What makes a flattering swimsuit on a fuller bust? It’s all in the eye of the beholder. Horizontal stripes, for instance. Some think it makes you look wider. Either I don’t care about looking wider or I don’t believe it’s true. I wear them and I feel good in them. Before I start, let me qualify what I’m about to say with my definition of a flattering bust. I’m not into hiding the bust size nor trying to minimize it. It is what it is.
I do prefer fabric to cover the entire width of my bust. I don’t like hanging out the sides but I won’t mind if I’m showing some cleavage. I think I’d feel too covered up if the suit covered me from underbust all the way to the top of my bust. I’d feel engulfed in swim fabric. I also like my bust to be well supported. That will mean an underwire for me. Other than that, I’m pretty open.
Overall, a well fitting swimsuit that you like, that’s made of colors you love, will flatter you more than one that doesn’t meet these requirements. Swimsuits that are too small in one area and too big in another won’t read as a mis-fit. Sadly, they read as our bodies aren’t perfect or ideal or whatever when it’s the suit that’s not perfect and not idea to our shape. And that’s why we sew.
In this post, I will not tell you to cover you stomach or your back or your chest. It’s tricky to stand here and proclaim one thing to be flattering over another. In the 50s, a bullet bra was deemed flattering. Where’s your bullet bra now? Lucky for us now, we can wear what we want and while you may think there are rules- they are there to be broken. I say this because of all the sites I’ve been to where a large chested woman is deemed unappealing because of the fit of her clothes and/or swimsuit. I really hate these before and after shots on this “How not to look fat in a swimsuit” from Oprah’s site. It gets to me because they’re showing suits that aren’t the correct size on the women in their before pictures and then they’re just covering everyone up- wrap them up in a bedsheet while you’re at it! Apparently the only way to fix boy shorts that are too small is to scrap the idea altogether and put a one piece on a woman. Why not give them a better fitting size?
Oprah’s site also give tips on the best suits for a larger chest. However, all I hear them say is conceal, don’t look fat, don’t show your body. The only thing I can agree with is that underwire swimsuits will give you more lift. Some like that. Some don’t care. I prefer a lifted look on myself so I’m going to adding support in the bust.
I am here to say that anyone can wear a two piece. But let’s review: wear a two piece that fits you and is made of colors and a style you love. That will be flattering. Never go off the size on the pattern envelope. Measure yourself and measure the pattern. Make a muslin and you’ll get a super hot two piece that you’ll love.
Check out the gorgeous Georgina of Fuller Figure Fuller Bust blog where you can see her reviews of RTW swimsuits for a fuller bust. Check out, especially, her review of a non underwire bikini (more pics of her below). You’ll see how flattering it is on her and other women- all because the bust cups fit. Had they worn a size too small (ahem! Victoria Secret) then you’d probably shy away from a two piece, too, but with the fabric covering from the side to most of the front you get a great shape and you won’t worry about falling out. Also check out Hourglassy’s roundup of RTW swimsuit reviews by big busted bloggers.
Ultimately, it’s up to you and how much skin you like showing off and I don’t think there should be any rule about that. It’s a personal thing.
More RTW suits, I love this Freya bandeau with hidden underwire (click the image to go to Big Girl Bras). You get the look of a bandeau with hidden support. I love that.
What I love is seeing well fitting swim tops on larger busted women. Check out Georgina from FullerFigureFullerBust- the woman who helped me transition into a well fitting bra!
And check out her adorable tankini
There’s this Butterick swimsuit pattern I told you about in Brooke’s post but I’m not sure it’ll actually lift my bust the way I want. I have had plenty of swimsuits that are incredibly annoying at the bust. I don’t need to sew one of these suits, too.
If you want a suit with an underwire but don’t want to deal with making the bra component, check out this tutorial on transforming an underwire bra into a swim top. Or you can stay tuned for Norma from Orange Lingerie who will talk us through swim support.
UPDATE: You won’t want to miss this helpful post from Sew Forth Now who shows us an illustration on how to add for a full bust. No bust dart on your suit! Also, she has a podcast all about swimsuit making so do listen in.
If you’ve made it this far, I thank you for listening. I hope this has helped in some way. What do you think? You up for a two piece? You interested in learning about adding underwires? What’s your take on what’s flattering and what’s not?