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Does our swimwear really only suit smaller sizes?

  • By Catherine Clavering
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Does our swimwear really only suit smaller sizes?

Over the last few months I’ve noticed quite a few people responding to posts about swimsuits and bikinis with assertions that it looks great on the model but it wouldn’t work on anyone over a size 10 (UK).

This surprised me a bit since I’m considerably over that size and like most people, tend to make things with myself in mind (which can be a fatal error for commercial products!)

We’re totally out of budget for more photoshoots, so since we were messing about at the shop party last week anyway, I thought what the hell, I’m big enough to product test. Plus it meant Chloe got to create this vine, and hashtag it breasts, which I suspect seriously amused her.


For reference purposes I am roughly around a 34/36DD (sometimes more of an E, it depends), a size 14-16ish, and seriously short, which does rather show up when you stick me next to a proper model . . .

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From left to right – me (Deluxe Bikini top, highwaist skirt, Philmore Clague balloon sleeved shrug), Maz (press), Anna from Paolita, Alisha from oh, at least two series of Next Top Model (Paolita swimsuit), and Missa Blue (Delores swimdress). Enormous flowers and fair wings from Twisted Twinkle, who went down a storm and solved our “landlords inexplicably put the sexy swimwear shop next to the childrens entertainment” street party problem.

So here’s some extremely unphotoshopped picstures of what the swim looks like on someone bigger,who mostly goofs around when cameras approach.

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Deluxe Bikini (and turquoise fishnets. I do not recommend these for actual swimming or the beach). I’m a large in this style, possibly an XL on the bottom. That red line is from what I was wearing earlier.

Pros: good bust support – I’ve been wearing this bikini top as a bra a good deal in the hot weather and its considerably more comfortable than the average bra. It isn’t affected by my being short as it doesn’t rely on an average torso length. You can take the back in if it’s too wide.

Cons: I was thinking more about not having to wax than about accentuating a waistline when I came up with this bikini bottom, so it’s pretty good at covering up my cake gut, but not so good at making my waist look smaller.

Next year we’re going to embiggen the cups on the L and XL in the Deluxe swimsuits and bikinis (assuming you vote any in) as we’ve noticed that people who are bigger tend to be bigger in the bust than we’d been assuming.

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The swimsuit version. I wore it with tights (if you think that bruise on my arm is wierd, you ain’t seeing my legs) and the Elle knickers, which caused me to go whee and swish from side to side. This is an L.

Pros: The black body smooths out and distracts from the chubby bits you can see in the above picture, if such a thing bothers you; and it’s fairly heavily lined which helps. You can’t see much of the leg line but the contrast turquoise makes me legs look a bit longer and because it’s angled can help the illusion of a smaller waist (if there’s one thing I learnt from Philmore, its if you want a waist line, stick diagonals in). You can see I’ve got considerable boob in there.

Cons: doesn’t have an underbust band in quite the same way as the bikini so not quite so much support. There’s a limit to the torso length it can accomodate. The maximum cup size is the XL, which is about a 38C/D, 36DD. You cannot make the back any smaller.

The lace print version:

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Left – actual working model. Right – someone who wets herself laughing when people on linked in message her about modelling (what is the point of linked in?).

Pros: as above except that I think the lace print is actually better for hiding tummies. Prints are very distracting.

Cons; you can see better in this what happens when you’re on the short side, it’s a touch too long and wrinkles up – I’d do better in a medium (and it would stretch enough width ways) but my bust would explode out of it.

Here’s the bikini version:

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Pros: You can fit considerably more bosom into this than into any of the other styles – I only need a medium, it’s got lining and boning at the side for a bit of structure. It’s the one I am jumping around in at the top; you can see you won’t fall out, but it’s not going to hold you in place. I hear alot about “needing” support but I’ve never felt that I needed it, only sometimes wanted it.
I like the angled skirt bit, I think its way more flattering on me than the deluxe skirt.

Cons: the peachy pink colour bothers some people. If you scout about we’ve shots of it on Morgana (very pale) through to Missa and Jess (dark) but I am guessing it won’t work with olive tones? Let us know! If you want or need support – this may not be the bikini top for you, although, you could probably do the same trick Vanyanis did!

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Last but not least – the swimdress!

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Don’t wear it with Black Milk space things to the beach, you’ll only sweat to death.

Pros: I think everyone at the offices can get into this. The bright blue works on most people. The cups have lining for some support. You can turn it into a mini-dress and wear it as a top.

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Cons: you can see that this size (an M I think?) was riding up so you can see the black mesh. The ruching works brilliantly for waist-y-ness from the front, not so hot from the side (on the upside – plenty of room for more icecream!)

If you go swimming in this one, double tie the bows, because they tend to come undone and trail about after you in the sea, inadvertantly causing you to go “argh sea things!”, though possibly thats just me.

This week as we’re finally having a Summer in the UK, we’ve got an extra special Buy One Get One Free offer on swimwear, so if you want to try any of these styles, it’s a good time to give it a whirl!

If you’ve already tried them, let us know and send us a picture – you could win a £400 voucher.

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