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Swimsuit Review (On My Actual Body) – Supportive Swimsuits That Make Me Feel Comfortable, Confident, and Stylish

In case you don’t remember, two years ago I did the first swimsuit review here and as I was looking at the unedited photos (we don’t photoshop) my reaction to my body was alarmingly not as positive as I actually felt IRL. I then realized (and wrote about) it was a result of only seeing photoshopped cellulite-free models online, so any sort of non-model on the internet feels like, “Woah, why are they on the internet?”. I got a lot of “you are so brave” comments which I found to be this HILARIOUS confusing compliment, if not accurate. I laughed them off with an “uh, thanks?“. But in retrospect (and going forward) I actually appreciate the compliment far more than any others. Well, in the span of two years I have to say that things have ALREADY shifted and there are so many shapes and sizes of women’s bodies all over websites and social media (still not enough), hopefully making us feel far less self-conscious and more empowered to just be in our own skin (online or off). We all have bodies. They are all beautiful and I’m just SO HAPPY to see brands putting beautiful shapes, sizes, and colors into swimsuits for us to admire and to make more accurate purchases (I’m looking at you Target, Summersalt, a few on J. Crew, Vitamin A, Andie Swim). Not only does this help people of all sizes shop for the right fit, but also just normalizes all body type imagery giving all of us more confidence both online and in-person.

An additional rant: I think my generation (Gen X) got specifically EFFED in this department because we grew up with magazines/advertising photoshopping “perfection” (if you don’t know how I feel about that read this article from years ago) coupled with the explosion of diet culture (of which I’ve certainly participated), but before the self-empowered, anti-body shaming movement. Our mom’s generation grew up before diet culture, before being rail-thin was expected as a “model” (remember that Marilyn Monroe was a size 10-12). Those of us in our 30s -40s truly only saw “perfect” bodies in media our entire lives. So let’s give a huge HELL YES to all the executives out there hiring and celebrating models, actors, and content creators that are helping normalize all the unique shapes and sizes of the beautiful body (and for God’s sake, STOP PHOTOSHOPPING BODIES).

Now on to me. I like supportive suits, that show my shape and have style but where I don’t have to keep track of my boob location, worry about a nip slip or a sneaky little ass cheek all day. I also have suits just for hot tub dates/vacation – (not shown) and suits for us with friends, family, and kids – for playing. So today most of these are in the latter category – great SUPPORT, flattering compression, comfortable, easy to wear, and still fun. Some are super affordable and some are very splurgy.

Everyone I know is shopping for a suit right now and since you can’t try on in a store (in CA anyway) I thought I’d at least give you my opinion and you can see it on my body to help you make a smart, lasting choice (and if you don’t need a new suit, just scroll without buying). What didn’t work I carefully returned or will give away to friends that need a suit, so no, I’m not keeping 12 new suits. Here we go…

Cutout One-Piece in Stripe

Cutout One-Piece in Stripe

First up might be my favorite new suit. Navy and white stripes, cute cut-out, very supportive and thick enough to mask my extra tummy-warming layer (tummy dimples!). BIG FAN of this. I bought a 6 which fit great (but I haven’t gotten it wet yet). It also has a matching rashguard which I LOVE. This is a very “me” suit that I know I’ll wear all summer and was PSYCHED to find it.

Ruffle Plunging V-Neck One-Piece Swimsuit

Ruffle Plunging V-neck One-Piece Swimsuit

Gingham and ruffles are a thing. Both J .Crew and Target had very similar suits and both were pretty darn great. Let’s start with J. Crew.

The more delicate ruffle strap and the texture of the fabric are so great. My only beef is that the straps are “adjustable” but they come at their max point (the ruffle makes the strap too thick to go through the piece of hardware to tighten it). Now I loved this suit so much beyond that that I’m going to likely sew it tighter to bring the ladies up. But if you have a long torso I’m sure it would fit just fine (I ordered a 6). I still felt supported (but after two kids I enjoy higher support). The legs didn’t cut in, the double-layered fabric masked my layer of tummy warmth (tummy cellulite + belly button indention) which by the way is MY thing, feel free to show that off, I just feel more comfortable with it a big disguised.

Ruffle Gingham High Coverage One Piece Swimsuit

Ruffle Gingham High Coverage One Piece Swimsuit

The Target version is GREAT, too! It’s a more traditional spandex material, but lined so it is also very flattering and compressing in the right places. It was actually more supportive than the J. Crew one. I ended up choosing the J. Crew version because I loved the texture of the fabric, the slightly darker color, and the more delicate straps but it’s also 3 times the price so if you are on more of a budget the Target one is GREAT (and I almost kept both but then Mal talked me out of it saying I don’t need literally 2 of the same suits).

Ruffle Underwire Bikini Top in Gingham + High-Cut Waist Bikini Bottom in Gingham

Ruffle Underwire Bikini Top in Gingham + High-Cut-Waist Bikini Bottom in Gingham

Ok so I love this one in theory, but it’s not fitting right. The top is so cute with the delicate ruffles and again you can order your bra size which is great. The bottom is a medium and far too big (I’m so frustrated with swimsuit sizing, y’all) so I returned it and am ordering the bottoms in small. It’s not tight so even a small I think will not cut in too much. But it’s so fun and classic, with a bit of a pin-up vibe and the top is supportive despite having small straps. (Also the reason I’m laughing in this shot is that I kept whispering the “you are so brave” comment, which just CRACKS ME UP…. because it’s such a funny backhanded compliment (that I totally appreciate, don’t worry). Imagine going out to a party in a cute dress you love and having everyone say, “you are so brave for wearing that”. I’m SO not sensitive so it honestly. Just makes me LOL as you can see.

