Supporting Those DD’s

May 25, 2015



Any woman blessed with a D cup or larger is familiar with the challenge of finding a swimsuit that not only flatters and fits, but also supports and contains. Fortunately, many designers have recognized the needs of the busty customer and have recently filled the gap in the market. However, not all cup-sized swimsuits are created equal. So what should you look for when buying a suit?

Tip#1: Sizing – learn your swimwear ABC’s.

Unless the swimwear brand you are considering is the offspring of a foundational lingerie company, cup sizes can run much larger than your bra size. In the world of swimwear, D just means bigger, and each letter is graded up from the previous one. The volume of the cup does not always increase with band size. Even if the line offers band sizes, each cup size will often share the same wire. As a result there is little consistency between companies and they will each have their own alphabet and size scale.  Tara Grinna offers a fabulous line of bikini and tankini options in D through F that will accommodate up to a HH or J cup in the UK bra alphabet.



Tip #2: Support – an underwire doesn’t guarantee support.

An underwire successfully offers support and lift only when accompanied by supportive fabrics. If an underwire top is constructed of purely stretchy and traditional swimwear fabrics, it is likely to disappoint when the breast just flops over the wire. Choose an underwire swim top with minimal stretch in the cup or one that is lined with support in mind. Sunsets uses a fabric often used for tummy control in all of their underwire tops. Their G cup bras will accommodate up to a HH cup in the UK alphabet. Sunsets has just announced that they are adding H cups to their 2016 line. My guess is that these will accommodate up to a JJ cup.


Tip #3: Comfort – thicker strings offer comfort.

When opting for a halter or triangle style, always look for thicker ties. Breasts are heavy. Thin strings get thinner when stretched and will cut into your neck and shoulders. Thicker sash ties or strings containing elastic will offer you comfort on long beach days. Guria Beachwear understands this and their 3-in-1 style halter top will once again accommodate up to a HH cup.


Tip #4: Containment – boobs float and bounce.

You’ve found your size, you are comfortable and you feel supported. But what happens when you get in the water? Don’t forget that breasts float, the larger the breast the more significant its buoyancy. To avoid embarrassment, you must make sure your new top will contain you in every activity. A good test is to bend at the waist and shake your shoulders vigorously. If your top passes the ‘shake test’ and your breasts remain contained. It will serve you well in the water, chasing after the kids and even while playing volleyball. Freya, Fantasie and Elomi all offer phenomenal support and containment for every activity.  Their expertise is derived from their lingerie background. They specialize in larger cups sizes, and follow a traditional bra alphabet. The Freya and Fantasie swimwear ranges fit up to a J cup and Elomi goes to a HH.




Finding the right size, proper support, and feeling contained and comfortable are all necessary to achieve the most important and often most challenging requirement: confidence. With the proper fit, you are free to leave all of your swimsuit concerns behind and focus your energies on enjoying your day and all of your water based activities.





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Contributing Authors

Ellen Lewis, Publisher of Lingerie Briefs: My merchant’s curiosity has taken me on a swimwear journey from the Miami Swim show to many shops whose robust businesses claim between 10 – 20% generated from swimwear. We began this swim column in order to highlight this potential. My research has led me to a very interesting conclusion: Swimwear is a fit business parallel to Intimates, but Swim stores and Bra Fitting stores approach the process in very different ways. Fit is priority, absolutely, in both venues, but the similarity really stops there.
Kimberly Berger is the founder/owner of Lion’s Lair Boutique Located in Islamorada in the Florida Keys. Established in 1996, Lion’s Lair Boutique has become paradise for the well-endowed and hard to fit woman. Specializing in larger cup sizes and plus sizes, Lion’s Lair offers the largest selection of cup sized swimwear, lingerie and clothing in the United States, quite possibly the world. Kimberly and her staff were the first to introduce the ‘swim bra’, an underwire garment that is designed to be worn under a tankini shell. The ‘swim bra’ offers the larger cup customer the same support as a bra but is made out of fabrics designed to get wet. Kimberly shared the concept with the designers at Eveden and shortly thereafter Elomi Swimwear was born. Designers from all over the world come to visit and consult with Kimberly and her staff who have truly become the voice of the consumer. It has become a destination store to woman seeking hard to find sizes, and an exceptional shopping experience.