Off the Rack ~ Busty & The Beach: Profile by Gottex Cup-Sized Swimwear

Continuing our June swimwear coverage, this week I’m reviewing a bikini from a lesser-known brand that was provided by Lion’s Lair, a shop in Islamorada, FL that also has a web presence.

Disclosure: This bikini was received as a review sample. All opinions are my own and based entirely on my experience.

First a word about Lion’s Lair: I somehow came across them years ago when I was first discovering the world of small bands and big cups, and was desperate for some swimwear that actually fit and flattered my body. They have a massive selection, and much of it is listed online. However, since they like to ensure proper fit, you can’t actually order through the website. You have to call, and one of their staff will talk to you about your measurements and what you want, and then you buy over the phone.

This may sound like extra work for the customer, but it’s actually really great. Because they are also a brick and mortar store, Lion’s Lair has seen all the merchandise on real people who’ve tried things on in-store, and can advise you on the sizing for individual pieces. When I bought those first two bikinis (seven years ago?), I had no idea what I was doing size-wise and their advice was invaluable. I wouldn’t be wearing the right size, much less blogging about boobs, if it weren’t for them!

As for this new bikini, it’s from Profile Blush by Gottex, which seems to be a younger, more inexpensive range from Gottex. It comes in some amaaaazing prints, and tons of mix-and-match pieces, including tankinis, draped tops, triangle tops, bandeau, plunge, full-coverage, rash guards, tanks, cap-sleeved tops, longlines, and tunics, as well as an equally numerous variety of bottoms.

I’d never heard of it before, but after I sent Lion’s Lair my measurements and other information, they responded with two bikinis they thought would work for me:

“Romance” colorway.

“Romance” colorway.

“Shangri-La” colorway.

“Shangri-La” colorway.

I literally gasped out loud when I saw these photos. They’re so gorgeous! I hadn’t even mentioned to Lion’s Lair how much I love longlines—it’s like they just knew! It was an absolute struggle to decide between the two colorways, but I ultimately chose the Shangri-La. I just couldn’t resist its vibrancy.

Many of the offerings from Profile Blush come in multiple cup sizes, but they don’t really work the way bra cups normally do. The choices are small, medium, or large, and then each of those comes in D, E, or F. But the D, E, and F don’t change with a different band the way a bra would (i.e. 30F is a smaller cup size than 36F in bras). The cups are constant, and only the bands change.

Unfortunately, the first bikini Lion’s Lair sent me was too small in the cups at large-E. The band is completely adjustable, so the large was fine, though I figured a small or medium would probably work too, based on the design (which you’ll see below). When I contacted them to swap for F-cup, regretfully they were out of that size, so instead I switched to the Romance, and they sent me a medium-F. It’s still a little small on my bigger boob, but it’s pretty good on my smaller one. Since I’m currently between 28G and GG, I would say that the F-cup is equivalent to 28G (UK) cup volume, or any sister-size thereof (so 26GG, 30FF, 32F, 34E, etc.).

Here are mirror photos of the large-E Shangri-La, in which you can see quad-boob and some tissue escaping out the side:

Bigger boob in background.

Bigger boob in background.

Bigger boob in foreground.

Bigger boob in foreground.

And here are similar shots in the Romance medium-F:

Bigger boob in foreground.

Bigger boob in foreground.

Bigger boob in background.

Bigger boob in background.

And a front view:

Bigger boob on right side of photo.

Bigger boob on right side of photo.

Despite the cups still being a smidge small and the gore not fully tacking, I love this bikini! First off, it’s the first longline I’ve tried whose band doesn’t scrunch all the way up after five minutes of movement. The band is long enough and there is elastic in the bottom seam that makes it just a little tighter there than the rest of the top, so it grips in place. It does shift a little, as you can see in the full-body shots below, but not enough to ruin the longline effect.