Gaia One Piece

Gaia One Piece

I LOVE THIS SUIT. I have collected it in black and light pink over the years. I don’t think I would have ever bought it had I just looked at it online – it looks simple and cute but nowhere near worth the $240 price tag. I was at Ojai Valley inn and spa 2-3 years ago and shopping at their strangely well-curated spa store. I spied it and tried it on and was like, “oh shit”. It was the first swimsuit in a long time that I legit loved. It is thick but not tight, it has these seams that run diagonally across the waist indeed making it look smaller and compressing your tummy down in a comfortable way (if you are into that). AND it has full shelf support (not just dumb cups that brands think are enough support for our larger love pillows). It’s a little cheeky (the bum only covers 1/2) but it is so modest otherwise that I think it’s fun to have a little surprise reveal. I had never bought a black suit before (because I’m so pale and feel so self-conscious about it STILL – more deprogramming needed) but I bought it and then when it came out in this sapphire blue last year I POUNCED. But then I lost the blue version (I’ve searched EVERYWHERE) and it wasn’t online anymore, but it’s BACK. The medium is already sold out (which is my preferred size) but the small (this one) fits well enough. I also ordered two of their other suits (they are a sustainable company, made in California and I want to support) but their sizing is so off that the 6s were CRAZY small on me – like I couldn’t even pretend to pull on the S/6. So I returned them, but just FYI size up like 2 sizes. The black is on sale by the way, but the blue in XS and S6 is still available and hopefully, they are making more as we speak.

Rib Square-Neck One-Piece

Rib Square-Neck One-Piece

Before I saw that my Vitamin A suit was back-ordered, I ordered this best-seller blue suit. I like it well enough (I love the thick straps, Mal didn’t for tan line reasons), but it only has cups and not shelf support. So it adds volume to the breasts without really supporting it. The ribbing is a great feel and it’s thick enough to not have good coverage. I obviously didn’t need both so I’m returning this one. I think it’s a good suit if you have smaller love pillows and still want something that is sporty without being too “gymnastics”, in a really good color.

Women’s Tie-Front High Coverage One Piece Swimsuit

Women’s Tie-Front High Coverage One Piece Swimsuit

No surprise that I LOVE a red suit and this one is very supportive with enough of a reveal. It has full coverage, has some forgiving double layering rouging on the front, and definitely enhanced the curves (and made some curves look bigger if you know what I mean). This is one that I would be absolutely comfortable walking around in the daytime without a cover-up (which says a lot about how contained and supported I felt). It’s not the sexiest, but it’s pretty darn great for $35.

Underwire Bikini Top in Classic Seersucker + High-Cut Tie-Waist Bikini Bottom

Underwire Bikini Top in Classic Seersucker + High-Cut Tie-Waist Bikini Bottom

Here’s my first bikini in like 8 years. Admittedly it’s a safe one, but I like it! The top is sized by bra sizes so I could actually order my size (this small, medium, large thing does NOT work for swimsuits) and then I ordered a medium for the VERY full coverage bottom which is too big, but the tie on it makes it actually fit very comfortably. I’m concerned that when wet it will get too baggy so I’m going to order the small just in case (and FYI there is XXS, XS and S so it can be confusing). But I felt fun and fresh and a bit young despite it being so high-waisted. I kept this one for sure and even added the sportier top to also pair with it.

Gingham Side Cinch High Waist Bikini Bottom + Gingham Cinch Front Bikini Top

Gingham Side Cinch High Waist Bikini Bottom + Gingham Cinch Front Bikini Top

This one is a pretty great competitor to the one above (and much more affordable). It made my ladies look a lot larger than I’m used but it was VERY supportive. The bottoms had ties that could be loosened a bit (this was a small, top was a large). But very supportive for a bikini IMHO.

Triangle High Coverage One Piece Swimsuit

Triangle High Coverage One Piece Swimsuit

When I lifted up this one out of the bag (Mal went shopping for me) it looked so much bigger. I thought it would be FAR too long for me (size medium) but then when I put it on it fit! Again super supportive in the breasts, double layer fabric for disguising tummy bumps, and full coverage. It’s a great “mom” suit that feels like it’s not going anywhere but is a bit revealing.

Mesh Front One Piece Swimsuit

Mesh Front One Piece Swimsuit

This one was fine, and I liked the mesh cutouts, but the fit didn’t enhance or support enough. I think I could have sized down for it, but I wasn’t sold on it anyway.

Women’s Plunge Tie-Front Wrap One Piece Swimsuit

Women’s Plunge Tie-Front Wrap One Piece Swimsuit

I didn’t like this one when I held it up, but tried it on anyway and it really enhanced the curves. It was so supportive (I think it was in the “so supportive” section at Target, not joking) and it compressed in the right areas. I think I personally like revealing without a lot of mushed together cleavage so I prefer the “lift and separate” method versus the “pushed up and together”. Great for more medium-sized chests if you want to enhance that feature 🙂

Lightly Lined Twist-Front Ribbed Bikini Top + Ribbed High Leg Extra Cheeky Bikini Bottom

Lightly Lined Twist-Front Ribbed Bikini Top + Ribbed High Leg Extra Cheeky Bikini Bottom

Mal bought me this bikini with the tiny bottom and I was like WHO DO YOU THINK I AM??? I told her to consider bikinis while shopping at Target for me but this felt tiny! But I tried it on and was pleasantly surprised, but not sure how brave I am going to feel, sober in the sun. Now I think that I’m more comfortable and confident in showing less of my stomach, especially when sitting down, post-burrito. But Brian wouldn’t let me return this which I appreciated. So yes, now I have an actual bikini that MIGHT just sit in my drawer ready for hot tub nights but who knows. I’ll report back in September 🙂

Underwire Bikini Top with Criss-Cross Straps

Underwire Bikini Top with Criss-Cross Straps

The bottom of this didn’t arrive until after the shoot but strangely this top kinda flattened my boobs despite being my bra size. So I prefer the sizing of the Target version (but this one has a really cute back, too).

The Maternity Ribbed Current (similar)

The Maternity Ribbed Current

This one is from two years ago but I just want to give Sumersalt a shout-out for how they make their suits, which is with strangely good compression and support (but not tight and doesn’t cut in!). I have a few of them that I still love and wear, like this one. I don’t know if this exact suit is still available but check them out for sportier styles that are still really comfortable and supportive. This one has a big scoop back, but since it has thicker straps and a cute square neck I feel totally supported and it enhanced my shape.

