not so itsy bitsy teeny weeny

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Ahh, holidays. What’s not to love, eh?

Well, there is one thing I DON’T love about holidays and that’s bikini shopping. I have learnt, over the years, to do it earlier rather than later. Because if you’re going on holiday in September and think you’ll wait til later in the year to get your bikini, or heaven forbid, the SALES, then come August 31st you’ll be dashing round the shops like a madwoman trying to find the one solitary bikini in a sea of woolly jumpers and anoraks.

And if, like me, you’re not exactly the same size top and bottom then you have to instantly rule out any bikinis that come as a set (I’m looking at YOU, Oasis). Furthermore, if you happen to be any size over a D cup (again, like me), then you enter the realms of DD+ cup-size swimwear, most of which seems to be made for portly matrons with a penchant for paisley patterns, inch-wide straps and waist-high pants.

I’ve developed a number of techniques in an attempt to overcome this issue. Obviously the first is to shop early, like at least six months before you actually want to leave the country. The second is to avoid bandeau bikini tops at all costs. Seriously, if you have any hint of a chest, they make your boobs look like a sausage. Unless, of course, that’s the look you’re going for, in which case, GO RIGHT AHEAD.

String bikinis, as long as they are separates, are a possibility. My personal formula is to buy the top two sizes bigger then the bottom and – ta da! – perfect matching set. Another staple over the years has been Next, who thanks to their rather odd sizing enable me to fit into a C/D cup bikini top, thereby avoiding the matronly look.

Old favourites: good for the boobs

However, decent bikinis tend to be pretty hard to come by, meaning that if I do find one I cling onto it for as long as possible, trying to ignore the fact that the bottoms have gone baggy and the top has lost all visible means of support. I’m currently struggling with the imminent demise of an old favourite that I bought shortly after having my second child and by some miracle managed to make my boobs look like they’d never even heard of breastfeeding.

This year’s acquisitions: it’s all about the beads!

But before you run away screaming, I’m here to tell you that there is hope. Gradually manufacturers have come to realise that there is life after 34C and the Lara Stones of this world want just as much choice as the Kate Mosses. Companies like Figleaves and Bravissimo have set out to provide attractive swimwear that someone under sixty would actually want to wear, and the rise in online shopping means that there are many other websites out there specifically catering for big boobs.

As for me, I think I may have reached my bikini nirvana this year with the Freya Pier halter neck, which manages not only to support and uplift perfectly but also looks pretty darn cute while doing so. It currently comes in apple green or lollipop red (pink and black are coming soon, according to the Freya website) with white – say it with me – POLKA DOTS.

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