Hello, friends. Welcome to one girl’s journey to find a one-piece bathing suit for curves. Like most sartorial searches I embark on, this one began when I spotted something on the internet that I HAD TO HAVE.
Does anyone remember Taylor Swift’s OTT Fourth of July party last year when she and her friends all wore matching swimsuits, some of which were of the one-piece variety? Just me? Here’s a pic to remind you:
I became obsessed with that one-piece (sensing a pattern?) and eventually found it: The Anne-Marie from Solid & Striped. They don’t sell that particular one anymore, but they did have a navy, pink, and white striped one that I was happy to try.
Here’s the thing though, Solid & Striped suits only go up to a size 6-8 for a one-piece bathing suit. I’ve been hitting the gym, but I’m never going to be a comfortable 6 in a bathing suit. It’s just not happening for me because, much like Natalie in Love Actually, “I think there’s a pretty sizeable arse there, yes, sir.”
(Note: I’m not complaining, just being realistic.)
Anyways, I was determined to find a similar vertically striped one-piece bathing suit that would make me feel like I, too, was 5’10” and owned an estate in Rhode Island.
I looked everywhere for months for a one-piece bathing suit for curves. I checked the old standbys, Target and Old Navy, plus Gap, Athleta, American Eagle, Lands’ End, J. Crew, Madewell, Nordstrom, Zappos, H&M, and Marshall’s (RIP Victoria’s Secret swimwear line). Then I got into the specialty bathing suit sites: Everything But Water, Bikyni, La Blanca, Seafolly. There were probably more, but this list is already too long. All that searching and not a vertically striped navy suit to be found. So, it was time to compromise.
Here were my final qualifications for a realistic bathing suit goal: a navy one-piece with a low scoop back that would fit my chest and butt, and (bonus) a navy two-piece with a high-necked crop top. I wanted the one-piece to be cute and not too mom-at-the-pool, and the goal of the two-piece was to trick people into thinking that I am a Cool Girl.
Now, I’m not going to share pictures of all of the rejected suits because, well, they were rejected for a reason. Instead, here are my thoughts on the suits I actually tried on after sifting through many (many!) contenders.
You’ll notice I picked sites that have free shipping and returns on bathing suits.
Aerie Crop Hi-Neck Swim Top (Size Large): This top essentially has an open back, which I’m not against, but it felt like I had tied a piece of fabric to my chest (which, in essence, was true).
Aerie Hipster Bikini Bottom (Size Large): These bottoms were fine; they got the job done and the coverage was good, although they were a little low for my liking. I didn’t keep them because I really only got them in case I liked the top (my navies must match).
I did end up keeping a red Aerie Triangle Bikini Top (size large) to wear under a cropped rash guard I already had. Adequate coverage but not so bulky that it can’t be worn underneath the rash guard.
Scoopback One-Piece (Size 12): I liked this one, but felt that the length was a little short. It kind of skimmed over my boobs instead of accepting them for what they are, you know?
Long Torso Scoopback One-Piece (Size 12): YAASSS this is what I’m talking about for one-piece bathing suit fit, people. I don’t consider myself to have a long torso, but I hate the feeling that most one-pieces give me where it feels like my shoulders are being pulled down to my thighs. No one wants to feel like a hunchback on the beach. The length on this one was great and I loved the scoop back, but did I look like I was waiting for swim team to start? Unsure.
Plunging Scoopback One-Piece (Size 12): Damn. This suit belongs on Baywatch. High cut legs, super scooped back, and deep arm holes. I liked the arm holes a lot, as they were more similar to the Solid & Striped inspo suit. However, this suit only comes in the regular torso length and after feeling the freedom of the long torso suit, I wasn’t sure if I could go back.
Cropped Halter Bikini Top (Size Large): I liked the ties on this one better than the Aerie on, especially the lower ties in the back. However, I didn’t love the cut of the front enough to keep it. Turns out I look weird in a high-neck, halter-type top.
Seamed Bikini Boy Short (Size XL) and Bikini Brief (Size XL): Again, these bottoms got the job done and I was into both as good, basic bathing suit bottoms. I didn’t keep either of them because I didn’t keep the top, but they were both good. I preferred the bikini brief, however, as the seamed one reminded me of Underoos a bit.
Crop Top (Size Large): Yes! This crop top has a great neckline and the sides don’t cut in too far. It’s essentially like wearing a sports bra on the beach, which was the vibe I was going for.
Hipster Bottoms (Size Large): HILARIOUSLY SMALL. I ordered a large (their largest size) of these supposedly-full-coverage bottoms and they didn’t even cover the top half of my butt. This low rise certainly did not work for me. To Bikyni’s credit, however, I spoke with a customer service rep while organizing my return, and he said that they have reworked their sizing a bit, particularly on the hipster, so that they no longer run so small. He also mentioned that they are working on offering more sizes.
After all of that, I eventually found my one-piece bathing suit for curves. I ended up keeping the J. Crew long torso one-piece bathing suit and the Bikyni crop top paired with some basic bottoms from Target. You’ll have to wait to see pics of them in action until we’re back from Mexico, however, as I just didn’t think pics of my Cleveland winter self in bathing suits would really sell them.
Anyone else profoundly affected by Victoria’s Secret’s decision to pull their bathing suit line? I firmly believe that all of this hassle could have been avoided had they continued to offer bathing suits.
Have you found a good one-piece bathing suit for curves? Hit me with some links, people.
- Aerie Crop Hi-Neck Swim Top
- Aerie Hipster Bikini Bottom
- Bikyni Crop Top (in Starlight, I purchase it in Cosmos)
- Bikyni Hipster Bottoms
- J. Crew Scoopback One-Piece (regular and long torso)
- J. Crew Plunging Scoopback One-Piece
- J. Crew Cropped Halter Bikini Top
- J. Crew Seamed Bikini Boy Short
- J. Crew Bikini Brief