The Cove (similar)

The Cove

This is another one from a couple of years ago that I still wear (specifically when I’m only with the kids and I know I’m going to be super active at the beach). The optical illusion is highly effective so even though it’s very full coverage, it still feels cute and fun (great for diving in off the dock, nothing is going anywhere).

Tie-Front Underwire Bikini Top + High-Cut Waist Bottom

Tie-Front Underwire Bikini Top + High-Cut Waist Bottom

This is the same fit/cut as the above gingham one which I prefer but this is cute, too. Again I ordered a Medium bottom, which is too big and the straps are too long on top (I want to hoist the ladies up more) but it comes with adjustable straps that I didn’t open because I knew it wasn’t a “hell yes” and would go back. But Mal really liked this one as it did feel more “young and palm springs” and the style of the top will enhance your breasts (with potential overspill which I don’t love).

Mauritius Racer Back One Piece

Mauritius Racer Back One Piece

Three years ago I bought the red version of this suit and felt like I FOUND MY SUIT. In bright red, it’s super fun, with a gold zipper that is enticing but still modest, a great shelf breast support, cute racer back style. Plus the ribbing masks all bumps and dimples underneath. My red one got almost ruined due to “tinted” SPF spray – don’t use it) so it got discolored. I searched for it online and it’s not to be found. So I bought this version last year instead which I don’t love as much as the red but I still wore a ton and will wear it a lot this summer. It’s one that I wear around confidently without coverup or sucking in or wondering which ass cheek is hanging out.

Before we go, two new cute cover-ups:

Long-Sleeve Rash Guard in Classic Stripe

Long-Sleeve Rash Guard in Classic Stripe

After about 3 hours in the sun even with SPF, I can get sun rash so I have to put on a rash guard like a little kid. I usually just throw on a blouse, but how cute is this rash guard??? It felt sexy and sporty at the same time. HUGE FAN.

Button-Up Cover-Up Shirtdress

Button-Up Cover-Up Shirtdress

The cover-up I’m opting for this summer is the oversized thin men’s style drapey button-up. I feel pretty cute in this and it’s so easy to wear with enough transparency to still cute and fun. I have a “my summer uniform” post coming up next week with my favorite Levi shorts rounded up there, but these are them.

So there you have it. I know that we all have different body types and that this post is likely more helpful to some than others. But just seeing the suits on A BODY without photoshopping, editing, and describing the level of support and coverage/slippage I hope is helpful making your decisions and finding the right fit that makes you feel comfortable and confidant. Because if being “sexy” is your thing we all know that the sexiest outfit you can put on is unabashed, unapologetic confidence, and self-ownership. I wish I knew this when I had my 22-year-old body, where I wore a cover-up at all costs and avoided the beach or hot tub night (which is CRAZY because I was tiny, and is further proof how bad the programming was and still is). Ironically now at 42, with two kids, I can own it so much more, likely because I just place so much less self-worth on my body and I really really really want to be one of those moms that plays with my kids in a swimsuit, that doesn’t shy away because I feel too self-conscious. May we all strive to be deprogrammed and own our beautiful unique shape and size. Every year I give less f*cks, which means by 50 y’all can expect “Emily GONE WILD, the G-string Bikini edition” 🙂 Still with likely far too much self-tanner (this is my favorite but MUST use the mitt) 🙂 Let’s be BRAVE!!! 🙂

Opener Image Credit: Photo by Veronica Crawford | From: Active & Modest Swimsuits That Make Me Feel Good (Plus, My Thoughts On Body Image) Plus Some Updated Favorites

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Karen
2 months ago

Great options! Swimsuit buying is so hard. As a tall lady, one pieces will not fit my torso (unless I find the rare Tall sizing, which is never in the suit I want), so that leaves 2-piece options as an easier buy. However, what is the cut-off age for 2 piece swimsuits? I dont want to be the mom at the pool dressing younger than I should. Thank goodness for high waist swim bottoms though!

Kristy
2 months ago
Reply to  Karen

Only stop wearing 2 pieces when YOU feel uncomfortable in them! I live in a beach town in SoCal with 3 kids, and 90% of the moms I know wear two pieces (even tiny ones) and rock them with their confidence. You should see the women in Brazil, there are grandmas wearing bikinis and giving zero f***s, because why not?

Sonya
2 months ago
Reply to  Karen

I am also tall and officially gave up on one pieces again. What I would love is a long torso, boy short, cute one piece. Retro/vintage or otherwise, I would buy 5 of them.

Eliot
2 months ago
Reply to  Sonya

How about this? https://www.bodenusa.com/en-us/santorini-swimsuit-verde-colourblock/sty-s0157-grn?cat=C1_S2_G17 Not quite boy short, but fuller bottom coverage and a retro vibe.

r
2 months ago
Reply to  Sonya

Commission one from the many talented seamstresses on Etsy! Not so secret pro tip ; )

Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Karen

Have ypu tried a TANKINI??? The top isn’t a bikini top, but it gives freedom for going to the toilet, torso length, etc. I really like a tankini.

Angela
2 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

I like tankinis too!

Suzanne
2 months ago
Reply to  Karen

I’m 51, and I also have a long torso. Wear what you are comfortable in. There are so many choices for 2-pieces, the skimpy bikini isn’t the only thing out there.

