weight, and for the first time in my adult life I want to own a bikini.

Problem being, the weight loss reduced my band size but not my cup size, and I have no idea where to look for a 38DD bikini top (and I mean bikini, not tankini). Mostly I want one I can go swimming, in the ocean, in without it falling off or falling apart. If such a thing exists, could the Nation tell me where?

Many thanks!

Merely Me

Congrats! Although the idea of wearing a swimsuit is still filling me with dread because it’s STILL IN THE FORTIES TODAY here in the 718, I would suggest checking out Bra Smyth, which is my go-to for non-swimming foundation garments; and Lands’ End, because they let you mix and match tops and bottoms and their cup sizes go up to DDD.




  • Lisa M. says:

    I can contribute that though the variety of Lands End swimsuits is great, the elastic in the bottoms is too tight, so that if you aren’t absolutely tiny with 0 body fat, the way the bottom fits on you (i.e., me) means that you have a good looking butt, with these bulbous thighs, rather than a smooth transition between butt and thigh. My experience is from a few years ago though, so maybe they are better now.

  • Stephanie says: is your friend, great selection and sexy suits. I’m a 32F and you can search the website’s bathing suits by cup size. I bought a bikini from them almost 10 years ago and it still looks great.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    The skirt-y bottoms are okay, but that’s not everyone’s jam.

  • Terri Mauro says:

    Title Nine ( has a lot of swimwear you can actually swim in, for various sizes and shapes. The bikini at goes up to 38DD.

  • Emma says:

    I was in a similar situation a couple of years ago (shyness issues up until then) and also had a disparity in band and cup size.

    My suggestion is look for a top that ties at the neck and back with ties as wide and thick as possible, so you’ve A) got as much fabric coverage in the front as possible and B) you’re not having a thin thin strap cutting into you because it’s trying to hold up too much.

    (And buy top and bottom seperate, obviously, so that’s one less hassle you have to worry about.)

  • CJ says:

    I second the figleaves recommendation! I have two great suits from there and they are in great condition after a great deal of use. I actually have one top that has pinch hit for a bra a few times. Really fits well. Keep in mind the shipping is from overseas so if you are on a right timeline they can sometimes cut it a little close.

  • Lindsay says:

    I’ve coveted Malia Mills swimsuits forever – I really appreciate that you can shop the tops by size, and that they say right upfront which sizes work best for each style!

  • Jen says:

    Figleaves is great! And Athleta, scour the clearance section if it gets pricey.

    Last year I wore a bikini for the first time ever in my entire life, as I too had lost a tremendous amount of weight. I like swim skirts so I got a UV-protectant one (Coolibar) and the bikini top is Athleta.

    I’m a 36F now, and their sizes don’t quite go THERE, but they do have some that are 36DD/DDD.

  • Mags says:

    If you’re in the UK (or visiting the UK anytime soon) then Bravissimo and Marks & Spencer go up to 38DD and above (for bras and bikinis). Both offer a fitting service to help you find items and determine what size you are in that store. I’ve bought swimwear from Bravissimo and been happy with it before, they are one of the few stores that go up to my cup size.

    I checked their websites quickly and it looks like both ship to the US, but then there’s the disadvantage of not getting to try it on first/hassle sending items back if they don’t fit. Hope this helps!

  • Nanc in Ashland says:

    I can’t vouch for the size/fit issue because I’m modestly endowed, but when I taught water fitness 20+ years ago I always wore TYR suits–and yes, they have bikinis! Don’t know how they hold up in the ocean but I was in a pool 3-4 hours a day 4-5 days a week pretty much year round (and it was an outdoor pool–OK in the San Francisco Bay area but still, outdoors–in January!)and they held up. I bought two each year and alternated the wear. They are expensive but they were made to move in and made to be in the water. I was in and out of the water 20-30 times each class and they did not ride up or droop down. Personally, I think the bikinis are cute and I do see on the website the tops may be purchased separately.

  • Nanc in Ashland says:

    Sigh, what is up with my lack of HTML skills today? It’s Sars, I don’t know if you can fix my original post but if not, at least this covers it!

