Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

August 6, 2008

Big Girl Bares (almost) All!

Filed under: Racktastic,Swimwear,You Asked For It — Francesca @ 8:44 am

A dear internet friend writes in with a conundrum:

Dear Francesca,

From pool-side in the middle of the hot summer, I ask: where might a 38DD find a cute bikini?

When I say “bikini”, I’m talking completely bare middle here, not a tankini set or skirted bottom or other (very pretty but not what I’m looking for) additions to the bikini swim basic. When I find lovely swim retailers with suits larger than a C-cup (several linked from your site), they all want to hide the middle! So now I am lost when shopping, as my experience is that I’m too large for the average store or juniors and then too small/very badly shaped for the “ladies stores.”  I’m 23, 5’8″, size 14/15, flat-bottomed Apple (so all of the attention is up top. Which I’m fine with, so no need to de-emphasize, but only to securely support.)

The only style note is that I like bright or solid colors or funky patterns in my two-piece, not so much the floral, conservative frills my mom would love. For example, I like some of the trendier swim suits that you’d find at Target in the juniors department, but their idea of an XL top seems to max out at a C-cup. (The women’s section, sadly, seems to offer little in curvy support even when the correct size, and always with the stomach covered and the bored floral pattern.) I also love shopping at Torrid (my average style tends towards the Tripp selection), but all of Torrid’s (very cute!) swimsuits persist in covering up the middle. As for shape (halter top, string set, bra-style cups, etc.) – I’d love to try them all, if only I could find a place that sells them in my size!

Thank you, and the other wonderful bloggers of Manolo for the Big Girl, for highly entertaining and useful information,


Ah, a Big Girl of confidence who will flaunt her abdomen! Francesca approves!

But, ayyyy! Francesca has been searching for bikinis that meet all of B’s criteria — 38DD, actual bikini, with secure support but no florals — and indeed it has been a frustrating endeavor!

Unless Francesca has missed something, she believes that dear B. will have to look outside of the United States for what she requires. Thankfully, Bravissimo does sell a few bikinis which meet all these criteria (and a 38DD in England is the same as an American 38DD).

See, here is an underwire plunge bikini top (matching panties sold separately; just scroll down) in the bright, solid color which  our reader prefers:

Happy summer, and remember the sunscreen!

xoxo, Francesca


  1. I don’t have quite as many problems as B has with swimsuits, since I do want to cover my middle, and have more of a balanced figure. However, as a mid-20’s plus-sized girl who is not afraid of color and doesn’t enjoy ROASTING in a dark-colored suit, I have been having a horribly hard time finding bathing suits that are not BLACK. I know black is slimming, but think logically people! Black = absorbs sun = HOT. While I like being “hawt”, I don’t like being hot.

    Anyway, all of my complaints were solved when I discovered the selection at Land’s End. I would post the link to the fabulous light blue poka-dot suit I bought, but I can’t seem to find it…

    Comment by demjen209 — August 6, 2008 @ 9:18 am

  2. As a 36DDD, I feel your pain! Here is something that may work for you:

    I have had excellent luck with DD size suits from Lands End. Hope that helps!

    Comment by Chiken — August 6, 2008 @ 11:47 am

  3. Sue Rice Swimwear in Australia. I have seven of their suits (I spend the majority of my summer in the pool or at the beach) and not only are their suits sexy without being slutty, they are super duper well made. You can’t tell the five year old one from the one I got last month quality wise.

    I am a 5’8″ 38 E and I am fine in their bust support tall tankini and one pieces, just in case anyone is wondering about that, too. The have some cute bikinis this year.

    Comment by Amy — August 6, 2008 @ 11:59 am

  4. You might want to try this place:

    They ask for your bra size when you order the top, so that makes me hope.

    Good luck!

    Comment by sara — August 6, 2008 @ 12:55 pm

  5. I feel your pain, and I’m only a D cup!

    If you don’t mind spending a little over $100 for a suit, then you might want to check out the Sunset Separates line on Suits are listed by print or color, and then you can choose the separates you want from a pretty impressive selection.

    Comment by Evie — August 6, 2008 @ 1:35 pm

  6. Good for you! I’d like to find a better swimsuit, but would rather have the option of trying something on, since the fit is so important. As a 40DDD, support is really a big deal.

    As an aside, you mentioned Target in your posting. It just annoys me that I can find a top or a dress at Target, even those items in far larger sizes than I wear, but it seems anything else is lucky to even come in a D, nothing bigger…

    Comment by Catherine — August 6, 2008 @ 2:26 pm

  7. Size 14 isn’t that big … but I’d suggest trying Newport News.

    Comment by Patia — August 6, 2008 @ 5:23 pm

  8. stocks many of the same swimsuit brands as bravissimo, but because it has a US arm, returns are much easier and less expensive (esp. with the weak dollar)!

    Comment by Laura — August 6, 2008 @ 7:59 pm

  9. I hate to state the obvious, but have you tried J. Crew? A lot of their suits go up to XL, which, according to them, fits sizes 16-18. Plus, a lot of the tops also come in D-cup. I’m a 36 D, which admittedly isn’t quite as ::ahem:: ample as you, but I have the wide band halter in a L/D-cup. It is more than big enough on me, so I suspect that it might be able to accommodate a DD, especially if you ordered the XL. I’m sure you won’t have trouble finding a bottom, and you can mix and match their tops and bottoms as you like. Cute colors and prints, too! Good luck!

    Comment by Kari — August 7, 2008 @ 1:11 pm

  10. has extremely cute (if pricey) bikinis, with tops up to a 40DD and bottoms up to size 20.

    Comment by andrea — August 9, 2008 @ 6:08 pm

  11. and definitely carry pretty lingerie that will fit, and usually carry swimsuits. if i remember correctly, fantasie of england is the brand with the best swimwear selection. bravissimo is also good, if you can stand the exchange rate.

    Comment by erin — August 11, 2008 @ 7:34 pm

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