J
2 months ago

I ALMOST didn’t read this because I thought it was a repeat (I read the original about 30 times so didn’t think I needed to click thru again). At the last min I noticed the “round two”. (just fyi, a new opening pic might help for more clicks!) First I have too many things to say for my thumbs to type. Appreciate all the body positivity vibes and am so with you on all of it. Beautiful swimsuits. I HATE swimsuits. No matter the options I still have yet to find the one. I’m a 10-12 short torso, big hips/booty, smaller ish waist, large busted. All I’m looking for us : Underwire WITH lining (I do not like anything to show EVER), adjustable straps (short torso probs like you), no cleavage (like sports bra coverage height, but not way high neck), tankini with full cover bottoms or board shorts, all in a pretty pattern that will hide things (i.e. no white on the bra area, no white on the crotch). And I throw in the towel every single year because it doesn’t exist. Solids scare me bc they don’t camoflauge much. If I could find a suit that fit me… Read more »

Jessica Baer-Graves
2 months ago
Reply to  J

I have some of these same complaints. Recently found that athleta swim checks many of these boxes. I haven’t ordered yet – but have a few in my cart;)

J
2 months ago

Thank you @jessica!

Natalie
2 months ago

I know I’m late to this party, but I am a seasoned Athleta orderer and want to share my tips. The bra-sized tops are great and very supportive, but I would advise sizing down. I am a 32DD and the 32B/C fits me best. It’s strangely difficult to find any swim top that supports my bust with a 32 inch band size and a very long torso (for tankinis). I can never match my measurements to a size chart and it’s so frustrating. Anyway, for Athleta bottoms, I usually order both medium and large (I’m a size 8/10) because both fit but the large is great for those days when I feel bloated or not into wearing a suit (or as Emily said, they fit “post-burrito”). Lastly, I just got these and declare them the HOLY GRAIL of swim shorts/skirts! https://athleta.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=5312160120003&pcid=999&vid=1&searchText=makani+swim+short#pdp-page-content. They are very smooth and silky, they don’t cut in anywhere like other swim bottoms do on me and I don’t have to worry about my bikini line. Also very flattering, hide all of my bumps and I don’t think they look matronly. I’m also a Gen Xer with some needed reprogramming, but until that fully happens I’m more… Read more »

Danielle Lewis
2 months ago
Reply to  J

You might check out lands end. They have quite a lot of tankini options, usually many with underwires, and they have a wide range of bottoms. It might also be worth checking out bra sized swimwear from brands like Elomi (find on Amazon or Bare Necessities).

J
2 months ago
Reply to  Danielle Lewis

Sweet, thanks @danielle!!

Laurielulu
2 months ago
Reply to  Danielle Lewis

I second Lands End suits. Such high quality, size inclusive, amazing options and pretty darn cute❣️

Abby
2 months ago
Reply to  J

I just ordered a couple Athleta two-piece suits to try. I was on the hunt for a higher neckline for more sun coverage and boob coverage and more of a light support sports bra feel (what a mouthful!). I hate swimming in the ocean or playing on the beach and feeling like I’m going to pop out of my top. I loved this one: https://athleta.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=4059490520004&cid=1136568&pcid=1026473&vid=1&nav=hamnav%3ASwim%3ACATEGORIES%3ABikini+Tops&grid=pds_77_261_1#pdp-page-content and this one: https://athleta.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=405827052&cid=1136568&pcid=1026473&vid=1&nav=hamnav%3ASwim%3ACATEGORIES%3ABikini%20Tops&grid=pds_82_261_1#pdp-page-content. I also tried the conscious crop for D-DD but didn’t love the fit, maybe should have sized down but I don’t need a third new suit anyway. These are my first Athleta suit purchases and I’m very pleased so far. The bottoms have pretty good coverage too and there are several bottom styles.

Suzanne
2 months ago
Reply to  Abby

Abby, the color block Athleta top is super cute, but it says it’s best for an A-C cup. Did you actually try it? I’m thinking it wouldn’t work for larger cup sizes based on how it looks. I do often end up fall out the sides of athletic tops like this unless they are designed for large cup sizes.

Abby
2 months ago
Reply to  Suzanne

I’m a D and like the fit. Honestly, thought I ordered one for D-DD. I got a medium and it feels pretty secure. It’s pretty snug to get on but the crossed back makes it comfortable and not squashed on. The top is cut in a little so there is some more arm bulge (ya know that area between your boobs and your armpit) than other suits I have but it doesn’t bother me.

Anne
2 months ago
Reply to  J

I also love a tankini. I know they are mom-ish but I’m a mom. They make it so much easier to hover over a wet toilet seat with a couple kids in the stall than a one piece.

2 months ago
Reply to  J

Hey J, I have a similar body to yours and just recently discovered, and had great success with a newish British company called Pour Moi. Takes a minute to ship from UK, but there are a couple of US stores that carry some of their line. I had luck with Her Room who shipped to me in 2 days. Both worth checking out!
https://www.pourmoiclothing.com/
https://www.herroom.com/pour-moi.shtml?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI16qdn-So8AIVr25vBB0Ghge6EAAYBCAAEgJmfvD_BwE

Erin
2 months ago
Reply to  J

Try Panache- I also have a short torso and large chest and I love the Anya. It kind of has a bra inside of a tankini. Brands with bra sizing are key!

Rachael
2 months ago
Reply to  J

Have you heard of Alulu swim? They are an Australian swomwear company but they ship
Worldwide. I’m 5 months postpartum and need coverage and support for the summer and oh my gosh their bikinis are so good!
https://alulu.com.au/

Lucy
2 months ago
Reply to  Rachael

Yes! Alulu and Marvell Lane are both awesome Australian swimwear labels.

2 months ago
Reply to  Rachael

Thanks for this!! I will be post party this summer and since I’m 8+ mo pregnant now, can’t try on anything, so it’s all just in blind faith!! I’ll look into these!!

nic
2 months ago
Reply to  J

You might like some of the Nani ones …

2 months ago
Reply to  J

I have a lot of these same swimsuit requirements and have good luck with Swimsuits for All.

Amanda G
2 months ago

“Every year I give less f*cks” BEST LINE EVER. 🙌🏻

Shayna Varnedoe
2 months ago

Last three sentences made me burst out laughing. Emily gone wild! Go on with your bad self!

Rachel
2 months ago

You look great in all of these! And I know we all have our unmerited insecurities, but to hear you say you have tummy cellulite and then see your totally smooth tummy made me want to yell at you to love yourself!