Aesthetically, I can’t get over how stunning the color and mix of prints are. The most color-accurate shots in this post are the three closeups just above. The base is a vibrant periwinkle with stylized tropical flowers and leaves in white, black, sky blue, and pink. And then you have the graphic black and white croissant-like print as the wide trim on the cups, two wide vertical stripes on the band, a string bow at the gore, and the adjustable string straps. The fabric on the cups is also gathered at the center along the underwire. This print, and all the other Profile Blush suits I’ve explored online, are totally unique and modern.

Since I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get to the beach this week and the city’s public pools don’t open until the end of the month, I couldn’t try the suit out in water. So instead, I wore it all day long in place of a regular bra, on one of the days I ride my bike 3 miles to work. Throughout the ride and all day, there was some shifting of the underwires down my ribcage, so I don’t get the cleavage-enhancing lift of a conventional bra, but it was still quite supportive during the bike-ride.

The cups are lined with soft foam to maintain a round shape, and the band is lined with dense power-mesh. It was very comfortable for exercise, and dried really fast after my sweat-inducing ride to work. The underwires are on the narrow side of average, which is good for me because narrow wires fit me best.

Let’s see some more photos!

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Please ignore my fading sunburn. Yes, I wore sunblock to the beach two weeks ago… No, I did not reapply as much as I should have. But I happened to go to the dermatologist this week, and he recommended a particular type of sunscreen and a UV-blocking clothing brand, so I swear this will be my first and last burn of the summer!

How neat is that back?? Let’s get a closeup:

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This might be my favorite part of the suit. It’s 100% completely adjustable and looks really cool! As you can see, I tightened the band almost all the way, to help get more support and to shorten the straps so they would do more lifting too. The strings are doubled up and are thick enough that they don’t dig in to my shoulders despite being pulled so tight.

Not counting the strings, the band on this medium measures 22.5 inches laid flat. My underbust measures 29 inches. Thanks to the strings, it could easily fit a significantly bigger measurement, though keep in mind that the wires are on the narrow side.

As for the bottoms, in the full-body photos above you can see there’s a little flounce and gathering with ties on the sides. But if I undo the ties, I can un-gather it and then it’s a little skirt:

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The inner underwear layer is a classic bikini shape made of the black and white croissant print, and the croissants continues as a wide stripe along the bottom of the skirt and the little ruffle. The entire bottom is lined with the same power-mesh as the top’s band, a nice touch considering a lot of bikini bottoms only line the front and crotch panels. Here, there are no worries about the butt wearing out.

I have a size large, and it fits snugly. The bottoms feel just right—tight enough that they won’t fall down during serious swimming or powerful waves, but not so tight that they’re cutting in. At 29” waist and 41” hips, I find most larges a smidge loose and most mediums too tight, so I think that means these run a little small—which in my case works out perfectly!

As for purchasing this bikini, you may notice that Profile Blush by Gottex is not listed on the Lion’s Lair website. They explained to me that the Profile Blush brand “is more of a junior line and it does not have as large a cup size range as some others [like Fantasie and Freya]. It also does not have as many options that have underwire or offer as much support.” Further, online customers tend to be looking specifically for swimsuits that are bra-sized.

However, if you’re interested in purchasing this suit or finding out what other brands they carry in the store, you can call them at 1-800-220-1691. They’ll be happy to email photos of what’s on offer. As for my particular bikini, in addition to the longline, they carry a bandeau top and halter top, as well as a string side-tie, shirred side-tab, and wide-banded bottoms. The longline top I have retails for $78 and the skirted bottoms for $58

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Note from Darlene: Need help choosing your own Profile Blush by Gottex swimsuit? Answer the questions at the end of Tuesday’s post and give Lion’s Lair a call. Give them the code “Hourglassy”, and you’ll get $10 off your purchase.

 

Comments

  1. Those colors are gorgeous!

    (as a head’s up, there are UV blocking sleeves as well to augment what you already have. I love my Helly Hansen Pace 1/2 zip but I already had a couple short sleeve tops so I bought a set of Kerrits sleeves, bye-bye tan lines)