  • Amy says:

    I highly recommend the Freya bikinis (available online at fug leaves or at your friendly neighborhood bra store). I purchased my 36G bikini two years ago and it was a complete game changer. And as someone with an ample backside, the Freya bottoms provide excellent coverage that I haven’t been able to find in other brands.

    I actually disagree with Emma. I have never had any luck with bathing suits that tie, as the weight of my breasts tend to either loosen the knot or cause the knot to dig into my neck.

  • Amy says:

    And apparently I send too many messages on my phone about what has been posted on Go Fug Yourself. That should be “available online at figleaves.”

    Eat a bee, autocorrect.

  • Halo says:

    Seconding Freya. I’m a 40G, and what I like is that the tops fit like a bra and have bra sizing. I also agree with Amy that halters are death for big boobs. They pull on the neck and squash the girls into a cleavage-monster. And yes, they loosen and have to be retied. This was the case back when I was in high school and skinner, but still a DD.

  • Sarah says:

    With Amy on the down-with-halters bandwagon. A tie in the back is fine; a tie at the neck equals massive amounts of pain. I will wear a halter strap only when it’s cosmetic (i.e., when the band effectively supports what I’m working with, the way a really good strapless bra does). And the wider the straps, the bigger the knot, the hurtier my neck.

    This is one of those things that depends on your personal rack, though. I didn’t hate halters back when I was just a D cup. At an F+ these days, though, it’s a non-starter.

  • Emma again says:

    Here’s the one I found – they don’t make this one anymore, but the general style – basically a triangle bikini with thicker straps and more cup fabric – adjusts well.,0.5,0,0

  • Lianne says:

    I’d definitely go the route of buying one by bra size versus any S/M/L guessing. Figleaves is great, and there are a number of bra manufacturers that make swimsuits, including bikinis. Panache, Elomi, Freya, Goddess, Curvy Kate, etc. Here’s one website that I’ve shopped from, sorted for the section on 2-piece swimsuits:

    Congrats and good luck!

  • Kimber says:

    If you happen to be in/near Minneapolis, there’s a shop called Nani Nalu in Edina that not only sells separates, but caters to women who need bigger top sizes. They have great service and give great advice. More nationally, Nordstrom’s is my go-to for bras and I see they have DD+ bikini pieces as well. I thought they would be too expensive, but it turns out that they are the same or cheaper than the speciality boutique that I had been going to and had a MUCH larger selection in my hard-to-find 32G size.

  • Sarahnova says:

    Merely Me, have you been fitted for your new bra size? If not, I’d definitely recommend that as a first step and it will make any bikini top a hell of a lot more supportive.

    With size nailed down, you can get an underwired, bra-sized bikini top lots of places. I recommend Freya as well, and anything through Bravissimo also provide excellent customer support and fit advice by email.

  • Amanda says:

    I know you’ve lot a lot of weight, but still check Cacique (Lane Bryant’s lingerie/swimwear line). They sell bikini separates by bra size.

  • Merely Me says:

    Thanks, everybody!

    I have been fitted for new bras (twice, in fact; since I wrote the original letter, I’ve gone down to a 36DD).

    I’m in Boston, so Marks & Spencer is probably out, but I’ll definitely look at the rest.

  • KTB says:

    My sister and my best friend are both well-endowed women who rock a bikini and they have both raved about Athleta and Title Nine’s options. Their advice is also to stick to tops that have underwires in addition to any other features to help support the girls.

  • MaryAnne says:

    I’m usually a 34DD in bras, but swimsuit manufacturers seem to think we all want the bare (heh) minimum of fabric, so I’ve found going to a 34DDD/E still gives the right support and also the amount of coverage I’m looking for. Finding that size in a cute style can be challenging to say the least, but I’ve had some decent luck with Swim Systems online.

  • Josie says:

    I just ordered a suit from coco reef, they also size by bra size. I’m a 34D and the suit I ordered fits great! There are underwires plus an actual bra hook in back so you can adjust the fit (in addition to adjustable straps). Give them a look

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