Would LOVE if some of your team would do this too, as my body is total opposite of yours- smaller chest and a big booty.

Also thank you!! For showing so many price points. I feel like so many swimsuit roundups I see are all suits that cost hundreds of dollars.

Jamie
2 months ago
Reply to  Rachel

Lots of cute options here, Emily! It’s definitely a challenge finding supportive swim tops if you’re busty. Can I add my frustration that women are expected to SHAVE/WAX THEIR COOCHES JUST TO TAKE THEIR KIDS TO THE BEACH?!?!? I buy bottoms with more coverage because I don’t play that game, and was delighted to find the perfect suit this year that covers while still looking cute: the Billabong Sweet Sands, which is a crop top cheetah print rashguard with shorts.

I wish more brands would come up with styles that suit moms without making them look like they’ve given up on life….

Katy
2 months ago
Reply to  Rachel

I agree with the above. I’d love it if your team members with different body shapes would also post photos, with some small chested girls represented. This is post is so helpful and hilarious.

Jenifer
2 months ago

Fantastic post! What sizes did you order in the red Target bikini that Brian made you keep? Thanks!

t_lee
2 months ago

You look fantastic in all of these these. Especially the red bikini Brian would not let you return. Even with you looking fantastic you are brave because you are so open, vulnerable and free to share everything with your audience. No matter how good anyone looks putting on a bathing suit is always a vulnerable thing. And you did it for all of us. Thanks for that. Helped me be a little easier on myself when I have to put my bathing suit on this year. 🙂

Mollie
2 months ago
Reply to  t_lee

You look amazing in the red bikini. Honestly, it looked the best on you! Close second was the Gaia. Appreciate this post and keeping it real for those of us whose tummies have been through the wringer with childbirth (and for me, multiple surgeries)!

m
2 months ago
Reply to  Mollie

I agree! I liked the red bikini best on you!

Jenifer Glover
2 months ago

It’s amazing seeing these swimsuits on a real body – thank you!!! Sadly we can’t get Target in Canada anymore and so a few of my choices I just couldn’t order. PLEASE let The people at Target know that we really miss being able to order their product up here 😢 By the way – I actually think you looked better in the smaller bikini bottom – those big ones gobble you up. I totally get the active thing at the beach though (and the lost burrito comfort 😉). Enjoy your new suits – you rocked them!!

Jenifer Glover
2 months ago
Reply to  Jenifer Glover

Post – not lost…

Julie M.
2 months ago

Great options, Emily! Thanks for sharing. While we’re on the “no photoshopping” topic – can we normalize not photoshopping interiors too? I feel like outlets and cords are the cellulite and fine lines of the interiors industry. 😜

Wendy
2 months ago
Reply to  Emily

The topic of cords is timely as I just saw a blog post specifically about table lamps and it glaringly stood out that all outlets and cords had magically disappeared. Pretty sure that wasn’t meant to be the focus of the post but it stole the show for me. On a more positive note, this blog post rocks! My young adult daughter is built similarly to you and has the worse time finding supportive cute bathing suits. We both agree about the S,M,L sizing frustration. Sharing this with her for some inspiration. Thank you for all your authenticity.

Julie M.
2 months ago
Reply to  Emily

Yes to all of this! Thanks, Emily!

2 months ago

Hi! As a big boobed person I’m dying to know what the support is like in those rash guards (and in the suit you loved in red but was ruined – with the zipper). Thanks! I agree that I can’t handle when they are smushed together all day, but worse would be nothing at all and then they end up asymmetrically floating around.

Brie
2 months ago
Reply to  Emily

I think the rashguard is on backwards but it works! Jcrew shows the zipper in the back.

This rashguard suit does have some support for my big boobs. My pale arms also hate the sun after a few hours. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y4GZKCW/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_glt_fabc_TXWXXGZSC7VCD9V6PF5H?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Stephanie
2 months ago
Reply to  Brie

I love that she was wearing it backwards. I’m actually going to buy it because of that!

Fellow big boob person
2 months ago
Reply to  Amanda

FWIW I have never seen or tried on any kind of rash guard that was supportive enough to take place of a swimsuit, you’d want either a suit or a sports bra if you’re trying to avoid buying a top and a rash guard.

Robin
2 months ago

Love this post! I’m now (post babies) fully converted to bikini plus rash guard as my standard beach wear. So much better than feeling all over the place running after kids. Peeling out of a one piece while wet to go to the bathroom is just not worth it. And the rash guard means I don’t have to slather on sunblock everywhere and and my boobs aren’t hanging out. If I could find good little shorts that were cute I’d do that too though for now I just go full coverage bottoms. Here’s hoping for more adult rash guard options! There are millions out there for kids, let’s make it happen people!

Kate
2 months ago

Awesome post! Thank you! Here’s one more: the Tulum by AndieSwim is incredible! Classic maillot, but with criss-cross straps and a low back, for those of us who’d rather expose our backs than our “fannies,” as my sweet grandmother would say! (PS- it’s not huge across the bottom, just not cut away.)

Kara
2 months ago
Reply to  Kate

My biggest pet peeve with one pieces is the backs are always SO granny and unflattering even when the front is super cute!

Eliot
2 months ago
Reply to  Kate

Wow, THANK YOU for the rec. I had never heard of the brand, but it looks like they offer long torso sizing for nearly all of their one pieces. So few brands have long torso options at all, and the few that do tend to offer it only on their blandest, most utilitarian suits. I just ordered a suit, and if the sizing is right, I plan on ordering a few more.

