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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

 

Off the Rack ~ Busty & The Beach: Curvy Kate Cocoloco Bikini

Like Darlene, my first choice for Curvy Kate swimwear was also the Ocean Drive set, with the halter top and shorts bottoms.

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And like Darlene, I had an “I’m begging—don’t send me [blank]” moment with a particular style, in my case a bandeau. Ordinarily, I just don’t do strapless. And just like Darlene, I received exactly what I was hoping to avoid! However, also like Darlene, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I like the item, the Cocoloco bandeau and skirted bottoms.

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

Since I’ve never tried Curvy Kate swimwear but I know I’m a 28G in their bras, I opted to request a 30FF top. Having read that their swim bottoms run “true to size,” I went with size Medium.

Unfortunately, the 30FF was too small in the cups, giving me loads of quad boob and escaping side tissue. Apparently Curvy Kate is another brand in which I have to size up in the cup with swimwear:

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The bottoms they originally sent were actually the side-tie briefs. These briefs are extremely low-rise, especially on my extra-long torso:

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Apologies for the grainy cell phone picture.

Most of my underwear just barely grazes the bottom of my hip tattoo, so if a bikini is more than a full inch below it, you know it’s really low. If my bikini area wasn’t groomed, I’m pretty sure there’d be hair visible. Not to mention the fact that any bending would expose my buttcrack, which was about a mere inch below the top of the bikini in back.

Anyhow! Since I had to send the top back for a bigger size anyway, I asked if I could swap for the skirted bottoms too. Since the briefs felt okay in terms of tightness across the waist and across my butt, I stuck with medium.

As I waited for my new set to arrive and stalked the Curvy Kate website in the meantime, the print and color mix of Cocoloco continued to grow on me until I was even more excited to receive the replacements. And I’m happy to report that once I had the bikini in my greedy little hands, the 30G and skirted bottoms are a much appreciated improvement in fit.

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Really loving the black-white-sky blue combination.

I am really impressed by the construction and fit of this top, especially considering that it’s a bandeau, and my full-on-bottom boobs tend not to get along with strapless anything. The cups are made of a lightweight yet strong foam with two vertical seams. It’s then covered in an outer layer of swim fabric that’s gathered and sewn in place in the middle and at the sides.

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The wings are lined with power mesh and feature a piece of vertical boning next to the underwires. There are also removable, fully adjustable straps that don’t attach too far out to the sides (a problem I have with CK bras). Finally, the back of the band is a little thicker than usual, a nice counterpoint to my complaint about the thin-ness of last week’s Fantasie Lombok.

Even though this suit is a 30 band and I’m really a 28, this thing stays up amazingly well. I felt so comfortable in it, and even after jumping around at home it stayed in place. It doesn’t even have silicone strips! I would bet that the thickness of the band is helping with this. It makes me think I should give the CK Luxe Strapless a try—it even has the same vertical seaming as Cocoloco. The gore also tacks really well, a major feat for a strapless.

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Front view, without straps.

Front view, without straps.

Front view, with straps.

Front view, with straps.

Angled view, without straps.

Angled view, without straps.

Angled view, with straps.

Angled view, with straps.

There is one thing I have to complain about: The cups are too shallow. So close to perfection, but my full-on-bottom boobs strike again! Thanks to the looser outer layer of printed fabric, it’s not visible to the naked eye. And thanks to the high quality foam and the vertical seams, cup crushing at the base of the cup is kept to a minimum. But I can clearly feel that it’s slightly too shallow for me and that the wires are being pushed down my ribs. This is such a common occurrence for me, though, that I hesitate to even classify it as a negative trait. It’s more just a fact of life.

Sadly, this was another non-swimming week, so I can’t really assess the practicality of the suit. But I can say that the top of the cups are pretty open, an excellent feature for avoiding quad-boob, but maybe not so great for jumping off a high dive. However, I would definitely feel comfortable wearing it in waves or diving once I attach the straps. They feel nice and secure.

Lastly, let’s discuss the bottoms. I think the adorable-ness of the skirt is self-evident. But as for the fit, honestly I wish I’d requested a large. Although the medium doesn’t cut into my butt at all (success!), it just feels tight and a little binding overall and it’s not doing my muffin top area any favors. Since I’m generally between medium and large, I don’t think these run small, it’s just that I prefer a slightly roomier fit. Additionally, the seam where the skirt is attached is a little itchy in front, and I think a bigger size would help with this since it wouldn’t be pressed against me as closely.

 

Busty and the Beach: Curvy Kate Moonflower Tankini

When Curvy Kate offered us a choice of swimsuits to review, I requested the Ocean Drive tankini. I even requested the tiny chameleon bottoms that would normally terrify me because they looked so perfect with the top. Then we were told that some of our requests had already sold out and they would send us substitutes. I just knew the Ocean Drive had to be one of them. “Please don’t replace it with the matronly Moonflower,” I begged in my mind.

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Ocean Drive on left. Moonflower on right.

Of course they replaced it with the Moonflower! But it doesn’t feel matronly at all. In fact, this suit has received more compliments than any other suit I’ve worn this month.

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There’s a just-rightness about this suit. The black background is slimming, while the hot pink trim and flower print keep it from being austere. However, the just-rightness is about more than the looks. This suit really performs!

First, the 3-part unlined cups have absolutely NO stretch.

moonflower internal cups no stretch

Given my experience with Curvy Kate bras in 2012, I had no idea what to expect from the fit of their swimwear, but I requested a 32FF to see if my current size in most other brands would be my size in their swimwear. In this unpadded style, it was spot on. The center gore tacks perfectly, the band is snug on the loosest of the three columns of hooks, and the underwires enclose all tissue.  In the photo below, the underwire ends about 1.5 inches before the side seams.

moonflower side profile

Second, these cups give excellent security. There was none of the bounce that I felt in the bikini tops that are lined with stretch fabric. Also, I dived several times in this suit and swam multiple laps, and while the neckline was slightly lower after extended activity, there was absolutely .

Third, the torso of this suit gave excellent security as well! Like the Panache Leena, it’s sewn in three slimming panels down the front, and it felt very close around my waist–in a good way. However, what really astounded me was the lack of any riding up whatsoever. Even as I stretched my arms high above my head for the breast stroke, my torso remained completely covered.

moonflower swirly closeup

Someone with a longer torso will appreciate the drawstring shirring that gives the option of lengthening this tankini. I kept the drawstring at the length it came in out of the box.  I also really like the use of elastic inside the drawstrings. It makes them curly!

The bottoms are okay. I like their height and the folded over pink band. As Caroline over at Curvy Wordy noted in her review of the Curvy Kate Luau Love, the back is a single layer of fabric. Fortunately, since this fabric is a print with a black background, there’s no danger of being see-through. Another advantage over Curvy Wordy’s pair is that the foldover band is sewn down at the sides, so it stays put.

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And I love the sassy back bow detail.

moonflower bow in back

I have only one dissatisfaction with the suit, and you may or may not see it in the photos of me from the front and the side because it became more apparent after wearing and swimming in this suit for a while:  my bust line sort of flattened and settled, giving me slight frog chest similar to what I experienced in my pre-Panache sports bras. However, just as those sports bras couldn’t keep me from enjoying the gym, this swimsuit won’t keep me from enjoying the pool–far from it! I loved how secure I felt in this suit, and no one ever gave me any compliments in those old sports bras.

If you’re wondering whether a Curvy Kate suit would be a good fit for you this summer, we have four more reviews coming up for the rest of this week. Stay tuned!

Note: I realize that this is a pretty gushing post, but I promise that all opinions are my own.