Bikini shopping — two words that send the best of us into a cold sweat, never mind those of us who boast a D+ bust. Small, flimsy triangles and bits of string do nothing to support (or prevent the odd slippage), dress sizes do not translate properly into cup sizes, and, while some women might be so well-balanced that they can buy a top and bottom set in the same size, most of us are not so evenly proportioned. But much of the swimwear that’s designed to provide support for larger busts is bulky, frumpy and not widely available on the high street. To help, we’ve been hunting high and low to find you sets which look and feel great and take at least some of the stress out of the whole affair.
1. Figleaves Santa Maria Underwired Twist Bandeau Bikini: top, £28, briefs, £20, Figleaves
If you thought that bandeau bikinis were off-limits for larger-busts, well you’d mostly be right — this twisted one from Figleaves is the exception. It’s secretly underwired and clasps with a bra-style fitting at the back and offers plenty of support right up to a G cup. We love the monochrome stripes with the pop of lime green piping around the edges and you can get it with standard briefs or high-waisted ones for a little extra coverage.
2. Rio Floral Balcony Bikini: top, £28, briefs, £18, John Lewis
It can be tricky to find swimwear for larger cup sizes on the high street, but ever-reliable John Lewis’ own-brand range goes up to a 34F. Our favourite is this bright halter-neck balconette style with frill detail round the cups, which is moulded (though no more than necessary, so no added bulk) and underwired.
3. Wolf and Whistle Moulded Plunge Bikini: top, £16, briefs, £14, ASOS
Wolf and Whistle has just launched a range of swimwear specially designed for D+ cup sizes exclusive to Asos and we will be ordering all of it. This pin-up style polka dot bikini with high-waisted briefs is underwired but has a lower apex than many of the bikinis we’ve seen so it’s particularly flattering. Available up to a 36G.
4. Ted Baker Ambar Distinguishing Rose Bikini: top, £39, briefs, £35, Ted Baker
Another pretty floral number, this time from Ted Baker. All its moulded cup bikinis and swimsuits go up to an E cup, but our pick is reminiscent of English country gardens and maybe your nan’s curtains, but in a good way. The straps are fully detachable if you want to change it up a bit and avoid tan lines and it’s also available as a swimsuit, still with moulded cups, if you prefer.
5. Gossard Siren VIP Plunge Bikini: top, £39, briefs, £18, Gossard
This bikini from the British brand has moulded foam cups and bra clip, while the mesh detail offer support and keeps it on the right side of revealing. It’s available up a 36E and you can get the same neckline in a swimsuit if you’d rather have a bit more coverage.
6. M&S Wood Block Print Underwired Bikini: top, £23, briefs, £14, Marks & Spencer
The repeating pattern on this halter-neck balconette strikes a great balance between geometric and floral and reminds us of tiles in Roman baths; perfect for poolside. Available up to a 38G, it’s underwired and has moulded cups, a hook-and-eye clasp and reassuringly thick straps, which – an added bonus – don’t cut in around your neck like thinner ones can.
7. Cleo Swim by Panache Bikini: top, £34, briefs, £19, Simply Beach
You’ll probably know Panache as a reliable source of pretty and comfortable D+ lingerie and its swimwear range, Cleo, is just as good. This fun polka dot yellow is supportive enough to wear without the removable halter-neck strap, thanks to full underwire and moulded cups, is available from a 30D to a 38F, and will look particularly good with a tan.
8. Boux Avenue Lanzarote Bow Bikini: top, £26, briefs, £14, Boux Avenue
High street lingerie brand Boux Avenue has adapted several of its best-selling bikinis for larger cup sizes, available up to a 38G. Neon is a great colour choice to show off that tan and we can already see it on a party boat in Croatia. It’s also available in bright orange and yellow, if you don’t fancy the pink.
9. Watercult Bohemian Denim Sweetheart Bikini: top, £65, bottom, £49, Figleaves
A nice change from the balconette-style bikini more common with D+ swimwear, this one from German brand Watercult shows off your cleavage with plunging sweetheart cups. The purple floral fabric is balanced out by nautical stripes around the edges and on the straps, it’s available up a 44E and the matching bottoms are high-waisted for a bit of extra support.
10. Asos Fuller Bust Hidden Underwired Bikini: top, £16, briefs, £7, ASOS
If you want to emulate the popular triangle bikini shape but struggle with the lack of cup sizes, the fabric slipping around the strap under your bust or the dreaded side-boob, Asos’s fuller bust range has a good compromise. This simple style keeps the triangle shape but is underwired, fixed in the middle, wider under the arms and comes in cup sizes up to a 36G. Also available in white and hot pink.
For a really supportive bandeau bikini (a mythical thing), you can't get better than Figleaves' Santa Maria, while Watercult gets the prize for the prettiest. But we struggled to find a favourite from Wolf & Whistle's range for Asos, making it our firm favourite for D+ ladies this year.
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