Erika
2 months ago

These swimsuits all look great on you! And Brian’s right – the red bikini is super flattering on you. Respectfully, can we stop the narrative that “Marilyn Monroe wore a size 10-12?” Marilyn Monroe was a size 10-12 in the 1950s, which is today’s equivalent of a size 6. Also, I think it’s just historically inaccurate to say that women prior to Gen-X weren’t engulfed in diet culture, too (although I get your point about the unrealistic photoshopped perfection). If you look back at ads aimed at women throughout the entire 20th century, so many of them are geared towards being thinner. I remember reading that Marilyn Monroe and Rosemary Clooney would eat parsley sandwiches all week long so they could “treat” themselves with a sundae on the weekend. My mom was born in the late 30s, and she and her friends (and other similar-aged female relatives) were just as obsessed about their weight as we have been conditioned to be. Remember Tab and cigarettes?! Women have just had unrealistic pressure about our appearance for…centuries?

Renee
2 months ago
Reply to  Erika

So true! Growing up in the 60s, we had Twiggy as the idealized body type, which was not easy to compare yourself against!
Loved this post though! And I would love to see some of these swimsuits on somebody with a pear shape too–just in case anybody on your team is as ‘brave’ as you! (‘You’re so brave!’ loved that line!)

Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Erika

I guess so! Just made me think of the corsetts!!!

Mariele
2 months ago
Reply to  Erika

Yes, thank you!! That always irks me when I see it. Monroe had all sorts of body image issues, too–she was addicted to laxatives and enemas. =/ Her weight bounced around a lot and you can tell from photos of her through the years. Sometimes she was downright skinny, other times she was fairly plump (she hated the white swimsuit photoshoot of her that became famous because she had gained back so much weight). Promoting her as a body positive idol always feels a little sad since she was so very human and insecure about her weight and size. Losing weight wasn’t really in vogue until the 1920s, iirc… I remember reading an excerpt from a diary in a book about a girl in the 1920s going to a women’s college and feeling pressured to lose weight, since all the other girls were dieting. Her mother’s era went to college and were encouraged to gain weight to seem healthy and vital! Women have had issues with dieting ever since then, it’s absolutely not a new thing and it drives me a little bonkers when people act like it is, because it happens to be an area of interest to me… Read more »

Karine
2 months ago

Emily your stomach looks great! Also, I live in Canada and always wear a rashguard between 11 am and 2 pm. Skin cancer is no joke and fabric protects better than sunscreen. We are so lucky to have more cute options this season to be safe and still feel sexy. Thank you for featuring one in this post.

Summersalt
2 months ago

The link to the summersalt suit with the zipper is wrong- different summersalt suit

Becky
2 months ago

Love the way you’ve styled the rash guard. Did you just decide to wear it backwards or is it meant to go either direction? I was so confused when I clicked the link and I didn’t see the zipper at first 🙂

Ps I live for these fashion posts where you try on a bunch of things that your stylist suggests

Stephanie
2 months ago
Reply to  Becky

I loved the backward! I’m buying it because of that! I hate things high on my neck and so regular rashguards are usually a no go for me, but I also don’t want to ruin all my tattoos.

Michelle DeVito
2 months ago

Wondering if anyone has a favorite Speedo or similar one piece? I’m super drawn to the sporty styles and figured why not just buy a classic rather than a sports-inspired suit? I’m intimidated by the sizing system though.

Rusty
2 months ago

I find Speedo doesn’t have support and t5gd fabric shows everything!

Michelle DeVito
2 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

Helpful info! I’m going to check out TYR since it was recommended below!

Amy
2 months ago

You MUST wear the red bikini!! Honestly, it looks smokin’ hot on you! I’m not just saying that to be nice. It really does.

And this is a great post. I hear you on the Gen X thing. Growing up with Kate Moss as our fashion idol was not helpful. I remember buying diet pills and hiding them under my mattress. In high school, when I weighed barely over 100 pounds. So sad! I’m so happy to be raising my daughters in a different culture.

Anyway, rock that bikini, mama, and anything else that makes you feel great!!

Molly
2 months ago

I LOVE this!! Thank you! xo

Bo
2 months ago

You look great in everything but what is your hubby’s favorite? My vote is for the royal blue Gala. It doesn’t compress your bust or show too much cleavage but makes your waist look tiny. More than that it is so classic and classy and all the more so because of its restraint. It lets your body shine but it doesn’t shout.

2 months ago

Sara Bareilles voice: I LOVE TO SEE YOU BE BRAAAAAVE! But seriously, thank you for this post, and thank you for not standing next to the lake holding swimsuits in front of you ;-D

For those looking for other brands/options, especially ones with bust support, I’ve also had good luck with Athleta, Bare Necessities, the Jantzen/Popina vintage styles, Nettle’s Tale, Knix, and this year I have the Spanx one piece on its way. It has a bra clasp in back and under-bust ban, but I did have to exchange for a size up than I expected when it squeezed the bajeezus out of the flesh on my back (though I didn’t measure, so that’s probably on me). Oh! and Gabi Fresh has the most amazing swimsuits for plus sizes!

Simsim
2 months ago

The red suit and bikini are fantastic on you. They all look good—but red makes you shine!!!

Brittany
2 months ago

You better wear that BOMB red bikini or this internet stranger will be so mad on behalf of your fab bod!

Jamie Patton
2 months ago

The Philippine swimsuit from Ernest Leoty really works for me. It’s supportive and slimming. And they have a red suit that is such a good color.

Cameron Cruse
2 months ago

Can you tell me the brand of the first suit? I’ve got your same shape (different size) but I love it! Does all the right things!

Rusty
2 months ago

At first, when I saw the tub photo, I thought it was a re-post and nearly didn’t read it, but I scrolled down and…ut was a new one! (I still think of that original post and your evaluations when see bathers – as we call them in Aussie).

You TOTALLY made me smile and LOL with your comments! Too funny! And it’s clear that you embrace the amazing body that’s grown, birthed, fed and loved two whole humans!!! You soooo don’t look like you did that.

Having large ‘ladies’, I really appreciate your comments about shelf vs underwire. It’s a conundrum for sure!
My bottom is smaller than my top and it gets tricky.

It is SO refreshing to have a real person chat real stuff about bathers in the real world, including bits popping out, cheeky bonuses, flattening fronts, the works!

