Fitting In ~ Cup-sized Swimwear Changed My Life

I’m a Jersey Girl. We don’t go to the beach, we go “Down the shore . . .” and the music of Bruce Springsteen was pretty much the sound track to my adolescence. So when the Boss covered the Tom Wait’s song “Jersey Girl”, it should have summed up those 80’s for me, as I actually lived them.

“Cause down the shore everything’s alright . . . .”

Except it wasn’t. For me. Plus-size and full-busted, I had a really hard time ever finding a swimsuit. Even as a child, wearing a hand-me-down one-piece of my older sister’s, I hated getting sand into the crotch of the swimsuit that was stretched out after years of being worn by someone taller than me.

Then when I was shopping for my own suits, I couldn’t find anything in conventional stores and couldn’t find enough bust support in plus-sized swimwear. For two decades, if I couldn’t go skinny-dipping, I would wear men’s swim trunks and a t-shirt over an ill-fitting bra. So, as you might imagine — I didn’t swim much. Maybe a handful of times in my twenties and thirties. Otherwise, I stayed out of the sun and out of the fun. Pool parties, weeks at the beach, vacations to sunny, summery locales . . . I turned it all down and stayed indoors.

Only my dermatologist was happy. Cup-sized swimwear changed all that when I found it in 2007. And I’m making up for lost time trying to get in all the vitamin D I can manage. I even, in my 40’s, took up surfing.

Earlier this summer, a good friend took me to see Sir Paul McCartney perform in Philadelphia as part of his Out There tour.  Comfortably secure in a swim bra under a summer dress, with no cares about straps showing or lingerie being on display, I was able to get lost in the music.  Singing along to old Beatles & Wings tunes, I was completely un-selfconscious about what I wore.  That took nearly half a century, but I was able to be Out There. 

So my hope for my fellow full bust sisters is that you find a swimsuit and sink your toes in the sand or in the grass.  That you build sand castles or run through sprinklers; that you go tubing down a river or snorkeling or surfing or flying kites on a beach.  That you let a cup-sized bikini top do double duty as a bra under a summer dress.  Try one of the suits we’ve reviewed and get Out There.


Happy Summer!

Busty and the Beach – Curvy Kate Starry Eyed Bikini Review

Hourglassy writers have been feeling pretty lucky to be able to review cup-sized swimwear all month, so when I opened my package from Curvy Kate to an extra bikini with my Moonflower tankini, I felt extra lucky! The Starry Eyed bikini was given to me by Curvy Kate, but all opinions are my own.

This bikini gave me a great opportunity to compare the fit of two different Curvy Kate swimsuit styles. While the 32FF unpadded Moonflower fit my chest perfectly, the 32FF padded Starry Eyed gave me a giant case of quadraboob. My need to size up in the padded cups is consistent with Leah’s and Patsy’s experiences with the Coco Loco and Luau Love.

After confirming that I only spilled out the top of the cups and nowhere else, Curvy Kate sent me a 32G instead. As soon as it arrived, I didn’t want to take it off. The 32G top gave me such a nice, rounded lift and so much support that I kept it on under a tee shirt and went to meet a friend for coffee.

curvy kate starry eyed profile

The interior of the cups is the same as Patsy described in her Luau Love review, and there is supportive side boning as well. The band is very firm with black power mesh beneath the print fabric. The center gore tacks perfectly. In these photos, you probably notice some wrinkling in the left cup fabric overlay. Perhaps a little extra fabric ended up in a couple of the 3-part overlay panels because this cup is certainly not too large.

starry eyed front hardware detail

Don’t you love the matching star hardware?

starry eyed bottom tie detail

More matching star hardware in the drawstring bottoms.

Overall this isn’t a “wow” design, but it’s classic and comfortable.

starry eyed front 1

curvy kate starry eyed back

The size medium bottoms didn’t feel 100% secure while swimming my 10 laps at the YMCA (perhaps 92%? I could feel the water resistance pressing down against the waist band–as well as the center gore), but of all the suits I’ve reviewed this month, these bottoms felt the most secure for bum coverage.

starry eyed bottom legs detail

Like the Moonflower bottoms, the Starry Eyed bottoms are only lined in the front and crotch, but I checked the mirror while sopping wet after swimming and didn’t find the back to be see-through. Speaking of sopping wet, here are front and side views immediately after getting out of the pool.

starry eyed after swimming front

starry eyed after swimming side

I’ll remove the tag before I go swimming in this suit next time!

Based on Leah’s, Patsy’s, Mia’s and my reviews, Curvy Kate is a big win for cup-sized swimwear. I hope our reviews of all our suits this month will help your own swimsuit choices for the rest of the summer!

Best Breasts Forward ~ Busty & The Beach: Curvy Kate Luau Love

I’ve been wanting to try a Curvy Kate bathing suit ever since I saw them at Curve. I can’t thank them enough for providing me with one to review.

I chose the Luau Love padded balcony bikini in Flamingo (34J) and the coordinating high waist brief (size 12).


Of course I was immediately attracted to the color. It’s a gorgeous pink that compliments my skin tone. I have to be careful with pinks because if they fall closer to a hot, neon pink they tend to make my skin look slightly orange, like I’ve gotten a bad spray tan.

