As some of you may have seen on the Hourglassy Instagram, I was recently on vacation in Cape Cod. In anticipation of the trip, Bravissimo kindly gifted me two bikini sets to review. Brav has been an absolute godsend in the realm of wireless bras during my pregnancy so far (about 25 weeks along now!), especially after I sized out of Curvy Kate’s bralettes. So I was thrilled that they offered to send me some swimwear.
I’ve found that actual maternity swimwear (and clothing for that matter) is just not made for full-bust sizing even though women’s breasts get bigger during pregnancy. It’s mind-boggling. So your best bet is definitely to stick with the busty brands we already know and love, and either size up in the swim bottoms or buy basic bottoms from a dedicated maternity brand.
In my case, I selected Bravissimo bottoms in a size up (from medium to large). I chose high-waisted briefs in both cases because I wanted the coverage, but ended up rolling them down to sit under my bump because it was more comfortable and, I thought, looked better that way.
So let’s get to the reviews, shall we? Both these bikinis are size UK 32HH and bottoms in Large, as mentioned. I’m currently wearing about a 30HH or 32H (depending on the particular bra), but I always size up in both band and cup for swimwear, across all brands. When it comes to swimwear, I want to make extra sure I’m fully contained by the cups and also want to avoid what I can “phantom back fat” (when your band is so tight it squishes your skin and meat and enhances back rolls or adds ones that aren’t really there). Plus, since I typically only wear a swimsuit for a short amount of time, it’s not the end of the world if something fits a little big, whereas for an all-day bra, I want it to be perfect.
Anyway, first up is the “Cancun” bikini. The first three photos are with the bottoms up all the way, while the rest show it rolled down as I actually wore it. (By the way, if you look closely, there’s a huge red-tailed hawk in the tree behind me!)
I also photographed it while wet to see if the support remained the same (sometimes swim fabric stretches out badly when wet), and I couldn’t even tell a difference!
As for the details, Cancun is a crop top style with a two-part underwired cup structure underneath the outer layer. The outer layer is sewn to the inner cups at the base, so it stays in place at the underbust and doesn’t separate and ride up.
The band is not adjustable (typical for swimwear), but neither are the straps (not so typical!). In fact, the fabric is quite stretchy, so I actually would have preferred if the straps were a bit shorter. But I always need short straps, so I think this length is probably more versatile. They would be very easy to shorten, though—just pinch at the shoulder seam and tack in place. The lack of adjusters results in a clean, sporty look and the cup structure is so good that it doesn’t feel like support is at all compromised.
Because the fabric is so stretchy, I probably could have safely worn a 30 band, and the leotard-shaped back would help avoid phantom back fat, but I’m okay with the 32. It doesn’t feel “too big,” it’s just not as tight as I’m used to with my bra bands (which I wear really tight because I cannot abide even the least bit of riding up in back).
The straps are a great width for me—not too wide or super narrow, so again I think the fit will be versatile for a lot of ladies. The cup sides come up a little high, which I actually like because it keeps my breast tissue contained so well. Yet it doesn’t rub or dig in to my armpits.
Overall, this bikini is extraordinarily comfortable. The fabric is not only stretchy, as mentioned, but very soft too. The seams are gentle so the bottoms don’t pinch in when folded over. Yet the support is still top knotch. And the color! It’s truly neon—so bright and juicy!
Next up is the “Maya Bay” bikini in palm print. These photos were taken another day in the late afternoon when I was more bloated, so my belly looks bigger. But when worn with the bottoms up all the way and viewed from the front, you might not even know I was pregnant! If you want to hide your belly for any reason, this style (especially in a busy print like this) is the way to go.
And with the bottoms rolled down:
Maya Bay looks similar to Cancun from the back (with that leotard shape and high-ish underarms), but has a decidedly different fit. It has a similar two-part wired structure under an outer layer of fabric, but the straps are much wider set. They’re actually too wide for me and are tricky to get up and in position. They scrunch up on the outer edge once I do get them up because my arms cause them to roll sideways when I move around. Compounding this is that they’re much shorter than Cancun’s straps and again not adjustable. So if you typically need long straps, then this won’t be the style for you.
Strap issues aside, once again the support and shape are excellent. And the fabric here is a more traditional smooth swimwear texture, so it’s a firmer fit than the Cancun. As such, the 32 band here feels just a little more secure.
Unfortunately, that firmer fabric does mean that the bottoms pinch in a bit when folded over. However, the little waist tie camouflages this and it’s not uncomfortable, just an aesthetic note.
One cool aspect of this bikini top is that you can tie the center knot higher/looser or lower/tighter to adjust your cleavage level. Part of the reason I chose these two bikinis is because I knew I’d be wearing them with family (including my young niece and nephew), so I didn’t want a ton of cleavage on display. All the previous photos have it tied high, so here is a photo of it tied as low as I could get it (which exposes maybe another two inches of cleavage):
I really like the look of the set overall, and despite the minor fit issues, it felt secure and comfortable while I was actually swimming. Just be aware of the fit specifics and shop accordingly.
Even though I’ve been buying Bravissimo bras for years, these are the first bikinis I’ve tried from them, and they most definitely won’t be my last! I’m really impressed by the support, comfort, innovative fabric and details, and by the wide range of on-trend styles that the brand offers in general.