Thank you!🤗

Kristen
2 months ago

This is great! You are great! And brave! Wink! (With your figure I’d be “brave” year round. Now to get comfortable with mine-really working on it). And now I am weird for giving you swimsuit recommendations- but keep the other red bikini top, too (looks fantastic with those shorts) and the Palm Springs pastel bikini. It’s so adorable and a different vibe. Also, keep the SPF going under the sheer coverup. Enjoy your fun in the sun! Looking forward to next week’s fashion post!

Meggles
2 months ago

Emily, I really appreciate your exhortation at the end of this round-up of bathing suits. I really like my body, but the one thing my inner 13-year-old (tail end of Gen X/child of the 80’s) can’t seem to get over is the longing to have bigger boobs. I was reading this post whining inside, “why can’t I have a bigger rack?” and then your words at the end were a great reminder to like myself as I am, 32B and all.

Cheryl
2 months ago

Emily you are hot as hell! 🔥 And no photoshop, people! Loved seeing these suits on you, I’ve been online shopping the heck out of bathing suits and have only landed on one I like. This year the high legs are throwing me off big time. I’m long torsoed, small chested with the post baby tummy situation and even the high waisted bikinis feel wrong. I also hate a bumpy tie back situation so you can’t sit comfortably on a chair. The search continues.
P.s. super jealous of your love pillows which have been secretly hiding in your ruffled blouses. They make your figure bombshell hourglass, so give em some credit.

Kara
2 months ago
Reply to  Cheryl

Tie backs are so cute but definitely painful to lay on a chair or in an innertube! What I end up doing is tying it off to the side for half the day, and constantly rearranging where the knot is pressing into my skin.

Suzanne
2 months ago
Reply to  Kara

Tie backs are so uncomfortable! I have a small rib cage relative to my bust size, so tie backs work better for me to get a good fit, and it’s so annoying. I wish more tops came in actual bra size.

Sarah
2 months ago

As a woman working in advertising, yes to the Photoshop. But I do think the rise of design blogs in 2000s and Instagram has added another layer. Now it’s not just our bodies and faces and hair that can seem not good enough, it’s our homes too. Carefully curated shots that never show actual messes and things artfully displayed just for the perfect shot angle — not real life. It’s the continuation of images as commerce. That said, there are ads and home images that make me feel joy or peace or any number of positive emotions.

Laurielulu
2 months ago

Oh hey Em…..W🤩W. You have such a beautiful figure. I will say, some of the suits I liked on you, you didn’t like? Imma agree big time with our guy Brian, you look smokin’ in the teeny red bikini. Vavavoom. The high waisted 2 piece suits looked like diapers and did nothing for your shape IMO. (Sorry)

Suzanne
2 months ago
Reply to  Laurielulu

My husband always prefers the bikinis on me for the same reason you mention about high waisted bottoms looking a bit like diapers. But high waisted bottoms are so much more comfortable for being active at the beach or pool or for sitting and eating.

Rusty
2 months ago

EMILY!
Your pantry is on Apartment Therapy! Hahaha…does it STILL look like that?!😉

Anne
2 months ago

I just bought a suit from Mott60 that is a one piece rash guard situation. It has a bra built in and is amazingly supportive and practical. Got my daughter a matching one in a different style 🙂

Jennifer
2 months ago

These are all great options, you look great in all of them!! I’m really loving all of the real bodies on Target and JCrew one other sites. I’ve realized that I was subconsciously affected by the rail thin models on websites in the past. I didn’t bother with many of the styles because I thought my body wasn’t right for them. But now seeing bodies with a fold at the mid back, or a little bulge at the leg holes, or thighs that *God forbid* touch made me realize those things are totally normal. I’ve ordered swimsuits to try that I wouldn’t have dreamed trying in the past!

Andrea
2 months ago

I just don’t understand why my husband gets to wear a loose sun shirt and baggy swim shorts and my options are variations of basically underwear? I’m seriously looking at swim leggings this year. I do a lot of paddle boarding and really don’t want to do that in a bathing suit.

Susan
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrea

I don’t feel like wearing underwear in public either so I DONT. I wear board shorts and a sport bra covered by a shirt. I don’t care how much I read about “body positivity” it’s never going to feel good to me to have that much flesh exposed in public. Plus I can’t move freely in tight crap no matter what I’m doing. I don’t wear tight yoga pants either.

Suzanne
2 months ago

Thank you for doing this! You look fabulous in all of them. I bet it was hard to choose. I’m a big fan of J.Crew suits, but the models aren’t very representative. I love that Gaia suit (and Vitamin A is super great quality), but I can’t do cheeky. I also have a long torso, so I tend to prefer a high waist bottom with a supportive top. I actually ended up buying mix and match pieces of the brand TYR, which are more athletic, but super cute. And I always get a matching rash guard. I love that Brian wanted you to keep the red bikini. I have too many bikinis, because I let my husband shop with me, then they just sit in the drawer or wait for an opportunity to use a hot tub on vacation. And I’m 51, so it’s true you become less self conscious. I see photos (I think my boyfriend at the time managed to get one of my in a swimsuit) when I was a teen trying to hide myself and I wish I could have felt more comfortable in my skin.

Suzanne
2 months ago
Reply to  Suzanne

Ok, I just looked up TYR, hoping to share some links, but they don’t have as many cute options as I own. And it’s hard to tell what the look like, because most of the models have very athletic (no curves) bodies. Bummer, because I have great boy shorts with tankini or sports top that look sexier than you’d imagine based on the description (well, tankini, not so much, but definitely the sports top, because it’s got a more flattering cut than just a basic tank). Mine are also cute colors, in royal blues. Just in case anyone wants to check them out: https://www.tyr.com/shop/womens/swimwear.html

A
2 months ago

for everyone looking for full-coverage bottoms and bra-sized tops – (british brand) boden! boden! boden! i have small boobs so i don’t know how well they’d hold everything up for those more well-endowed but i have a BOOTY and the “amalfi bikini shorts” are my favorite thing in the world. more coverage than a regular bikini bottom, pants sizing (instead of S/M/L), but no shorts “inseam” if you know what i mean. and the rise is perfect. https://www.bodenusa.com/en-us/womens-swimwear?page=1

they have one-pieces too that i’ve never tried, but they come in both regular and long!

the fabric holds up over time (my suit from 3 years ago looks and feels brand new) and they’re on sale this weekend! go!

