Online Shopping Tips for Big-Bust Swimwear
I hate swimsuit shopping for exactly three reasons. 1: While bra shopping has at least given us the hope that there is a bra somewhere out in the world that will ~actually~ fit those of us with breasts the size of ~actual~ coconuts (not those insultingly small coconut tops they try to sell at Halloween to all of the girls who want to bring out their inner slut without feeling ashamed about their sexuality for one night out of the year), the same cannot be said for swimsuits. Granted, if I wanted to go to the beach wearing a piece of floss over my areolae, I know that is as much an option for me as it is for every other human on this planet. But I would rather not risk searing the flesh And also add sand to that. (Also, I can say with confidence that a string bikini would become my foe the minute I enter the ocean and brace myself to be bitch slapped by a wave that's taller than me.)
2: Most of the places you would think to buy a cute suit cater to women whose breasts are more on the apple to orange end of the fruit/breast analogy spectrum. I can hardly bear to look at the swimsuit section Target proudly displays every summer because those sickeningly cute suits only add salt to the wound. This is especially true of all the $5 beach stores that line the streets of every spring break destination. Those suits might not be the cutest or most tasteful, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't like to make that bad decision for myself!
3: All of the swimsuits that are made for bigger busts that are also available to try on in a brick and mortar store look exactly like the one suit your grandmother owns. You know the one I'm talking about. Probably has some blue-and-purple-floral print on the top and a black skirt built in on the bottom. It has a scoop in the front and the back and is designed to cover all of your "problem areas" (insert eyeroll here).
So, what's a busty gal to do? Fear not, my friend. Here are some of my tips on how to find a quality, affordable swimsuit online that actually fits:
Trust your instinct when it comes to quality.
If it looks sketchy, it probably is. This especially goes for those unpronounceable business names on Amazon. If you're not sure, reviews are (usually) your friend, but Google is even better. ModCloth reviews are an insightful source for getting a sense of the quality and fit of a garment, as they ask the reviewer to add information about the size they purchased, their measurements, etc. When you're spending upwards of $50 on a suit, it's definitely worth it to do research before you invest.
Research return policies.
If there's one thing I've learned when it comes to online shopping, it's that it's important to know what your options are in a worse-case scenario. It's almost impossible to know for sure how something will fit (even with detailed measurement information) and this is especially true for swimsuit shopping. Even if you're shopping by cup size, which as we know from the Reddit thread r/ABraThatFits is rarely a consistent indicator of fit, it's entirely possible that the suit will arrive and make you look like either the centerfold of a Playboy swimsuit issue or your great grandma on the beach, saggy and grumpy and wishing you were taking a nap instead.
In addition to having such great information readily available while shopping, ModCloth has an equally great return policy—you can return (with free shipping!) any purchase for a full refund within 30 days from shipment, an exchange for a different size, color, or pattern within 90 days, or store credit (plus an extra $5 to put towards something you'd like instead) (yes, really). Amazon, ASOS, and Old Navy have similar policies, as do SwimsuitsForAll.com and BareNecessities.com (although the latter two are admittedly less flexible and require you to pay your own return shipping if you'd like a full refund). Nobody wants to be stuck with a swimsuit they can't actually wear, so be sure to double check the seller's return policy before investing in your next swimsuit!
Invest in the Fundamentals.
If you have a large bust, you've likely felt an all-too-familiar pang of disappointment while watching your smaller-breasted friends frolic about in their itty-bitty, teeny-weeny, yellow polka-dot bikinis that they likely got for a fraction of the price of your swimsuit. One way I've found to expand my swimwear horizons is to invest in a swim bra that I can wear under a cheaper, ~trendier~ suit. Swim bras have existed outside the U.S. for some time now (go figure) and some of my favorite brands from the U.K. like Panache and Elomi offer swim bras or bra-sized swimwear that are easy to find on Amazon. Then you can peruse Forever 21, H&M, and ASOS for a fun, inexpensive suit to wear over it without worrying about your girls looking sad.