The fit of the top is extremely comfortable. The padding in the cups is just thick enough so that there is certain to be no nipple showing through but thin enough not to make my J’s look even bigger than they actually are. My breasts fit into the cups nicely with only a slight looseness on the sides and due to the support of the band there is very little pull on the straps. My breasts do seem to push the band down a bit in front, but this is because I prefer a looser band in swimwear. When ordering, be sure to stick with your usual band size of you prefer a tighter fit. I choose to sacrifice a bit in proper fit to have a little less back fat.


The high waisted brief is a strange fit for me. I am shorter in the waist so the top hits me just above my navel. I’m still trying to decide if I like that or not. Keep in mind that I’m feeling a little chubby these days so my criticism is partly me not loving my body shape right now. It’s probably best not to try on swimwear during your “cycle”. For some reason the brief also feels a little thin to me. I may just have to get used to wearing a suit that isn’t black without any pattern.

image image

For women of the higher cup sizes I definitely recommend trying a Curvy Kate suit. It gave me the opportunity to focus on what the suit actually looked like because it was so comfortable I didn’t have to worry about falling out or tugging on straps.
I can build a sandcastle with my daughter and concentrate on having fun instead of having the girls falling out.

Fitting In ~ Busty & The Beach: Curvy Kate Luau Love

The biggest swimsuit surprise for me this year was Curvy Kate.

I haven’t had luck with Curvy Kate bras in the past, having found them too open in top of the cup for my shape. But this bikini is changing my opinion of Curvy Kate. I requested the Luau Love in Flamingo with high waist bottoms. Like Darlene and Leah, what I wanted wasn’t available and I’m thrilled with what they sent instead:  Luau Love balconnette top and bikini bottoms in black.

Curvy Kate Luau Love Black Bikini

Curvy Kate Luau Love Black Bikini

This suit was generously provided for review, opinions are my own.  The Luau Love has a three-part foam lined cup for support with underwire and side stabilizer boning in the wing. On the outside where this side stabilizer is located, the outer fabric connects with gathers and in such a way that the underwires are not prominent. Two buttons accentuate the gore. The cups are tall and deep and the gore tacks perfectly on me. The straps are thin. If they were necessary to provide actual support, they might dig into my shoulders uncomfortably. But in this balconette style top, I’m getting so much support out of the band, I think I only need the shoulder straps to keep the cups from falling too far forward. Speaking of support – the wings aren’t all that tall . . . it’s coming from the foam cups and boning in the sides.

Luau Love top in 36HH.  These are  some deep cups!

Luau Love top in 36HH. These are some deep cups!


Not as much wing-height compared to Panache.

Not as much wing-height compared to Panache Eadie.



All the support is from foam cups, underwire and side boning.

All the support is from foam cups, underwire and side boning.

I love the high-waisted look that seems to be more in style these days, and I think that style bottoms often work better for my size and shape. I followed an interesting exchange the other day about the sudden prevalence of higher waist bottoms in plus-size bikinis and what that was all about.  As someone who just didn’t bother buying a swimsuit for her entire 20’s and 30’s, I don’t think I can contain my delight that the discussion is even happening about a particular style especially for women who need, want and deserve a plus-sized swimsuit.

For this particular review, however, they sent me the mini fold-over briefs instead of the high-waist style. These aren’t skimpy or uncomfortable, and truth be told, the love of my life prefers these over the higher waist bottoms I tend to select. This is a compromise I’m happy to make as these are comfortable and they stay up without any problems. These are UK 18 / US 2XL.

Taking a cue from other reviews, I sized up in the cups to an HH. Other reviewers also recommend going up in the band size to minimize back fat. That’s never one of my concerns as I’m mainly interested in support.  And frankly, I have so much fat in front of me in my breasts, belly and chin, that it’s easy to just forget that there is also some on my back.  So this is me in a 36HH.  I’m tempted to try a deeper cup, as I still have plenty of boob outside of the cup.  I’m thrilled that Curvy Kate makes up to a K cup.  As tough as it can be to find swimwear in an H or HH cup, beyond where many other manufacturers top out, I’m not the largest of ladies who need swimwear.  So yay for Curvy Kate!  This particular line has bikini and tankini styles as large as 40K.

36HH cup.  Could I go even deeper?

36HH cup. Could I go even deeper?

As I’ve told you before, my typical use for a bikini is as a bra under strappy summer dresses. A good amount of bra or bikini top is going to stick out above the fabric and be on display.  I put the CK Luau Love to the test earlier this month when The Fabulous Greaseband kicked off the summer music series at a local winery. Each year, they start their set with Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” which sends me straight to the dancefloor. They then play pop-hits and rock and roll for the next couple of hours and it’s non-stop dancing and singing along under the stars. The Curvy Kate held up for all the dancing underneath my favorite Lee Lee’s Valise Maxi Dress. However, at the end of the night, it was a relief to take it off. The boning in the wings, while necessary, becomes uncomfortable after several hours.  A taller wing like the Panache Eadie would make all the difference.

Dancing @ CrossingVineyards summer music series kick-off

Dancing in my favorite Maxi Dress!