Catherine
2 months ago
Reply to  A

Was just coming on here to say BODEN ALL THE WAY! Such good quality, a bunch of different styles, well priced, wide range of sizes, great prints, free shipping and returns… can’t say enough good about Boden suits (or clothes in general). I just got the Corsica top in a size 6 and it’s super flattering and supportive (I’m 34D) without looking like a bra.

Cait
2 months ago

I recently got a bikini from YouSwim and wore it for the first time today and I am in love. Weirdly, it is one-size fits all (from a 2-16), and insanely comfortable. I am at the higher end of the size range and it is still flattering and doesn’t dig in or squeeze anywhere. The fabric is textured, but I think it is kind of chic and interesting (I think I found the brand through a minimalist sustainable fashion blog).

Sheryl
2 months ago
Reply to  Cait

I’m laying in a hospital room loving this post. I’m 62, and had gained weight since my 20s. SURPRISE. I always said if I get back down to the weight I delivered my twins at, I’d walk naked down the street. Good news…cancer has taken me below that. Better news…they won’t let me out to walk the street! Haha. But when I do get out you better believe I’m getting a new suit and I will let my husband enjoy taking a photo of me with the family if he wants. I was 125 pounds 5ft 10 and hid hunder a big shirt all my 20s through 30s.
I love EMBRASE yourself!

Erika
2 months ago

You Rock! I hate that it takes such an enormous amount of bravery to share yourself in a bathing suit with the world but it sure does and I commend you for it. Also I LOVE you in the red bikini! You look amazing in that one and should wear that it proudly!

Irene
2 months ago

I recently found this suite via Instagram reading my mind again. I have a lot of the same requirements for suites and I’m actually excited to wear this one!

https://www.wearlively.com/products/the-one-piece-colorblock-navy-black?variant=18401837613152

Jessie
2 months ago

When I think of the word brave, I think of being scared to do something, and doing it anyway. I think that’s what commenters meant, not in any way disparaging your figure (which is what most would consider ideal and enviable!) This post is fun and super helpful. I am your age and agree that our generation really was screwed up mentally by growing up with the dawn of the supermodels and photoshopping…while recognizing the pressure that’s really been going on for many decades now. I find myself so shocked and happy to see normal bodies in marketing now. I am truly hopeful that my daughter won’t grow up with the body issues that I have. Oh and by the way, you look super hot in that red bikini. No wonder Brian wouldn’t let you return it!

Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Jessie

That’s how I interpreted the BRAVE statements too:
” … the word brave, I think of being scared to do something, and doing it anyway.”

Jenni Ross
2 months ago

I agree with Brian! The red rubbed bikini is so cute on you! You have a natural (amazing) hour glass shape and it totally highlights that. For sure a keeper and one to wear in the daylight as well!!

Nicole Sandridge
2 months ago

First off, Emily, you look phenomenal! This article is great too as I was just looking at suits last night. I just wanted to add aerie into the mix of brands helping to deprogram us. I actually had a moment when I found myself thinking, “I wonder what this suit would look like on someone really skinny?” (Instead of the model who looked like someone with my body) And it made me feel so icky – like how messed up to think that. It’s so refreshing to see all shapes, sizes and colors celebrated. I hope one day I just see them as just normal or at least maybe my daughter will!

2 months ago

Thanks for this! It’s our first warm day, and I read this after trying on all my swimsuits. I would like to second Andie Swim and Summersalt. The popular Summersalt suits with the color blocking didn’t work for my body – I’m 5’1”. But I did get a one-piece from them with little straps and an all over pattern that is my first one-piece in years, and I love it. And, from Andie Swim, I ordered a two piece with high waisted bottoms. Both suits were a big departure from the type I’d worn pre-kid, but at 42, I just don’t feel as comfortable in them as before. I think we’ve hit a tough age (or maybe it’s a mom thing) where you still want to feel young and cute but you don’t want all your bits hanging out. Totally agree on the imagery we were submersed with in middle school through twenties doing some major damage.

Jordan
2 months ago

Based on your feedback, you would love Wild Isles swimwear. They focus on suits for larger chests. Feel comfortable, stylish and fun. Small bowman owned business. Check them out!!

Patricia
2 months ago

the expensive Gaia suit is everything on you! I put three target suits in my basket so I can try them on at home. I have an actual beach trip planned this year.

Patricia
2 months ago
Reply to  Patricia

I got the three Target suits. They’re fully lined and well made. But not for my body. I need to borrow Emily’s body to wear them. Since she’s using hers, I’ll stick with my old okay suits.

Liz
2 months ago

You are fab! IMHO the red bikini bottoms flatter you even more than the high waisted options. I get wanting more coverage though. Thanks for sharing.

Tara L Wolper
2 months ago

IMO…the one that is the most flattering on you is the red bikini that Brian wouldn’t let you return! Rock it!

Bea Pankoski
2 months ago

I am afraid your mom’s generation was just as beleaguered by super thin models as yours. Do you remember hearing about someone named Twiggy? No front, no back, just long skinny legs that went on forever, sigh. Not my look, unfortunately. Marilyn was your grandmother’s generation- not mine – 72 and still trying to lose that 10 pounds 😂
Thank you so much for doing this, and you should definitely wear that red bikini !

2 months ago

I am over 50 and just want to say you always look better than you think you do! Trust your husband when he says you look good. The red binkini is a slam dunk. It really accents your small waist and fits you very well while keeping the twins in place. The first jcrew suit also accents your waist beautifully while being a fun style. Sister, go rock that red bikini with confidence!!!!

Joana
2 months ago

You look great! ❤️

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